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Everybody loves to receive a thank you note after attending or organising an event, having their effort (and perhaps gift) appreciated. Unfortunately, words can fail even the best writer when faced with dozens — or hundreds! — of personalised thank you cards. Here are some tips and tricks to find the perfect wording and feel for your thank you card messages, whether tailor made or template; for wedding, baby shower or birthday.
Pretty paper products – Whether you choose matching stationery, DIY thank you cards, or just find something new that makes you smile, make sure you love the paper you’re working with! It will make writing the notes a treat. And don’t forget about envelopes! They may come with the cards you’ve chosen, but it’s best to check this early on. Remember that envelopes don’t have to be boring, but can be as stylish as the cards within.
That perfect pen – There’s nothing worse than trying to write a lot with a scratchy pen that blotches ink across your page, stops working at inconvenient moments or writes with an inconsistent colour. Get to your local stationery store and try the pens until you find "The One". Stock up on a few of them so you always have one on hand.
Details, details, details! – You will need a complete list of guests who attended your event, as well as anybody else who assisted in any way, made a phone call, sent a card or a gift, or anything else that should be acknowledged. You will need the addresses of all these people, as well as notes on what you are thanking them for! When you’re planning ahead for this stage, remember to make sure these are noted down as you open gifts, and remember to keep the list of contact details you used to address your invitations.
If you’re planning a wedding, chances are your thank you card template decision is an easy one — thank you cards that go with your wedding stationery suite. But if the choice is more flexible, choosing the template that best suits your personality (and event) can take some thought.
TIP: Go with your gut instinct, rather than a well-meaning relatives. Too much choice? Filter templates by theme, style, colour or what’s popular, until you connect with a design. Remember, you have the freedom to adjust fonts, text sizes, positioning and colourways in Paperlust thank you card templates, and can easily further customise existing designs.
If custom design is more your style, our design associates can create personalised thank you cards just for you. We will carefully discuss your brief with you, whether you want to personalise ideas from existing designs, include custom artwork or start from scratch. Or using a photo thank you card template is another great way to personalise if you want to order and finalise straight away.
It is an overwhelming task, writing wedding thank you cards online, trying to make hundreds of notes sound heartfelt and grateful! However, with a little bit of planning and the right tools at hand the process can actually be a fun extension of the excitement of wedding invitation planning.
No matter how big or small your wedding, a lot of people will have contributed in a lot of different ways to make it happen. It’s only polite to thank these people for their love, support and hard work. This is not just a social nicety either. You will likely be eager to show your gratitude in some small way.
TIP: If possible, have your thank you cards in your hands before the wedding actually happens, as well as all the necessary details of your guests. Keep a running list of people who gave you gifts, helped with the wedding, or otherwise showed you support during this time. Note down what they did or what they gave you so that you can thank them specifically. Writing these sort of details down can feel a little bit awkward, like you’re keeping an account of who was the most generous, but it’s worth pushing past the awkwardness of writing such a list to avoid an even more awkward situation: forgetting to thank somebody for something, or thanking them for the wrong gift!
You should get started on your thank you notes as soon after the wedding as possible, as they should ideally be sent out within three months of the big day. If you had a large wedding, that doesn’t leave you a lot of time! It’s best to try to power through some each day, to pace yourself, and make sure you can give attention to each one. You can even begin to write your thank yous as gifts and calls come in before the wedding. With the right supplies, it will feel like a treat to sit down and knock out a few notes!
Your baby shower is really one big present party, so thank you cards are a necessity. Keeping track of who gave what is tricky when you’re opening everything in front of everyone, so organise for a close friend or relative to sit next to you, writing down everything as you go along.
TIP: Note down the gift on the back of each card as you open it (it looks more friendly than keeping a running spreadsheet!).
Most likely, your baby shower will be only a few weeks before your due date, so don’t delay in writing your thank you notes! Once bub arrives, you will not feel like writing them. And even if you have an iron will, you may not have a spare hand to hold the pen!
