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Wedding Attitude of Gratitude

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

You've asked and we've answered! Welcome to your weekly column 'Planning Your Happily Ever After' with wedding consultant Shikima Hinds.

Your guests have spent both time and money on your special day, so it's only polite to express your appreciation for their presence and any gifts they gave you. Sending your thank-you cards will be one of the very last tasks on your wedding to-do list.

But how do you craft the perfect heartfelt message for each guest? You can simplify the process by creating a general format to follow and tweak each note to reflect your relationship with the guest. Here are the answers to the most asked questions.

What's the general format?

1. Thank the guest(s) for the gift or monetary contribution and mention why you love the gift and how you plan to use it.

2. Mention how much you enjoyed seeing them at your wedding, or how sorry you are that they weren't able to join if they sent a gift but weren't able to attend.

3. Express a final word of thanks and an invitation to catch up soon.

4. Sign on behalf of you and your new spouse.

When should notes be written?

Promptly send all thank-you notes. They should ideally be written within three months of the receipt of the gift. I can assure you that the faster you start writing them, the faster they can be sent. Write thank-you notes in batches and send them as soon as you have some done. You don't have to wait until you've completed all of them to send off. Better late than never — don't use a delay as an excuse to not send a card at all. A thank you sent a year after the wedding is still better than no thank you at all. Keep writing and send them out right away.

Is there a standard writing etiquette?

Make sure your notes are handwritten; there is nothing more appreciated than a lovely handwritten thank-you note. Your thank-you cards don't have to be lengthy. Four or five sentences are just fine!

Can you e-mail thank-you cards?

No!!! Well, you could e-mail them, but it comes off as impersonal. E-mails are too easy and quick and will seem less thoughtful. Don't send cards with printed messages and just your signature. Even if your invites may have been dispatched digitally, avoid sending digital thank yous as much as possible.

When should you order thank-you cards?

Placing your thank-you card orders at the same time that you place your wedding invitation orders is ideal. Most times, you will likely get a discount for ordering both items at the same time.

Ladies, make sure you use your maiden name when sending pre-wedding thank-you cards. If you are sending them out after the wedding, you can follow the general tradition. If you plan to keep your maiden name, include your and your spouse's first names only on the thank-you cards. Order an additional 20% to account for errors and unexpected gifts.

Who needs a note?

1. People who got you a gift. This includes engagement, shower or wedding gifts.

2. People who shared in a group gift. Send individual notes to each person, but also thank the whole group.

3. People who got you a gift that you don't like (or will exchange). No need to rave about the gift if you don't like it, but do find something positive to say!

4. People who couldn't attend but still sent a gift.

5. People who travelled to see you even if they didn't give you a physical gift; you should thank them for making the trip

6. Those who were in your wedding party.

7. Anyone who hosted a party or shower for you.

8. Thank your parents.

9. Thank your wedding suppliers.

What stationery should be used?

Let me start with the no's here: No generic post on your website, fill-in-the-blank or pre-printed cards and no e-mails. Personalised stationery or store-bought thank-you cards are best.

If you choose to use monogrammed stationery, it should be placed on the front. The inside of the card would be blank to allow for writing space. You may write on both inside panels if you wish, but never on the back of the card. If the groom will be sending his own thank-you cards, he should not use a folded card; he should use a correspondence card which is a thick, flat card that has a monogram or name running across the top. These are considered a “man's stationery”.

These days, it is acceptable for both couples to put their names on the card. It is also okay if the bride and groom decide to use a correspondence card and have their names across the top. You should write on one side of this card.

Keep organised

Before you begin you will need to have a few things:

• List of names and addresses for wedding attendees (follow the list from sending out invites!)

• List of gifts received and names of givers

• Checklist to keep track of who you've already covered

Do be enthusiastic, but don't gush unnecessarily. While the task is often viewed as a chore, it's important to remember that this is a special way to take time out and thank those who spent your special day with you.

Thank you for sticking around and reading!

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