Thank You Note Etiquette

Wedding gifts are, like, half the reason you had a wedding. Writing thank you notes though, is the reason why you wish you didn’t have a wedding at all. But whether you got a set of Baccarat crystal wine glasses from Bloomingdales or an unfortunate hand-woven potholder, writing a thank you card is a part of what you signed up for, honey.

We know what you’re thinking. Snail mail? Handwritten cards? This is where we burst your shortcut loving bubble: no, you can’t just send a kindly worded text.

Writing a formal note is pretty much the only wedding tradition that everyone agrees should be kept. If you had more than twenty guests at your wedding, though, it can be really, really exhausting. So how do you make sure Polly Potholder feels your gratitude just as much as your fabulous second cousin who bought timeless (and pricey) crystal?


You make it timely, you make it personal, and you make it specific.

Don’t Procrastinate

Unlike a brazilian before your honeymoon, this task shouldn’t be left to the ninth hour. Write notes as you receive gifts (guests are sending them year-round) so you don’t get overwhelmed. Many will send a gift right before your wedding, but more than likely, gifts will come in waves. If they’re not attending, go ahead and get the thank you card out ASAP. It’s just one less thing to worry about! Keep in mind that not many attendees will bring an actual gift to your wedding, so plan for a second wave of gifts right after the big day.

Write it Out

Here’s hoping you left room in the budget for stamps and stationery. Yes, thank you notes should be handwritten. No, an email won’t cut it. And don’t expect to sit down and get them all done at once. You’ll be surprised how easily your hand will get cramped and how bad your handwriting can get after the 22nd thank you. Figure out how many you need to get done and divide that number by five. For the next five evenings, throw on your favorite trash TV and get them done bit by bit.

Bonus: notes give you a chance to inform everyone if you’ve changed your last name or address.

Make it Personal

The quickest way to get your note tossed in the trash and quickly forgotten is to just say, “Thank you for your wonderful gift.” This is the lazy person’s way out. Even the person who picked out a registered gift from Amazon and drop-shipped it to your door took 15 minutes out of their day to think of you. Therefore, start with a personal greeting. Thank them for attending your wedding or tell them you missed seeing them.

Make it Specific

Next, thank them for their specific gift . Let them know how and when it will be used.

Bad: Thank you for the wonderful gift.

Better: The soup tureen is much appreciated.

Best: I know we’ll use the soup tureen for years to come and can’t wait to break it out next Thanksgiving when you visit.

Avoid Lying

“But what if I’m returning the sterling silver ball of string or would rather scoop out my own eyeballs than serve dinner on such hideous plates?” you ask. Your thank you note can be kind without being too descriptive. For instance, you might say, “Thank you so much for your kind gift of dinner plates. Too many of our dinners recently have come out of a pizza box.”

If it’s a relative that will likely visit and ask where the plates are, you can tell them at a later date that you ended up exchanging them for very similar plates that better match your linens (or something bougie like that).

Divy Up the Responsibilities

If your spouse has decent penmanship, ask him or her to write some thank you notes as well. There’s no reason for it to fall on one person. It’s even better if you each write notes for the presents that you particularly enjoy. Your spouse doesn’t feel passionate about new flatware, but may be stoked about new towels. Not able or willing to give up the writing portion? Have your beloved stuff the pile of envelopes, address, stamp, and mail them.

Fixing a Faux Pas

A year after your wedding, you pull out a set of nested colanders and think (after a few four letter words), I never thanked the firm’s partner for these. Simply give the gift giver a call and apologize for the oversight. Then send a thank you note that same day. Lucky for you, you can always blame it on being busy. Everyone is willing to give newlyweds the benefit of the doubt on account of you being so cute, blissfully happy and a little bit clueless.

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By HitchSwitch

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HitchSwitch was born of an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to make life easier. HitchSwitch founder Jake Wolff was in his first year at Fordham Law School, where he toyed with the idea of starting a business and hoped to experience his “Eureka!” moment.
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