Ask Team Practical: Thank You Notes with their Own Anniversary Date


Ask Team Practical: Thank You Notes with their Own Anniversary Date | A Practical WeddingIt’s Friday, so you know what that means! It’s Ask Team Practical day with Alyssa. Last week she wrote about sober weddings, because she wanted to start out with a softball, and ‘what was there to debate?’ Almost 300 comments later, I think I owe her a bottle of Bourbon. Today she’s doing thank you notes, and we’ll see if that proves to be explosive or not. And she thought this job was going to be easy! Ha! Today’s question is from Maddie, who I’m awfully fond of. You’ll remember her from her lazy & cheap wedding. And now, Alyssa:

Here is Maddie’s question:

So I have a confession to make. I am really REALLY *REALLY* bad at writing thank-you notes and it’s now officially past the one year mark since our wedding without having sent them. On the one hand I am wrecked with guilt because I know I’m supposed to send them out. On the other hand, I’ve gone out of my way to personally thank those few people who really helped us out to make our day special and am feeling a little less bad.

But those guys who came to our wedding, celebrated, and bought us a gift have nothing to show for it and I’m not sure what to do. Is it too late to send them? Can I even AFFORD 150 thank-yous with postage? I need your ever wise advice so that I can not feel like a total jerk every time I see my Nana (not that it’s not deserved).

What do I do?

Yes m’am, you do have to write them.

And I’m gonna refute every reason you have for not writing them until you do. **

But Alyssa, it’s been a year and I feel silly!

Well yeah, I get that.  But there is no statute of limitations on thank you’s.  If you were grateful then, you’re still grateful now and they deserve to hear that.

But I wasn’t grateful for the [BLANK].

But you’re appreciative of the gesture, and that’s what you’re thanking them for.  Even if the gift is still sitting in your closet.

But I’m NOT appreciative of the gesture; I didn’t want a gift in the first place!

Don’t make me call your mother.

But the cost to get cards and mail 150 invites is a lot.

Nope.  150 stamps are $66.00 and you can get a 50 pack of vaguely cute thank you cards from Target for like $9.99, which bring you to a grand total of $95.97.

I bet your bouquet at the wedding cost more than that.

It did not.

Hush, sweetie, I’m making a point.

And the cards at Target/Wal-Mart/everywhere suck.

Then go to the stationary store of your choice.  Make it something fun.  Look for pre-made or printable cards off of Etsy.  You can also Google “printable thank you cards” and find a plethora of good and bad ones.   Also, APW has a handy list of vendors up top, all of which I’m sure could help you.  (They’re not just for weddings! Support awesome people!)

Meg suggested that you needed special “F*CK!” cards specifically for this, and I find that brilliant.  (Just don’t send one to your Nana and then blame it on us.)  If you’re crafty, make them yourself.  Hell, write them on a piece of paper.

But that’s a lot of writing.

You can practice your penmanship.  It’s a lost art, really…

You know they won’t care if I’ve written a note or not…

Totally not true.   Okay, maybe for some, like your brother who only bought you a gift the day before your wedding because your mother threatened his life.  But I really do believe that people genuinely appreciate, and like, thank you notes.  It’s not going to change their life, but it will make them smile and isn’t it nice of you to brighten their day like that?

And even if it isn’t for that reason, there are plenty more.  Take the APW team.  Personally, I’m like a 5 year old and I just like getting mail; especially if it’s in the form of a pretty card.  Lauren, the fabulous intern, really wants to know that she sent you the bestest present and hear how much you love it, even if you picked it out yourself.  And Meg?  She just wants to know you GOT the damn thing.  She also wants to hear why you like it, but she especially wants to know that it arrived and wasn’t lost or stolen.  (Seriously.  It’ll save her the trouble of sneakily trying to look at stuff in your house to see if she can figure out if it was actually delivered.)

What do I say?

Exactly what you would have a year ago, but include a “This is very overdue, but your beautiful [BLAH] is still appreciated.”  If it’s for friends or close relatives, feel free to make fun of yourself a little bit. Here are three examples Team APW came up with on their conference call (editors note: this is not an exaggeration. We really do have Skype conference calls now, and we really do discuss your questions on them):

  • Tell them you’re writing the note in honor of your first anniversary.
  • Explain how you were waiting to make sure that you actually LIKED the present before you sent a note because you wanted to be totally honest.
  • Let them know that you were in a cult and had to give up paper for a year to achieve your next level of consciousness.

(There would have been more, but we weren’t drinking at the time.)

But seriously, just be real, be honest and make it thoughtful and personal.  Since it has been a year, include little bits about your first year of marriage, any fun milestones or unexpected experiences. When Meg wrote her thank you notes, she included a message in there on why she was glad that that person came to her wedding and how much it meant to her.  If they weren’t there, she included a message about how that gift gives her and David a reason to think of that person every time they use it or see it.

But I don’t WANNA.

Then don’t. But you did write in to the website run by one of Miss Manner’s biggest fans. Miss Manners, by the way, says that you should write them too.  “…write a letter with no excuse (the vague one of “being busy” is insulting to people who were not too busy to be generous to you) but plenty of self blame and effusive gratitude: “I have been hideously remiss in telling you how much we adore the whatzit, which is as useful as it is beautiful. Every time we see it we think of you with gratitude and pleasure…” blah blah blah.

Still not convinced?  How about this post here, where Meg talks about her registry ennui, that was finally cured when she realized that presents are not about YOU, but about letting people help you build your baby family. And thanking them is part of letting them help.

So there.

And don’t worry; my thank you note for this advice is perfectly acceptable to send through email.

** HYPOTHETICALLY.  Maddie is wonderful, funny and in no way this whiny.

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Alyssa at askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though we prefer if you make up a totally ridiculous sign-off like conflicted and rageful but deeply in love in Detroit (CARBDILID, duh).

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  • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

    Bless you, lady. (Not least for giving me a much-needed laugh when I’m up waaaaay too early finishing a paper. Maybe I’ll tackle the last few thank-you cards we still have pending after I’m done with the d*mn thing!)

  • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

    seriously, just send the damn things.

    and the whole year-later-nonsense just gives you more to talk about in the card. like, updates on your marriage since the wedding. slip in a photo of them dancing from the wedding- the thoughtfulness will help them overlook the lateness. for serious.

  • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

    I’ve been waiting all week for Friday for this very reason!!! And it was just as awesome as last week- yay!

    I definitely agree… I’m one of those people who REALLY likes getting mail just to get mail, and while a Thank You card isn’t a huge deal and I wouldn’t really be upset that someone didn’t send one, it would definitely make me happy to get a belated one. Especially if it used the words ‘hideously remiss’!

  • Cat

    Sigh. One year and one week out from the wedding. Duly noted, they will be sent by the end of the week…

  • Carbon Girl

    One important point was missed. As a wife, it is not only your responsibility to the write the notes but also your husband’s. Enlist his help and it will go twice as fast. We tried to tackle 7-10 an night each until they were done. As in we will not watch netflix until we get X many done tonight.

    Good luck! Oh and in terms of making the card pretty? F*ck it! What your friends and family want to see is the note from you.

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

      what worked for some of ours, too, was having josh write the ones for my family and i wrote the ones for his. sort of like, making those connections, ya know?

      • ddayporter

        ha we did the opposite, but that’s a cool idea!

    • http://onecatperperson.blogspot.com Angie

      I like your style, Carbongirl. Baby steps. Every little bit counts.

    • JessicaJEM

      My fiance has the handwriting of a 3 year old on a sugar high… *sigh* I think I’ll be doing the writing and he can stuff envelopes and put the stamps on.

      and yes to sending them because I just like getting things in the mail.

      • Michele

        My husband has ridiculous, awful, illegible handwriting as well, but I don’t really think that’s a good reason to let him off the hook. I still asked him to write SOMETHING in every card, regardless, and there were DEFINITELY instances where even I couldn’t read what he wrote, but I don’t even think that’s the point.

    • http://! Jennifer

      This was the first thing that popped into my head, too. I actually am writing all of ours because my husband always puts pressure on all his writing to be clever or eloquent and thus he would stress out more than I do. But if I were feeling overwhelmed by the number of notes needing to be written, you bet I’d have said yes when he asked if he needed to help. The fairly common expectation that this is the bride’s responsibility is ridiculous. (Besides, no-bride couples or two-bride couples send out thank-you notes, too.)

      • Leahismyname

        Yeah, same here. It can take my fiance up to an hour to write a “quick” email to a friend. (!!) So, I’m letting him off the hook on thank you notes as long as he’s picking up the slack on the chair rentals.

        We’re getting married in my hometown, where I no longer live, so we’re already getting some wedding gifts. I’m trying to knock them out as they come in, to avoid the pile later.

        But I’m a thank-you-note-writer anyway. When we started dating and his parents gave me the first birthday gift (or whatever it was), I wrote them a thank you note, as I do for all my family too. Apparently they were totally a) surprised and b) charmed by it. (Score!)

        Even now, they constantly comment on my thank-you-note-writing as some kind of anachronistic, but pleasant, habit.

        So what I’m sayin’ is that I’m in the habit of dashing off a short, heartfelt note of thanks. That’s gonna come in handy pretty soon.

    • meg

      Oh, uh, I think we thought is was ASSUMED that they both were writing them. I mean, duh? We just wrote this to Maddie because she wrote in.

      • Alyssa

        Yup. Maddie asked, Maddie gets answered.

        However her and her partner tackle it is all up to them.

      • Maddie

        In all truthfulness, I kind of let Mr. J get away with slacking off in this area, because right when I’m about to sit down and write them he tends to get very helpful doing *other* stuff around the house like painting and hanging curtains. But, lordy, I think it’s evident that I at least need the emotional support of someone sitting down and writing them with me. Now I get to show him 175+ APW team members who will be very disappointed in him if he does not man up and write some damn thank yous.

    • Kee

      I get shivers when people says the man should “help” the woman. It still insinuate that it’s the primary responsibility of the woman to get it sorted, and that she needs to project-manage the clueless man how and when to help her to do what is expected of them.

      (and when I say them, I mean her. No one ever thinks a man should be ashamed for not having sent out thank you cards after his wedding).

      Gah. Having a I-hate-the-world-and-its-gender-imbalances day today.

      • Michele

        I completely agree. Two of my husband’s aunt’s (who were not at the wedding) sent us gifts several months after the wedding, and we didn’t have any more thank you cards. I asked him once and reminded him twice to pick some up so we could send one to each of them, figuring – HIS family of origin, HIS responsibility to procure the cards. I would happily write a lovely message inside, much like he did in the 55 cards that I procured for everyone else who attended and/or gave us a gift, but I’m just not willing to be the wife who organizes her husband’s life for him, particularly when it comes to this sort of thing, precisely because it’s so often regarded as primarily the wife’s responsibility, and the only way to change that is to STOP taking responsibility for it.

        He never did buy any cards, and when I saw each of the aunts some time later, I personally thanked them, apologized for the fact that we never sent a thank you card, and told them why it happened.

        The response? Lots of laughs and high-fives.

        • ElfPuddle

          I did the same thing when it came to the card for his mother’s birthday.

          Good for you!

          • http://diaryofagolddigger.blogspot.com/ The gold digger

            Oh yeah. I have nothing to do with my husband’s parents for birthdays, Christmas, mother’s day, father’s day, etc. They are his parents. His responsibility. I sent his mother an email for her birthday just to stave off the criticism. But the rest of the time? They are his. Not mine.

      • Ann

        ??? What to do ???

        My partner/soon to be husband hates writing and receiving notes of any kind, birthday cards, thank yous, etc. I think he thinks they’re tacky and no one actually wants them and they are a meaningless social ritual we should free ourselves from and say such things when we mean it, not cause we have to. He also feels very violated when he is asked to share his emotions in a situation he wouldn’t volunteer them.

        I, on the other hand, think that it’s really important to send those cards, because even though, yes, I was prompted by social convention to send the damn card, having been so gives me an excuse to slow down and reminds me to share the love, thanks, joy, etc I’m almost certainly feeling towards that person anyway with them.

        Anyway, because I think it’s important, I know it’s important to my family, I’m planning to write the damn thank you cards. Should I insist he help me with this, even though for him it’ll be something extremely uncomfortable? For the record, I don’t see this as a man’s job – woman’s job thing, our distribution of domestic tasks is just fine right now.

        • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

          i’m going to sound sexist. so to be fair, i’m basing this on my own experiences.

          men sometimes don’t GET social situations and obligations. my husband (a very thoughtful, caring man) did not bring a wedding gift at all until we were married. he just didn’t realize it’s what you do.

          same went for us with thank you’s. they’re not important to him- so he assumed they’re not important in general. i discussed with him WHY thank you cards are important, WHY it’s important to say something personal and heartfelt. and he helped write the cards.

          his grandmom, aunt, nana, and others called his mom in tears reading their thank you notes. they bring up the thank you notes we wrote when we see them (still!) and now he’s fully converted. once he SAW how much those notes meant to people important to him, he understood.

        • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

          Hi Ann, I hear you. My husband probably has some of the same feelings. Unfortunately, I have no suggestions to help. I am just working on the notes myself and I started with my side, because I thought it was fair since I am writing them. I finished those and have now started drafting the notes for his side, and he has said he will help in the editing/elaborating/writing process. (We have been digitally drafting all our notes before we hand write them. Plus it lets us keep track of what we write to whom.) So…we’ll see how it goes. But I will make sure they all get done one way or another. :)

        • Tabby

          I think you should feel him out when the time comes. Explain how you, personally, feel that it is important to send Thank You cards and that you know he does not, but that you would like to give him the opportunity to share the love and gratitude with your guests. If he says, No thanks, then you should just let it go. Who knows? He might surprise you when you explain to him why it is important to you.

        • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

          Sounds like my husband!

        • Alyssa

          I personally threw a fit on this one and made The Boy write thank you notes. He professed to not know what to write and I told him what to write, but made sure he wrote them. (Mostly. The more I’ve been thinking about it today, the more I think he may have never sent some….) For me, I already am the gatekeeper in the family (calling his relatives, getting birthday cards, etc.) and I didn’t want to perpetuate that any more than I already have.
          He doesn’t get to enjoy the present without taking responsibility for the thanking of the present. Especially in instances where it’s from a friend of HIS mom’s that is just so sweet and sent us soemthing even though she wasn’t invited to the wedding.

          So *I* would push him to help you. Or shoulder some of the responsibility. But, it’s your marriage, so do what’s best for you guys. Some hills aren’t worth dyin’ on….

        • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

          I hear that from a lot of people (male and female) – we shouldn’t feel that we have to buy flowers/write a card/share feelings/give a gift because we HAVE to at a certain pre-set date, but whenever we want to, because we WANT to, whatever the time.

          Which is all fine and lovely, except:

          1.) Not everyone thinks that way, so living along those moral principles, while not wrong (I sort of agree myself, but I don’t follow that method), hurts and offends people who don’t ‘get’ it or just don’t think that way. Who wants a moral construct that actively hurts others?

          2.) Almost everyone I’ve ever met who professes this belief never actually does buy flowers/gifts/write cards. If they made good and really did share such things when the mood struck them, hey, great. But they don’t. Not sayin’ your FH is that way, jut sayin’ that I see it time and time again.

  • http://anyotherwedding.blogspot.com Fliss

    Surely it doesn’t even have to be on a particular card – just some paper (unlined, people) and some envelopes will do the job nicely. No need for fancy-schmancy cards – it is all about the gesture. And if money’s really tight, hand deliver all of the local ones – it’ll be a cheap day out, and also, people will be chuffed that you went out of your way to hand deliver the note.

    Seriously. There are NO excuses on this front.

    • http://! Jennifer

      I would even submit that it can be better to write the notes on regular stationery (or cards that don’t have a “thank you” emblazoned on them, or at least not ones that are obviously wedding-oriented), because then, well, you have stationery at hand the next time you need to write a note, whether it’s a letter of condolence or a thank-you for a birthday or holiday gift. (I initially misread Alyssa’s “they’re not just for weddings!” as referring to thank-you notes not being just for weddings, rather than the vendors being not just for weddings.) In this day of email, written correspondence may not be necessary for keeping in touch with friends and family like it once was, but there will still be other occasions in your life when it is the appropriate thing to do.

