Thank You Letters
Your guests may have spent a considerable amount of time and money choosing a wedding gift for you. It is good manners therefore, to send each contributor a letter thanking them for their kindness and thoughtfulness.
Unfortunately, letter writing is a dying art and many people have had little practice at thanking people for gifts by letter. In fact, most see it as a chore to be endured in childhood at the end of birthday and Christmas celebrations. This need not be the case.
Thanking your guests for their presents is a task that can be shared by you both, either before or after the wedding, and is a great way to keep in contact with the special people who will share, or have shared your special day.
The question most often asked about thank you letters is “Should we send thank you letters upon receipt of our gifts or wait until after our honeymoon?”
The answer is to write your thank you letters as soon as you receive your gifts (or when you have been notified by the store you are using for your wedding list that a gift has been purchased for you). By writing immediately upon receipt, the safe arrival of the gift is acknowledged and the gift can be checked for any damage it may have sustained in transit. It also means that you write a few letters a week rather than having the full task to come back to at the end of your honeymoon.
Thank you letters for gifts that arrive very close to your wedding day, or on the day itself, should be written as soon as you return from your honeymoon. These letters can take a different form as you will be able to reminisce about the wonderful day you both enjoyed.
People unable to attend your wedding may also purchase gifts. A letter written after your wedding will give you the opportunity to tell them how everything went, as well as possibly including a wedding photograph.
Your thank you letters should always be hand written. Traditionally, thank you letters are written by the bride but, there is no reason why the task could not be shared. After all, your gift for both of you. Your letter should be personal and not of the ’round robin’ variety. Therefore, it should mention the gift that was received and the place it will take in your married life.
This task will be made a great deal simpler if you have a record of who gave what. This is made easy if most of your gifts came via a store wedding list service, as most stores record the giver’s names on their printout.
If money was received, do not mention the amount, but say what use you will be putting the money to. The giver will derive great comfort in knowing that their money has been put to good use in your home.
If you do not have thank you stationery that co-ordinates with your invitations etc, invest in some quality heavy-weight writing paper or cards. This need not be a costly exercise. Many stationers and supermarkets stock ranges of quality writing materials, some with a wedding theme.
Alternatively, you could produce your stationery on your PC, using word processing software, but do check the maximum weight of paper that your printer will accept before you buy the paper. If you produce your own stationery, do not be tempted to print the message!
When writing your letters, try not to be too formal. Formality has a place in the wedding preparations and celebrations, but you should thank your guests in writing as you would speak to them.
For thank you letters written after your wedding you may also like to include an anecdote from the day,perhaps a comment you heard from one of the guests or a funny story about something you saw. Tell the recipient a little about your honeymoon. Enlivening your letter will prevent it from being a plain thank you.
Also, try writing just from yourself rather than from “us”. This gives the opportunity to speak directly to the person you are writing to, rather than your recipient feeling that they are reading a mass-produced letter. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Thank you letter from the bride to guests who attended the wedding:
Dear Kate and Ben,
Thank you for the beautiful cushions. They look perfect with our new sofa and really add a splash of colour.
It was so lovely to see you both at our wedding and I hope you enjoyed yourselves. Our honeymoon in Florida was utterly fantastic. We enjoyed great weather and lots of huge meals. John sends his love, and says that we’ll have to get together for a curry once he’s settled into married life!
Look forward to seeing you both soon.
Thank you letter from the groom to guests who attended the wedding:
Dear Ken and Sheila,
Dropping you a quick note to thank you for our wedding present. People laughed at us for wanting such mundane things as a salad bowl, but thanks for persevering! It is just what we wanted, as it goes with the set that Beth’s parents bought her for her birthday last year. All we need now is the weather to suit a salad!
Hope everything is OK with you, it was great to see you at the wedding, and Beth and I are looking forward to seeing you at Christmas as usual.
All the best,
Thank you letter for a gift received before the wedding:
Dear Phil, Steph and Sophie,
Just dropping you a quick line to thank you for the wonderful set of gardening tools. We were so thrilled when we heard from the department store. John has now promised to tackle the garden as soon as we return from our honeymoon!
We look forward to seeing you both on the 12th. Fingers crossed for good weather!
Thank you letter to guests who gave money:
Dear Michelle and David,
Just a note to thank you for your generous wedding gift. It has been duly deposited in our savings account, which is earmarked for our dining room suite.
John and I have now chosen the colour scheme for the room, so the pleasure of choosing our furniture is not far away. Funny how quickly you get used to eating from a tray in the lounge – the cats love it!
You must come round once we are totally decorated and organised.
Thank you letter to guests who were unable to attend the wedding but sent a gift:
Dear Alan and Claire,
Thank you for the beautiful set of glasses. We received them in perfect condition and just in time to toast ourselves before setting off on our honeymoon.
We were so sorry that you weren’t able to share our day, and hope that the enclosed photo gives you a feel of the happy atmosphere we enjoyed. Dad says to let you know that his speech was fine, after the long-distance advice you offered him. He says the cheque’s in the post!
We missed you both, and look forward to seeing you next time you venture down south.
Grouped Thank you Letters
Gifts are sometimes received from a group of people that have clubbed together. There are a number of ways to thank people for these gifts. If the gift has come from a large number of people, it is probably simpler to write one letter to the group, which can be passed round the group, or displayed on the office notice board.
If the gift is received from a smaller number of people, or from a group who are not connected in any other way apart from friendship, a letter to each individual would be more appropriate. Here are two examples for ideas:
Thank you letter for a gift received from a group of people linked together:
I just wanted to drop you all a note to say thank you for the beautiful cutlery set. We have started to use it now John has found time to clear out the kitchen draws. It’s amazing how much stuff we’ve accumulated!
It was lovely to see so many of you at our wedding, and I hope you all enjoyed yourselves. I’ve certainly never seen Sarah and Karen hit the dance floor with such enthusiasm before!
Thank you all again for such a fabulous present.
Thank you letter for a gift received from a small group of people:
(This letter is to one of the group, although each should receive a slightly different one, tailored to the individual)
Thank you so much for the cafétière and matching mugs you bought us. I am in awe that you managed to organise Tony and Gary into even thinking about the wedding before the day itself, and even more surprised that you managed to weed any money out of them!
We must all get together once Beth and I are organised, as it feels like ages since the whole gang were together.
Speak to you soon,
Don’t let the writing of your thank you letters become a chore. Try writing a few letters each evening, or during your lunch break. Take time to think about the faces of the people you are writing to and the gift they gave – even if it wasn’t quite perfect or what you wanted!