Rules of Etiquette for Wedding Thank You Notes

You’re back home from your honeymoon, and you have a house or apartment full of great wedding gifts. Now it’s time to show your gratitude for the people who helped make your wedding so special. Here’s how to tastefully share your sentiment.

Who gave the gift? If the giver is closer to you than to your mate, you should write the thank-you note. If it’s a friend or relative of your mate, then he/she should give thanks. If the givers are close friends or relatives, your greeting should be informal (“Dear John and Mary”). If it’s someone you know second-hand, like friends of your parents, then “Dear Mr./Mrs. Smith” is more appropriate.

Identify the gift. Don’t just dismiss them with a lukewarm “Thank you for your thoughtful gift.” It sounds like a form letter you’re just sending out of obligation. Much better: “Thank you for the wonderful silver service” or “Thank you for the eight elegant wine glasses.”

Explain how the gift will be used. “We look forward to curling up by the fireplace under your toasty quilt this winter.”

What if the gift is cash? You’re free to identify the amount in your thank-you note, and let the giver know how the money will be spent. “Your generosity will help us furnish our barren family room; we’ve already picked out some great couches”… or “Your generous charitable contribution in our names will mean food security for many local needy families.”

Thank them for their participation, too. If the giver(s) attended your wedding, add a little note about how great it was to see them again and share your special night with them.

Personalize it. Thank long-distance guests for caring enough to travel to your wedding. Recognize them for any special help they provided during your planning, ceremony or reception. Acknowledge anything unusual they did to help make your day truly special.

Who signs? Typically, only one of you will write each thank-you note. But close the note with another “Thank You” and something like “Love from both of us.” Then sign the writer’s name.

No photos! Your thank-you card should be just a thank-you card, not a photo gallery.

No post-wedding news. If you’re doing something special as newlyweds, you can share that information in a personal visit, an email, a Skype conference or a phone call. Your thank-you note should be brief and to the point, and there’s no need to clutter it up with a narration about your life.

No combo notes. If your wedding fell on your birthday, and you got a birthday gift, too, write a separate note for it.

By the way, you have up to three months from your wedding to send your cards.

Following these simple guidelines will further strengthen your bonds of family and friendship, and reinforce your etiquette skills to one and all.

© Fourth Estate Audio, 2017 – Jay Congdon is president of Fourth Estate Audio, a professional Chicago DJ and Chicago Wedding DJ company.                          

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