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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mind Your P’s and Q’s: Being Grateful

It’s been awhile since we’ve covered an etiquette topic here so we thought today we would focus on gratitude. During the course of your wedding planning, you are likely to be helped by numerous friends and family members, as well as the vendors you have hired for your big event. Not only that, you’ll also receive dozens of gifts, often from people who will travel great distances to help you celebrate your marriage.

The bottom line of our advice today is simple: be grateful. That’s it. Simply be gracious and appreciative. In the midst of all of your wedding preparations – the fittings, the planning meetings, the parties and all that – don’t forget your manners. A sincere and heartfelt “thank you” goes such a long way, whether it is for a gift, a thoughtful act or an encouraging conversation that helped you keep perspective in the middle of your wedding-planning-induced mania.

While drafting a nice thank-you can seem overwhelming, it is really quite easy. There are just a few elements of a meaningful thank-you note:

Make it timely. There is misinformation floating around in the wedding bubble that claims brides have a year to write a thank-you note. That is not correct, nor is it accepted etiquette. While your wedding guests have up to a year to send a wedding gift, you have three months to send a thank-you note. If at all possible, try to write a note the day you receive a gift; your note will be more sincere and frankly, flat-out easier to write. If that is not feasible, try to not let them pile up and overwhelm you. Make a goal of writing three or four a day and you’ll be done before you know it! And by all means, enlist the help of your new hubs. Most of those gifts were given to you as a couple, not just to you, the bride!

Make it personal. It’s a fact: with technology at our fingertips today, our handwriting quality is suffering. BUT. You really must handwrite your wedding-related thank-you’s. And write your note in your own style, just as you would speak. It’s not necessary to attempt some lofty missive that sounds nothing like you. Your gift-giver just wants to hear from you, that you received their thoughtful gift and are greatly appreciative of them.

Make it specific. Be sure to mention the specific gift and how you will use it. Or if you’re writing a note to your wedding party members, a vendor who went above and beyond, a shower/party hostess or anyone else that performed a kindness for you during your wedding planning journey, be sure to thank them for what they did and how it blessed you. And if you choose to send gift acknowledgement cards, do not think this replaces a personal, sincere note. They are just a tool to let guests know you received their gift and an official “thanks” will be on its way.

The best advice we can give you is to not look at writing thank-you notes as a chore. Remember that your friends and family love you and are excited to be a part of your wedding. Writing a short and sweet note expressing your gratitude for them and their involvement should remind you that you are privileged to have such wonderful people sharing your life. For more tips and suggestions on writing winning thank-you notes, use a trusted wedding etiquette resource such as Crane’s Wedding Blue Book or Emily Post’s Wedding Etiquette. We have both of these excellent books available at our Stardust salon.

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