Everything you need to know about writing your wedding thank you notes - A handbook for eliminating stress and getting the job done!

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You made it! You survived the big day. You ate, you drank, and now you’re married. All your pre-wedding stress has melted away… and turned into post-traumatic wedding stress disorder (not a real thing, sorry). You have a huge pile of thank-you notes to write. UGH it’s like homework for adults and you’ve got serious writer’s block.

Not to worry, my friend. I’ve written a simple guide to help you clear the mental clutter and get to the goal: a tidy pile of completed and addressed notes ready for the mailbox.

Let’s enter the circle of honesty and trust for a moment. Guys, I failed at this. Miserably. I sent out my thank-yous randomly here and there entirely too late after my wedding and I’m pretty sure in the chaos there were some guests that never got any. Yikes. I’m embarrassed. Don’t be me. Be kind, be smart, be intentional, and get. the. job. done.

FIRST: Gather your tools

Writing thank you notes requires actual greeting cards. I've got all kinds of awesome designs in my shop! From cute and casual to elegant and formal, I've got you covered. You're welcome.

 

SECOND: BE THANKFUL!

Stop! Stop with the guilty “I must complete this task” attitude. I know it sounds cheesy and dumb but being thankful can really inspire you to speak from the heart. When you’re truly thankful, you’ll find you have a lot more to say! Take a few minutes to remember your day and all the fun you had. Take a moment to think about all the people that gave up their only day off to come see you from far away. Take a moment to remember the fun of opening a giant pile of gifts and cards. Take a moment to think about how empty your bank account would be without all of your guests’ help in starting a new life. Okay… good enough. Let’s move on.

THIRD: WRITE!

Now what are you supposed to say? And how much do you say? And how do you say it?

For one, you don’t need to write a 5 paragraph essay to each guest. Guests are understanding. They know you have 200 other notes to send out. Some of your guests may still be experiencing hand cramps from their own thank-you notes 30 years ago. Keep the notes to this basic strategy: simple, kind, and to the point. I personally think you need at least 3-5 sentences to get the appropriate balance. This is purely a made-up number, but it works as a starting point. (There are exceptions, of course. If Grandma gave you a huge check, paid for your honeymoon, or traveled from 11 states away to come see you, it’s worth taking a few extra minutes to thank her sincerely and at length!)

Here is a simple structure you can use for each note:

A simple strategy for writing wedding thank you notes | How to word wedding thank you notes

WHAT TO DO IN A FEW STICKY SITUATIONS

Some gifts aren’t that cut and dry. This little formula works great if you got something straight from your registry (you know, the ideal scenario.) But what if something goes wrong? I’ve got you covered. Here's what to do if...

  • You plan on returning the gift
    • No problem. You should still thank them for the gift! You definitely should not mention that you’re returning it. Your friend doesn’t need to know! Just say thank you.
  • You got a gift from someone you don’t know
    • Talk about awkward. Maybe your dad’s friend from work sent you a set of silverware. It was extremely generous of this person to give you something when they’ve never met you! Just be honest and say so. Try something like:

Dear Michael and Gina,

I was delighted to receive a set of silverware from you guys! I think you are very generous to give a gift when we have never met. My dad tells me you are the nicest couple, and I’m sure he’s right! Thank you for taking the time to celebrate with my family!

  • You completely lost track and have no idea which gift was given
    • Don’t focus on the gift. Be sure to say thank you somewhere in the card, and focus on the person instead. Try something like:  

Dear Lydia and Ryan,

We want to thank you for coming to celebrate with us last weekend! You have always been a good friend to us, and it meant a lot that you were able to share in our joy! We look to you guys as an example of what joy marriage can bring.

  • You got cash or a gift card
    • Chances are, you’ll get a lot of cash and a lot of gift cards. You don’t need to mention the amount of the gift. That’s a little weird and tacky. Instead, explain what you might use the money for. Try something like:

Dear Marcie,

We are so glad you were able to make it to our wedding! Thank you so much for the generous gift! With your help, we are planning to buy a new kitchen table where we can share memories with family and friends. Thank you for helping us to create a beautiful home we can enjoy for years to come.

THIRD: DON'T FORGET TO KEEP TRACK!

Hopefully you already have a list of guests and the gifts you received from each guest. (If you’re just reading this post to plan ahead, here’s a post with a free template you can use to organize your list.) After you write each thank-you, make sure to cross off the names you have completed BEFORE you seal the envelope. 

FOURTH: EAT ICE CRAEM

Or something like that. My personal celebration of choice is usually ice cream. You've done it! Now get your butt to the post office and get them in the mail before you're three months late! Not that I've ever done that...