      • E. Weaver

        Shopping for stationary was one of my favorite wedding planning tasks. It was one arena where I had *complete* control over the decisions. I bought blank cards that I liked, when I found them on super-clearance. After a few months of stocking up, I’ve now got a good selection of stationary for future needs. There are nice cards hiding all around (I had great luck at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Homegoods, as well as the local paper store’s clearance rack.). I bought whatever kind of cards I liked…bright colored, black and white graphic, soft pastel/neutral…it really genuinely doesn’t matter if the whole pile of them match. I also got a custom-made return address stamp, for cheap off the internet.

        I knew we were doing hand written thank you’s “for me” (my husband wanted to send thank-you emails to avoid “paper-waste”), so I did end up doing most of the work on them. But honestly, it was because I was selfish about the task…I LOVE writing letters and mailing notes. He handled the ones for people I didn’t know well, and his extended family. It worked out well for us.

    • meg

      Oh, I’m a huge fan of actual stationary (AS IS MISS MANNERS, she think’s Thank You notes make it look like you were too lazy to write the words ‘thank you’ yourselves ;)

      • Kate

        Not if you write it more than once! We have a picture of us on the front of our cards with us holding bunting that says “Thank you” on it that we ordered from Vistaprint for cheap, but even on a printed thank you card I always write another thank you in one of those sentences. I’m a little confused why you would write a thank you card message without actually using those words in a sentence.

        • meg

          Y’all. Miss Manners is a funny woman, in a very dry way. Have you read her? She’s saying what she thinks on this front, but she’s also being funny. I know, the internet is a hard place for funny, but I will keep waving the funny flag, regardless.

          • margiemive

            I love Miss Manners so much I’ve seen her speak in public – she came to the Free Library in Philly. First of all, she wore a kelly green suit and a hat and white gloves, which was totally awesome. And she’s hilarious and wonderful. I noticed that almost all the Q&A was taken up with wedding questions. It’s like weddings are the only time people get agitated about etiquette, even though it seems pretty obvious that etiquette applies to all of the ways we interact with people, not just at weddings

            My favorite part of her books is the part where she lists, rather mournfully, “Questions to answers that nobody asked.” They mostly pertain to grape scissors.

          • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

            I have a Miss Manners crush. I keep reading excerpts of her books to C and we’ll both be rolling laughing at her hilarious dryness. And she is GREAT at boundaries.

          • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia kahlia

            Did you guys see the recent title on one of her columns that says “Columnist refuses to get involved”?! That woman is hilarious!

          • Sarah M

            I can’t find it now and am kicking myself I didn’t cut it out years ago when I read it, but someone wrote in and asked this EXACT question (i.e. When is it too late to send a thank you note?). And Miss Manners’ response was (almost verbatim): “It is only too late when the person you should have thanked is dead and you have only regrets and remembrances of your bad manners to live with.” BAM! Tell it like it is!

    • Kireina

      I love the word ‘chuffed’. That is all. :)

    • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

      “Exactly!” to the regular, unlined paper being fine in lieu of cards.

      Not so exactly to “save money by hand-delivering local ones” – sometimes there are no local ones. All of ours had to be posted from Taiwan at about $1 US each. We did it anyway, of course.

      • http://www.twitter.com/kahlia kahlia

        Yeah, the price of postage sucks sometimes. Ours (about 200 cards/notes after 2 receptions in different countries) were sent 1. 47% from Italy to Spain and elsewhere in Europe (US$0.90); 2. 47% from Italy to the U.S. (US$1.15); and 3. the 6% that we had finished before leaving the U.S., which we did on the plane home from our honeymoon, some of which my mom dropped in mailboxes on her daily walk the day after we left.
        It was worth it, though, to get all the nice emails and Facebook comments (especially from his family, which is not as close as mine as) saying how pleased they were to receive the card. Most people in his family were surprised that we had sent a note at all! Also I think people feel special to get a note that’s come from far away, in addition to the “regular” feeling-special of just getting mail.
        (I made those percentages up, obviously, but I think they’re about right.)

  • ddayporter

    I agree, it’s not too late! everyone has most likely longgg since forgotten about it and it will be such a lovely surprise to get a note from you in the actual real life physical mail.

    it’s true that you must do them together, I think that goes without saying! zach and I split them up so he wrote the ones that went to “his side” and I wrote the ones that went to “my side” and then we each signed them – saved on awkwardness particularly with his grandparents, since I’m not comfortable calling them Grandma & Grandpa (yet?), he could address the note like that and I can sign it and it’s totally cool.

    we started writing our thank you notes fairly soon after the wedding, and actually had most of them done within a couple months, but then we put off finishing them up till after our (2-month delayed) honeymoon. I had already written in some of them things like “maybe we’ll spend some of your generous gift on our honeymoon!” and then took so long to send the thing, I actually added a PS saying “woops, waited too long to send this, we DID spend it on our honeymoon, your gift helped us take a circumnavigation tour of the island of Antigua, so thank you!!” and I actually think being able to add that detail was nice.

    all that to say, i agree that your year of marriage will give you plenty to talk about in the note! :)

    • meg

      It did go without saying. Apparently that was a mistake?

  • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

    I totally agree. I also get overly excited when I get mail from people, especially hand-written notes (which are so rare these days) .

    Um, I don’t know if this is overstepping boundaries or anything like that (so Meg, feel free to remove this comment if you see fit), but I understand that sometimes even $30 for thank you notes at Target can be a lot of money (it is for me). I actually have access to a free letterpress studio and I’d be willing to help Maddie out and whip up some simple thank-you notes if she’d like. Maddie– let me know if you’re interested and we can email about it. :)

    • Kate

      Things like this are why I love team practical. You are lovely.

    • Alyssa

      I MISSED THIS COMMENT!!

      You are amazing.
      And how do you get the words “access to a free letterpress studio” out without getting up and dancing around with joy?
      I would letterpress EVERYTHING. Even my grocery list.

    • http://abouttobe.wordpress.com Mary

      Aww, thanks Kate and Alyssa!

      Alyssa, I did do a little jig, but you didn’t get to see it :D For serious though, if anyone wants a little free letterpressin’ love, I’m more than willing to share the bounty. My projects are pretty much done and I need an excuse to go back there! (Just email me: msme328 at gmail dot com)

  • http://purlhappy.blogspot.com DeeDee

    We aren’t married yet, but this would have been great two weeks ago when I was stumped after finally writing the thank-yous for congratulations on the engagement. We live on the other side of the country from all of the people congratulating us, so I couldn’t really just wander around locally and thank them. I had no real idea of what to say, since it had been a couple of months. What can I say, I started with thanking them for their support and included a very remiss for not getting to it sooner. So score on that front! (but I am saving this post for after the wedding, so I will know what to do).

    Great post Alyssa!

    • Amanda

      And perhaps you could do now what we did — before the wedding, while shopping for all other wedding-related items, we purchased all the thank-you cards we expected we would need, along with accompanying postage (domestic & international), and even stamped the envelopes with our newly married name & return address (I figured that couldn’t be bad luck because 1) I don’t really believe in that sort of thing; and 2) we wouldn’t send the cards until the new married name & address were legit!). Now, one month after our wedding, all we have to do is write the card, stuff, address & send! A few little steps to make the dreaded thank-you note writing a little easier :)

      • http://purlhappy.blogspot.com DeeDee

        Neat idea! I am definitely considering this. Thanks!

  • Erin

    Guilty. As charged. But I really love this new feature. Thanks Alyssa!

  • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

    So…..I am in the same boat. We just had our one year anniversary and we have not finished our thank you notes. I know, I know. It IS totally mortifying and I have had major guilt about it all year, and I just want to be done. This week, I finished and mailed all the notes on “my side” and am now starting on the notes on “his side.” His all need to be in French though, so they will be harder for me. It stinks because I am so thankful to all these people, but have let my perfectionism at how to exactly express my gratitude (and perhaps laziness too) get the better of me. :( So Maddie….you aren’t the only one in this situation and I wish you the best in your efforts to finish yours. And I agree with those that have said that an embarrassingly late thank you note is infinitely better than none at all, and people will be glad to receive a note of gratitude. And there is something to that idea of having more to say since more time has passed. :)

    • meg

      Why isn’t HE writing the ones to his side in French? You’re off the hook, you just need to crack the whip all weekend.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

        Yeah, I know. I have tried and he has (so far) been unmotivated to write his own, though he does read every note I have written and makes sure he knows who the person is and what they gave us before he signs his name. As far as his side goes, I asked him to translate basic phrases and variations that I used in the English ones, and he did that. (And he writes beautifully…some of his translations are total improvements on my original phrases, haha.) Now I have begin piecing together rough drafts using these phases in a shared Google doc. Then the plan is that he will edit the notes (to add a few more personal details and get rid of any of my grammatical errors). Then we will write them out together.

        The other day I sent him Mouse’s post on how to write a thank you note, and he later brought up one of her points. So I think I have almost convinced him of the need to do them? Anyhow, he and I are both procrastinators and I am hoping my effort to help on his side will also get him motivated. And if it doesn’t…? Well…I am just tired of going to family events on his side and feeling like the rudest person ever….so I will keep plugging away.

  • http://i-doux.blogspot.com Hannah

    This year I sent two wedding presents and a baby present and haven’t gotten a single thank you card. While this makes me feel sad and whiny and like people don’t love me, it ALSO makes me wonder (like Meg) if any of these presents arrived at their effing destination. Because seriously people, Target.com seems like maybe they would screw up sending an item off the registry.

    • Tiffany

      The same thing has happened to me, more than once! This summer I sent a wedding present to an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and I’ve never heard whether she even got it, even after a friendly email asking how everything was and did she get my package in the mail. I kind of feel like I got shaken down by someone I was trying to strengthen a friendship with.
      But seriously, for anyone who isn’t convinced that they need to send thank you cards: no one (me) will forget that they (I) gave you a present that you didn’t thank them (me) for. No, really. They all remember (I remember). And they’re thinking about that the next time your birthday/religious holiday of choice/anniversary comes up.

    • KD

      I had a friends wedding where we gave a check, and we never got a thank you – I finally checked to see if they cashed the check to know if they got it. I guess they (or someone did) because it went through. Then, at one of my best friends weddings I gave cash and DID get a thank you note, but it didn’t mention anything about the gift – it was just, “thank you for being there/standing up for me, helping out, etc” then of course I was worried the money maybe fell out and went missing? I had no way to know – so I finally just asked her if she got it.

      Then I got a thank you note from a cousin who I gave a check to, that said – “thank you for the generous gift – we’re going to use the money towards XYZ”

      YAY!

      It didn’t even need to be heartfelt – I guess I just like to know they got it more than anything!!

  • jlc12118

    ugh, i’m still trying to get my shower ones out three weeks before the big day… almost done, almost done… it stinks, but you have to do it…

  • Eat Broccoli

    This was the best way to start my day!
    I have a couple of wedding gifts I gave that I never got thank you notes for, and I hand delivered them! I think than you note cards ( not the picture from the wedding postcards that just say than you on them) and wedding invitations are my favorite kind of mail! Hmmmm maybe I also enjoy birthday cards too. Write them, you will feel soooo much better for it afterward. There are several website out there with various fill in the blank statements that you can use to make it less painless. Nobody actually compares their thank you card!

  • Sarah M

    I was really late sending out engagement party thank-yous last year so I bought little Christmas cards and they were able to serve double duty – Christmas and thank-you all wrapped up in one!

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      Ha! That’s a bit what we did too. The people we were sending Christmas cards too (we printed the berry picture from our wedding with a “Merry Christmas” border on it) we put their thank you card in the same envelope. Got out Christmas cards and thank you cards with one stamp!

  • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

    Oh Alyssa. I just love you more and more.

    And heck yes, quote Miss Manners. I did that this very morning!

  • abby_wan_kenobi

    I’m sympathizing. Husband did his side and I did mine… by “did” I of course mean “am doing”. He finished his in 3 weeks and I’ve been working on mine 2.5 months. Still, the pile keeps getting smaller. I usually do one family at a time so that all the Johnsons get their thank-yous around the same time.

    Can I recommend something for thank-you inspiration? http://thxthxthx.com/ Leah Dieterich writes a thank you note every day. EVERY DAY. To people, to her clothes, to the weather. Whatever. I read it daily (just like APW) and it reminds me to appreciate the little things.

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      I love Leah’s thank you notes, too! Great link.

    • Denzi

      Ooh, thank you for this link! I feel like this is a practice I want to begin.

    • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

      This is now in my google reader. thank you!

  • Emily

    Really, everyone does love getting mail, especially mail where they are being thanked for being awesome! We’re two months out and two thirds of the way through – I got an initial bunch out, and now my husband’s helping which is great! Just like everyone else has said, apologize for being so late on the cards, and then share a fun story from your past year of marriage – or even just say what you are doing these days. I’ve been telling people about my research at sea (I wrote a bunch WHILE at sea), and going berry picking this fall, anything that I think they will appreciate. Try going to someplace outside of your house to do them too, to change up your scenery. Lastly, my cards are a jumble of fun ones I found in various stores, and I like picking out cards from my piles that I think certain people will appreciate (not everyone wants a praying mantis card… but some people love them!)
    Good luck!

  • elyse

    alyssa, you are hilarious!
    and a nice reminder i should write that thank you note for the 5 months belated gift we received 2 days ago, which was returned 1 day ago. because there’s a reason i didn’t register for a breadmaker.

    and a quick tip – write thank yous for any gift that arrives before the wedding! i wasn’t sure if that was ok, but my already married friends said it was, and it was a total lifesaver.

    • Sarah

      I found a total lack of guidance on this same question … maybe I should submit a follow up to Alyssa so that we can hear some advice specific to the question of thank you notes sent before the wedding. We ended up doing some and saving some. It was nice to be able to do a few early, and it seemed to make a lot of sense for guests we knew could not attend the wedding.

      • Alyssa

        No need, I’m sure someone with access to an ettiquette book can answer this today for you!

        But I think you’re encouraged to write notes within 3 months of a gift being given. If that’s before the wedding, there you go.!

        • Sarah

          Chime in, people! I even checked out a book from the library ABOUT THANK YOU NOTES AND WEDDINGS and it didn’t answer this question. At one point, it sort of assumed that notes were written soon after receiving the gift, in part to confirm that it had been received, so that led me to think it was good to send out when possible, even if before the wedding.

          The thought in waiting is that we also want to thank people for making the trip to our wedding, and for celebrating with us. So, just thank for the gift and say that we’re looking forward to celebrating with them?

          • http://! Jennifer

            I would say it is not only *okay* to send thank you notes before the wedding for gifts received then, but that you *should* send them out before the wedding whenever feasible. Basically, for all significant gifts, wedding or no, a thank you note should be sent as soon as possible — it’s just that when one has a major life event that also involves a lot of gifts to thank for, “as soon as possible” is going to be a longer time frame than for other occasions. (And the corollary is still always better late than never.) The only actual citation I have at hand is the Emily Post website (http://www.emilypost.com/wedding-registries-gifts-and-thank-yous/167-wedding-thank-yous) which says it’s even ideal to send them within a day of receipt (no explict “even if this is before the wedding,” but I think it’s implied), though most people are not going to meet *that* ideal! But the basic gist from most books I’ve read is that there’s never a need to wait to send a thank-you note.

            (A lot of books do advise not *using* gifts before the wedding, in case the wedding is called off and they need to be returned. I think that one depends more on your level of superstitiousness.)

          • Alyssa

            I think at the end of the day, decide what’s most important to you. If you want to make sure that they know that you got and appreciate the gift, then send it now. If you want them to know how important to you they are and how glad you are they came to the wedding, send one after the wedding.
            If crazy Aunt Mildred is a stickler for ettiquette and needs a note NOW, but Aunt Joan doesn’t care and is just happy to give you a present because she loves you baby, then send accordingly.

            Make a decision, stick to it and then don’t worry about it anymore. That’s the important part!

          • Caroline

            We’re doubling up. Basically, anyone that sent us a gift over a month before the wedding we are sending a hand written note (or in some cases a nice email if they are close friends) letting them know we received it. Then we are following up after the wedding with another thank you with a photo included. So that they don’t miss out just because they are super on top of things.

        • http://jolynn.wordpress.com jolynn

          I think Miss Manners says to write the note the exact second you open the gift (even Christmas gifts) so that you have it done.

          That helps me spread out the present opening too!

