Brides and grooms should never overlook the importance of a well-timed thank-you note to each of their guests. Yet with all the prep work and the business of the actual day-of, saying “thank you” can easily get lost in the shuffle after the “I do.” Three St. Louis-based etiquette schoolmasters break down the why and the when for writing your wedding thank-you messages.
“Being grateful and expressing appreciation through written notes is the epitome of style and grace,” says Ray Angle of The Etiquette Institute, originally founded by St. Louis’ “First Lady of Manners,” Maria Everding. “The heart of etiquette is making people feel comfortable and included.”
The effectiveness of a handwritten note of appreciation from a couple to their guests is amplified, especially given the changing dynamics of hosting amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has rocked the wedding industry back on its heels.
“All gifts received before the wedding should already have a note sent before the big day,” advises Sarah Broyles of Etiquette Saint Louis. And even though there is “no hard-and-fast day” on when to send notes post-wedding, she adds that “we encourage the bride and groom to write notes every day until they are finished,” to make the task seem less daunting.
Renita Jackson of Jackson Etiquette suggests a timeline of three months to wrap up delivery of thank-you notes to your wedding guests.
“If you have a lot of gifts, maybe you could do some [letter writing] every week, every weekend or every day,” she says. “You can do them together or have a thank-you-note-writing party. You can write the notes, and someone can help address the envelopes. But try and get it done as quickly as possible.”
Start with a salutation, advises Angle, then make mention of the gift, with special attention to its usefulness in your newlywed life. He recommends adding “heartfelt and relevant sentiments,” when appropriate, before closing the message.
“Etiquette does not go out of style,” Jackson adds. “Everyone should practice courtesy and good manners.”
And if you’re still struggling with finishing this important to-do, Broyles says to “tackle the list together!” She adds: “You want your friends and loved ones to know how grateful you are for their presents and their presence on your special day.”
The Etiquette Institute, 510-586-8364, theetiquetteinstitute.com
Etiquette Saint Louis, 314-799-9933, etiquettesaintlouis.com
Jackson Etiquette, 314-374-2804, jacksonetiquette.com