Wedding Planning Guide
Wedding Thank You Card Etiquette
Etiquette rules and wording examples to help you tackle this post-wedding task.
The wedding planning is over (whew!) and you’re back from your honeymoon—now there’s one last thing left to do: Send wedding thank-you cards. Every gift and every guest should be acknowledged with a heartfelt note. And though this may seem like a daunting task, we’ve created this guide to help you stay organized. Keep reading for our best advice on wedding thank you card etiquette, when to send wedding thank you cards, strategies on how to write a thank you card, and helpful wedding thank you messages and templates.
WEDDING THANK YOU CARD ETIQUETTE
With all the rules and etiquette surrounding weddings, expressing your gratitude to your guests is probably the most important. Here are some guidelines for who to send thank you cards to, and when to send them.
1. Send a thank you note to every guest, even if they didn’t give a gift. Simply thank them for being with you on your special day.
2. Send your thank you notes for gifts received before the wedding within two to three weeks. And for gifts that arrived on or after your wedding day, send your thank yous within three months.
3. Cards should be handwritten. Take the time to write a personal note—even if it’s brief—to show your gratitude.
4. Don’t forget to thank your vendors. Like most of us, wedding vendors appreciate recognition for a job well done, and they will love having your thank you note as a testimonial for future customers. Here are some vendors to remember to thank:
- Wedding planner/coordinator
- Venue manager
- Cake designer
- Bandleader / DJ
- Hair stylist
- Makeup artist
WEDDING THANK YOU CARD FAQS
When should we send our thank you cards?
The wedding thank you card etiquette timeline is a tricky one. For any gifts received before the wedding day, aim to send your thank you notes within two to three weeks of receiving the gift. This timeline also applies to engagement party gifts and bridal shower gifts, even if you've already thanked them in person (for example, while opening presents at the bridal shower). Also, if you received a gift from a group of people, you should send individual thank you notes to each person who contributed to the present. For gifts received on or after the wedding day, send them within three months.
Wait, what? I thought I had one year to send my wedding thank you cards!
Sorry to break it to you, but the idea that "you have a whole year" to send your thank you notes is a complete myth. We're not sure where it originates from but trust us, it's a whole lot easier to write your thank you cards when you're enjoying the wedding afterglow and the happy memories are still fresh in your mind, rather than when you're nearing your first anniversary. Aim to send all your wedding thank yous within three months.
How many thank you cards should we order?
A good rule of thumb is to order the same number of wedding invitations you had ordered, plus 20% more. This will ensure you'll have enough thank you cards for all guests who attended the wedding, plus extras for everyone else that should be thanked (see the next question below).
Who should we send thank you cards to?
Be sure to send thank you cards to everyone on this list:
- Guests who attended the wedding (whether or not they gave a gift)
- Guests who could not attend the wedding but gave a gift
- Anyone who was not invited to the wedding but gave a gift
- Wedding party members
- Wedding vendors
- Your parents
- Anyone who attended the engagement party
- The engagement party host(s)
- Anyone who attended the bridal shower
- The bridal shower host(s)
- Anyone who assists you before, during, and after the wedding
- Anyone who contributed financially to the wedding day
What about a guest who did not get us a gift?
Even though it might sting a bit to not have received a gift, remember that you're still grateful that they made the effort to attend and celebrate with you, even if they came empty-handed. Be gracious in your thank you message and let them know how much you appreciate them being there for you. And who knows, there's always a chance they somehow forgot the gift and your thank you card will serve as a reminder for them to go to the post office to mail your present.
What if we returned their gift? What's the best way to word the thank you card?
There's no need to mention the fact that you returned their gift for something else. Simply thank them for their original wedding gift so they know you received it, then move onto something else—like sharing a favorite memory of the gift-giver from the wedding day.
What should we write in our thank you cards?
We have plenty of helpful thank you card templates listed below but in general, here's an easy guide to follow:
1. Start with a sentence or two expressing your thanks for attending the wedding, if applicable, as well as for the gift.
2. Next, share a tidbit or two about how excited you are about the gift and how you plan to use the gift.
3. End with a sweet sign-off.
What's the best way to keep track of who gave which wedding gift?
As you begin receiving gifts, record the gift and the name of the gift-giver into a spreadsheet; try to keep the doc as up-to-date as possible so that you don't have to scramble once you're ready to send thank you cards. Add a column to the spreadsheet to check off once you've mailed their thank you note so that you can easily keep track.