    • meg

      You CAN do this, yes. I however, don’t recommend it. I think your thank you note should not just express gratitude for an object, but should also express gratitude for the role that person played in making your wedding day joyful. If they couldn’t make it, it should provide a few sentence sum up of how it went (because they want to know). Those are the notes that get kept, and TRUST me, those are the notes that are a joy to write. All you have to say before the ceremony is “Thanks for the spoons. They appear to hold liquid, which is good, since they are spoons. I’m so glad you got us spoons. I’m getting married next month! Spoons.”

      • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

        That’s it, I’m giving spoons to the next people I know who get married in the hopes of getting exactly this thank you note!

      • Pamela

        I totally get what you’re saying, Meg. I did write some thank yous before the wedding, but I made sure to say that I couldn’t wait to see the person(s) at the wedding, etc. In our case, we received some (quite substantial) checks from various family members, and it just didn’t seem right to deposit the check and then say nothing until after the wedding. Also, scrawling “thank you” on the check back with the signature didn’t seem quite right either (not that we would have done that!). So, we wrote the notes and then saw the people at the wedding and told them how happy that we were to see them, etc. It worked out well, I think (hope).

      • http://! Jennifer

        Ha, this is the second time today I have posted one answer only to have Meg post the opposite while I was typing mine out. Clearly thank-you notes are indeed one of those ripe-for-discussion areas. I think the bottom line is pretty much “yes, write thank you notes!” and the rest is just about best practices rather than hard rules.

        I do get Meg’s point here, but I also have a really hard time fathoming letting a gift that arrives in July go unacknowledged until November just because you’re waiting to be able to thank them for even more than just that gift. It’s not as if sending a note before the wedding prevents you from writing them again after the wedding, perhaps to share a photo of them dancing with you, or enclosing an extra note in with your holiday cards, etc. (Though for people who are struggling to get thank you notes out at all, I definitely see that suggesting sending two separate notes might be a poor tactic.)

      • Anna

        Yea, get the thank you out asap when you receive the gift, pre-or post- wedding.

        For me, the main purpose of the wedding thank-yous is to express gratitude for the gift, not attendance at the wedding. Of course the attendance and any other contribution is enormously appreciated and mentioned in the note, but I’m not sending thank-yous to the people who came that didn’t give me a gift. I thanked them for coming in the receiving line after the ceremony, and then I thanked them later with dinner, an open bar, and an awesome dance party. If there was someone who did help out in a big way or I especially appreciated coming who did not send a gift, I would have sent them a thank you, but none of those people existed for me.

        Get the things out as soon as you receive them because a quick thank you will be appreciated, and you’ll appreciate it too when you have that many less left to write when you get back from the honeymoon!

        • meg

          We did send thank yous to people who came and didn’t give a gift. They were young, and they contributed in the ways that they could. Sometimes plane tickets, sometimes taking pictures, sometimes hugs, sometimes cards, sometimes hauling stuff. You don’t have to do this, but I would encourage it.

          • JessicaJEM

            Agreed 100%

            Them being there is a pretty sweet gift.

      • Maddie

        The spoons thank-you is exactly the thing that leaves me paralyzed when I go to write thank you cards. I’m terrible with the “Thank you for that thing I asked you for” note.

        But alas, since Alyssa so kindly and intelligently refuted my imaginary arguments for not writing said thank you letters, I am hereby going as “No-More-Excuses Maddie” and getting these f*ckers done.

        • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

          Me too, Maddie. I am currently working on mine this afternoon! :)

      • Class of 1980

        Meg, I bet you write the best and funniest thank you notes.

        People, PLEASE write them. I have to admit that I notice it when I don’t get one. I feel two things – 1) taken for granted, 2) pissed off that I now need to verify that they received the damn thing, which is embarrassing for both of us.

        This post was great. And this line – “Let them know that you were in a cult and had to give up paper for a year to achieve your next level of consciousness.” was hilarious.

      • http://lilapuppy.blogspot.com Meghan

        We got a set of knives from a close family friend and the card read simply “Don’t use these on eachother.”

        On their thank you card we wrote simply “we have not used the lovely knives on eachother- yet.”

    • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

      you’re to send a thank-you as soon as the gift is received, but not USE the gift until after the wedding. (meaning those nice checks should not be deposited, etc)

      after the wedding, it’s always nice to re-mention it someplace- christmas cards or next time you see them- to let them know how you used their gift etc.

      • http://happysighs.blogspot.com Liz

        part of it is what meg said in the post- knowing that the gift got there ok.

        and also, i always have tons to say in a thank you. am i the only one? whether i’ve used the gift or not, i can go on about how i hope they can make it to the wedding/can’t wait to see them. how thoughtful it was to send the gift nice and early, as i’m sure the next few weeks and months will be so hectic! what we’re looking forward to about being married/the wedding. where we’re going on honeymoon. where we’re moving.

        it sounds kind of… pointless, maybe, in a thank-you-card. but people really appreciate the extra effort (versus the “thank you for ___. we will use it for ___. thanks” form letter.)

  • http://! Jennifer

    Alyssa said most of what I would have said, but a few other thoughts that will hopefully be helpful to someone (if not the letter writer, since some of these apply more to the pre-wed):

    Doing a few notes at a time rather than trying to tackle them all is far less overwhelming. One strategy for this would be to spend a night or two addressing the envelopes for all the notes you need to send (minimal brain power required!) and then stamp them, tuck the card or letter paper inside the envelope, and then grab a few when you leave the house each day. I saw a coworker knocking out a few of his wedding thank-you notes at lunch each day, then dropping them in the mailbox on his way out of the office. I partly commute by train, so I’d throw a few notes in my bag, write them during the trip, and then mail them when I arrived.

    Similarly, if you’re not married yet — write thank-you notes for gifts as they arrive. This is less helpful if your family/social circle is one where guests typically bring gifts to the wedding, but roughly half of ours were sent before the wedding, and (other than the ones that arrived within a few days of the wedding) I sent the notes out later that week (after all, there were never more than a few in any given week). Very nice not to have as many notes hanging over my head, and the givers got prompter confirmation that their gifts had arrived.

    Also, one bonus feature of thank-you notes is that (for ones written after the wedding, anyway) they give you further opportunity to communicate the choice you’ve made on your name. I’ve long been a fan of personalized correspondence cards (just flat cards with my name at the top), mostly because they’re all-purpose and mean I don’t have to worry whether I need to sign the note with my full name in order for the person to figure out which of the 100 Jennifers they know is writing. I now have a set with my full new name at the top, so it accomplishes that purpose plus informing/reminding people that I’ve changed my name. Same thing would apply if you’re not changing your name. And if personalized stationery is too pricey (though it doesn’t have to be expensive as one might think), you can accomplish much the same thing by writing out your names on the return address. See, thank you notes are an opportunity, not just an obligation!

    • http://! Jennifer

      Oh, eek, that was long. Sorry! This is what happens when you read the Ask APW post over breakfast and then have a long commute to ponder it before you get to the keyboard to comment.

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      The point about last name confirmation is really good. We had our names announced a dozen times at the wedding, but it was nice to put it out there again. We got a number of gifts that came after the wedding directed to the wrong names.

      On our thank-yous we put MyLast & HisLast in the return address. After the 100th envelope it started to sound like our brand name, like Dolce&Gabbana. Now I’m thinking of us that way – co execs of Kenobi&Professor Co. We live at the Haus of Kenobi&Professor. Kenobi&Professor appreciates your patronage, thanks for the teapot!

      • JessicaJEM

        Ok, here is a follow-up question: What do you do when you’re gifting a check and do not officially KNOW what the couple will do with their names? I would never want to assume she is taking his, so I generally write it to Jane HerLastName and John HisLastName. Then, either of them are able to cash the check and don’t have to worry about name changing or waiting for names to change or whatever.

        Bottom line, I am probably a freak and over analyzing this, which is my typical MO.

        • Katelyn

          If you don’t know, then ask. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing what they’re going to do. And even if one of them is changing their name, maybe they still want their original name anyway (like you said, for ease of use). Or ask a close friend/family member.

        • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

          Write the check as you see fit and the bank will sort out the rest. We received a few checks with just my three names on it after we got married and had already informed the bank I now had four names. They just had me sign my old and new signature on the check and there was no problem with it. Banks are smart like that.

          • meg

            Though if you don’t change your name it’s REALLY tricky. I got a check to Meg HisLast, and the bank told me no way. It wasn’t my name at all (and it wasn’t). There was some serious pleading and rule breaking that went on for that check to be cashed.

          • meg

            Oh wait! It was worse than that. It was written to Mrs. David HisLast, and my name is Ms. Meg Herlast. There was literally nothing on the “to” line that was in my name. VERY unhappy bank (and unhappy Meg, but for slightly different reasons).

          • JessicaJEM

            I’m more worried about offending the couple and making assumptions (along with everything that goes along *with* those assumptions, especially in my liberal feminist leaning social circle) than anything else.

          • http://! Jennifer

            I think when in doubt, using the pre-marriage names, whether or not those will be the post-marriage names, is safest, since even if they get on the name-changing business as soon as they have the marriage certificate in hand, they’re still likely to have a chance to get the checks deposited before that’s all taken care of. (And most likely you are writing the check before the wedding, so it’s their accurate name at the time you are writing it, if you need justification for taking a route that you worry might offend someone who is really excited and happy about a name change.) I think the recommendation often used to be to just make it out to the groom, but the implication there, that the groom isn’t changing his name, isn’t really a safe assumption, either.

            I’ve also heard that it’s better to write it out to “Name One or Name Two” rather than “and” because I guess technically that allows either of them to endorse it and cash/deposit, whereas “and” is supposed to require both signatures. But my husband’s bank totally didn’t care about him being the only one signing and depositing checks made out to both of us. We did get a few checks made out only to one of us, which we didn’t find offensive but I suppose some people might.

          • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

            Same thing happened to me with one additional issue: the check was addressed to Mr & Mrs HisFirst His Last, and we were putting it into my checking account (in the U.S.), which is under MyFirst MyLast. Luckily I was depositing a lot of checks into the machine at once and it was processed without my having to raise a fuss.

            But! When another check was addressed to HisFirst HisLast and MyFirst MyLast, I had to go back and get him to sign it and then he had to show his ID at the bank before the check was deposited.

            This is all to say . . . yes. Please ask.

          • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

            My bank cashed all those checks, but then two days before the wedding we put my now-husband on my checking account in the USA to make it our joint account (I still have my own account in Taiwan). They happily cash anything made out to “Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast”.

            Does it offend me that my name is nowhere on the gift? Yeah, kinda. But it’s the sort of thing where if I say something, I’m basically saying “your gift is offensive/isn’t good enough” bc there’s no way to politely let the giver know that what they wrote made your blood boil a little. Especially when “Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast” is technically proper old-skool etiquette. I don’t think it should be – nothing that offends people should still be an etiquette rule. Unfortunately I can’t tell the world that.

            So of course I said nothing and we wrote the thank you notes with my name very clearly written out along with his. Maybe they’ll get the message, but I’m not banking on it.

            Argh. My name isn’t “Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast”. Or as he puts it, “it would be really kind of cool to marry someone with the exact same name as you. Clearly that’s what these folks thought we did.”) The fact that I know a couple who did that – well, one was a Gene and the other a Jean, but otherwise same full name including surname – makes it rather funny.

        • abby_wan_kenobi

          We got checks to Mr. and Mrs. HisName and HE was able to deposit them no prob. I don’t think I would have been able to since nothing there was my name.

          You should be safe using old names, or if you’re really worried just make the check out to one of them with a name you know is good. Trust me, it’s easier if one person can take it to the bank with confidence and they won’t think the gift is only for one of them.

        • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

          We received checks written out to Trisha MaidenName & Anthony LastName. Whoover wasn’t depositing it would sign it, and the other never had any problems with depositing at either of our banks.

          • Albany Anon.

            As for checks you can cash a check if it is in your maiden name by signing old signature and new as a previous poster said. However if it is in a “married” name and you never changed your name they are not supposed to cash it.

            If a check is written to two people with an “and” it is not supposed to be cashed without both people present, but it can be deposited in a JOINT account (even with only one signature). If it says “or” only one person has to sign it and it can be cashed or deposited. Banks can make exceptions to these rules, but if the check is disputed in the future it is on their hands so it depends who you get. This information is from my husband who coincedently works at a bank.

            Personally I would write a check in maiden names, it is accurate at the time you wrote it and it is less hassle especially since it generally takes a little while to officially change your name. You can always address the card to Mr. and Mrs. if you know they would be excited to show off the new name so to speak.

      • Clare

        We’re both changing our name to something new (both taking my surname and adding half of his surname), and we got a cheque made out to Mr & Mrs NewName… I’m waiting to see how the bank copes with that. I’m hoping some begging and pleading will sort it out, given that the name bears some relation to our existing names, and we already have a joint account.

        • meg

          With that, you’re going to have to formally change your names first. Been there. Thank the check writer and let them know you can’t cash it yet…. that’s your best bet if pleading doesn’t work.

  • http://www.wedding-for-two.com Ellie

    Write the g*ddamn notes! We went to a wedding in the spring (that we had to take a day off work and drive to) to which we brought a nice gift and still have not received a note. I finally asked the bride’s mom to make sure that they got the gift. I haven’t heard. I hope they received it. Our wedding was last week and we’re churning out the thank-you notes right now. Dealing with administrative stuff like changing your name, cleaning up from the wedding, getting your dress preserved – all of that stuff is so much less important! Write the effing notes!
    Also, I made thank-you notes. I have made all of our thank you notes for this entire process, different ones every time. Go to Staples and buy 100 sheets of cardstock, a box of invitation envelopes, and a paper trimmer. Go to Michaels and buy an ink pad in your wedding colors and a stamp that says “thank you”. Go home, trim the paper in half widthwise and fold each half in half. Add stamp, open, write note, put in invitation envelope, and mail. It’s not DIY, it’s triage. This will cost you about $15.

    Let me put it another way: the people who you have not written a note to are insulted. They are annoyed and think less of you for not writing a note. Your wedding is not the only wedding they have been to and everybody else wrote them a note. You stand out as the ungrateful jerk who didn’t write them a note. Yes, this is hard to hear. But seriously, just write the notes.

    • Kate

      Wow. I agree that thank you notes should ABSOLUTELY be written. And I agree that it’s rude not to sent them. But I also think it’s a little harsh to tell people that their friends and family, who you do not know, are insulted, and think less of them. What the hell?

      Not EVERYONE will be insulted. Not everyone REQUIRES hard copy evidence. And certainly not everyone will think less of you if you don’t churn out your notes in X amount of time. None of which is to say that people shouldn’t send them.

      But please, lets stay supportive and positive and avoid judging each other.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      “It’s not DIY, it’s triage.”

      Hahaha . . .

  • http://carmarblogs.blogspot.com CarMar

    I seriously dreaded writing our thank you notes, but then ended up loving it! It was such a great way to relive the love we felt on our wedding day. Even if I didn’t have anything meaningful to say about the spatulas we recieved from them, I could sincerely write how incredibly wonderful the day was and thank them for being a part of it. Also, my husband and I instigated a rule where if we used a particular gift (and almost any time we cooked or ate at home, we did) we had to write to thank that person before we went to bed. It made it easier to think of things to say, and we the link between our gratefulness and our note was closer in time.

    • Shelly

      I love that idea! Writing thank you’s has helped me practice gratitude, which always seems to improve my mood, too.

  • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

    3 more ideas for ye who lack time/ money/ motivation to write thank you cards:

    -Two birds with 1 stone: Create a ridiculous combination holiday/ thank you card. (Outside: Photo card of you guys protesting Santa, with a picket sign that says “Equal rights for the naughty & nice!”. Inside: “Unlike Santa, you’re generous to one and all. Thanks so much for the wedding gift! Oh while we’re at it, happy holidays!”) Or you know, somethin’ like that.

    -Who says e-mail is impersonal?: Send out a long e-mail that lists all of your guests names, why they rule, why you liked their gift, why you were happy they attended your wedding, and why you still like them even after observing their dance moves at the reception. It might be fun for people to see what you’ve written about other guests, especially if you’re a good writer! For great grandma and others who don’t use the internet, print out this e-mail and send it in a nice fancy card.

