Thank You cards are far from out-dated; at least not in my mind!
Whilst I nearly always encourage my couples' to think twice before sending out a printed RSVP with stamped envelope, I never think sending out a Thank You card is a bad idea. It's not just polite; it's a beautiful way of commemorating what I hope was a wonderful day in your lives. As a guest at weddings, where my interaction with the couple might have been fleeting on their day, it's always been a lovely warm gesture to receive in the mail a few weeks later.
But I totally appreciate that 'Thank You' notes can be daunting; particularly when you're dealing with an array of guests who did or did not bring gifts and knowing what to say to your dad's second cousins who you've both met once and may never see again. So I've put together some tips around creating your 'Thank You' cards for maximum impact without having your writing at a desk for hours.
Methods of sending your 'Thank You' out into the world —
1 | Don't Make Your 'Thank You' an Afterthought
I'm always really impressed when I'm talking to a client about their invite stationery and they're already requesting that Thank You cards & envelopes be included in their quote. There are lots of reasons for this; but namely, it saves on cost for them in the long run. It's highly likely that the envelopes required (and the recipient list) for the wedding invitation to be sent out will be almost identical to those needed for the Thank You envelopes. I always acknowledge this in the quote for my clients. Additionally, it ensures that the aesthetic that you created for your day follows through into what you're sending out after the event.
2 | Keep a Spreadsheet of Guests' & Presents
I am not an advocate of the practice of guests' having to bring gifts or contributions to a wedding or event and completely appreciate that everyone that you invite will have different circumstances. But I am a huge supporter of recognising the particular gift or contribution that guests have given you and acknowledging it as a note in your Thank You.
Those who love gift-giving often put an inordinate amount of time into choosing the right gift for you; and nothing makes them feel sunnier than knowing you received it and loved it. I should know - my sister's main love language is gift giving and nothing makes her happier than when I love her gift and recognise why she chose it.
Whilst I don't recommend you doing it in front of your guests, keeping a list of what was gifted to you and by whom when unwrapping or reading cards is the perfect way to ensure that every Thank You card is personalised. It's the difference between saying "Thank you for your gift" and "Thank you so much for the beautiful Italian ceramics; we both love having them on our sideboard and they remind us of you every day" / or "Thank you so much for your generous contribution to our wishing well; we can't wait to put it towards our honeymoon (and in particular at that accommodation we've been discussing with you!) It makes your guest feel seen and special.
3 | Share the Load
If you can - particularly if you've just become Mr & Mrs - share the load of thanking guests. So frequently I hear that it's one or the other writing thank you cards when it's really a lovely activity to share between you; particularly as some of your guests & family will be closer with one of you. If you're sharing the load, it's also ideal to talk about how you want to thank your guests in advance of having anything printed; whilst one partner might want to write a note of thanks, the other might feel more comfortable calling their friends & family or sending out a text message. Knowing how you're going to send your thank you in advance will save you time and cost.
Methods of sending your 'Thank You' out into the world —
1 | Sending a 'Thank You' by Text
I'll sound like a calligraphy-traitor for saying this, but text message thanks are fine if they make sense for you as a couple. This is particularly great for couples' who asked guests' for their phone numbers when collecting RSVP's. You can keep this simple with some heartfelt words in a text or, as I prefer, have an image designed - incorporating a photograph from the event and a heartfelt message of thanks - to be sent out after the event. This not only feels more considered; but it also allows you to extend the look and feel of your wedding stationery into your note of thanks.
If you want to acknowledge particular presents or moments in your day, you can always follow the image up with a personalised message.
2 | Sending Your 'Thank You' by Mail
So you've decided to send your 'Thank You' card by mail — but don't want to be writing messages for hours. Consider what you can write that will be all-encompassing and have that printed on the card. If you leave some space around the printed message, you can write a personalised line thanking them for their present or sharing your favourite memory at the event. It will still feel personal without giving you hand cramps.
3 | Incorporate a Photograph with Them
Whilst most couples' choose to have a photograph of themselves on one side of a Thank You' card, you could also choose to have a photograph of your guests with you on the front. For some of the more intimate weddings that took place during lockdowns, I created Thank You cards for couples' who had photographs taken with each of their guests (including some more spontaneous shots on the dance floor). This meant that every guest received a photograph on the front of their card of them at the wedding with both or either the bride & groom; a lovely touch that assures the recipient that the card was made for them. Whilst it might be a little bit more difficult to do this with larger weddings; a family or friendship group shot is still a great way of throwing some personalisation into the mix.
4 | Don't Be Afraid to Mix It Up
Whatever you choose to do, just know that you don't have to say thank you to your guests all the same way. Maybe you call your closest friends to say thank you, send a text message to the majority of guests and reserve the cards & envelopes for your more elderly guests. Do whatever feels right for you and your guests and don't feel pressured to stick with one format.
5 | If Handwritten Notes Are Important, Hire a Hand or Pace Yourself
If a hand-written feel is important to you and you don't want to or like your own handwriting, there are professionals like myself that can help you out. This could range from having a hand-written note written and printed (a beautiful but generic message of thanks) to having every single note written by hand. On the other hand, writing it in your script is always going to feel special. Just remember you can send your Thank You cards out in stages; one of my brides told me she gave herself the task of writing 10 Thank You cards a week and sent them out in waves. Making the task bite sized is sure to not only make it manageable but a wonderful way to stretch out the afterglow of your event!