Whether the event is a birthday, graduation party, or a celebration of life, heartfelt thank you cards are a lovely way to show appreciation for support and generosity. Writing sympathy thank you cards can be an emotional but helpful way to work through grief, recognising the love and support around you. Don’t force or rush the process. If it feels right, go with it. If not, now is not the time to worry about etiquette.
Think about the involvement and contributions all your guests made to the wedding, baby shower, birthday or other event. When you begin thinking about all the work people put into your day it is overwhelming. Take that gratitude and channel it into your writing!
Keep it simple – you’re going to be writing a lot of these! Best to get to the point and be concise but sincere.
Unlike save the date cards and wedding invitations, your thank you card wording doesn’t need to be uniform or put in any special way. The best thank yous are genuine, personal and from the heart.
Brainstorm ideas for the thank you card notes with your partner, especially for their family and friends. Sign from both of you. It can seem impersonal for people to get a thank you card from you when they only met you for the first time at the wedding.
Now to the nitty-gritty: how do you word the things? It can seem completely overwhelming.
The trick is to ask yourself:
Who am I writing to?
Did this person attend the event?
Did this person play a role in the event?
Did this person give a gift or a card?
Has this person had another significant role in our lives?
You want to be sure that you acknowledge all these points if they are relevant.
It is up to you whether you use formal or informal greetings and terms of address in your thank you cards. It’s usually best to base this on what your relationship is to the person in question. No need to go all formal with your good friends, but best not to be overly familiar with your Dad’s boss.
Be sure not to leave anybody out in your address – mention both names if writing to a couple, and children’s names as well for a family.
If possible, mention the name of any plus-ones who also attended.
Most importantly, check and double-check the spelling of all names! It is the height of rudeness to misspell somebody’s name because you couldn’t be bothered to make sure you had it right. A word of warning: beware of using Facebook to find the name of people you don’t know. I’ve been at weddings where people have been thanked in the wedding program by the silly name they have listed on Facebook to keep their profile hidden from employers! If you aren’t sure of somebody’s name or who they are, always ask someone who knows. This might mean speaking to your partner, parents or in-laws. Again, this extra check can save you from a lot of awkwardness later.
Thank them for their time and support. Tell them it meant a lot to you that they came to celebrate with you.
Make special mention of any travel or extra effort they had to go to in order to attend.
If they looked fabulous on the day or drew attention with their winning dance moves, tell them! If you remember chatting to them at the reception about when they used to babysit you, reference that too. These sorts of specifics will tell them that you noticed their presence individually, not just as part of the group. But don’t grasp at straws. If nothing comes to mind immediately, keep it general.
e.g. It was wonderful to have you at our wedding, and we are so grateful for the effort you made to be there! It made our day even more special to have your smiling face beside us (looking gorgeous in that red dress, wow!).
Tell them you missed them on the day, but make sure you don’t layer this with guilt! The trick is to make sure they know you would have liked them to be there but also that you understand why they couldn’t make it.
If there was something specific on the day that made you think of them or that they would have liked, include it! This will let them know you thought of them in the midst of everything going on.
Of course, if they weren’t invited to the wedding there is no need to mention their absence at all. Simply thank them for their thoughts, love and support.
e.g. Thank you for all the love you showered on us in the lead up to our wedding. We felt it on the day too, even though you couldn’t be there.
This includes everything from your bridal party to people who picked somebody up from the airport for you. Did they refer you to a florist? Direct traffic in the car park? Lend you a decorative birdcage? Stay behind to help clean up? These are all things you want to mention.
Vendors should be included in this, even though they were paid for their services. Pay particular attention to anything they did that went above and beyond. Tell them why you chose them and what you appreciated most about their work. If you would recommend them to friends, tell them that too. If you were unhappy with their work, keep it brief and polite.
Thank them for their time and effort. Make specific mention of anything they did particularly well.
e.g. Thank you so much for picking up my friend Jess from the airport. She was so lucky to be entertained by your excellent car conversation and famous playlist selection.
