A Million Ways to Say Thank You

The Wedding Guru Judy Lewis fields this week’s wedding questions. Today: Judy divulges the many ways to say “thank you” for wedding gifts — even the weird ones

The wedding may be over and the honeymoon as well, but good etiquette requires one more very important “duty,” writing of thank you notes. This bride wanted to make sure that she knew how to cover all the bases when she got down to writing her notes.

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A Valley bride asks: “I really appreciate that so many people are sharing our special day with us, and I want my thank you notes to show this. Several of my married friends told me about unusual problems when composing their notes — and I want to avoid these issues at all costs! For example… what should I do if we receive duplicate gifts (or a really strange one)? What if we receive a gift and have no idea what it is, or what it’s for? How do we thank people for checks and cash? How do we thank someone whom we’ve never met?”

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Dear Valley bride: As I always say, thank you notes should be written and mailed as soon as possible after the wedding. One way to make the process easier is to address the envelopes in advance and to have your return address printed on the envelope. If you’re moving to a new home, it’s certainly proper to include that information as well. Notes should be hand-written, the more legible, the better. The most important thing in writing them is that you make each specific and, wherever possible, you make reference to the gift itself!

Notes should be sent not only to people who gave you gifts, but to anyone who helped arrange a shower or other pre-wedding party for you. It’s acceptable to include a “double” thank you in those cases where it’s applicable. If you receive more than one gift from someone (i.e., a shower and a wedding gift), it is appropriate to send a thank you note for each gift.

For gifts of cash, steer away from mentioning the dollar amount, but feel free to indicate what you plan on doing with the money (put it toward the down-payment on a new home, etc.), so long as it’s appropriate. If you’re not sure how you’ll spend it, you can simply say that it will be going into your savings account for the future.

Now for the specifics! If you receive more than one of the same gift, don’t mention it in the thank-you note — acknowledge your appreciation in the letter, and deal with the gift accordingly.

Most bridal couples I know have received at least one gift that’s really… odd. People have different tastes — it happens! When you write your note, try to give it a positive spin, like: “Thank you so much for the huge wall wine rack. We look forward to filling it with our favorite wines and serving it to company!”

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If you receive a gift and really have no idea what it is, wing it by mentioning the item in the thank-you note. (“Thank you for the lovely, tall, glass piece that you gave us. We look forward to displaying it in our home” will work for that oddly shaped vase or artwork.)

As for when the giver is someone you’ve never met (distant relatives, old friends of your parents, your spouse’s college professor, etc.)? Thank them for the gift, and add that you look forward to meeting the person in the future. Hope this helps!

To submit your own question to the Wedding Guru, email Judy at judy@hvmag.com.

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