In today’s age, pen and paper seem to be replaced by keyboards. People seem confused about the proper way to say thank you. Are emails and social media platforms the new way to express thanks? When should notes be written? Who should receive one? What do you say? We know what we think, but we decided to confer with Emily Post, the authority on etiquette, to see what she had to say.
First things first, purchase some blank stationery. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Believe it or not, there is so much available. If you’re crafty, you can also make your own. Just whatever you do, do not use fill-in-the-blank or pre-printed cards. The only exception here is if they are for a very young child learning to write. Don’t think a phone call is a substitute for a note either. Don’t copy and paste emails, send a text message and/or put a generic post on your social media pages. Life is busy and fast paced and even though these seem like great ways to “get it over with”, it’s not appropriate. Someone took the time out of their hectic schedule to do something nice for you and now you must do the same.
Unfortunately, brides, grooms and mitzvah teens you do not have a year. It’s a myth that we wish would go away. All notes should be written within 3 months of when you received the gift. People like acknowledgment that you received their gift. After a large affair, it’s recommended to set a daily goal and write a few notes a day. This is a great way for our Bar/Bat Mitzvah children who have homework, dance and sports practice after school to get it done. It’s highly NOT suggested for parents to write these notes for their children either.
Who should you send a note to? Besides the obvious of the person who gave you a gift regardless of what it was, there are other times a thank you note is necessary. Did someone go the extra mile to help ensure your big day was a success? Did a supplier or vendor exceed your expectations? Did someone host a party in your honor? Did someone house or entertain your guests? Basically, anyone who showed you kindness and generosity appreciates a warm and personal courteous note of thanks.
These are Emily’s Top Ten Dos and Don’ts
- Do personalize your notes and make reference to the person as well as the gift.
- Do remember that a gift should be acknowledged with the same courtesy and generous spirit in which it was given.
- Do be enthusiastic, but don’t gush. Avoid saying a gift is the most beautiful thing you have 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 a generic thank you on your wedding web site in lieu of a personal note.
- Do promptly acknowledge the receipt of shipped gifts by sending a note right away or calling and following up with a written note in a day or two.
- Don’t mention that you plan to return a gift or that you are dissatisfied in any way.
- Don’t tailor your note to the perceived value of the gift; no one should receive a perfunctory note.
- Do refer to the way you will use a gift of money. Mentioning the amount is optional.
- Don’t include wedding photos or use photo cards if it will delay sending the note.
- Don’t use being late as an excuse not to write. Even if you are still sending notes after your first anniversary, keep writing!
No matter how you say it, please say, “Thank you!”