Thank You Notes: The Do's and Don'ts

If you are getting married, then you have likely already started receiving gifts or having parties thrown in your honor. Fun stuff, right? But what do you do after the fact? What is the proper way to send thank you cards to the people you love? How long do you have before it starts to seem inconsiderate? Read below to get the who, what, and when of thank you note etiquette!

hand lettered wedding thank you note

Lovely hand-lettered thank you cards by: you might fall in love (P.S. She does gorgeous work!)


Who should you send a thank you note to?

  • Anyone who throws you a party or shower. You should personally thank each person that threw/throws you an engagement party, bridal shower, lingerie party, or bachelorette party with a handwritten thank you note (and sometimes even a small gift can't hurt depending on the magnitude of the party or shower). If more than one person helped to host the event, then you should send more than one note (one to each person). Also, there should be separate thank you cards sent for each event. For example, if your MOH throws you an engagement and bachelorette party, then you would send her a separate thank you note after each event (not one note for both). Try not to wait more than one week after each event to get those notes in the mail; it will be more meaningful to your loved ones and will also save your hand from writing cramps later on!
  • Anyone who gives you a gift. You should send a thank you card to each person (or family) that gets you a gift of any kind - engagement, shower, or wedding. It is okay to thank them in person, but handwritten notes should be sent as well. You do not need a separate note for each person in a couple or family but you should mention each family member (or family collectively) in the note. For example, if you invited the entire Smith family (George, Paula, Jim, and Jane) and they all attended your wedding, then your envelope should be made out to the "Smith Family" or the "Smiths" (not just one family member). It is also thoughtful to mention each family member by name inside the card.
  • Anyone who gives you cash as a gift. The same rules that apply for gifts also apply for money. In addition, it can be fun to mention what you are going to do (or did!) with the money. For example, "Thank you so much for your lovely $100 cash gift. We used it to go kayaking on our honeymoon!" 
  • Your attendants. This can be done at the rehearsal dinner when you do toasts and give attendant gifts.
  • Wedding hosts. Go ahead an thank mom and pop or anyone else that helped pay for your special day! Without them, none of it would have been possible!
  • Vendors. Vendors do not expect thank you cards, but for those that go out of their way for you, a nice thank you note goes a long way to show them your appreciation. I know I always love getting thank you cards in the mail after a wedding. I save and showcase them in my office!


What type of note should you send?

You should use some type of stationary and your notes should be handwritten. Yes, writing out all those notes can be a pain and quite tedious, but pre-printed (notes that are all the same) or typed notes should be avoided. Also, do not send emails and text messages or make phone calls in place of thank you notes. Doing so will appear inconsiderate and may unintentionally offend or hurt someone. Calling or sending a text can be done in addition to a handwritten note.

Consider using personal stationary or thank you cards that you purchase. There are lots of online site like Wedding Paper Divas, Minted, and Etsy where you can purchase thank you cards that match your wedding style. Or, if you are using a graphic designer, have him or her make you some cards that match the rest of your invitation suite.


From my research, it appears the common idea that you have a year to send out thank you cards is simply popular myth. So when should you send out notes? How much time do you have?

  • Parties or Showers. No more than one week.
  • Gifts received prior to the wedding. One to two weeks. You should try to get this done before the wedding. Doing so is considered better etiquette and will again save those writing fingers later on!
  • Gifts received at the wedding (or shortly thereafter). Three months. 

Well, there it is. I hope these tips provide some guidance when you sit down to write out your thank you cards. And hey, if nothing else, writing out all those notes let's you practice a long forgotten art form! 

Happy planning!

Maggie ♥

References: Emily Post and Bridal Guide