    -Creative media-loving folks who use a Mac: Make a fun video using the iMovie app. All you need are photos (from the wedding, or of you holding up thank you signs, or corny shots of you gleefully using the wedding gifts), and a song in the background. (I did this to make that skydiving/ cold feet video in this APW post: http://apracticalwedding.com/2010/07/wedding-undergraduate-brave-bride-cold-feet/). Then post the video on YouTube or on your blog. E-mail or call people to give them the link. This is what I’m doing as my “thank you” to guests. Gotta get cracking at this project next week, actually.

    …And that’s all I got. Good luck!

    • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

      Oh and I’m putting the link to my little movie inside actual thank you cards for each person. Because, you know, I’m a masochist who likes going overboard and wearing down every bone in my body!

    • http://! Jennifer

      Although I personally am of the Wedding Gift = Handwritten Personal Note school, I do try to accept that there are other appropriate ways of showing gratitude (or at least not to condemn other people for not living up to the standards I hold for myself). But I am having a really hard time wrapping my head around that second suggestion – maybe I am misinterpreting it? Because it sort of sounds like sending out a public list of who gave what, which I find pretty appalling, so I hope I am misinterpreting! Even just the “why we are glad you came to the wedding” seems way to likely to lead to hurt or competitve feelings if everyone is seeing what you wrote to everyone else.

      • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

        Good point, Jennifer. Yeah, I could definitely see how being very specific about what gift was given might be an issue. I mean, I wouldn’t suggest saying “Thanks for the $100 check!”. But I think you could express an equal amount of gratitude to everyone without naming the specific gift. Idea #2 on my list really only works for those who are excellent writers – funny, heartfelt, super tactful, and sensitive to what kinds of words their loved ones would appreciate most.

        And the idea of people being appalled or jealous or competitive about how what other people’s “thank you” looks like compared to their own…well…really??? C’mon people. And yet…you’re right that people’s issues might show their head in such a situation.

  • Shelly

    Ok, so semi-related question about thank-yous. My husband’s family threw me a bridal shower 2 weeks before the wedding. I was only able to mail out 3 thank you notes – to the aunts who threw the shower – before the wedding madness completely overtook my life (along with moving to a new state the week of the wedding, but enough excuses).

    Our wedding was 3 weeks ago, and everyone at the shower (who I have not sent a proper thank-you) has now also sent us a wedding present. Here’s my question: 2 thank yous? 1 combined thank you? 1 thank you from me for the shower, + 1 from my husband for the wedding present? I don’t want to seem lazy or unappreciative, but I genuinely don’t know what would be appropriate or proper.

    • meg

      TWO thank you notes. I sent some of my shower thank yous after the wedding too. In my case I had shower thank you cards that matched my shower invites (thanks Printable Press :), and I had Gocoed extra cards from my wedding invite pattern (I know, how indie), so the notes looked totally different. That’s unnecessary. Two thank you notes is needed, however.

      • Alyssa

        See, I’m coming from a place with family and in-law’s where the dismay at the waste of like 94 cents spent on paper and an extra stamp will override the delight in having two thank you notes. (NOT KIDDING.)

        Sidenote – matching thank you notes and Gocco’ed cards? As a paper slut, I envy and admire you.

        • Shelly

          Ha! Alyssa, that’s exactly the kind of in-laws I have. You can’t always win!

    • http://! Jennifer

      I suppose, most strictly/traditionally speaking, you would need to send 2 notes, since the shower present was technically a gift to the bride and the wedding present a gift to the couple (and, in some cases, the shower present technically a gift from, say, your cousin, while the wedding present was technically a gift from your cousin and her husband). But honestly, I have a hard time imagining anyone minding or even really noticing getting a 2-in-1 thank you note at all, and especially when the shower was so close to the wedding. I’d just make sure to thank for coming to both events (unless they didn’t), not just the tangible gifts — i.e. “I was so grateful to have time to talk with you at the shower, Cousin, and Husband and I had a blast dancing with you at the wedding – thank you for taking part in the celebrations!” or something.

      • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

        In the few weeks before we got married, I had 2 bridal showers and moved (thanks to the help of lots of friends), so I did thank yous for all of those events. I wrote a separate thank you for each thing because I felt like each one deserved its own, but I did mail some of the notes together in one envelope. Perhaps not exactly proper, but it saved $1 each time I did that because international postage (and even non-international postage) adds up…

    • Alyssa

      I think it can be combined, I mean the shower was only two weeks before your wedding and anyone who expects a thank you note for their juicer in that time span needs to calm it down. Besides, it saves paper.

      BUT, that means your thank you not should be twice as long; i.e., include all the information you would have in two spearate notes. No thank “thank for the juicer AND the waffle maker. I love them both and will think of you every time I have breakfast.”

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      My shower was two days before the wedding. And the people who brought a gift to the shower, that was their wedding gift to us. So I just did one thank you note to them. But my situation isn’t the norm.

  • Anna

    If you’re worried about cost (or trees), send them via e-mail or a fancy online thing that you may have to pay a little for.

    My partner and I have done most of our wedding stuff via the internets and it’s worked really well for us.

    • meg

      Um. I’m going to object to this (though you can do what you will, obviously). You can’t send thank you notes by email. Nope. Unless they sent you a virtual gift. Then it’s ok. Besides, the servers needed for the interwebs are TERRIBLE for the environment, but that’s a whole other discussion.

    • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

      While e-mail is not the route I’m going with my thank you’s, I don’t think it’s inappropriate.

      Not that this is scientific evidence or anything, but my friend ran a poll on Facebook about thank you card etiquette – some people just want to know that their gift was received, but could care less about a thank you card, while people of certain cultures don’t even do the thank you card thing. (Or the gift registry thing.) And, of course, there are those who do like pretty cards that come in the mail.

      So given the various expectations of your guests, my advice to Maddie (aside from the 3 “card” ideas I made earlier), is to say thank you in a way that feels genuine.

      Maddie, I’m not sure if you feel guilty about not sending thank you’s period, or if you feel guilty about not sending pretty cards to each person with an individualized message. Which one is it? Because as I always remind myself, there’s true guilt (when you’ve done something that isn’t in line with what you value), and false guilt (when you’re really just pissed that people/ the world/ your mom/ your guests have expectations of you that you feel you shouldn’t have to live up to).

      If the thank you card issue is something that bugs you enough to move you to write to APW, it tells me that it is in your nature to show gratitude with kind gestures. But maybe a traditional card is not the gesture that suits you best. Especially if you’ve been putting it off. Think outside the box. No one will take you off their friends list because of how unusual or late the thank you is.

      • meg

        I think polling people *on facebook* about how they feel about virtual cards is going to get a biased reading ;) Here is the thing, they gave you an actual object. You owe them an actual object in return. One they can keep forever (and some of us do, when they are particularly thoughtful thank yous).

        I’ll make one major exception. If your wedding was so green that you only received second-hand items as gifts, I think you get a pass. If, however, you had new items manufactured for you, then you need to send notes. New ones. That you manufactured in your own hand writing for them. On recycled paper, natch. I’m holding firm on that. Thank you notes are not about you, and they are not about what makes you feel good, or what feels right to you. They are about the people you are thanking, and that’s pretty inflexible.

        I’m not even going to discuss how Grannies feel about email thank you notes. But I will say, totally personally, as a super web-savvy blogger, for goodness sakes, I would be horrified if I got an email thank you note. I would feel like my gift of an object had been summarily dismissed as not worthy of a thank you I could keep forever. Sniff.

        As always, you don’t have to listen to me when I offer a personal opinion. But, I think you *should* of course ;)

        PS You can totally send a mass email thank you to everyone that came to your wedding telling them how glad you are they came, and how important it was to you. That does not let you off the hook for paper thank you notes for non-virtual gifts, however.

        • Kristen

          I once got a thank you via IM. I was totally mortified. I sent you a $75 toaster and all you can do is IM me?!?!?!

          • meg

            WHAT? No. We don’t do thank you phone calls eaither. And phones have been around for a long time.

          • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

            Hold on a second…it’s not like I’d send a thank you text to make a point, teach anyone a lesson, or use it as my means of sending a big middle finger up to the WIC or anything. No, no, no. Just saying I wouldn’t mind getting one and that it might move me to laugh and tell my husband about it.

            But I don’t think failing to send a formal note is “breaking decades of thoughtful tradition” as you say. Umm, aside from weddings, I NEVER get thank you notes. Not after birthday celebrations, or dinner parties, or “just because”. Never. I don’t know if it’s my Filipino culture or what, but I just don’t see it much.

            So in my world, thank you notes are almost exclusively related to wedding etiquette. So yeah, you bet I’m sending cards. But still. No shame in not sending a card. Shame in not showing gratitude in some way throughout your relationship with the person, YES, but the card thing…eh. Depends. Not trying to convert you here, just saying.

          • http://diaryofagolddigger.blogspot.com/ The gold digger

            My friend’s father died last spring. One of his very good college friends – a groomsman in his wedding – sent an IM. “Damn,” it said. That was the condolence note. The only one.

            My friend has not spoken to the groomsman since.

            IM is not appropriate.

        • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

          Ha! Yes, facebook poll results ARE biased. You got me on that. But I’m telling you, there ARE people who could care less about the card! They gave a gift because they want to you have it. And maybe, just maybe, they don’t even expect a thank you in return because they’re just awesome like that. (This does not include those who mailed you a gift – they need to know you got it, of course.)

          Like you, Meg, I feel that the point of a card is for your guests to FEEL YOUR LOVE. That’s awesome and that’s my goal with the thank you cards and thank you video I’m making. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be the #1 goal for all brides. Why can’t a simple “thanks” (via a call or e-mail) be good enough? Call me crazy, but I’d be fine with a thank you text. Seriously. (I know your mouth just dropped! Ha.)

          • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

            And just to be clear:

            Thank you text: Crazy, ballsy, kinda funny. But break-up text? NOT cool. ;)

          • Anna

            I think that if you take the time to find a design you like for an e-mail thank-you (or design something yourself) and you still write something really sweet and personal then the feeling of gratitude is still there.
            I don’t really understand making an exception for “super green” weddings. If a wedding isn’t super green – maybe an e-mailed thank-you card is one step people can take to reduce their ecological footprint. I don’t think that privilege should only belong to those who already are uber-environmentally friendly.

          • margiemive

            But here’s the thing – you can’t give people a free pass to write thank you texts (my stomach turns at the very thought) because it is SO presumptuous to think that your guests would be okay with it just because there exist people out there who would be accepting of it.

            Etiquette is about putting your guests first. Why on earth would you risk insulting someone who bought you a wedding gift by sending them a thank you email? Why would you risk hurting someone’s feelings like that – and facebook poll be damned, it does hurt enough people’s feelings that everyone needs to be writing handwritten notes. Full stop.

            I have been on the end of a thank you email – even worse, it was a “oh by the way” part of an email about their wedding and years later it totally makes me think less of the person who sent it. So why would you risk that?

          • meg

            Look, y’all, the web is as bad for the envoirment as paper. Arguably worse, so that’s no excuse. I don’t care if you like thank you texts. I don’t care if you like thank you calls. This is not about you, and it’s a no go. YOU NEED TO SEND PAPER THANK YOU NOTES, the end.

            As always, you can disagree with me, but I’m totally inflexable on this, and so is your Aunt Marge (and your best girlfriend who told you it was fine, but really wants a note.)

          • http://bravebride.blogspot.com/ Kim NYC

            Margiemive, I hear you. And a thank you text would most definitely hurt many people’s feelings, and for that reason, I personally wouldn’t do it.

            But for some strange reason (call me twisted), whenever I’ve typed “thank you text” in the comments here I start snickering. Just the crazy idea of it makes me laugh…and it makes me want to put it in people’s faces just to see their mouths drop…just like how people’s mouths drop when they learn that there are no favors or alcohol at a wedding. (I don’t think as many mouths drop anymore about no favors here on APW or similar sites, but they still do outside of this community. And no mouths are dropping at the dry weddings of *some* Christian circles, either, which just goes to show how subjective etiquette and hospitality are.) I guess I just like playing devil’s advocate when it comes to wedding norms.

            So no disrespect to you or anyone else whose feelings have been hurt by a thank you email or lack of card. It’s understandable.

          • meg

            There is a HUGE difference, lady. Favors are a made up wedding industry thing. You don’t need booze at your wedding, that’s also a made up wedding industry thing.

            Not sending thank you notes? Sending a thank you text? That makes you ungrateful, means your breaking decades of thoughtful tradition, and it means you’re disrespecting people. It’s not hilarious. It’s not cute. I means you are putting your own whims in front of other people’s feelings. Examining traditions is fine, breaking traditions in a way that is purposely hurtful is not. People were there for you. They spent money that they may not have really had to spend as a way to honor an important moment in your life. If you can’t return that with a thoughtful few sentences on paper, showing your respect and gratitude, you should return the gift. Seriously. Breaking tradition just to break tradition is not cool.

            Yes, the words “thank you text” are funny. But the action is harmful.

          • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

            I WOULD NEVER EVER DO THIS BUT

            I can’t stop giggling over the thought of this:

            “Thx 4 ur gift, its so neat n just wot i wnted. luv u!!! kthxbai!”

            Sorry. I know. Not funny. But perversely…funny. As long as you’re laughing in an “I wouldn’t do that” way.

            Also.

            “Thank you lolcat”

            Nothin’ says lovin’ like taking the time to write “TANKS FOR YOR PREZNT” in a sans serif font on a picture of a cat.

            :)

            *kidding*

          • Ann

            I’m confused on this one. I think you should default to paper, handwritten thank you notes, as that’s the social standard. It’s safe. You can expect that basically none of your guests will be offended by a handwritten note.

            But what about for people who think that’s ridiculous/antiquated/unnecessary? Or worse, what about people for whom receiving such a note would make them feel really, really awkward? I know I have some friends in the latter category, and I don’t really want to make them feel bad because paper notes are The Rule.

            Remember, I said I thought that paper notes should be the default.

          • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

            @channamasala, your reply was hilarious. And, yes, in the “Oh, God, what a trainwreck” kind of way, not in the “I should totally do this” kind of way.

            Story time:
            I was out at a bar with some friends a couple weeks ago, many of whom attended my wedding. One in particular, who is a single bachelor, asked me kind of awkwardly if I received the gift he sent. I did – about a month ago. I got married in September and I’m still working on my thank yous – since I’ve waited this long, I have a trip planned in November and intend to knock them out on the solo plane ride (did this for my shower, and it worked out really well (oh and yes Hubs is helping) – and while I know 2 1/2 months is a decent turnaround for wedding thank-yous, in the meantime, Bachelor Friend was like, “Dude, did my gift arrive? Is she going to acknowledge it?” Because really, truly, I don’t think he gives a rat’s @ss about a handwritten note. He’s getting one, of course, because that’s what I’m going to do. However, I think that most people (not EVERYONE – i.e., not Grandma or Aunt Marge … or Meg!) really just want a sincere acknowledgment more than anything else.

            Having said that, handwritten notes are a good default, for the reasons Meg stated. Though, my handwriting is atrocious, and writing more only makes it worse, not better. I feel bad for the card recipients that have the misfortune of being at the bottom of my pile. :)

            To the asker, if this hasn’t been said, lessen your shame by doing them as Christmas cards and include a recent couply photo. The traditionalists will LOVE it.

        • Kate

          OK Meg, I’m usually with you, but this is getting crazy knee-jerk traditional without taking into account people’s individual realities, and that seems to be to NOT be what APW is trying to be about.

          I am sending handwritten cards to all my friends and family because I like doing it, and I agree that even when people aren’t expecting one, it makes them feel good.

          Is the facebook poll biased? Yes. Sheould then person send an e-mail thank you to great aunt mildred because facebook and her peers told her it was fine? No. She should think about what great aunt Mildred wants.

          But for those people who would seriously 100% not mind you sending an e-mail? What on earth kind of “etiquette” is it to ignore their wishes as well?

          Also, I think “Oweing” an actual object is really dicey territory. A gift is a gift. It is not a transaction. I would like to know that any gift of mine is appreciated, but I would argue that having the expectation that a gift you give requires some sort of reciprocity is no longer completely a “gift”. Just like I would argue that expecting wedding presents because you fed people a dinner and invited them is messed up.

          But mostly, I have a problem with this line:

          “They are about the people you are thanking, and that’s pretty inflexible.”

