When To Send Wedding Thank You Cards
Before the Internet became part of everyday life, sending thank you cards to acknowledge a gift or a favor was common practice. Today, handwritten and personalized thank you notes are still the norm, but the simple act of sending out thank you cards for wedding presents has been subject to some controversy.
A Note for Every Gift
According to etiquette maven Emily Post, the bride and groom should acknowledge each wedding present received with a sincere note. The note should mention what the gift was and how the couple would put it to use. Cash gifts should be acknowledged with a similar note specifying the amount. Generic thank you cards are considered déclassé and lacking the authenticity of truly grateful recipients.
Time Frame for Thank You Notes
Ideally, thank you notes should be mailed out to gift givers within two weeks from the date of the wedding. However, this is a tall order for those who have just lived through a major event and are currently in the midst of blending their lifestyles.
Considering that the notes have to be personalized and handwritten, etiquette experts recommend three months as the magic number. This is a realistic time line especially for couples who wish to include photos from the wedding festivities. Three months will account for time spent on the honeymoon and down time for printing custom cards.
More generous wedding experts, however, suggest that it is acceptable for newlyweds to take a year to send out their thank you cards for presents received on their wedding day. This leniency applies to couples who take an extended honeymoon or who have had to manage a relocation along with everything else associated with making a lifetime commitment.
Still others declare that wedding presents should be acknowledged regardless of time elapsed. After all, it is better to be thought of as a procrastinator than one who is lacking social graces. However, a very late acknowledgement may confuse some recipients of the thank you cards.
Meeting the Deadline
Sending thank you notes should not be an afterthought. As such, planning the cards need to be part of the wedding preparations. Keeping track of who gave what on an Excel file or similar application will help keep the information organized and updated. Include complete names and mailing addresses and this file will be mail merge ready for printing the envelopes.
Typically, the bride bears the responsibility of preparing and sending out thank you cards. However, the groom should also be involved in this post-wedding effort even if it means stuffing and sealing envelopes only.
Consider sending out thank you cards in batches within a compressed time frame. This will reduce the possibility of alienating wedding benefactors who may be left out of the initial mailing.
For newlyweds, complying with the time-honored tradition of sending out thank you cards could mean a lifetime of beneficial relationships with family, friends and professional colleagues.