By Rebecca Padgett
Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me, but I believe letter writing is a lost love language. There are few things that make me feel more valued than knowing someone took the time to express their thoughts to me in their own handwriting. I’m surely not alone in this, which is why handwritten thank you notes have withstood the hands of digital time.
Writing thank you cards to your guests can be humbling and a pause filled with so much gratitude for the wonderful people in your lives. Where it might seem like just another wedding related task, I assure you it’s not. If done right, it’s another valuable moment of reflection on your wedding day.
It is likely that you already have a spreadsheet full of addresses from when you sent out invitations. Utilize this list to add a column where you specify the gifts that guests gave you. Describe it in as much detail as possible so when you go back to write cards you know exactly what the gift was. I would also advise saving any envelopes with addresses on them in case the guests’ address changed since the wedding. Many wedding websites and registries have features that track the gifts you were given, but I would advise against solely relying on that. Write it down, and keep all the information in one place. Two other columns that are useful to add to your spreadsheet are date received and date posted. This way, you know when you received the gift and when you sent the thank you. This can be useful should any postal issues arise.
2. Be Timely
This is not to say you need to be writing thank you cards on your honeymoon, but it’s easy to get caught up in the wedded bliss and think of your wedding related duties as over. With anything else in life, it’s a common courtesy to send your thank you cards out as soon as possible. Guests dedicated the time and money to not only attend but also contribute to your marriage. Show those loved ones the timely response they deserve.
3. Set Aside Time
The best thank you’s are sincere and genuine, which means they should be allotted the time and space needed to write something meaningful to each guest. These should not be rushed as that can lead to errors and disingenuousness. Set aside time to sit down with your fiancé and write the cards. If your wedding was smaller, this may take an hour or two. If this was a larger wedding, spread it out over a few days with one-to-two-hour increments at a time. Make it fun by putting on your favorite album and sipping an adult beverage. Just don’t spill.
4. Divide the Work
As all things in a marriage should go, make this equal by dividing the task. I advise splitting the writing work between whoever knows the guest best — then you both sign it.
5. Invest in Stationary
As a lover of paper products, I enjoyed selecting thank-you cards that I felt aligned with our weddings theme. It was just another reminder of what a beautiful day it was. You can either splurge on a custom set, or there are plenty of stunning, high-quality options for a reasonable price through brands such as Minted, Target, Marimekko, Rifle Paper Co., Euni + Co. and more. Most companies and stationary stores also have recycled paper options. Where there are digital options, in a digital age, there’s nothing quite as sentimental as receiving a handwritten note.
6. Be Specific
When writing, be specific as possible. Much like snowflakes, every thank you card should be different. Cater the card not only to the specific gift they gave, but also to your relationship to the person. Talk about what fun you had dancing the night away with your college roommates, how meaningful it was to wear your mother-in-law’s earrings or how you’re honored your childhood friend flew all the way from Australia. The subject of listing the exact amount of money given is an always debated topic, which I will leave up to you. To some, it’s viewed as helpful to confirm with the guest how much received. To others, naming to dollar amount is taboo. Whether you received money or a physical gift, talk about it a bit. Tell them how you plan to or have used their monetary contribution — during the honeymoon, towards home renovations, investing in your future mortgage or for a much-needed date night. Tell them that you think of them when sipping your morning espresso from the coffee maker they bought you or how beautiful those plates will look at Christmas dinner.
7. Call Them By Name
When addressing your cards, be sure to address by name everyone that contributed to the gift. This is especially important if given by a couple or family. If it was a group gift sent by people who do not live together, be sure to send each contributor their own thank you.
8. Not Just For Gifts
Thank you cards are not reserved solely for the “gift givers.” Expand the way you think of “gift giving” to include anyone who invested considerable time and resources to your wedding day. Thank you cards should be sent to your bridal party, involved family, your planner, venue, florist, photographer, caterer or anyone you consider to have greatly contributed to your wedding day.