          I think that’s the most flexible thing of all. We come from HUGELY diverse communities, both as the collected brides and wives on this site with all of our different cultures, and sometimes even within a single wedding. We had tattooed hippies and extremely conservative grandmothers at my wedding. My community is nothing if not flexible and diverse. As such, if I knew that someone in my community had a strong aversion to STUFF, and was traveling around the country out of a backpack and had no mailing address – I would send her an e-mail.

          Or with my local friends, if I didn’t like sending notes as much as I do, I might go for a walk with them in the farmers market, buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers, present it to them with a flourish, and then look them sincerely in the eyes and thank them for the gift they gave us for the wedding and tell them a funny story about us using it, and then crush their ribs in a crazy hug of gratefulness.

          We are all different. And gratitude is too big to contain in one socially proscribed form of expression.

          • meg

            Y’all read me because I have opinions, and I’m going to keep having them. While I’m all for tolerance, APW has never been an anything goes kind of site. And one of the really firm tenants here is that it’s NOT all about you, and this is what this comes down to for me. You need to respect people, and sometimes that means playing by their rules, even when you think they are silly.

            So if you have someone in your life who you 110% know wants a thank you email, do it. But be wary. If I was asked if I wanted a thank you email, I’d say it was fine, because I would feel like I couldn’t say anything else. But for everyone else, write it one paper.

            I stand firm on some things, much as you guys hate it. (Ok, some of you love it, and I love you, smooch). And I’m standing firm on this one. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have things that I was like, “nope, no way” about. You gotta do the right thing. And for me, thank you texts are not the right thing, ever. Unless your gift was also a text.

          • Denzi

            Ahhh, THANK YOU, Kate. You said exactly what I wanted to this morning, but in a far more tactful way! (I was in a really combative mood this morning. It is probably a good thing I went to lunch instead of commenting!) I think the one addendum that I want to give to your point about flexibility is to err on the side of formal etiquette. If there is nothing else that this discussion has highlighted, it has certainly pointed out that people who are far less “traditional” (whatever that means) about many other things may have more traditional expectations about thank yous. And, as we know, weddings heighten emotions and come with cultural baggage for EVERYONE, not just the bride and groom. So people whom you might think would be okay with a phone call or a “hey, can we take you out to dinner to thank you?” etc. might not be. So balance your sense of how well you know someone and what they normally would like best in terms of expressions of gratitude with the knowledge that weddings f*ck with people’s expectations.

            That said: Sharon sent me an all caps fake telegram thank you note that covered my throwing her bridal shower, everything I did as MOH, and my gift. And I LOVED it. Because fake telegrams have been an in-joke with us since high school, and all I needed was the acknowledgement that she knew I loved her and worked hard to try to be there for her because of it. (Failed a lot. But tried.) So I was actually super-glad that she sent me a (snail mail) super-informal, 3-in-1 thank you note, because I knew she was grateful and loved me, and I felt loved that she knew I wouldn’t want her to do the work to write three separate thank you notes when she had 200 other thank you notes, starting a marriage, and moving across the d*mn country to worry about. (Plus, we write letters back and forth all the time anyway, so I knew I was going to get more mail from her as soon as I sent her a letter back. *g*)

            So, to be clear, I am NOT advocating that everyone go out and send fake telegrams and 2-in-1 shower/wedding present thank yous. In fact, I am suggesting you err two or three notches on the side of caution. And that anyone that you’re not 100% positive would REALLY appreciate an alternative thank you should get a formal, handwritten note. But I do think, with all our diverse lives and communities, there is room for exceptions to the hard-and-fast handwritten note rule.

          • http://bride-sans-tulle.blogspot.com Sharon

            What Denzi is too nice to say is that I’m so verbose that most of my thank-you notes to those closest to me turned into long letters. But for everyone else, I busted out the formal stationery.

        • Liz A

          I just got a thank you via facebook. It was for a wedding that we drove 5 hours each way to, spent 2 nights in a hotel, and gave a pretty darn generous gift. And honestly, it kind of stung.

          Also, I’m with the send the thank you so your friends/family know you received the gift. We didn’t get a thank you for over a year for a gift and we had no idea whether the gift got from the reception to their home. It was awkward to ask, and they’re good friends.

          So for me, avoiding making my friends and family feel awkward is enough of a reason to write the darn things.

          • Chris

            Sorry for replying to this threat so much later than everyone else, but I know that for our wedding we used paperless post invitations for all the guests except for the ones that were not computer savvy. When it came time to send thank you notes, we just followed the same guidelines (we didn’t have the addresses for most of the guests anyway at that point). We made the paperless post thank you’s very specific and personal, and I think for most of the recipients (people that work in creative and computer industries who gave us checks or contributed to an online honeymoon fund) that it was ok. Of course, older relatives who had trouble navigating the world wide interwebs got printed thank you cards in the mail.)

          • Chris

            whoops, I meant “thread” not “threat”

  • Tricia

    Alright, I’ll throw this one out there. Please don’t crucify me. I have one thank you note still unwritten (from a little less than two months ago) because I have no idea what to say. I’m taking suggestions. It is for a check (no bigs, there were a few of those). But what makes it awkward is it is from the only person who gave us a gift who we did not invite to the wedding. All the other thank you notes included so glad you could make it or sorry you couldn’t make it. But what do you say when the truth is “Yeah we know you would have liked to come but we didn’t invite you. Thanks for the gift.” heh. Awkward.

    • http://! Jennifer

      We had several gifts from people we didn’t invite (mostly co-workers or my parents’ church friends from my hometown where none of us live). I didn’t find it awkward at all, maybe because there was more than just one? I just put something to the effect of “Husband and I were so happy to hear from you – it was so nice of you to think of us! Thank you for your good wishes and [insert gift-specific thank you phrasing here].”

      • Alyssa

        And tell them how you’ll spend the gift money. Mentioning the amount is optional.

        • Morgan

          “We thank you for your generous gift – we’re so grateful for your generosity and we look forwards to using it towards furnishing our new home.” And then some sort of “we hope to see you next time we’re in your province/state/at a later date.” Just write bigger, to make up for the fact that you don’t have a wedding memory of them to mention.

          • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

            What if the money went toward the credit card debt you racked up to pay for the wedding? Ours did, and we got a sizeable chunk paid off (and what’s left is manageable and will be gone in a year – win).

            I’m going with, “Thank you for the generous gift and your kind thoughts. Your gift will go toward helping build our new life together.”

    • abby_wan_kenobi

      I got a few of these too, mostly from coworkers. I went with “Thanks so much for the XX. We really appreciate your thoughts and generosity as we start our lives together. XX is great for YY reasons. Hope to have you over soon to enjoy it with us.”

      Also, for cash gifts we got specific about what we used it for – gifts over $100 we used for our honeymoon, gifts under $100 went towards our new bigass tv. People were invited over to watch football and bask in it’s gloriousness.

    • Emily

      Why not just thank them for supporting your marriage. No need to mention the actual wedding. Just say you appreciate the gift and it will help you start your life together.

    • meg

      Oh, you owe them an EXTRA nice thank you. Because they did something just to be nice, not because they had to. Tell them how touched you are, and how grateful you are that they thought of you. Tell them that the money is very appreciated and you are using it for X or saving it for X. Tell them you should get together soon, and/or next time you see them you can’t wait to tell them about the wedding. Tell them it was wonderful, and you’re so happy to be married. They know they didn’t come, you don’t have to gloss it over! They are just happy for you, and totally want to hear about the wedding (trust me, we give wedding gifts when we were not invited to the wedding all the time).

      • christine

        I definitely agree with Meg on this one. I had a friend who was a good friend in college but with whom I had not kept in touch much since. Especially considering I knew she was having a small wedding, I was not at all surprised to not be invited to her wedding. But when I ended up being in her city three months before the wedding, we still made plans to hang out. I almost didn’t even bring up the wedding, thinking it might be awkward to acknowledge it, considering both of us knew I wasn’t invited. I eventually did, and she was very excited to talk about it and I was excited to hear about it. I sent her a gift not because I was invited to the wedding, but because I was so excited for her future. I also knew her fiancee from college and I think it’s great that they got married and I wanted to show support for that. I understand not being invited to the wedding, and I hope that she doesn’t feel anything but happiness and well-wishes from my gift (the wedding was last weekend, so the verdict is out on whether I receive a TY note). Definitely send a thank you note to those people! My guess if if they sent a gift, they are genuinely rooting for you and would love to hear from you.

        (I also agree with Meg’s point from the original post … the number one reason I appreciate Thank You notes is to know that people have received my gift! I’m pretty much paranoid otherwise.)

    • ddayporter

      uhh yeah. feel you on this. without trying to explain too much family drama, none of my dad’s family was invited to our wedding. he is no longer speaking to any of his 3 sisters; I still feel affection toward one of them, the other 2 not so much. one of the “other 2″ sent us a card with a check in it. due to the reasons my dad’s family is so split, I felt ick about it and didn’t even want to cash the check, but I don’t dislike her enough to insult her or sever ties completely so I just hated the whole situation. In the end we decided to cash the check, and we sent her a note thanking her for thinking of us, and letting her know it was an appreciated contribution to our new life together blah blah blah. I didn’t want to be insincere so it wasn’t overly warm, but it was a genuine thank you. I agree with Emily that you don’t have to mention the actual wedding.

  • Alice

    I’m still in the planning stages, but I know from previous graduations, confirmations, birthday parties that I will procrastinate on my Thank You notes, and send them just late enough that they are clearly late. I always delay because I want it to be meaningful and I don’t like writing 50 notes that all say the same thing. Luckily, Souris Marriage wrote a great post on what to write in a proper Thank You note: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_ZvV5XLCD7MQ/TLeZ5C2GGmI/AAAAAAAAEuE/q5RDpI23MHw/s1600/gratitude.jpg. Check it out.

  • Darcy

    My sister-in-law tells a hilarious story of writing all the thank you cards 6 months after the wedding and then handing them over to her husband to mail. She discovered them in the trunk of his car a year later-it totally slipped his mind.

    So the moral of the story is to do them together, walk to the post office to send them off together and then go out and celebrate! For us the thank you cards are the very last thing on our wedding to do list and I can’t wait to get that monkey off our backs!

  • brittney

    Write them! There is no excuse not to. You’re carrying around this guilt that will be gone once you write them. Think of how you can reconnect to your wedding day and the person you’re thanking. For the most part, I’m sure you were truly grateful that the person came to your wedding and you want to thank them for that and the gift they gave you. Stop making excuses and write the thank you notes. You’ll feel a lot better.

  • http://www.bearandhoney.net jules

    Our wedding was almost two weeks ago and I am going to bust my butt to get all of them done this weekend. I was good about sending out notes for all the gifts that arrived before the wedding, but need to catch up on the ones sent since and the once we received at the wedding. I hate the idea of letting them sit too long.

    Great post, thank you!

  • Jen M

    So I have to say I was kinda bummed when I didn’t get a thank you from a friend of mine who got married in early March- to be fair she was prego and had the baby last month- and then it showed up in the mail last night (how timely for my commenting habit) and I was so damn excited and happy. It was just a quick two lines but all damn night I kept telling the BF, “isn’t this just the cutest thank you note?” (it really was an adorable little collage of wedding photos) I am also in the camp of persons giddy over legitimate mail. The PennySaver just doesn’t cut it, I know that everyone gets those. And they honestly don’t even have to be cute. Just those few lines of your handwriting are as thoughful and meaningful as any sort of fancy schmancy letterpress hoopla (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Moral of my rambling comment (can you tell I’m bored at work?) is: SEND THEM!

  • amanda

    Yeahh, I think Thank you notes are one of the thinks that should be done. Not because you have to, though you kind of have to. But because it is , like commenters have pointed out, super nice to receive mail this days, and to acknowledge all the love / support received. Just coming your way on you W day shows a lot, and it is always nice to know it is appreciated.
    We made our thank yous together, on colored cardboard from the papershop (stuff for kids en masse) and printed a little photo of us with a blackboard saying thank you to make it funny.
    You can personalize it in lots of ways , but if you are not the crafty kind, like it has been said, just write a personal note on what it meant for you that people came / personalize it a bit that they are invited for rice at new home (e.g. to the one who gave you a rice boiler for instance) and just send it.
    We worked together and hubby and I finished in 4 days.
    But I do love sending mail !

  • Emily

    I have flown half-way across the country for three weddings all over a year ago that I have not received thank you notes for. Personally I am slightly miffed about that (One of the brides even told me about writing other thank you notes). You are carrying around guilt for not writing them, and your guests will feel better when they get one. I know I would :)

    • http://www.betterinrealife.com Lauren

      I’m totally pissed off for you right now!! You took energy, showed love and appreciation and probably were the BEST GUEST EVER and you should receive a little hand written somethin’ somethin’. One of the weddings I’ve gone too I kept hounding the groom to see if they’d opened my present yet. It was an ORANGE COLORED SMOKER and I was pretty stoked about it. They didn’t open the gifts for a few months because of moving, etc, and when I finally got my thank you card I did a little happy dance. Cuz, smoker?! booya!

  • Emilie

    It’s never too late to say thank you! If you are both really not looking forward to spending time writing the notes, set yourself a timer, work for that amount of time, and then do something else. Make a thank you note date night–tackle a certain amount of notes, and then do something you enjoy as a couple (even if it’s as simple as watching tv in your pajamas while eating Chinese take-out). Even if your guests receive their thank-yous a year later, they will still remember that you thought to say thank you (if you don’t thank them, chances are, they’ll remember that as well). Happy writing, and I hope you and your husband actually end up enjoying the process.

  • Kristen

    I am kind of crazy about thank you notes. Anyone who sent a gift before the wedding got a note within a week (and seriously I think that every person who ever met my mother-in-law ever in her life sent us a gift, so this was no easy task) and then every wedding-related note went out within three months or so. Which meant that there was a week of serious letter-writing mojo going on in our apartment. I *also* want to stress that I think it’s important to write something vaguely personal on each note. When my cousin got married last year she wrote “thank you so much for your generous gift. it was very kind of you” on Every. Single. Note. (And yes, my mom and sis-in-law and I compared – is that totally bitchy?) I like writing notes because it makes me happy to appreciate people and I like receiving them so I know that the person got the gift, or else I wonder if they think I’m the rude one who didn’t send them anything! My husband and I call it the happy tax – it’s just something you’ve got to do!

    • ddayporter

      I don’t know if it’s bitchy but if I got a thank you note that was that impersonal I would probably ask others if they’d received the same thing! I just don’t think there’s any point in writing a thank you note if it’s not going to make them feel like you’re really thanking THEM personally. “well, at least we know the gift arrived,” is not the reaction I would ever want a recipient of my thank you notes to have!

  • http://gfpumpkins.wordpress.com gfpumpkins

    Like other people have said. I love getting mail. Especially thank you cards. Even from weddings I went to well over a year ago.
    I’ve had four cousins get married in the past 5 years. All around my age. And I’ve had to travel quite a bit to get to all of them. Two sent me thank you cards. Two did not. And those last two? It kind of hurts to not have it acknowledged that I spent the time and money to come out and celebrate with them. Even now, two years after the last one, I would still welcome a thank you card.

  • Kate

    Just wanted to say… I received a thank you a year late, and I was totally appreciative. I was genuinely concerned that Macy’s had taken my money and not sent the gift.

  • meg

    You guys? I was kind of sad when Thank You note writing was done. Because I loved it. I wrote epic notes of gratitude, telling them about how much it meant to me to dance with them at my wedding (or whatever detail), and how it felt to be married, and how the honeymoon went, and how we loved their presents, and blah blah blah. But I’m a writer, and I love handwriting notes. So it can be really great, especially if you move away from:

    Thank you for the BLANK. We are using it in our home. It was so lovely to see you at the wedding. Love, the Couple.

    When I get those notes, I’m always glad I know they got the gift, but a tiny bit sad deep down that they didn’t say something personal. Sigh. What can I say? I like sending and receiving love notes :) I’m a total sap.

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      I hear ya. I’m pretty sure I keep the USPS in business with the number of stamps I purchase. Thank you notes are definitely awesome, but it’s the notes for no reason that I really love to send (and receive!).

    • Class of 1980

      I like to hear something personal too.

      You know, I see so many people agonizing over the perfect wording. It’s great if you are talented that way, but it’s not the main thing. I don’t remember the paper or the specific words, but I do remember the feeling.

