Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
I know that thank you notes, specifically wedding thank you notes, are a hot topic on the site! I’m getting married next month, and–don’t worry!–we plan to send thank you notes promptly after the big event.
Here’s where modern wedding arrangements and technology complicates things. We’ve been living together for years.Our family and friends are located all over, meaning that more than half of the wedding guests are traveling out of state (some out of the country) for this thing. The wedding is actually an 8 + hour drive for us. Nobody wants to transport heavy housewares around the country. So, we set up a housewares/honeymoon registry on SimpleRegistry.com. Which yes, we know is controversial, but our guests seem into it for convenience.
Anyway, here’s what I don’t know how to navigate. I’m getting a bunch of notifications that people are sending us gifts through the site. Some of whom are coming to the wedding, some of whom are not. Should I wait until after the wedding to send thank you notes?
More complex: we’re taking our honeymoon three weeks after the wedding. Some of the cash gift categories on the site are for specific honeymoon experiences (meals, boat rides, etc.). Should I wait until after the honeymoon to send these thank you notes so they can be more specific and we can talk about how we enjoyed the experiences? I know that promptness is encouraged, but “Thanks Cousin! Your cash gift enabled us to enjoy some delicious treats on our honeymoon. We had the most fantastic macarons at an adorable cafe overlooking the Seine.” is a lot more personalized than “Thanks Cousin, for supporting us through a cash gift as we begin our marriage.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Jaya: Okay, so there’s a lot here! So first off, transporting heavy things across the country. I wouldn’t worry about this.
Victoria: Yeah, people will figure it out. Plus, BTW to EVERYONE, you are supposed to ship the gifts to the couple/the bride’s home! Don’t bring it to the wedding. Because thats a pain for you and its a pain for the couple to get it home.
Jaya: That is a plus side of registries. People don’t want to schlep a stand mixer to a wedding, and I don’t want to schlep one home!
Victoria: Exactly, I mean, even if you buy off the registry, you should ship it to them. The registry will probably even tell you what address it should be sent to.
Jaya: Definitely. Unless there are explicit instructions otherwise.
Victoria: Yeah, always follow directions.
Jaya: But with thank you notes, I think everyone should be doing them as they get the gifts, even if some of them are cash to be used for specific honeymoon activities.
Victoria: Definitely, always always always send thank you notes as you receive the gifts. This way the giver knows that you received it and doesn’t have to wonder. Plus it cuts down on the amount of work you have to do after the wedding.
Jaya: Definitely. And if it’s for something on the Honeymoon, you can just word it about the anticipation. Instead of “Thanks, Cousin, for your gift that let us eat some delicious treats on our honeymoon” you can say “we can’t wait to eat some delicious treats on our honeymoon.”
Victoria: Yeah! And when you get back, there is nothing stopping you from sending them a quick email with a picture of you doing the activity that they gifted!
Jaya: The one I was always the most awkward about was thank you notes to people not invited to the wedding
Because there is that aspect of like…why are you sending me a gift? I know gifts are gifts etc, but it’s weird!)
Victoria; Haha yeah, that would weird me out too. I guess you just say, thank you so much for the [gift]. It is so kind of you to be thinking of us during this special time and we value your support.
And then…let it go?
But yeah, I think its easier to deal with when its older people. I think it would be really weird if a peer sent something and you weren’t inviting them to the wedding.
Jaya: Yeah, and short and sweet always works. Just try not to mention the wedding itself.
I’d like to take this time to encourage people not to send gifts for weddings they’re not invited to, unless it was a courthouse wedding/explicitly very small wedding. Maybe not all people getting married are like me, but you’ll probably be making the couple feel really guilty.
Victoria: And if you ARE a peer who wants to send a gift, please include a card that says “I know you are having a small wedding and I am very happy for you, so I really wanted to give you a little token of my affection with no strings attached.”
Jaya: Yesssss. That’s good.
Victoria: Except try to make it not sound passive aggressive. But if you are close enough to send a gift, you are probably close enough to get the right tone in.