The Dos and Don'ts of Wedding Thank You Notes

Featuring our Planning Posse
Just a few weeks after sending out your invites, the RSVPs will start to arrive... and so will the wedding presents! While checking your mailbox is about to get a lot more fun, you'll also need to make sure to thank each and every guest for their generous gift (it's an etiquette must). So, before you get to work, read on for the dos and don'ts you need to know about your wedding thank you notes.


Purchase thank you cards before your wedding.
You'll be so overcome with gratitude after your wedding that you'll want to send thank you cards right away, so don't put off buying them. If you want to include a wedding photo, determine the other elements of the cards as early as possible, then complete the order once you've gotten a few files from your photographer. In the meantime, make sure to buy some thank you notes to send for shower or engagement gifts.

Send thank-you's as gifts arrive.
There's no sense in waiting until you have dozens of presents to sort through. Start right now and you'll be glad you did later.

Send them within a few weeks of your wedding.
You may have heard that you have a year to send out thank you cards, but most etiquette experts say three months max. Once the wedding's over, do your best to power through your thank-you's as quickly as possible. (But don't stop sending thank you notes even if it takes you more than three months!)

Mention the specific gift and how you plan to use it.
Guests want to know they've gifted you something you love and can use, so thank them for giving you cash towards your first home, or for the new KitchenAid mixer you plan to use to make fresh pasta.

Thank guests for attending.
Whether a guest gave a gift or not, take the time to thank them for being a part of your wedding. If you're writing to a bridesmaid or groomsman, thank them specifically for the things they did to help make your day perfect.


Be stodgy or formal in your note.
Just because you're following an etiquette rule by sending a thank you doesn't mean you have to adopt an unnatural tone. Stick to conversational language that's authentically you.

Mention any specific dollar amounts.
While you should say thanks for the generous gift towards your honeymoon, or a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond, refrain from mentioning the amount given. It's not necessary.

Send a digital thank you.
Skip the emails, Facebook messages, and texts, and show your gratitude the old-fashioned way with a handwritten note in the mail. You should also avoid sending pre-printed messages with just your signature -- take the time to write out the whole note.

Spell your guests' name wrong.
Double-check the spelling of each guest's name. Then check them all again..

Be rude about the gift if you didn't like it.
Even if you received a tacky tea cozy or a strange-looking serving dish, thank the guest for the gift and move on. Writing thank you notes is not an opportunity to be passive-aggressive. And if you got a duplicate, don't mention that you plan to return a gift. No one needs to know!  

About the author
Stephanie is a lifestyle journalist based in Philadelphia.
Featuring our Planning Posse