      I just need to know you received it. And I’d love to know it made you happy, because that would make me happy. That is all.

    • Robin

      Yeah. I’m with Meg on this one. And since it’s a week of remembering my Nana, I’ll just add that I wrote her such a gushy thank you note that she called to thank ME for it, called my mom to read it to her, and then put it on her fridge. So, everyone who thinks that they either can’t write something thoughtful and meaningful, or that people don’t care if they get them, is wrong. I talked to her often enough that I had thanked her 100 times before I actually sent the note. It STILL mattered. To both of us.

      • meg

        OH AND NOW I’M CRYING. Thanks, Robin.

        • Robin

          Sorry! I’m going to work on some jokes over the weekend for next week, ok?

          • Class of 1980

            Oh Lord. Robin, you just reminded me of something.

            My ex husband had a very cultured aunt who noticed that he was a talented painter when he was a teen. She was the only one who took his talent seriously and she gave him a subscription to a major art publication that he received all through his life until she died. She always encouraged him.

            When she was getting up in years and becoming frail, he sat down and wrote a long letter to her telling her how much her support had meant to him all those years.

            She kept that letter in her purse until the day she died.

          • meg

            Oh well GEEZE. You guys are making crryyyyy.

    • http://fionalynne.wordpress.com fiona lynne

      I enjoyed writing them too! I love receiving and writing hand written notes and letters so this was easy for me and I usually ran out of space on our wee cards for all I wanted to say.
      My husband took all the thank-yous to the Danish guests (my Danish wasn’t good enough yet) and his had widely-spaced words and lines, while mine were covered in teeny tiny font – made me laugh so much because it just shows how different we are! (Although having read further up comments about husbands being involved – my husband never appreciates receiving cards, but he did get that it was important for other people to receive them…)

  • Anon for today

    I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments, so perhaps this is covered, and I apologize in advance…

    Since this is a very touchy subject for me, I will be anon for today. What should a bride & groom do in the event that there was no gift given? Do we send a thank-you card for attending? There were a large-ish number of people (some of whom I did actually expect to give a gift!) who did not; I am not sure if their gifts were stolen/didn’t arrive/etc. or if they choose not to give (which is totally ok, just happens to be more disappointing than I had imagined it would be – especially when there isn’t even a simple “wish you well” card in it’s place). Am I being petty? Should I just send a “it was great to see you, thanks for attending!” card? My Mom is of the mind that a thank-you card is simply for a gift; therefore, no gift = no card. She, too, is surprised by her disappointment in lack of gifts from some guests — it is translating into “we just couldn’t be bothered to bring something for the couple”, and that is hurting our feelings.

    Anyone in the same boat? What did you do?

    • Alyssa

      I’m of the thought that as a guest, a gift is required. As a host, it is not to be expected.

      If you were writing the note because you really wanted to thank them for being at the wedding, then that’s cool, but you’re send one to be fishing for gift info and that’s impolite.

      And while I think it’s a little rude to not bring a gift, there’s a myriad of reasons for people to have done so. Now not bringing a CARD, however…that’s a whole different story.

      • http://! Jennifer

        The tricky part on this I think is that I worry about a heartfelt thank-you for coming (because I really was so glad they came to the wedding) being misinterpreted as fishing for a gift. I’d heard so much over the years about people complaining that wedding invitations were being sent out “just for the gifts” that it took me a while to get over my paranoia about people who wouldn’t likely be able to attend thinking we were inviting them just to try to get a gift. And then I googled on this and found a Miss Manners column where she said she hated to dissuade anyone from writing thank you notes for any reason, but that people would indeed interpret such notes as fishing for a gift. I suspect it really depends on the person… sending a “thank you for coming” note to your childhood best friend who flew cross country and back within 48 hours to be at your wedding might feel different than sending one to your mother-in-law’s friends who drove 10 minutes. (I *was* supremely grateful that my mother-in-law’s friends were there, because this was her only child’s wedding and it was a huge day for her, and she’s had a really tough year. But I don’t know these people well enough to be confident they wouldn’t interpret such a note as fishing for a gift.)

        • Alyssa

          Exactly. I quoted that MM response below.

          • http://! Jennifer

            Which isn’t to say that Miss Manners is an infallible authority — I definitely disagree with her on some particular pronouncements — but I respect her overall approach and find her perspective and reasoning is usually worth consideration.

    • margiemive

      You do not send thank you notes for attending. You send thank you notes to people who helped out in any way (baked cakes, arranged flowers, etc.) or who gave gifts. And you know, no one owes you a gift. I don’t know why people get up in arms when people don’t give wedding gifts. Wedding gifts are traditional but they are not required.

      • margiemive

        Alyssa posted at the same time as me, or I would have said “What Alyssa said,” which would have come out much less prickly.

        • Alyssa

          Nah, I like prickly.

          And you know what would be a good compromise here? (If you really and truly want to thank them for coming to your wedding, especially if you never spoke to them, which TOTALLY happened with me even though I tried not to…)
          Email. A “hey, what’s up, this is what’s going on, how are you, and by the way thank you for coming to my wedding, it was awesome.”

          BUT, if they did something for you at the wedding, they deserve a thank you note. Even if they didn’t give you a gift because that was your gift right there.

          • http://! Jennifer

            We’re pretty much taking care of the “thank you for coming to our wedding” in the course of normal contact, at least as far as family and our own friends go, or along with emailing pictures of our friends (now that we’ve gotten our disc of photos). And then everyone who came to the wedding (or was invited but didn’t come, or wasn’t invited but sent a gift or card) is on our Christmas/holiday card list (at least for this year, I imagine some will be winnowed in future years if it’s, say, MIL’s friends who we have no other contact with ever), so I figure that is a nice opportunity to thank them for celebrating with us or for their thoughtfulness (or reiterate thanks) without any gift-related implications. (I hope.)

          • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

            I don’t see why, if you want to send thank you notes just for attending, that you would have to compromise, though.

            (I suppose if you feel you have to send those, and don’t want to, it would be fine to find a middle road).

            But we really, truly wanted to thank people for attending even if they didn’t bring a gift and we were happy to do so in a handwritten card, and I just do not see what is wrong with that.

            As they say in Chinese – a real proverb, not one of the fake ones you see in self-help books: 禮多人不怪。 Or, in English, you can’t be blamed for being too polite.

          • Alyssa

            The compromise isn’t if they feel they have to but don’t want to; it’s if they want to thank but feel weird/uncomfortable about sending a note. The people get thanked but it doesn’t have to feel like a THANK YOU NOTE.

      • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

        I don’t see why you can’t send thank you notes for attending – especially if the person traveled some distance/went to some expense to go. If it was mostly a local wedding and people drove a few minutes to participate I could see not sending them, but I can’t stomach not sending them to people who took time off work, paid for hotel rooms, flights, meals, gas etc. to be there. As I see it, *that* was our gift.

        But then we said on our website that we didn’t expect gifts, and if someone really wanted to give a gift, they could donate to a charity of their choice or to suggested ones below. We STILL got gifts (a lot of them, in fact) – mostly in the form of money because, as we live abroad, we didn’t register (registries do not exist here and we had no options for storage or shipping).

        However, some people did not give gifts, and I can hardly say they were rude – we said “your presence is your gift to us”!

        And we MEANT it. So if their presence, which for 90% of our guests entailed a bit of time and expense, was truly a gift to us (and it was), why would we not thank them for that just the same as a check or something in a box?

      • Kate

        Why the hell NOT? I mean, I’m sorry, you absolutely aren’t required to, but I have people who are unemployed and who are totalyl broke who didn’t give us a gift or get there beforehand in time to help. They did, however, pile int a car with each other and drove over 1000 miles over more than 24 hours to be at the wedding.

        One of my friends left her sisters wedding on Saturday, in Oregon, right after dinner, then drove through the night to get to our wedding in California on time for the ceremony.

        One of my friends flew in from England.

        You can sure as hell bet those people are getting thank you cards.

    • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

      We had several guests who did the same thing… if there was no card or gift, we didn’t send a thank you note. Not that I’m angry at these people or anything, I just don’t really have anything to particularly thank them for. I’m not sure if that was the right move, but that’s what we did.

      • Carbon Girl

        I thanked some people who I knew could not afford gifts for coming to the wedding because I really was glad that they came to share the day. There were a couple others though who told me gifts would be coming soon but they have not come yet. I was waiting for these to arrive before I send out a thank you. I would have sent a note already if I thought they were a no gift. Hmmm. . . I think etiquette says they have a year to send a gift, so I will wait I guess.

      • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

        For being there with you on a special day? For taking the time to drive/fly/take the train or bus to your wedding? For spending money to travel and stay in a hotel to attend? For taking a day off work to attend?

        If most guests didn’t have to do any of that, then nevermind. I’m just looking at it from the standpoint of someone whose entire wedding guest list except her parents was “out of town” and had to go to some effort to be there.

        (Seriously – mom tried to tell me we had to invite all out of towners to the rehearsal dinner. Err, mom, you can’t do that when EVERYONE is an out of towner except you. Love ya mom. But it’s true.)

      • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

        I guess maybe we were wrong… I never really thought about it. Basically, we were a little confused, since this problem applied to about five out of fifty guests. Several of them had talked about shopping for us and asked us what we really wanted… and then when we opened gifts/cards a week after the wedding there wasn’t anything. We weren’t sure if they were planning to send something later, after they got home maybe, who knows. And then we started worrying that we missed some gifts (they were stored by family members and we never really saw them on the wedding day). And then we didn’t know what to think… so the thank you cards never got sent. Now I’m rethinking this all a bit, though. I’ve got extra time today and could send easily send a few notes….

        • Alyssa

          I think if you thank them for coming, it’s got to be out of genuine affection and not obligation.

          And Miss Manners says…..

          Dear Miss Manners,
          Please resolve an etiquette question between me and my fiancé. My fiancé and I are getting married soon. I have purchased some pretty thank you cards so that I can quickly send off thank you notes as soon as the gifts arrive.

          Recently it occurred to me that perhaps it is necessary to write thank you notes for all our guests attending the wedding even if it he/she has not given us a gift. If not for his/her presence alone, would it be required to write a thank you note if the guest has traveled to attend our wedding?

          I feel as though the presence of all of our guests is a gift, and therefore everyone in attendance should receive a thank you card whether they give us a gift or not. My fiancé believes this way of thinking is excessive. Is he right?

          Gentle Reader,
          In the midst of a thank you letter famine, Miss Manners is loathe to label any such attempt as excessive. But yes, your fiancé is right.

          Hosts do not write to thank guests for their attendance, even though they may respond to their parting thanks with thanks. It is guests who must write letters of thanks to those who entertain them, although this is not necessary for ceremonial occasions.

          Of late, Miss Manners has had a number of inquiries from brides who have suggested doing this as a way of prompting guests whom they deem remiss to send presents. While not accusing you of any such motives, she warns you that the suspicion will arise.

          • http://webecomeus.wordpress.com Caitlin

            Well now I’m totally confused. And here I thought thank you notes would be an easy discussion day…

            I am genuinely glad that these guests attended the wedding. I’ve told them that in person and on the phone, although I know that’s not the same thing as a thank you note. I guess I’m not really of the mindset that attending someone’s wedding is a gift– since your wedding is not an inconvenience, right? And I definitely think that sending a thank you note when there was no gift/card might be taken as a weird hint that you’re looking for a gift or card… I just don’t know.

          • meg

            If you send them a heartfelt note, they will know that you’re not looking for a gift. Don’t worry about it.

          • Alyssa

            Caitlin, honey, I think you’re thinking about it too much.

            Give it a few days and then decide. If notes are your thing and you want to write them, then totally do it. If not, don’t worry about it.

          • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

            I do agree that you should only do this (write thank-yous to guests who attended but did not give gifts) if you WANT to, not if you feel like you HAVE to, and that doing it as a way of prompting for more gifts is really awful (because it is, and I wonder why she mentioned inquiries from brides who want to use it that way and no brides who just want to know if they should send them because they are grateful for their attendance)…

            But I take issue with the assumption that all guests who get such cards will assume you’re prompting them for gifts. If your thanks is heartfelt and doesn’t sound like it comes from a template, then one would hope your guests – who you invited! To your wedding! Because you wanted them there! Because you love them! – would think better of you than that.

            Basically, if I wanted someone there enough that I invited them, if they’re then going to suspect me of using thank yous for attending as prompts for gifts, then I’d wonder what they think of me overall, and if I were to find out they thought that of me given that they *know* me and as such should know better, maybe I’d reconsider my relationship with them. I don’t want people around me who would suspect me of something like that.

    • meg

      I sent thank you notes for people that attended and didn’t bring a gift, because I was really grateful that they were there. Unless, you know, they were 65 and well off and didn’t bring a gift, then I probably didn’t write a note. But I also didn’t keep track of who brought gifts and who didn’t. So all of the people I knew personally got a thank you note. I’m pretty sure. Most of them, at least.

    • Kristen

      Just to give you some hope of good intentions by guests, I’ll tell you a story. Within the first two weeks of August, my fiance and I attended one wedding that I was in and was a few hours away, then packed within one day to go to a wedding in Thailand that he was in.

      For both, I planned a great, very personal gift of a personailized stained glass item to be made by my fabulous mother. Unfortunately, I forgot to factor in her hand injury that has left her left hand pretty much useless for a while.

      We got cards for both and wrote in them that a great gift was in the works don’t worry. Then I packed the card for the first wedding to the wedding… and then home because I was so busy running around taking care of s*** during the wedding I totally spaced it. It took almost three weeks before I hand delivered the card and I don’t have the gift yet (but will have both of them after Thanksgiving). Then, we packed the card for the other couple clear to Thailand. And clear home.

      And I can’t tell you how many cards and letters I have found years later all sealed up, stamped, and just waiting for an address… Drives me crazy about myself. And I’m hoping that gathering addresses for this wedding will break me of that terrible habit.

      So, don’t get too sad. For every frizzled bride there is who is confessing that a year + later, people have not received thank yous for whatever reason (including the whole stack of them chilling in her husband’s trunk for months) there are guests who are staring at an envelope that is awaiting an address, feeling guilty because they need to go back to the store since the first time they looked for wedding cards none of them were good enough and they’ve been meaning to go back, and such.

      True, Miss Manners would still have a conniption but understand that the meaning isn’t always that they didn’t care.

    • Erin R

      How long ago was your wedding? I think people have the whole first year to send a gift, so if it’s someone that you are particularly surprised about, maybe they just haven’t done it yet. I went to a wedding a little over a year ago where I had to take a day off work, fly there, fly home, back to work on Monday, etc. so it took us ages to actually get the couple their gift. Not because we didn’t love them and want to give them gift, but because every time one of us thought of it, we were in the car on the way to work or someplace equally inconvenient. Then, when the 1 year anniversary was approaching, we suddenly thought “CRAP! We still didn’t get a wedding gift!!!” and sent something (we think) was awesome.

      Although, now that I think of it, that was 5 months ago and we still haven’t gotten a thank you note. So maybe they figure that since it took a year to get the gift, they have a year to write the thank you note as well.

    • Lauren

      I’m in the same boat! Like you, I was surprised at how sad I was that some friends and family did not give us gifts/cards, especially since I know (intellectually, at least) that guests are not required to give gifts. It doesn’t help me feel any better that my mother claims to have never heard of not giving a present at a wedding and has pointed out how many gifts/showers/etc I’ve invested in for friends who did not reciprocate…I try to remind myself that times are tough financially and many people may not be in a position to give presents. I also suspect that some guests who may not be able to afford a gift feel awkward about only giving a card although one couple did just that and the note they wrote us was so sweet and thoughtful that it really was a present in itself.

      But I am sending thank you cards to several people who did not give us gifts because I loved having them at my wedding and I want them to know that.

    • http://twitter.com/dmrkns dev

      We had a few guests that didn’t give us presents. The ones that didn’t give gifts were all from out of town and had to spend money to come to the wedding, so I really thought of their attendance as their gift. We sent them thank you notes, because it was a big deal to me that they took time off of work and bought plane tickets to celebrate with us. We sent notes like “Thank you so much for coming to our wedding, it meant so much to us that you could be here. Thanks for helping us get everyone on the dance floor- our reception wouldn’t have been the same without you!”

