Q: It’s been five months since a friend’s wedding, and I have yet to receive a thank-you note for my gift. Is this amount of time acceptable? As a bride-to-be, when should I plan to send out my own notes?
A: Promptness counts when it comes to thanking friends and family for their gifts. You may have heard that you have up to a year after your big day to send out your notes, but that’s not true (sorry!). Here’s a timeline for all your special occasions: engagement party and shower, within two to three weeks of the festivities; gifts sent before the wedding date, as soon as possible, but definitely before the wedding; gifts given on the day itself, within three months; gifts received after your wedding, within two to three weeks.
It may be an oversight on your friend’s part or perhaps she’s simply overwhelmed by the task. If you find yourself in the same position, you should still send your notes no matter how many months have passed. According to Kelly Brown, author of 101 Ways to Say Thank You (Sterling), you can acknowledge the late date by writing, “In all the excitement of the wedding I somehow managed to separate your gift from your card…” or “Many apologies for the tardiness of my note. As you can imagine we are still getting used to married life…” To avoid getting behind, it’s best to write your thank-yous as soon as gifts start arriving. Keep a list of what you’ve received and what notes you’ve sent. Get your fiancé involved as well. He can write to his family members and friends. Just don’t use e-mail. For a wedding, only handwritten notes are acceptable.