Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ten Thank You Note Do's and Don'ts

Is there a statute of limitations on thank you notes? Well, according to Emily Post, you’re not off the hook if you haven’t sent your thank you notes – sending a note for a gift is still a must no matter how long it’s been. So what is the protocol? Contrary to popular myth couples don’t have a grace period of a year in which to send their thanks; it’s more like three months. Ideally, a note should be written the day the gift is received if at all possible. The memory of the pleasure of opening the gift is still fresh in your mind if you write it right away making composing the note all the more easier. Plus who wants to return from the honeymoon and face a mound of thank you notes still waiting for you!

Anna Post in her Wedding Parties book offers the following Ten Thank You Note Do’s and Don’ts to help you appropriately express your gratitude for the generosity shown you as a new couple:

  • Do personalize your notes, making reference to the person as well as the gift.
  • Do be enthusiastic, though you don’t need to gush. Avoid saying that a gift is the most beautiful you’ve ever seen, unless you really mean it.
  • Don’t send form letters or cards with printed messages and just your signature.
  • Don’t use email or post generic thank-you messages on your Web site in lieu of personal notes.
  • Don’t mention that you plan to return or exchange a gift or express dissatisfaction in any way.
  • Do mention what use you’ll make of money gifts. (Referring to the amount is optional.)
  • Don’t use lateness as an excuse not to write. If you’re still sending notes after your first anniversary, keep writing.
  • Do remember that a gift should be acknowledged with the same courtesy and generosity in which it was given.
  • Do promptly acknowledge the receipt of shipped gifts (so the sender knows it arrived safely) by mailing a note right away, or by calling and following up with a written note shortly thereafter.
  • Don’t include wedding photos or use photo cards if this means delaying sending the notes while you wait for the photos.
It really doesn’t matter if the bride or groom writes the note, it just matters that it gets written. Regardless of who writes, both of you should be mentioned as appreciating the gift. Either or both can sign the note or one can sign for both – all those options are appropriate.

Try not to think of the task as just so much “homework” or a perfunctory courtesy: a handwritten note and the time you take to pause for a moment and put down your thanks on paper demonstrates your appreciation just as much as the words you choose to write. In a world of email and online registries, such a gesture goes a long, long way!

Deb Merriner, Splash Consultant

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