In the Issue

Wedding Thank You Note Etiquette, Explained

Must you really write a thank you note to every single person who gave you a wedding gift?

The short answer is: Well, yeah. “Remember that they made a special effort for you that deserves your time and gratitude back in a special way,” says Bell’INVITO Stationers owner and etiquette expert Heather Wiese Alexander, who advises tackling a few each day to keep the task from becoming overwhelming. How else can you keep from looking a gift horse in the mouth? Heather offers her guidance on gratitude.

WHO

Anyone who gave you a wedding or shower gift is owed a written thank you, even if you thanked them verbally upon receiving it. Though it’s not required to send a thank you note to your vendors, Heather says it’s always appreciated—especially if they did an exceptional job. Beyond that, she advises, “Thank your parents in an extra special way, especially if they have assisted financially in your big day. And a thank you gift is appropriate for anyone who hosts a shower, brunch, or any other gathering.”

WHEN

How long after receiving a gift do you have to send a note? Heather admits etiquette experts are all over the board on this topic. When in doubt, she says, sooner is better. But roughly: “Plan to have them all sent within three weeks of the shower and three months of the wedding.”

HOW

Don’t feel as though you must pen a lengthy missive or use formal jargon you ordinarily wouldn’t. “A great thank you note is a sincere three to four sentences and is written how you would normally speak,” advises Heather. As for the sign-off, Heather says you and your partner can each sign your names if you both contributed to the note—but that’s not required. “I advise that you divide and conquer the note writing and just sign your name if the note is from you,” she says.

(ON) WHAT

“Gratitude is beautiful when it’s sincere, regardless of the quality or design of the delivery,” insists Heather. Still, beautiful, personalized stationery is a worthwhile investment. “Remember,” she says, “more people will see this than your wedding shoes!” 

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