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

It’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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