Niceties & Notes

After the showers, parties and wedding excitement have died down and the sandy honeymoon suitcases have returned home, the happy couple has one big to-do waiting for them to complete as newlyweds – thank-you notes.

Traditionally, thank yous are mostly written by the bride on white, ecru or ivory stationery with her married initials monogrammed on the front. Normally, the notes are penned in blue or black ink. If the groom is contributing his own, he should write on a correspondence card with his name or initials monogrammed on the front. If you and your new hubby are dreading the job, try to make it a fun activity that you do together. Plan a date night after each of you have written a certain number of cards, come up with a reward system, or swap up who does which cards. For example, the bride could write thank yous to the groom’s side and vice versa, something that proves helpful in getting to know your new family.

If you want to add more of a modern, unique twist to your notes, try including a wedding photo inside or on the front of the card. Creative designs, such as watercolors or florals, are also becoming more acceptable, especially if your wedding stationery incorporated the same elements. According to Jan Osmond of Gwin’s Stationery, most couples stick with traditional thank yous for larger wedding presents, such as place settings, china or crystal, and use more fun, personalized notes for shower or hostess gifts. 

Above all, the sentiment inscribed is what truly counts. Be genuine, specific and personal. Osmond suggests focusing completely on the person you’re writing to. “Make it not so much about ‘me.’ Tell them, ‘You made my day easier because you helped with calligraphy, ’ or ‘Your gift helped us begin our new life together.’”

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Six months before the wedding Order your thank-you cards at the same time as your wedding invitations for the sake of convenience and consistency. 

One to five months before the wedding Create a list of any gifts you have received and who sent them. For any shower or engagement gifts, try to send a note within two weeks.

One week after the wedding Open all remaining presents and update your list. 

One to three months after the wedding Write at least three to four per day. Mail them weekly or monthly.

Three months after the wedding Have all notes sent out. Reward yourself with a fancy date night or weekend staycation with your new spouse.

Definite Don’ts

Do not use a template or form letter. Generic, prewritten notes never sound as genuine as a well thought out, personalized one. 

Do not send late thank yous. Staying within an acceptable time frame shows you’re truly appreciative and allows you to avoid any awkward, “Did you get my gift?” inquiries. 

Do not send an email. Social media and the Internet may make communication easier, but receiving something handwritten is much more special than sifting through spam.

Do not pass on the note. No, thank-you notes aren’t going out of style. Always, always, always send one.

Do not be overly familiar. When signing off, only use “love” and “with love, ” when writing to family and close friends. With all others, use words such as “sincerely, ” “best” and “fondly.”

Positive Phrases

For a quirky gift Point out the uniqueness of the gift and how you’ll never forget who gave it to you. “Thank you for the moose head bookends; they are so unique. We will think of you and our special day every time we reach for a good book.”

For money Don’t refer to it as “money” or “cash.” Instead, call it a “gift, ” and let them know how you’re going to put it to good use in building your new future together. “Thank you so much for your gracious gift. Daniel and I are saving to furnish our new house, and your kindness will make us one step closer to having our dream home.”

For something practical Give a concrete example for how you will make good use of the present, no matter how tedious. Bonus points if you can incorporate the giver. “Thank you so much for the kitchenware. We can’t wait to get cooking and hope you can come over for dinner soon.” 

text by amber franklin • photo by elise Poché

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