Tips for Writing Wedding Thank You Notes (& Wording Ideas)

Please don’t let the idea of sending thank-you cards make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. If you have time to prepare ahead, you can make things much simpler for yourself when it comes time to show your gratitude to every one of your guests for the presents they brought and the fact that they were able to attend your event.

When to Send Your Thank You Notes?

In the event that it is at all feasible, the thank you cards for the bridal shower and any other pre-wedding festivities should be written within two weeks of receiving the items that were given.

Make it a priority to finish any projects associated with the wedding reception presents you got within three months after the big day. The horrible illusion that you have up to a year to compose your notes is perpetuated by this idea!

If you are really too overloaded to write your notes within these time periods, you may want to think about sending pre-printed cards to your guests to let them know that you have received their presents and that you will follow up with a handwritten letter as soon as possible. The note may have something to the effect of this:

Who Gets a Thank You Note?

  • Guests who brought or sent gifts
  • Each person who contributed to a group gift
  • Anyone who provided an intangible item (like the use of a car or other property) or service (homemade food, helping to decorate the reception hall)
  • Bridal Shower Hosts/Hostesses
  • Bridal Party
  • House Party, including the Flower Girls
  • Family members who read Scripture during the ceremony
  • Your officiant or clergyman
  • Vendors who provided exceptional service

A Few Rules…

  • Thank you notes are written by ONE person and signed by the person who wrote the note.
  • Only send pre-printed cards to let guests know you received their gifts and that you will follow up with a handwritten note later.
  • Each gift requires its own card, even if you receive a shower gift and a wedding gift from the same person or family.
  • Use dark blue or black ink since it is “more proper” for correspondence and easier to read than other colors.
  • Mention each gift by name in your note.

…and a Few Tips

  • Write your notes in a conversational tone, as if you were thanking the giver in person. Don’t worry about trying to dazzle your recipient with a formal verse or clever quips.
  • Be sure to put your new address (if you are moving) on your envelopes so that your guests will have your correct address.
  • Address your thank you note envelopes at the same time as your invitation envelopes so that you will have them ready to go when the gifts start arriving.
  • Don’t use White Out on your notes.

Organize your Guest List

It is recommended that you add a few extra columns of guest information to the list in order to assist you when you are ready to compose your thank you notes. This is because the majority of brides use a spreadsheet to arrange the addresses of their guests and keep track of the answers they get. Make sure that you have a distinct row for each item that you got from the various occasions, such as the engagement party, showers, luncheons, and the wedding day.

Get a spreadsheet template that you may download and use as a beginning point when compiling your address list for envelope addressing. You are free to add as many columns as necessary to this list.

Be sure to ask a member of your family or a close friend you can trust to keep track of all the presents you receive at the bridal shower, the receptions, and the wedding by acting as the Gift Tracker. You may even put them in charge of your guest list spreadsheet and ask them to maintain it for you so that you don’t have to worry about it.

Some suggested columns to add to your guest spreadsheet include:

  • Who invited them – the Bride, Bride’s parents, the Groom, Groom’s parents?
  • Did the guests participate in the wedding? If so, what did they do?
  • Which events did they attend (bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, wedding)
  • Did they attend the wedding ceremony or reception?
  • List the name of the gift(s) received (be specific, or include a description of it if you don’t know the name). Remember that each gift gets its own thank you note
  • A column to record the date you mailed the thank you card
  • Additional columns for any other details you want to remember when writing your notes

Those who took part in the preparations for the wedding or the ceremony itself should get notes that are lengthier and more personal than those given to the other guests. You can quickly filter the list and pick which of these lengthier notes to write first if you keep track of who these individuals are on the list and note down their positions.

Anatomy of a Thank You Note – Sample Text

The Salutation“Dear Aunt Sue and Uncle Bob,”

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Allred,” 
Make a personal remark or reference“John and I were so happy to see you at the wedding!”

“Mary and I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of your gift.”

“David and I missed seeing you at the wedding, but we understand that you couldn’t miss your daughter’s tournament.”

“Dancing the Hokey-Pokey with you at the reception was so much fun!”
Express your gratitude, mentioning the gift by name“Thank you so much for the crystal decanter you gave us. It is simply stunning!” 
Explain how you plan to use or display the gift“It is now on permanent display in the wine bar in our den.” 
Thank them again“Again, thank you so much for your thoughtfulness.”

“Thank you for being a part of our celebration.” 
Closing“Warmest regards, Sarah Smith”

“Yours truly, John Jones” 
The date is written in the lower left corner“February 12”

“February 12, 2023”

Suggested Closings

Sincerely, Regards, Kindest regards, Gratefully, Truly, Fondly, Yours Truly, Affectionately, Warmest regards

What not to Say

  • When writing your thank-you message, try to avoid opening with “Thank you for…” It has a rather general tone to it.
  • If at all feasible, you should avoid beginning a statement with the pronoun “I.” It is preferable, to begin with “You…” rather than with both of your names at once, as in “Craig and I…”
  • Don’t bother apologizing if you’re going to be late with a letter; just write it!
  • It is not the appropriate moment to discuss any recent life updates with others, such as a new job or promotion, the storm that destroyed your honeymoon, or anything else along those lines. In the letter of thanks, you should express your gratitude for the hospitality of your visitor.
  • If you are the recipient of a monetary present, your thank-you message should not include the phrases “check” or “cash.” Instead of saying “your money,” try referring to it with phrases like “your generosity” or “your compassion.” You may say anything along these lines:
  • “I was blown away by the thoughtfulness of your amazing gift. It will make it possible for us to buy the new outside barbecue from Lowe’s that John has had his eye on. We are going to make it a point to bring you around for supper very soon so that John may put his abilities behind the grill to the test.”
  • Never let it be known that you sent back their present, that you got many copies of the same item, or that it was damaged in transit.
  • If the color of the present is something that you don’t like or if the item itself is something that you can’t stand, try to look on the bright side of things:
  • “It was really sweet of you to give them the bunny salt and pepper shakers that you had drawn yourself. You have a great deal of artistic skill. We are looking forward to putting them on display for the next Easter meal that we are hosting.”
  • Avoid using “I” more often than “you” in your writing. The attention of the message is directed at the visitor, not toward you.
  • When writing a single message, try to avoid using the same phrase many times (love, appreciate, thoughtfulness, etc.).

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