At the bridal shower, as you open presents, ask someone in the wedding party to make a list of who gave you what. (Pro tip for any bridesmaids reading along here: It's a super-thoughtful gesture to also order a pack of matching thank you cards when you're purchasing bridal shower invitations; give them to the bride-to-be right after the shower so she can get a jump on writing her thank yous.)
On the wedding day, it might be helpful to have a friend stationed at the welcome table. As guests arrive at the wedding and drop off gifts, have a sheet of pre-labeled stickers ready. Label two stickers the same number; instruct your friend to place a sticker on the card and another coordinating sticker on the gift box. This way, if a card is taped to a wrapped gift but they somehow get separated, you'll still be able to figure out who the gift was from.
How do you thank guests for a cash gift?
These days, many couples are opting for cash gift registries instead of physical gifts. Thanking guests for a cash gift should follow the same protocol: Thank them for their gift (but there's no need to mention the specific amount of cash they gave) and be sure to share how you're planning to use the funds (for home down payment, to book a kayak excursion during the honeymoon, for the new sofa on your wedding registry, etc.). The more specific, the better.
My handwriting is awful and my spouse's is even worse! Can we email our thank you notes?
We're firm believers that thank you cards should be handwritten. Sure, emailing your thanks would be quicker and more convenient, but your message, no matter how heartfelt, might come across a little cold and less personal when sent via email (and think about the number of emails you receive in a day—you wouldn't want your thank you message to be lost in the shuffle). Your wedding is a momentous occasion and your guests deserve a personal, handwritten note expressing your gratitude for attending.
What type of thank you card should we use?
In our opinion, simple, blank thank you cards are best. Bonus points if the card design complements your wedding invitation or other wedding stationery. If you choose a monogrammed thank you card, be sure that the initials reflect your married name (which means you should wait to use your married monogram until after the wedding).
Using a photo from the wedding on your thank you card is another great idea, but be sure to time it right. Don't put off sending your thank you cards because you're waiting to receive photos from your photographer. Instead, ask your photographer to provide you with one or two wedding portraits to use for your thank you cards shortly after the wedding (with the understanding that the rest of the wedding images will be ready at a later date).
Who should write the thank you cards? How should we sign them?
Since the wedding gifts are for both of you to enjoy, the thank you card should also be from the two of you. We suggest that you try to divide and conquer to make the task seem less daunting: Divvy up the writing duties with your spouse (for example, you can write the ones for your family members and close friends, while your partner tackles his side); and it's totally fine to sign both of your names—speed is the name of the game here, and if a little forgery will get the thank you cards out the door faster, we're all for it.
HOW TO: WRITE YOUR WEDDING THANK YOU CARDS
Follow these steps to stay organized and send your thank you cards on time.
1. Order thank you cards in advance. You’ll also need them for engagement party and bridal shower gifts, in addition to wedding gifts. Be sure to order plenty; to create a cohesive look, order thank you cards and postage stamps that match your wedding invitations. (Note: Avoid sending thank you cards with your married name before the wedding.)
2. Stay organized. Ask your maid of honor to help keep track of gifts at the pre-wedding parties and at the wedding (or enlist the help of another pal on the wedding day). Use a copy of your master guest list to record gifts received next to each guest’s name.
3. Save time with Minted’s free address printing. Upload your guests’ names and addresses into your free online address book, and Minted will address all the recipient envelopes for you.
4. It’s a good idea to send thank you notes right away so you don’t forget or end up with an overwhelming amount to get through.
5. Use our wedding thank you wording template and sample thank you notes below to help you find the right words for every gift-giving circumstance.
WEDDING THANK YOU CARD WORDING EXAMPLES & TEMPLATES
Use our wedding thank you message samples below as a starting point for what to write in a thank you card, then add personal touches and your unique voice to make them your own.
1. Start with one of these thank you greetings and mention the specific gift.
Dear Aunt Sue,
Thank you for the stand mixer, it made our day when we opened it.
Hi Jess and Kendall!
We are so grateful you were able to be there for our wedding.
Dear Mr. Thompson,
Thank you for the generous wedding gift.
We sincerely appreciate your contribution to the SPCA on our behalf.
2. Mention how you will use it or what it means to you.
We can’t wait to whip up a batch of Mom’s famous chocolate chip cookies!
It meant a lot to us to share our special day with you.
We are saving up for our big move to LA and we appreciate your support.
The organization is important to us, and we’re so grateful you remembered our wishes.
3. Add a personal message.
We’ll see you at the annual barbecue at Uncle Bernie’s cabin.
We had a blast dancing with you at the reception!
I am so grateful to have such thoughtful and caring coworkers.
Can’t wait to catch up over dinner soon.
4. Say thank you again.
5. Sign off.