Think wedding stress ends with “I do”? No such luck. The idea of returning from your honeymoon and, like kids on Christmas, ripping through all your wedding gifts sounds grand. But beware: your post-present high might be killed when you realize that you have one final chore: thank-you notes. The task of writing a personal note to 180 guests is definitely daunting, but it’s not impossible. Here’s a survival guide:
Make notes of your own
Keep in mind that the thank-you note project begins way back when you gather your guests’ names and addresses to send the invitations. Do yourself a big favor: Save that list! Make a copy of it at invitation time and put it away. Before you start opening gift boxes, find that list and record each gift next to the giver’s name and address.
Be sure to write a few words about the gift so you don’t get confused. You’ll never remember which of the 10 crystal vases your Aunt Alma gave you, so be specific: “Waterford Balmoral vase.”
Put a big check mark next to the guest’s name when the thank-you note has been signed, sealed, and delivered — this is the part you’ll enjoy most.
Get a jump on it
Try to start writing thank-yous as soon as gifts start arriving. This may mean before the wedding, so be prepared.
Don’t attempt to get them all done in one sitting; trust us — it simply won’t happen.
The rule is that you’re supposed to get thank-yous out for gifts received before the wedding within two weeks after they arrive; after the wedding, within a month after you return from the honeymoon. Well, it’s a nice thing to aspire to, but I say if you get ‘em all done before (okay, around) your one-month anniversary, you’ll be happy and so will your guests.
Set up a designated writing area at home. Make sure it’s a comfortable place, not too far from the kitchen or bathroom, with a TV or radio nearby.
Buy yourself some great stationery. After the wedding, act like a married person and get the good stuff. Go for the heavy-duty Crane’s notecards in ecru. Even better: Have them monogrammed with your new initials. That’s right, flaunt your married status!
Equip yourself with pens that you like to write with. Stay away from the cheap supermarket variety that make big ink blobs when they’re overused. Go for a more grown-up writing instrument — roller-ball pens are much smoother. Mont Blanc makes some impressive models, if you’ve got the cash. Go ahead and have it monogrammed, as long as you’re in we’re-married-now mode.
What to write
Share your thoughts about the gift (if you didn’t like it, lie!) and what you plan to do with it (or what you would do with it, if you liked it).
Add a personal reference — something that proves you’re not writing the same message to every single guest.
While the etiquette is to sign only one name to each note and just mention your beloved (“Pooky and I”) in it, lots of couples these days think it’s nice to sign both their names, especially if the thank-you is to mutual friends and not your Aunt Edna, who your new spouse hasn’t met yet.
Sample thank-you note for a cash gift:
Dear Aunt Sue and Uncle Tom,
Sample thank-you note for a gift chosen from your bridal registry:
Thank you so much for your generous gift. Lila and I are saving for a new home and thanks to you, we’ll be shopping for our dream house very soon. Again, many thanks for thinking of us and for sharing our special day.
Dear Elizabeth and Albert,
Sample thank-you note for a gift you really didn’t like:
Thank you so much for the crystal wine goblets. We now have a complete set! Derek and I are looking forward to your next visit, when we can enjoy a drink together. Thank you again for thinking of us at this special time in our lives.
Warmest regards, Lila
Dear Winona and Leif,
Thank you for the fluorescent lava lamps. You are both so thoughtful! Every time we look at them, we will think of you and this special time in our lives. Again, many thanks for sharing our joy.
Fondly, Lila and Derek