Thank You Notes: So Many, So Little Time!
Oh, the dreaded thank you notes. Okay they’re not exactly dreaded, because having to write them means someone loved you enough to give you a gift, but my handwriting is atrocious so I feel like writing them a note is really like punishing them. I also have a terrible time coming up with how to phrase them, so they’re not exactly high on my “favorite activities” list.
The thank you notes can get pretty overwhelming, though, if you don’t keep up with them. Keeping an accurate list of any gifts that come in will be a lifesaver. Any time something shows up, immediately write it down. Keep a note of who it’s from, when it came, and what it was. If it came with a gift receipt, tuck it into a folder you’ve designated for them. Keep all of this, even after you’ve written the note.
The traditional rule is that any gifts for events prior to the wedding you need to send a note for within 2 weeks, and anything for the wedding you have 2 months from your return from your honeymoon. Well, times are a changin’, so I think the rule needs a little updating, too, because the timing of showers in relation to the wedding has changed, as well as when couples leave for their honeymoon. This rule was written when showers were 2 months in advance and the honeymoon was right after the wedding.
Please keep in mind that the following is only my interpretation of how the rule should be updated, and if you want to stick with the old school one to stay on the safe side, by all means.
Any gift you receive up to 2 weeks after the shower needs to have a note written in the previously stated 2 week time frame (the exception being if your shower is within 2 weeks of your wedding, then you get to follow the wedding gift rule). You may get gifts from an engagement party, or from a bridal shower, or they may just show up randomly at your house. You may not know what purpose it has (“is this a shower gift or a wedding gift?”), but it doesn’t matter! The beautiful thing about these thank you notes is that you don’t have to say “thank you for the shower/engagement/wedding and I’m sending it now so I won’t forget gift”, you can just say “thank you for the gift”. You don’t have to know what particular occasion it was intended for!
Any gift you receive after that it is safe to assume is a wedding gift. Thank you notes for gifts in the “wedding” time frame have a little more leeway in when they can be mailed out since people kind of expect it’s going to take you a while to get settled into your new life. The goal should be to have all outstanding thank you notes in the mail by the 4 weeks after the wedding mark (6 at the latest). If you are taking your honeymoon within that time frame, then add the length of your honeymoon to that schedule. Yes, you will be busy adjusting to your new life (moving, changing names, etc), but you owe it to your guests who took the time to give you something to make your new life easier a timely thank you.
Here is an Excel template I made for myself to keep track of what comes in and whether or not I’ve written them a note yet. It’s not particularly fancy, so it’s easily something you can make for yourself, but I figured I’d include it in case you want to save yourself a few minutes!