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Picks on Paper - Tips and Etiquette for Thank You notes Wednesday, November 9, 2011 ~ 9:32 a.m.

If you haven't heard already, there's been a big debate over whether elementary schools should continue to teach children cursive handwriting or not. My husband actually thinks that we should do away with it. He says that he never uses it, and he doesn't see the need, given how many other more important things children need to be learning instead. I can see where he's coming from, but I personally disagree. I sometimes use cursive, and haha, I've actually made more of a point of using it ever since this debate began. More than that though, I think that handwriting is an art form, like calligraphy and typography. I think that losing cursive in schools is just another step toward not teaching any kind of handwriting at all to kids in the far away future, when we all just communicate through our electronic devices. Plus, if kids stop learning handwriting, will they eventually stop being able to read it, too? How many original historial documents are written in cursive? It's a slippery slope, folks!

Anyway, I bring this up debate today because I think that handwritten anything is really underappreciated nowadays. I probably sound like an old "fuddy duddy," but I think that as we all just type everything more and more, that handwriting becomes more of a nuisance than anything else, which is sad, if you ask me! However, as emails become more and more common, and handwriting becomes less popular, I do think that there are many people out there (including myself) that come to appreciate a sweet and simple handwritten note more than ever before. My mom has always been really great about sending notes (even though her handwriting is HORRID)...Dale and I even get cards in the mail from her for our anniversaries and on Valentine's Day, and she only lives 20 minutes away! This is one thing (of many) I've definitely tried to pick up from my mom now that I'm older.

Some people may disagree, but to this day, I still believe that wedding "Thank You" notes are one of those things that need to be thoughtfully handwritten. When I got married, I made sure that Dale and I both set aside the time to write personal "Thank You" notes for each and every one of the gifts we received, and I made sure that we got them out in a timely manner. With that being said though, when Dale and I first sat down to write our "Thank You" notes, I remember sitting there together and trying to figure out what exactly we should write to thank our family and friends for their monetary and household gifts! While it's definitely useful and practical enough of a gift, there's only so much you can say about that blender you received from Aunt Mildred, right? So for today's Picks, I've decided to share the five most helpful tips about writing a good "Thank You" note, including advice on proper etiquette and the letter's actual content.

Thank you cards and photos

Frame 36 Photography via Project Wedding | Nostalgic Imprints | Rifle Paper Co. |
Joyful on Etsy | The Wedding Chicks

  1. First, the fun part! If you're looking to have something special or personalized printed for your "Thank You" notes, try to place your order a couple of months prior to the wedding, if possible. Oftentimes, guests who aren't able to attend will send their gifts before the wedding, so it's good to be prepared!
  2. Aim to send your "Thank You" notes out within a month of receiving the gifts. I personally think you should get them out by the two week mark, but I think that a month...maybe still considered acceptable. In my mind, once you get into third month, you're in trouble, but remember that sending your "Thank You" notes late is better than not sending them at all!
  3. Handwrite your "Thank You" notes. A lot of people think this rule of etiquette is outdated and silly, but I think that it has become even more important to handwrite them now in the age of iPads, emails and text messaging. It's also considered proper to address the envelopes by hand, but your return address can be pre-printed or stamped on the front or back flap of the envelope.
  4. Generally, a solid "Thank You" note is about five sentences. These five sentences should include the following:

    • Thank your guest(s) for the gift.
    • Offer a detailed explaination as to how you'll use it. For instance, if you received a check, you might say that you'll be putting their generous gift toward your honeymoon, or a new bed.
    • Tell them how great it was to see them at the wedding or event. If they weren't able to attend your wedding, tell them that they were missed. The more details you can include here, the better. If you remember anything specific about the couple from your wedding, then include it!
    • Reference seeing them again sometime soon. If you know you'll be seeing them next month at Thanksgiving, then include that detail, as well.
  5. If possible, I think it's a good idea to have the bride write the "Thank You" notes for her friends and side of the family, and the groom write his. Oftentimes, you're able to write a more personalized note when you're writing it to someone you know, and it means more to the recipient, since they ultimately came to the wedding or sent the gift for YOU. Sign the note with both of your names at the end, though.

Insert Comment | View Comments (5)




erin (South Carolina)

Nov 9, 2011 9:54 AM

love, love, love this post! my husband and i made sure to crank out all our thanks you when we returned from our honeymoon. i've attended four weddings this past year and only received one thank you note from the couple.

Melina (United States)

Nov 9, 2011 7:57 PM

I absolutely love this post! Thank you notes are a touchy subject for me since when I got married I didn't know much about wedding etiquette and I kept being told that I had up to a year (such an old fashioned rule to me), so I put them off. Needless to say I got really overwhelmed when the hubs began training at the time and couldn't help me with them.

Layla Mayville {Simply Savannah Events} (Savannah, GA)

Nov 10, 2011 6:16 AM

I have to agree with you, although I did not like learning how to write in script when I was in elementary school, now I wished I had tried harder! I'm obsessed with looking at fun script and even download some to my font folder. People who have beautiful script should be proud--I always admired my grandmother's handwriting <3

The Perfect Palette (ga)

Nov 10, 2011 11:16 AM

Such great tips. Thanks for sharing!!

postcards & pretties (United States)

Nov 10, 2011 12:04 PM

Great tips! I love the postcard ones. Obviously!