Thank-You Note Rules & Traditions

Every engagement, shower and wedding gift deserves a prompt thank-you note. Here's how to keep the process manageable.

 

The Basics

Engagement gifts, shower gifts, wedding gifts—you'll probably never receive more presents at any one time during your life than you will around your wedding. Unfortunately, many a brides enthusiasm quickly dampens at the thought of writing the thank-you notes that must follow. Cheer up: The whole process of reflecting again on your treasures can rekindle all your best engagement and wedding memories. And with the right system, you can have your obligations polished off in no time.

As a rule, thank-you notes for shower gifts should be mailed within two or three weeks, and early wedding gifts should be acknowledged before the big day. Besides the fact that its good manners to respond promptly, theres a practical reason for this: The work wont get a chance to pile up. All remaining thank-you notes should be sent within three months. If youre falling behind, consider calling the people who sent gifts by mail to assure them the package did arrive; then follow up with a written note as soon as you can.

Keeping a record of all the gifts you receive—in a notebook, your computer, or on index cards—will help tremendously when you send your thank-you notes. Record the givers name, the store where the gift was purchased (if you know), the date it was received, a brief description of the gift, and finally, the date the thank-you note was sent. You can refer to this listing as you write—since proper etiquette dictates that you describe the gift in your note—and use it to keep track of which gifts youve acknowledged. If the same person gets you a gift for multiple events—say, a shower gift and a wedding gift—you must write a separate note for each gift.

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