Never mention the specific amount of money.
It’s a good idea to give some indication of where the money will go. It doesn’t have to be specific, but it reassures the giftee that you aren’t going to blow it.
e.g. Thank you so much for your generous gift. It will help us as we set up our new home.
Do not mention the dollar value of the gift voucher.
Indicate as well as you can what the voucher will be used for.
e.g. Thank you so much for the IKEA voucher! We’re going to use it when we pick out the perfect sofa for snuggling and watching TV. Looking forward to having you come over for a Star Wars marathon and test it out with us!
Gift from your registry
There is no need to make special mention of the fact that it was chosen from your registry, but you can do so if you wish. It can be a good idea to give a brief explanation of why you selected that particular item.
e.g. Thank you so much for the gift of the kettle. We fell in love with that one because it is red and matches our toaster exactly! We will definitely think of you every time we make a pot of tea!
Thank them for the effort they made to reach out to you in writing. If possible to do so without sounding contrived, reference something that they wrote.
e.g. Thank you so much for your lovely card. It was so meaningful to us to have your support and words of wisdom.
Do we even need to tell you this? Don’t mention the fact that they didn’t give a gift.
Focus on thanking them for their attendance, contribution, or whatever else you are grateful for.
e.g. Thank you so much for making the effort to come along and celebrate with us! It made our day even more special to have so much love and support around us.
A gift you hate
It can be difficult to craft a thank you for something you genuinely wish you hadn’t received, but unfortunately, that’s part of being an adult! Focus on the fact that the person went to the effort of getting you something at all.
If you can find something specific that you like about it, mention that. If there is nothing at all that you like, be brief and polite, and focus on any other contributions they made.
e.g. Thank you for your thoughtful gift. The towels are so fluffy!
Or: We really appreciate all your love and support. Thank you also for the lovely vase, as well as your help with setting up for the reception. We are so grateful!
The people involved in your wedding were likely invited to be there because they have played a role in your life, or your partner’s life, prior to this point. Thank you notes are a good opportunity to acknowledge their support more generally.
Pay special attention to parents, grandparents, siblings, important friends of the family, best friends, etc.
Be genuine. Don’t worry about wording here; just thank them honestly for the things you are thankful for. Tell them why you love them.
Wedding thank you cards are often a lot more stressful to write than other forms of thank you cards. This is not only because the event is so formal and a lot of etiquette rules apply, but also because you are often writing hundreds of the things, so staying inspired to write good wedding thank you card wording can be tricky.
This relies on common sense, but as a general guide you should send thank you cards in the same combination as you sent your invitations. This only changes if there are significant changes in their relationships during that time period: a breakup or a marriage, for example. Usually if people live together or are in a long-term relationship it is best to send joint thank you cards, and if they don’t then you might choose to send separate ones. If you want to send a more heartfelt, personal message to one partner (for example, your bridesmaid/best friend) then you might address one thank you card to the two of them and include a separate, individual note to your friend. Use your own discretion. As long as they both get thanked, it’s fine.
It’s usually considered mandatory to write individual, personalised messages to each guest: you don’t want friends to see one another’s thank you cards and have a case of deja vu, after all! A template can feel unappreciative, since it might appear that you didn’t actually feel thankful enough for their individual contribution to put that into words. That said, a template that is highly customised for each person might work, as long as you are committed to individualising it properly. In general, though, imperfect thank you cards are much better than no thank you cards! If you’re super busy or you have a condition that makes writing difficult, it’s fine to just do what you can. If that’s the case, consider having a few different templates that you can rotate to keep things from being too similar.
It’s good to write thank you cards for gifts and assistance you receive before the wedding as they happen, to save on the mountain of work after the big day. If you’re writing to someone who is invited to the wedding, you might say either “Can’t wait to have you at the wedding in a few weeks” or “We will miss you at the wedding” if they’re not going to make it. If they weren’t invited, just don’t specify anything in that way. Thank them for their gift or their help and leave it at that.
