While you might skip over passed hors d’oeuvres or personalized favors when it comes to shortcuts in your wedding planning, wedding thank you notes are something that should never be left off of your Zola Checklist. Since we live in a predominantly digital world—and since you probably didn't have time to thank every one of your guests in person on the big day—there’s something extra-nice about expressing your gratitude for your guests' presence (and presents!) through the written word. Enter: thoughtful, timely, hand-written thank you cards. To help you out, here are some etiquette tips and timing guidelines to help you mail your wedding thank you notes in proper style.

NOTE: If handwriting your thank yous sounded good in theory, but after a few you're hands are cramping, let us do it for you. No really. Now you can type messages for any of your guests or customize our suggested notes with Zola. We'll print whatever you write in a beautiful font. Hand cramps be gone. More below!

What to Write in Wedding Thank You Cards

While etiquette folks may argue over the finer details of wedding thank you notes, these are the basic rules you should remember when the time comes to take pen to paper:

  • Be specific. Let’s be honest, receiving a thank you card that simply says “Thank you for your gift” isn’t really saying much at all. Be specific in your thanks by mentioning exactly what you received as a gift and how you plan to use it. One exception to the “be specific” rule is for monetary gifts. While it's great to mention how you plan to use the funds, it is best to not mention the exact amount.

  • Make it personal. Mention a small detail about the person who gave you the gift, such as their part in the wedding or a time in the future that you will see them.

  • Be yourself. While thank you notes are, in a way, a formality, it’s important to use your true voice. This card not only shows your appreciation but is meant to make someone happy, so keeping it authentic is important.

  • Write clearly. While we aren’t saying you need to enroll in a calligraphy class, a legible message shows that you took the time.

  • Share the responsibility. You and your partner should both sign your names!

How to Address Thank You Notes

  • If you have a close relationship with the gift giver(s), feel free to address the note using their first names only.

  • If you have a formal relationship with the gift givers, use titles such as “Dr.” or "Ms.”

  • If the gift is from a family with children who also attended the wedding, consider addressing it to the whole family, such as "The Cunningham Family."

Wedding Thank You Note Template

Here’s a short and sweet example of a wedding thank you note message:

Dear Cunningham Family,

Thank you so much for the set of chef knives—we’ve already made some delicious dinners with them in the new house! It was so great to see you all at the wedding, and hopefully we will get to see you over the holidays when we are visiting.

Thank you again for such a wonderful gift, and for sharing such a special day with us. It meant the world.

Love,

Jane and Thomas

When Should You Send Wedding Thank You Cards?

Now that you have an idea about what to say inside your cards, you might be wondering how long you have to actually send them. Here are the rules of etiquette for when you should send your wedding thank yous:

  1. Send thank you notes before the wedding for gifts received before the wedding. The standard timeline for sending a note is is 2-3 weeks after receiving the gift.

  2. Thank you cards should be sent within three months of your wedding. There’s a sneaky “rule” floating around out there that you have a year, but for best decorum, send your thank you notes no later than three months after the wedding.

  3. It’s never too late. Yes, you should send cards within three months, but if that time comes and goes without a thank you note in sight, that doesn’t mean you should shrug and move on. If you have passed the three-month mark, later is always better than never.

Who Gets a Thank You Note?

Wedding thank you notes don’t stop at gift-givers. Showing some love to the people who helped make your entire wedding experience possible is just as important. This list will vary from couple to couple, but here are some ideas to get you started. Send a thank you note to:

  • Anyone who gave a gift, including monetary gifts and donations.
  • Anyone who helped on the day of your wedding, e.g., attendants, greeters, etc.
  • Anyone who hosted a party for you. (Note: If the party is hosted by a group, thank you notes should go to every host.)
  • Anyone who helped with small details or entertained guests, like arranging flowers or housing your wedding party for a shower weekend.
  • Your wedding party.
  • Your wedding vendors.

This list might be shorter or longer depending on whether you throw a small shindig or a large and lavish affair, but just remember: when in doubt, write a thank you note.

Wedding Thank You Note Writing Tips

  • Give your guests and gift-givers something special. Choose a beautiful card design that will make your thoughtful thank you notes more memorable — and even better if your cards coordinate with the rest of your wedding invitation suite!

  • Use Zola's free Thank You Note Manager to make your thank you note-writing process SO much easier. After you create your Zola Registry and start receiving gifts, we’ll automatically track who sent you what, when the gift was sent, and the giver’s address. Translation: every piece of critical thank you note information is automatically tracked (and downloadable!), waiting for you when the time comes to sit down and express thanks.

Let us do the work.

Like we said, handwriting thank you notes is no easy feat. So, let us take the hardest part out of the equation—the writing. Now on Zola, you can type your individual thank you note messages and we'll print whatever you write in a beautiful font.

Access this feature when you choose any thank you card on Zola. You'll have the option to type your message on the inside step of the customization.

So really, now you have no excuse... get to thanking!