    • Denzi

      Hey, Anon. I just wanted to point out that it is okay to feel how you feel, even if you feel like a jerk for feeling that way. It is okay to be upset and disappointed that some people didn’t send you a gift, even if you know that it’s probably the greedy, stupid WIC planting the expectation in your brain. Give yourself permission to feel hurt or disappointed.

      And then think about the fact that (hopefully) you still love these people and were happy to see and spend time with them at your wedding. And happy to have their relationships. And that it is TOTALLY OKAY to have all that love and gratitude thrashing around with hurt and disappointment in your heart.

      And then realize that you can still control your behavior, and choose to act out of your love and gratitude rather than your hurt and disappointment.

      Note that I’m not weighing in on whether or not you should send thank you notes to your guests who didn’t give gifts. I’m just hypersensitive to people saying “you shouldn’t feel this way!”, and I feel like this thread has taken on a tinge of that tone. You feel the way you feel. That’s okay. You may actually feel less upset if you give yourself permission to be upset and process through that, rather than trying to beat it down because you’re “not allowed” to feel it. The hard part is just that you are still responsible for acting like a mature, loving adult towards people anyway.

    • ddayporter

      it didn’t even occur to me, shamefully enough, to write thank you notes to those who didn’t give us gifts. it wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful they came, or upset they didn’t give a gift, I just had set up the thank-you check-off system by writing down the name of the person and the gift they sent us, as the gifts came in (we decided to wait till after the wedding to write All the thank you notes), and then we sat down and wrote out notes and checked people off as we went – and then Zach noticed a couple conspicuously missing names and we realized we had only made a list of gifts and not guests. He was the one who insisted we send notes to anyone who came regardless of whether we got a gift, and I’m glad he did! I felt bad it didn’t occur to me on my own. I’m a little horrified that anyone would see it as fishing for a gift, that was not our intention AT ALL, hopefully the genuine thanks came through in our notes so that wasn’t on anyone’s mind.. Honestly we don’t want any more gifts! half our gifts are in our storage closet anyway, since we went a little overboard with the registry as if we were outfitting a house instead of a 1-bedroom apartment…

    • Corinne

      That depends on whether you invited people to attend your wedding because you wanted them there or because you wanted them to buy you a gift. I think that easily decides whether you thank them or not!

  • Michele

    I gotta be honest: I hate thank you notes. I don’t hate THANK-YOU’s, but I hate the assumption that the only proper way to thank someone for something is in writing, on hard-copy. I thanked each and every guest who attended our wedding and/or gave us a gift no fewer than three times – in person, via email, and on the phone – two of those methods being FAR more personal than writing a note. Yet somehow, writing a note is still deemed the proper and only truly acceptable means of expressing one’s gratitude. It makes me crazy.

    Personally, I’m ambivalent about receiving thank you notes, but we did send them after our wedding, succumbing to all that pressure and expectation.

    • Michele

      And for the record, despite my thoughts on thank-you notes, we sent one to every single person who attended our wedding, regardless of whether they gave us a gift or not.

      • Alyssa

        Everybody’s got their thing. But it’s nice that you wrote them, I’ve sure those who cared appreciated it!

    • Katelyn

      Yeah, I’m pretty “meh” about thank-yous. I do my very best to make mine heartfelt… but I’m a mathematician for a reason.

      But, despite my apathy about receiving them, I try my very very hardest to send thank-yous.

      Like Robin said, “it’s nice to be nice.”

      But I certainly never keep track of whether I receive a thank-you note. And if people really thought it was a “burden” or “going out of their way” to get me a gift… well… I don’t know how much I would want it anyway.

  • http://www.heelsaboveweddings.com Lynn White

    Thank you so much for this post! Thank you notes are so important!

  • Carbon Girl

    This got me thinking about notes that I have not gotten around to sending–notes to vendors (aka wedding elves). Should they received thank you notes? I know they got paid but a note might be nice just to tell them how much you liked what they did, etc. I always meant to write these but have not gotten around to it. I was thinking about doing it around the one year mark as an anniversary thing. Is it necessary? Vendors, do you receive notes often, look forward to them, get them once in a blue moon? Is there a statute of limitations on these “I enjoyed your work” type notes? I am curious.

    • meg

      I think vendors, like everyone else, like Thank You notes. You don’t have to send them though, and we didn’t. I wrote a love note to One Love Photo on the internet (which was better for them anyway ;) But that was it.

    • Alyssa

      This is what Emily Post says. (WHAT, y’all think I make this stuff up? I do research….)

      “You don’t have to write everyone you hire for services, but anyone who exceeds your expectations will appreciate a courteous note of thanks.”

      You know what they’d appreciate more?**

      More business.
      Word of mouth marketing and a few nice reviews on websites if they’re on there.
      Plus some really great words in your note (or email) that they can use on their site.

      **I’m assuimg, I’m not a vendor. Y’all speak up!! Tell me I’m right, I love to hear that.

      • Alyssa

        And by “more,” I mean “in addition to” and not “in lieu of.”

        If someone was amazing, they’ll want to know.
        My photographer was so good I bragged on her to Meg who included a link to her in my grad post (which she does anyway, but it counts), wrote up a review for a couple wedding sites, bragged on her to my director and helped him convince the theatre board that she needed to do our publicity shots for a show AND I made Matt promise she’s our forever photographer and will do any belly/baby shots when we churn out some young ones.
        Plus I stalk her blog cuz it’s pretty.

        I heart her. And she reads this blog. Hi Brandi!! *waves*

      • JessicaJEM

        My fiance is a DJ here in DC. You are so right. With so many DJs to choose from in our area, someone personally recommending him to a friend is a BIG (huge!) Thank You.

        • Damn Gina

          We had a couple of really, really good vendors for our Cleveland wedding two weeks ago. My plan was to write gushing, glowing, glittering reviews on the kn*t (I know, I know, but it’s a big source of business for wedding folk), yelp, and any other pertinent web forums I can think of, then sending our vendors thank you emails with links to our reviews. Free advertising and promotional testimonials that hopefully lead to more business seemed the best way to thank the paid vendors who put together and wrangled our big, golder-retriever puppy of a reception (you know, sweet and enthusiastic but sort of dim and prone to making messes because it’s ohsoexcited).

          But now I wonder if they should get hand-written notes too….

          • JessicaJEM

            so in love with the fact you likened your reception to a Golden puppy.

      • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

        I’d like to add that if a particular person was exceptional, they will appreciate a thank you note. The server from the catering company who searched for (and found) the one packet of caffeine-free tea for your aunt, or the hotel staff who heard you mention that you had a headache and got you some Advil from her purse for instance. As someone who works in the service industry, I can say that I remember with joy every customer who has taken the time to write a note and thanked me personally. They’re the ones that make me inclined to go out of my way to help someone in the future, and generally believe that the world is a better place.

    • Clare

      I am planning to send notes to most of our vendors/ suppliers, because they kicked ass. Also, according to my day-of coordinator, the florist loved the bouquet so much she didn’t want to give it up. She was all “Make the bride send me photos, okay?” and the lovely Jenn was like “Sure! Sure! Whatever! Now LET GO OF THE BOUQUET!” So I have to send her a photo, right? (seriously, my bouquet was a truly stunning arrangement of Awesome with some Wicked and Cool for accent).

      But, my husband is of the opinion that, should our photos indicate the whole shindig was ‘up to scratch’, we should try and get the thing in a bridal magazine. Part of me thinks it’s kind of trashy/ embarrassing, part of me is like “woo! Maybe I’m ‘good enough’ to be in a bridal magazine”, and a large part of me agrees with him that that kind of free advertising is the best form of gratitude we can show to our suppliers. So we’ll see.

  • http://heatherliveslife.blogspot.com Heather T.

    Yep, not going to lie — a horrified look passed over my face. I am definitely with Meg — send them out mucho pronto! You could send postcard thank yous and save a leetle bit on postage too…

  • KH

    I’m pretty relaxed about most wedding ettiquite, but thank you notes are not optional. I have to admit my opinion of someone really changes when they can’t even be bothered to send a thank you card. And not being able to afford it is a terrible excuse.

    My cousin got married a few years ago. We drove over 6 hours to the wedding, stayed for two nights, and gave a generous check. Funny, they had the time to promptly cash the check but never found the time to send a thank you card. We just got a baby shower invite in the mail for this couple, but I’m not feeling too generous this time around.

  • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

    Thank you cards are super important! They are so important that we got ours – with some extras – before the wedding, and despite the fact that it costs $1 a card to mail from Taiwan, are mailing them anyhow, less than two months after our wedding.

    I see it like this: Thank You cards are not a PITA – they’re a blessing. The more cards you “have” to write, the more people there are who love you enough to take the time to attend a milestone in your life and get you a gift to boot (or just attend – we are also sending cards to thank people for attending even if they didn’t get us a gift). Every card you have to write is one more person who loves you, and who doesn’t love knowing that they are loved? And who doesn’t love getting a note in the mail from someone they love, thanking them for their expression of love, which just creates more love?

    Thank You cards, essentially, are one giant Love-In.

    If you look at it that way, it’s a lot easier to approach the task with joy, not trepidation.

    PS – yes, my husband is writing them too. His family is much smaller so he’s also got all the mutual friends and the vendors (we think it’s a nice gesture to thank the vendors who did such a great job). I’m still writing more because my side is just that much bigger, so he’s been stuffing and return-addressing. I didn’t have to ask him to do that, and if he had had the larger family Id’ve taken on those tasks. We never even really discussed this sharing of responsibilities: it just happened, which I take as a sign that we’ve got an awesome relationship with a strong foundation.

    There is a lot about “etiquette” that I find faintly ridiculous (“Where does the oyster fork go?” or “You can’t wear red when attending a wedding – it’s too bright!”) but the stuff about how to treat other people in interpersonal relationships is time-tested and still around for a reason. IT WORKS. It’s sensible and kind. So when it comes to Thank You cards, etiquette got it just right.

    • meg

      Exactly this.

      Which is why I’m un-amused by thank you texts or emails or phone calls. Sit down, tell them that you love them, and you know that they love you, and it makes your heart sing. Spend five minutes writing that note. That’s five minutes that will make you a happier person, and the world a slightly better place to be.

      • JessicaJEM

        Ok I exactly’d this and about every other post of yours down the chain, Meg. You are spot on.

      • KH

        I agree with this. And it is so much easier to do the thank you cards when you are still in that *giddy, happy about everything, feeling the love from everyone* stage that comes right after the wedding. If you wait 6 months you lose some of that magic and forget the little awesome things that people did or said to make the wedding day important.

        • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny

          I think even after a year, you can still feel the magic and remember specific little things. I know I do! Perhaps even more so now. I still get teary just thinking about our community who loves us so much and has supported us in our marriage. And I agree that thank yous are a big “love-in” and I really love conveying heart-felt expressions of gratitude to the person I am writing. And I actually like the process of writing the note (once I have made myself actually start doing it!) and then I always re-read it again just for kicks after I write it. But for some reason, the fact that I put so much importance on them has paralyzed me in this particular process. But that’s my own hang-up. that and a major problem with procrastination, using waiting until the last minute deadline to do things. :( Anyhow, I’m working on it now. I don’t wanna keep looking like the most ungrateful person ever when how I feel is so very opposite of that!

      • Eli

        But then why sponsor a wedding elf lik Glo, who does offer paperless group thank you notes? Just wondering… :) I think it’s more about the intention that the medium.

  • LC

    I kind of read into her question that she feels almost paralyzed by the idea of writing the notes. Part of this is undoubtedly because she waited so long and is so overcome by guilt, but some people *do* have a very hard time expressing gratitude in written form. I personally love writing cards to people, but I know my boyfriend stresses about it, and it wouldn’t be a “take 5 minutes out of your day” thing for him because it causes him stress, so he procrastinates, then it gets to be too long, then he’s paralyzed ….

    I might be assuming too much, but I would guess this is an issue for many women. The answer doesn’t change (write the thank you notes). But maybe we need to give Maddie the benefit of the doubt, forgive her, let her forgive herself, and just start over … by writing those thank you notes no matter how long it takes.

    ps – I’m not a stickler for notes, and I would be offended if you never sent one. It’s too bad that it’s taken this long, but don’t let that be a reason not to do it.

    • Maddie

      Maddie of the question-asking here.

      Dude. Nail on head. The problem is EXACTLY that I am really, really, really freaking grateful and I have an incredibly hard time writing just any old thank you note to the people that I love. I want to let everyone know exactly how much they mean to me and the significance of their presence at our wedding. But I’m an “actions speak louder than words, let’s just pay it forward” kind of person in life, so it’s not that I’m ungrateful. I would easily drop everything and hop on a flight if any one of our 200+ guests asked for anything from me, but I have a hard time putting that same kind of gratitude on paper and then putting in the mail.. And you’re right, this leads to procrastinating, which leads to guilt, which leads to paralysis.* And then an e-mail to Meg.

      But what I really needed to hear from everyone was that these thank you notes matter even if they are a year (and some months) late. And also, Alyssa got it right with the first part of the response in that I kind of feel silly that it’s been so long (I’m really embarrassed, guys!), but like Meg says, it’s not about me and my utter humiliation. It’s about the people who came to support us and making them feel appreciated.

      *It’s sort of like DIY paralysis. Like, you know you want to do this AWESOME thing. And then you start with an idea of the final product in mind, but halfway through it stops looking like your expectations and you get so overwhelmed by this immense project that you abandon it altogether in a fit of glue and feathers and come up with all sorts of reasons why the idea was stupid to begin with to dull the pain. That’s what thank you notes are like for me.

      • Denzi

        I don’t know if this will be helpful to you, Maddie, but there have been several times in my life where I have ended up not sending thank you notes because of anxiety disorder/social anxiety. My brain has this downward spiral of “oh sh*t, I haven’t sent them yet, so they’re late and people hate me. And if I send them now, people will REALIZE that they’re late, and will hate me even more! I FAIL AT EVERYTHING!” Cue two-to-three month long meltdown.

        Obviously, there is a LOT of irrational thinking in that spiral. I’m working on that. People will realize I haven’t sent them a thank you note even if I don’t ever send them one! Failing at thank you notes does not mean failing at everything! People will be happy and grateful to receive a thank you note even if they were initially annoyed at not receiving one in a timely manner!

        But if I got to a year after my (hypothetical) wedding, still hadn’t sent half my thank you notes, and broke out into a cold sweat and got more and more miserable every time I thought about them, I think I would probably start thinking “what accomodations can I make to get my sanity back so I can do this?” So I would probably call people (or if the anxiety was debilitating, email) and say “hey, I realized recently that I still haven’t sent you a thank you note! I did get your gift and love it, and I’ve been thinking about you a lot, but I got way behind on my thank yous, sorry. You should get one in the mail soon, [but I've been having those crazy anxiety worries about how much you hate me because I haven't sent it, so I wanted to call and say I do love and value, so those d*mn voices would die down first!]” (I would probably only say the part in brackets to people with whom I already speak fairly frankly about depression and anxiety issues. Because it helps me to say to my friends “hi, I know thinking you hate me is crazy brain, but it is crazy brain, right?”, but I am aware that it would come across badly if that isn’t a practice I already use with someone.)

        Unorthodox and probably terrible manners, but it would cut the legs off the “AND NOW THEY HATE ME” voice in a way that wouldn’t require an insurmountable amount of energy. And talking to someone by email or on the phone would probably also remind me of how much I love them and why I’m grateful, so that it would be easier to then immediately fire off that thank you note and…well, not stop worrying about it, heh, but begin to. (And I would send them a paper one even if they said at this point “oh, I don’t need one!”, because despite all my arguing for flexibility in an earlier thread, I am old-school and believe that most people will appreciate formal thank you notes, even if they don’t think they want them. And calling/email to cut off my anxiety does not get me off the hook for sending handwritten notes, because they are important.)

        (Note, again: not advocating this as advice for everyone or even for Maddie! Simply talking about my experience of why I’ve failed on several important occasions to finish sending thank you notes, why thank you notes can sometimes be a seemingly insurmountable task, and what I would do differently now that therapy is helping me manage my crazy brain better.)

      • bts

        If you’re like me, spending a couple of days writing these out, putting them in the mail, sending them out into the world, will be immensely freeing. You won’t be wondering in another six months if you should really send them or if people have forgotten you got married. It will be a weight off.

