Here are some etiquette tips and timing guidelines to help you mail your wedding thank you notes in proper style.
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 everyone on your guest list 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 minutes your 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!
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!
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 member with children who also attended the wedding, consider addressing it to the whole family, such as "The Cunningham Family."."
There are many reasons to consider sending thank you cards to your wedding guests, but your thanks can be made all the more special with specific card messages. Use these card wording examples to personalize your thank you cards and show your gratitude for your guests’ thoughtfulness.
Though it’s a good idea to personalize your thank you cards, doing so might not always be feasible—at least for every guest. But that doesn’t mean you can get away with a bland and boring template either. Use this wording example for guests you’re not very close to, like new friends, distant relatives, or coworkers.
Thank you so much for celebrating our special day with us! It was lovely to see you and we appreciate your love and support as we begin our new chapter together. Thank you for your generous gift and for helping make the day so memorable.
Lara and Phil
Though its good etiquette for guests to give you a wedding gift, it’s not mandatory—and neither is a thank you card. Still, it’s a polite and kind gesture to thank guests for showing up to your big day and supporting you in other ways.
Dear Mr. Fields,
Thank you for celebrating our wedding day with us. We appreciate you showing your support and standing by our side as we embark on the next part of our journey together!
Erika and Amy
Whether you had a destination wedding or invited guests from places far and away, attendees deserve a little bit of extra gratitude for making the trek. Show your appreciation for their journey by mentioning it specifically in your thank you card.
Dear Dr. Atwell,
Thank you so much for taking the long journey to share our big day with us! We know how far you had to travel, so having you in attendance at our wedding was all the more special. We hope you had as much fun as we did!
Kelly and Joseph
Thank guests who purchased wedding gifts off your registry by mentioning how you intend to use the gift. End with a thoughtful and appreciative remark for the guest’s generosity:
Dear Peter and Ellen,
Thank you so much for the lovely set of mixing bowls! We’ve been enjoying our recent attempts at baking and these bowls will be a great help as we continue to get better! We’d love to invite you over for a taste test soon—maybe for a sample of some red velvet cupcakes!
Katherine and Ronald
Money—whether in the form of a cash gift, a gift card, charitable donation, or contribution to your honeymoon fund—is almost always a welcome gift. When you write your thank you card for a monetary gift, mention how you plan to use the money and thank the guest for their generosity and thoughtfulness.
Dear Rodriguez Family,
It was so lovely to see the whole family and enjoy your support for our special day! Your generous gift will go toward helping us furnish our beautiful new home. We can’t wait to see you again and thank you for your love and support!
Adam and Kyle
When guests chip in together to purchase a big-ticket item, send each guest an individual thank you card, but mention the group effort.
Thank you so much for attending our wedding and for the stainless steel grill! It was such a thoughtful gift. We’re so lucky we have friends who share our passion for backyard barbecues, and we can’t wait to get everyone together this summer for some steaks and kebabs!
Iris and Kevin
Not every wedding gift is guaranteed to suit your tastes—especially if it didn’t come off your registry. Whether you plan on exchanging it or tucking it away somewhere where houseguests won’t see it, share your appreciation for your guest’s thoughtfulness all the same.
Dear Monica and Jacob,
Thank you for coming to our wedding and for the lovely dinnerware set! It was incredibly thoughtful and will be a huge help as we begin our lives together! We hope to see you again soon!
Taylor and Victor
Guests who can’t attend your wedding but still want to show their support will often send a wedding gift in lieu of their presence. Show your appreciation for their generous gift by specifically calling out their thoughtfulness in your thank you card.
Dear Rita and Robert,
It was so kind and thoughtful of you to send us such a lovely wedding gift! Though we missed seeing you in person, we’ll think of you every time we use the beautiful crystal decanter and hope to see you both the next time you’re in town!
Rebecca and Sam
In many cases, your parents and in-laws helped play a major role in planning and prepping for your big day—not to mention the unbridled love and support they provided up to and during your ceremony. Demonstrate your sincere generosity with a heartfelt thank you.
Dear Mom and Dad,
Thank you so much for taking part in our wedding day and for all of your love and support you’ve given us over the years. We are so thankful we could share our special moment together with you and for the beautiful toast and kind words. We are so thankful that we’re all family now!
Lots of love,
Erin and Chris
Though the lead-up to your wedding is understandably hectic, you might still be overwhelmed after you tie the knot and share your honeymoon together. Though wedding thank you cards might not be on the top of your mind, it’s still a good idea to send them, even if they’re a little late.
Dear Cara and Lucas,
We’ve never been known for being on time (which is probably one of the reasons we’re so perfect together!), so we know you’re not surprised to receive this card so late! Still, we’re so sorry this card is late in coming, but we wanted to thank you for spending time with us on our big day and for being such special (and patient…) friends!
Sarah and Brian
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:
Send thank you notes before the wedding for gifts received before the wedding. The standard timeline for sending a note is 2-3 weeks after receiving the gift.
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.
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.
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, including groomsmen and/or bridesmaids
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.
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!
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