How to Write a Great Thank-You Note

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How to Write a Great Thank-You Note

>While it’s always nice to receive a thank-you note of any kind, it’s especially nice to receive a beautiful note, sincerely written, in response to the giving of a wedding gift. That’s why, if you’re a bride or a groom, there’s no better time to become an expert at creating a great thank-you note. Pulling it off is really just a matter of combining common sense with some good old-fashioned etiquette. The following tips will help make your thank-you notes memorable.

When To Send

A thank-you note should be sent as soon as possible after a gift arrives. It lets the giver know you received the package, that the item wasn’t mis-delivered or lost in the mail. Traditional etiquette dictates that thank-you notes be sent within two to three weeks after receipt of a gift, eight weeks at the absolute maximum. Sure, you’re incredibly busy, but so is the person who spent his or her time getting you a gift. If you have received hundreds of gifts and cannot possibly respond in a timely manner, Amy Vanderbilt suggests having an engraved or printed card made that acknowledges a gift received, to be sent immediately to each gift-giver. However, you must follow up with a personal note of thanks soon thereafter.
On the flip side, if you have sent a wedding gift to someone, and months have gone by without an acknowledgment, it is perfectly acceptable to write a note to see if the person received the package. After all, if it was lost in the mail, or the store never sent it, you need to know. (And if the bride and groom simply didn’t send a thank-you note, well… maybe you should email them this article.)

Choosing Stock

You already know better than to send thank-you notes on any old scrap of paper you have lying around (unless you’re an artist creating original "collage" thank-you notes). Paper matters a lot when it comes to thank you notes. Pick a card stock of a good weight, around 28-30 lbs. Folded notes, rather than full sheets or message cards, are the most appropriate style for thank-you notes. It’s a good idea to order engraved or printed stationery--personalized with your names on the cards and your address on the envelopes--when you order your wedding invitations. Not only do they look elegant, but it will save you that extra trip to the mall once the gifts start pouring in. It costs a bit extra, but the expense is small compared to the convenience and quality, and by ordering at the same time you order your invitations, you may find your stationer willing to give you a discount.

Getting It Done

The wedding gifts were sent to both of you. It’s only fair that you should share the task of writing the thank you notes. We recommend setting aside time together to work on the notes. If you keep up with the arrival of gifts, writing notes at least on a weekly basis, you’ll prevent ever having to work on too many in one sitting. Even if one person--usually the one with the best handwriting--does most of the actual writing, both partners should be involved in the thank-you note process. You can compose responses together, and the partner who isn’t writing can be responsible for stuffing envelopes, sealing and stamping. Only the person writing the thank-you note should sign it.


We know accomplishing this task can be time consuming, but it’s unacceptable to write notes as brief as "Dear Aunt Em, Thanks for the vase. Love, Sally." In all likelihood, the gift-giver put considerable time and effort (not to mention money) into selecting your gift--the least you can do is come up with a few original words to thank him or her. The best thank you notes truly do come from the heart.
Here are some tips to help you write memorable thank-you notes.
  • Write legibly.

    As beautiful as your thoughts may be, they’re meaningless unless the recipient can read them. Again, by keeping on top of the notes, you’ll never have to do too many at once, and your penmanship will be in top form for every note.
  • Never type a thank-you note.

    Notes should always be handwritten.
  • Use a good pen.

    It’s no fun to read a thank-you note full of smeared ink blobs. Opt for black or dark blue ink, whichever looks best with your paper.
  • Mention the gift.

    If you simply say "Thanks for the present," the giver will think you don’t remember what he or she gave you. Be specific. The only exception: if you have received a monetary gift. Don’t mention the amount, or the form (cash, check, etc.). Simply say something along the lines of "Thank you for your generous gift; we plan to use it to purchase picture frames for our new home."
  • Tell the giver why the present is perfect for the two of you.

    They selected it with both of you in mind; let them know their effort was noticed.
  • Mention how nice it was that he or she could share in your celebration.

    If they weren’t able to attend, tell them how much you wish they could have been there.
  • Send it off with style.

    Aside from elegant penmanship and stationery, a stylish stamp makes a thank-you letter even more delightful to open. For the greatest security, take your completed notes into the post office to mail rather than dropping them in a mailbox.

While these suggestions can point you in the right direction, you should always trust your instincts, and make the style of your thank-you notes genuinely your own. As long as your gratitude is sincere and your message timely, your note is sure to be received warmly.

See More: Etiquette