        The other thing, though, is that expressing gratitude is good for us as people, at least according to the findings of positive psychology studies (See Seligman, Lyobomirsky, Keltner among others, this is real science, not just fluff). It actually is supposed to have a long term effect on positive affect, feelings of satisfaction, personal sense of happiness and well-being. Receiving gratitude is also good for a boost. So, really, there’s no downside here. It’ll make you and other people feel better. Net good.

      • Katelyn

        Maddie – I know EXACTLY how you feel! At first you probably wanted to wait for a day where you were feeling extra-inspired so you can express in writing to all these wonderful people how special they made your wedding… but that day never came. Until a few months creeped by. And then you get nervous, thinking “oh crap it’s getting sooo late to send these thank-yous, they need to be even MORE awesome.” It’s pretty typical anxiety, like Denzi mentioned.

        Here’s the thing- people won’t be sharing their thank-yous with one another, and they’re not looking for Shakespeare. You can use a simple 3 sentence thank-you structure:

        Thank you for x. We’re (how you’re using/going to use it). Even at our one-year mark, we look back fondly on our incredible wedding and were so blessed you were able to join us.

        Love, John and Jane

  • http://www.fromnowtillido.com Chichi @ From Now Till I Do

    This post is PERFECT timing for me. We got married in June, moved house in August, got our wedding presents delivered in September. I have been going round with this horrible guilty feeling that I need to send out thank you cards to our generous guests. Some people really blessed us and we want to let them know we appreciate it.

    It has been total procrastination as originally I was waiting for our wedding photos as I wanted to personalised them. They came a month after the wedding but we were too busy travelling and then moving to even think about doing them. I found out about the 3 month rule and breathed a sigh of relief that I could get them out within that window, but weeks have still passed and nothing.

    I want to send postcard versions (in an envelope), is that okay or does it have to be a proper card? Also what do you do when you have gifts from people you don’t even know or know their address? We had over 500 people at our wedding and we wrote down all the gifts we got from people and their names, but some people we drew a blank. We didn’t have a clue who they were!!! Also can our cards also be ‘change of address/thank you cards’? So we can tell people we have moved house as well?

    This post has reassured me that it is not too late. This weekend hubby and I will make a plan to get these out over the next couple of weeks. Reading through previous comments I too have been to weddings, given a gift and no thank you received. Did they get the gift? Who knows? Do I feel it’s a little rude? Yes.

    Thanks for this really helpful and timely post, APW!

    • Alyssa

      I’m a fan of anything cute. The message is the important part, the cuteness is optional. I find postcards exceptionally cute and therefore approve.

      And I’d make an effort to find out who the gift might be from. Grandmas and aunts are especially good at this. I don’t know why, it’s a gift.

      And I’d include a change of address card with the note if you have soemthing specific that says, “Hey, we moved!” and want to use them. But I wouldn’t include it as written in the actual note. They’ll get the idea by the address you put on your envelope.

      Anyone disagree?

  • april

    I’m such a big stickler for thank you notes, I had our invitation designer make custom notecards for us when I submitted our invite order 3 months before the wedding! Suffice to say – we thanked everyone – regardless if they gave us a gift or not. And hubby and I had them all written out and sent within 6 weeks after our wedding date.

    The best part? It felt sooo good to write those notes. With each one we wrote, we remembered the people that had celebrated with us, partied it up, cried with us and belly-laughed at the toasts.

    Yes, it’s time consuming. But the best part? Knowing that it *does* mean so much to the person(s) you’re sending them to. Case in point: Four months ago, I was at my gal pal’s house, and taped to her fridge? My thank you note!!! (And I married a year ago – she still has it!) She said “it was so pretty and so sweet, I can’t bear to put it away.”

    Now if that isn’t a reason to write those Thank Yous, I don’t know what is! ;-)

  • Pamela

    I’m seeing a lot of comments on here about notes being taped on refrigerators, being the treasured for years, being the BEST THING EVER, and I think that might create a lot of pressure for those of us writing them. I know it does for me – hell, I have a freaking English degree, and I get paralized every time I start writing, because I feel like the note has to be the perfect combination of heartfelt, funny, and touching.

    You know what? Your thank you notes don’t have to be perfect. Sincere? Yes. They do need to be that. But don’t stress trying to write the most perfect thank you note ever, because if you’re anything like me, the pressure to make them perfect will mean that you don’t write them at all.

    Just write from your heart, say thank you, and send them.

    (This advice is as much to myself as it is to anyone else, btw. My husband has been awesome about sharing the load and I have to stop myself from “improving” on his writing. His notes are not bad, they’re just not worded the way I would, and there a tad shorter than I think they should be – and that’s totally ok. The gratitued conveyed is the important part)

    • ddayporter

      maybe on those shorter ones you could include a PS in your own words? I did that on a couple of my husband’s notes.. :)

  • Aiyana
  • Mattingly

    I just wanted to throw in another way of doing thank-yous for the low budget crowd who still feel paper is really important. I just googled ‘postcards’ and found, you guessed it, postcards.com where you can make your own. So I simply put one of our gorgeous wedding photos on the front, no text at all, and then am writing (yes, working on them now!) the notes on the back. I was worried it might be too un-official or something, but I’ve gotten really great reactions from family and friends. Plus, the whole pack of 100 cards only cost about $30, and postcard stamps are cheaper than normal ones! And it felt really nice to be able to send an actual picture/portrait from our wedding to everyone who came.
    Just an idea!

    • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

      This is a great idea! You can also print postcards on any thick card stock and trim them down to the appropriate size (4×6) and mail them.

    • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

      I love this idea! Kind of wish I’d thought of it before printing all the thank you cards.

      • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

        I don’t want to be an ass and promote my stuff inappropriately, but I think this link is very germane to this discussion and will be (hopefully) helpful for a lot of people. You can download and print b+w a free Thank You card on my site here:

        http://www.empapers.com/cards/thank-you-free-printable-black-and-white-thank-you-card

        Seriously, it doesn’t get any easier you just print them on regular ol’ printer paper and fold them twice, I even have an envelope template in there. My step mom convinced me to come up with these because she’s finds herself often needing a thank you card and not having one…

        Hope they’ll be of use to someone!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Send them!

    I had one or two presents that were awkward to write thank you cards for, one of which I really didn’t want and had specifically told the person not to get and they did anyway. But I wrote them and thanked them for the thought and for participating in our wedding and just glossed over what they’d given us.

    When one of them arrived the person said they thought I was making another announcement (WHY do people think babies immediately follow marriage??) and then mentioned that they hadn’t sent out thank you cards so they weren’t expecting to get one. And it was true, I never got a thank you from that person. I had to follow up several times to make sure they’d gotten it. It was rather off-putting.

    The thank-you card means a lot to people, especially older people. And younger people just like getting mail that isn’t a bill or a credit card application.

    And if the idea of writing them all is making you crazy, don’t. I wrote the cards to all the people I invited. My husband had to write the cards to all the people he invited. And we made it a competition to see who could finish first. Unfortunately I think I lost but that’s because I had a few friends get me their gift a month or two later.

    • meg

      Also, how quickly did they think you MADE that baby? People are illogical ;)

      • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

        EXACTLY!! Especially since we’d gotten that particular thank-you note out within a month. I mean, seriously!!

  • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com Basketcase

    We totally plan to do Thankyou cards.
    We had friends who did what we are going to do – print off nice cards with a photo of us from the wedding on the outside and write a note inside.
    Then everyone gets a nice photo of us from the wedding as well.

    And, we are doing gifts “back” to the elderly relatives who couldnt make it, in the form of a framable photo from the wedding. We’ve told two of them this and they are both SO excited.

    We’re still waiting on thankyou cards from my FBIL. They’ve been married for 8 months now. We’ve kind of given up hope.

  • Amy

    OMG, I’m with Meg on this one. I just want to know you got it. A card that says “thanks, we got it, it’s not broken” is all I want. And that goes for more than just wedding presents. I live hundreds of miles away from all my friends and really would just like a quick head’s up that the present (or card, gift card, whatever) I sent actually made it to your hot little hands. One friend has been married for 5 years. I never got a thank you. I still wonder if something happened to the lovely serving platter I gave her.

  • Heather

    Well done!

  • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com KA

    Wow! Another 200+ comment day!? Can’t wait to catch up, because I really thought this one was cut and dry…

    • Alyssa

      YOU thought it was cut and dry? Woo boy….. ;-)

      • http://discerningdilettante.blogspot.com KA

        Hahaha, seriously. I just read what you wrote and agreed with it! Imagine that!

        I’m going to blame the trial by fire you’re getting on people spending Fridays on here now instead of working. (Or that could be my personal bitterness towards working.)

        But we all come here for the discussions right? So keep up the good work! :)

        • meg

          Yeah, I’m starting to feel a little badly for Alyssa. Especially because we started with the two questions we thought were the easiest and least controversial.

          At least now ONE other person in the world knows how I feel ;)

  • http://made-of-sun.tumblr.com/ Trisha

    I’ve been trying to do a few every night. When my goal is just to write say, five thank you notes, the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Thank being said, they have become a source of contention in our house, as my husband flat out refuses to help me with them.

  • bts

    Also, for anyone stuck on how to write a thank you note, may I introduce you to Leslie Harpold’s guide: http://www.themorningnews.org/archives/how_to/how_to_write_a_thankyou_note.php

    It is a good start (I disagree with one of her points, I think you can make them a longer note with news about your life and such, but Leslie wrote a killer guide to the basics and it deserves to be remembered).

    • meg

      Sigh. Thank you. I think it’s lovely that you made sure she was remembered.

    • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

      Oh no. I have never heard of Leslie Harpold before…she’s so great! Another wonderful thing I don’t have time to read…

  • S.

    Can I add something, unless it’s already been added (don’t have time to read all the comments thoroughly!) When people buy something off the registry, and the store sends them a little card letting the buyer know the gift was picked up… THAT DOESN’T COUNT. You still need to send a real thank you!

  • Irene

    A tricky question has prevented us from sending out our thank-you stragglers…

    What do you say to someone who gave you a cash or check gift which was lost in the post-wedding cleanup and which they know was lost?? I guess just thank them profusely for everything else (their attendance, their love & support, etc) and for the lovely gesture?

    I keep avoiding these ones because it feels super awkward, but I realize the longer we wait the more awkward it will become…

    • Jovi

      Thanking them for the gesture and everything else sounds like a good way to handle it. If I were the gift-giver, it would probably make me feel better about the situation too.

    • meg

      You tell them it was lost. BE HONEST. And then say, you’re so sorry, you’re so grateful, you’re so glad they were there. And tell them next time drinks are on you.

  • http://www.empapers.com Eleanor

    Um, I have a *whole year* before I have to send out thank-you’s? I thought it was a year to give a wedding gift, or is it both? I guess I should know this…In any case I’m just sending mine out now, two months after the wedding and was feeling like a total heel! Great, now I can feel like a totally-together-on-top-of-it badass!

    • meg

      NOOO! You have three weeks to send out thank yous (though most of us run late). You have a year to give the couple a gift.

  • http://avaluablewedding.blogspot.com/ Pamela

    I just totally want to contribute that I am a person who does *NOT* care about thank you notes. If you don’t send me one, that’s okay… For one, I believe it’s not a gift you if you expect something in return. And I know a newly married couple is really busy, so, it’s fine with me.

    BUT I am TOTALLY for notes in general. To me, thank you notes are the bottom of the barrel in note-ness. Why? Because they are required and expected. You could hate what I gave you and have already returned it and still BS something. Or you could absolutely love it, use it everyday and forget to send me a note. It happens. And I’m much happier about the latter situation…

    However, I am TOTALLY for giving people random notes, sending things snail mail, and just APPRECIATING people.

    And I’ll also tell you that I’ve never gotten a thank you note like Meg says she writes. I just get the ‘Thank you for the gift. We’ll use it in such manner. It was good to see you. Thanks, Couple’ type of thing. Honestly, I have no idea of your sincerity in something like that. But if you go out of your way and email or call me and remember my gift? When you don’t have a list in front of you and are checking things off your list? That is a real thank you. That matters.

    ***Please understand, obviously the kind of thoughtful notes Meg is talking about would be appreciated. I’m just saying personally, a verbal thank you which proves you remember what I did, gave, or whatever without having a list to remind you, goes a LOT farther than the thank you note template above.***

    All this said, I’ll definitely do thank you notes. But I’ll probably make them thank you letters. To me ‘thank you note’ is on a little card and is about four sentences long. Maybe six. A thank you letter is on stationary and not only thanks you, but expresses love in other ways too.

    • meg

      Excellent point, I think.

  • http://irisira.wordpress.com irisira

    This is hilarious.

    My wedding was in Sept. and hubby and I still haven’t sat down and wrote out thank yous. I went to a wedding in July and received the thank you a few weeks ago; and a wedding in May and just received it last week. BOTH included photos from the wedding. Expensive to order 100 wallet-sized photos? Sure. But it quite literally buys you time.

    “My thank you was really late, but look at the pretty picture! I’ll bet that’s why it was late. Stupid photographers!”

    Then they put the photo on their fridge. Maybe they even call you and gush about it.

    :)

  • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

    Here’s somethin’ for the “oh my god did I really do that?” books:

    We just realized we probably (not sure yet) sent a card to the wrong person. We got a card and sizeable amount of cash – not a check – from “Uncle Hugh” (name changed) – handed to me by my mother on our wedding day. Well, I have an Uncle “Hugh” but he didn’t attend, so I figured as my mom gave it to me, that my grandma gave it to her from this uncle.

    Now we’ve realized that another guest, an old friend of my husband’s dad, also named “Hugh” didn’t give us a gift…not that that bothers us, but he seems like the sort who would *always* bring a gift to a wedding. I also remmber that that card was handed to me along with a card from another family friend on my husband’s side, so both could have come from someone on that side who gave them to my mother.

    I thought at first that it couldn’t have been from the “Hugh” who attended bc we don’t know him well, so why would he call himself “Uncle Hugh”?

    But now that I think about it, “Hugh” is a really friendly, gregarious guy. It MIGHT have been from him.

    Which, if true, means that I just thanked an uncle whom I barely know and who did not attend for a fairly large sum of money that he never gave us. Card is already in the mail. That side of the family is kind of…touchy.

    Um.

    SH*T.

    Damage control #1: husband emails his mother to ask if she or dad did in fact give us that card from the family friend.

    If they did…

    It’s easy to send another card to the family friend. BUT – what do we do about the distant uncle who got a thank you card for a gift he never sent?!

  • Jovi

    I went to a baby shower and received a kind of cool thank-you note by e-mail. I know, e-mail is not really taken as seriously as a handwritten card, but the cool thing about this was that the mother-to-be recorded a short video clip thank-you, showing the gifts and explaining how she was looking forward to using them with her child. I was touched both because a) they sent a thank-you, which is rare and b) the video in which she shared her gratitude for the gifts seemed like a very personal way to say thanks.

    Obviously this would only work for the most technologically savvy gift-givers, but I think it accomplishes the purposes of a thank-you note well.

  • Marchelle

    Sweet lord, what’s happened in the 250 preceeding comments? On second thought, maybe I don’t want to know.

    I just wanted to drop in to say: Alyssa, I LOVE YOU.

    That is all.

    • meg

      We debated email Thank You notes (I’m not pro, but you knew that, right?) and then…. I don’t know. Discussed? It was… mind-boggling. We’re kind of scared of what’s going to happen after this week, when we move past questions that we picked to start with because they were SO UNCONTROVERSIAL. Ha.

      • Jovi

        Seriously. You guys are brave. Or at least, you’ll have to be. ;)

      • Marchelle

        Aw man. It’s going to get messy up in here. Brace yourselves!

        And hells no to emailed versions. I knew. ;)

  • Mattingly

    I’m right in the middle of writing my thank you notes, and thought some people might be interested in how I’m doing it. I went to ‘postcards.com’ and made up my own design, which basically just means I have my favorite picture from our wedding on the front, and our address and a stamp box on the back. It cost just about $30 to have 100 printed and shipped to me! And I’m only going to end up spending about $30 on stamps since post card stamps are so much cheaper than normal ones… So a super budget (and environmentally friendly since it cuts down on envelopes and such!) way to go, AND I’ve already gotten some feedback from family and friends that have received theirs and they love them! Plus, it feels very special to be able to send everyone a picture from the day.

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    Thanks so much for the article.Really thank you! Keep writing.