As a child I hated sending thank you cards.  My mother would always ask me, “Did you send your thank you cards?” and I’d always groan and say, “I’m working on it!” only to eventually forget.

But when I got married this past February, I couldn’t wait to send out my thank you cards. I had them in the mail as quickly as possible; I believe with in a week or two of receiving a gift.  It was so much fun picking out the cards and writing them up!  A completely different feeling altogether then sending thank you cards as a child.

I’ve come to realize how important it is to say thank you with a handwritten note in a timely manner. When it came to getting married I did not want to be rude or ill-mannered.

Today I’m going to give you 10 tips about the etiquette around writing thank you notes so that you don’t come across as being rude. These tips will also help you be organized so that you can get your cards out in a timely manner. Etiquette experts advise that you should get your thank you cards out to everyone a.s.a.p., within a week or two and definitely no longer than three months.

If for any reason you can’t make this deadline, it is always in good form to send a thank you note, regardless of whether it’s six months or even a year later. But don’t push the limit as gift givers are waiting for their thank you card! At the end of this post will be a link to my Pinterest board that critiques thank you cards.

Tip One

Keep the wedding card and gift together until you are ready to write the thank you note. This will help you when writing out thank you cards so that you can mention the gift, (e.g. “Thank you for the lovely toaster. It looks great in our kitchen!”) and make sure it goes to the right person!

Photo source ~ etsy.com

Tip Two

As soon as you open a gift try to write the thank you note. If you do this first thing you will not become overwhelmed. Some brides list out the gift and the gift giver and bring thank you cards along as they travel to their honeymoon and get started right away.This way the cards will be ready to mail as soon as you get home and your thank yous will be out in a reasonable time.

Tip Three

Resist over-the-top thank you cards that seem to be all the rage of late. What people appreciate most is the note inside. For my thank you notes I purchased some cute cards from a card store. They had two mice on the front carrying a huge strawberry together. It reminded me that marriage is a partnership and both people share the joys and the responsibility of the challenges.

Some lovely designed cards and stationery from http://www.twoheartsbecomeone.co.uk

Tip Four

Although, technically, you only need to send thank you notes to those who gave you gifts, please feel free to thank people who did not give you a gift. You might wonder who would have the nerve to attend your wedding without coming with a gift in hand!

These could be, for example, many different folks: people who could only afford the travel to your wedding but not a gift; if yours was a second marriage and had a “no gift requirement” on the invitation, a thank you note for attending is most appropriate. And don’t forget, one must never invite people to any celebratory event expecting a gift! That’s just bad form! The two of you as hostess and host should never expect a wedding gift as you are inviting and entertaining those who out of the goodness of their hearts are attending! For a well mannered wedding dismiss any expectations or sense of entitlement!

Many couples have a thank you on the table at the dinner. This is a wonderful idea but don’t forget to specifically thank those who travelled a distance to your wedding. Go the extra mile/km and send them a thank you note.

Handmade paper thank you card from http://www.afirstclasswedding.com

Tip Five

Always use proper language when writing to those who you do not know personally or who you know are very formal (e.g. your great aunt Elvira).  This includes using the salutation, “Dear so and so,” and ending in a formal manner such as, “Sincerely”.

Tip Six

Say ‘thank you’ twice.  The first thing you should say is, ” Dear Sylvia, Thank you so much for your . . .”  And the last thing you should say, “Again, thank you so much for the lovely . . . and kind thoughts.” Something like this reflects your sincerity.

Don’t feel limited to thank you cards. Handcrafted paper and envelopes are lovely to use for thank you’s! These available from White Dragon Paper on etsy.

Tip Seven

If you receive cash as a gift, say something like, “Thank you so much for your gift. We will be using to purchase patio furniture or toward the downpayment on a house or lawn and garden tools and equipment because we just bought a house!”

Tip Eight

Always mention the wedding card in your thank you note. Even if you just say, “Your wedding card was lovely!”, it works. Many people put a lot of thought into the wedding card they purchase or make by hand.  (We’ve all seen those ladies in the card aisle.  Reading, putting back, reading, putting back, for half an hour and wind up getting the first card they picked up anyways!) So please try to make a point of mentioning the card: “The doves were pretty. I loved the Celtic cross on the front.The message was beautiful.” Simple statements but very thoughtful.

Lovely note cards for a garden themed wedding from Martha Stewart

Tip Nine

While pre-printed thank you cards are popular right now they are really in bad taste. The message you send with a pre-printed card is that you are too absorbed in yourself to take the time to thank someone for going out of their way and incurring an expense to be at your wedding. Please show your guests that you are a thoughtful and considerate person by sending a hand written note. I would almost recommend that if you have been recently married or will soon be married and you sent out pre-printed cards without a handwritten note that you take the time to send a proper note to your gift givers. That would be very courteous!

Tip Ten

While getting married is a most wonderful experience, approach it with maturity and respect for yourself. Do not sign your thank you cards, “Mrs. John Smith.” You have a name, please use it and wear it out! If you are going to be using your married name, please consider signing the card, “Lisa Smith, nee Watson” or Mrs. Lisa Smith, nee Watson.” The word “nee” means born a certain name, now using a married name. Or, always nice to have the card from the couple which would be “John and Lisa Smith’. Don’t be so quick to give up your identity! If you are not assuming a married name, sign the card as you usually do or from both of you.

And that’s it for thank you notes.  It’s really not that hard.  Just be polite, on time and courteous.  Make sure you try to make each one individual and heartfelt.  And have fun!

Here is the promised link to my Pinterest Wedding Note inspiration Board with a good critique of thank you cards and notes!

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