If you’re into following traditional wedding etiquette, you should definitely carry this over to your wedding thank you cards! After all, handwriting a thank you note is about as traditional as it gets. Some traditional etiquette to keep in mind is:
Write your notes by hand! This is always good advice, but especially if you’re following the rules of etiquette.
Write individual notes for individual gifts: not by item but by occasion. If you received an engagement gift, a kitchen tea gift and a wedding gift, that means three separate notes are required.
Use neutral paper - probably white, ivory or cream - and write in blue or black ink.
Use formal language, including full names and titles for each guest.
Here are some keywords to make use of so you don’t feel like you’re repeating yourself!
Thank you, thankful, thanks
Remember, even though it’s an overwhelming task, it is such a good thing that you have so much to be thankful for and so many people to thank!
Pulling together all the threads, what sort of thank you card messages might you put in your thank you cards? We’ve got some thank you card wording samples to help inspire you and get your creative juices flowing.
Dear Lucas and Jenny, Thank you so much for coming along to our wedding and celebrating with us! It meant a lot to both of us that you made the trip and that we could catch up for the first time in way too long! Thank you also for the beautiful throw cushions you gave us. They’re going to look perfect in our new living room! We’ll think of you every time we snuggle down on the couch to watch Netflix.Thanks again for everything, Love, Jack and Emma
Dear Laura, Thank you so much for being with us to celebrate our wedding, and for all your help in the lead up to the big day. I don’t know what I would have done without you, and I’m so grateful that I have you as my best friend. You have been so generous with your time and with your love and support, and it has meant the world to me! You were the best maid of honour I could have asked for, and I can’t wait to be by your side when you marry James in May. Thanks also for your beautiful gift. I can’t wait to have people around for cups of tea using such a gorgeous tea set! You have first dibs on dinner at our place. ;) I love you dearly,Emma (and Jack!)
Dear Kim,Thank you so much for coming to my baby shower last week. It was so special to have you there to celebrate bubs and my transition to motherhood. Can’t wait to have you around to meet the little one when they are here! Thank you for the cute pack of onesies you gave me, they will be perfect for those newborn months. Thanks again for everything, Leah
Dear Nikki,It was so great to have you here to celebrate the impending arrival of Lucy Anne Roe. She is going to be the luckiest girl in the world to have so much love and support around her, and I am the luckiest mama for that same reason. I love the teething toys, thank you so much for your thoughtful gift! Lots of love,Leah
After a funeral, death or family tragedy, thank you note wording will take a different tone. Writing thank you notes after this kind of situation brings its own challenges: you are grieving, there’s a million things to think about, and your mind is likely hazy which means you can struggle to remember what people have done in order to actually write thank you notes.
As with other forms of thank you note, you should ask:
If applicable, did this person attend an event (e.g. funeral)?
If applicable, did this person play a role in that event?
Did this person give a gift, card, a meal or flowers?
Did this person call or offer support in some other way?
If you’re writing thank you notes, that means you’re at the centre of the crisis, so it’s entirely appropriate to keep things very simple and brief. Just say thank you, reference what they did, and leave it at that. It’s a good idea to have someone keep track of cards, calls, meals and flowers as they arrive so you have a list to work from when you sit down to write thank you cards, but if you didn’t do this it’s okay. If you can’t remember specifics, just keep it general. Nobody will hold it against you in a difficult time. Sympathy thank you notes after a death or crisis do not need to be sent by each person who is thankful. It’s standard for a note to come from the family as a whole, or from the group of people who are involved. It might be signed from everyone, or it may be written by one person on behalf of everyone. Of course, if the thank you card is from you individually, you may simply sign it as you normally would sign off a card.
Dear Jenny, Thank you for your support following the death of our father, Geoffrey Barnes, this month. Our family has been overwhelmed with love during this very difficult time, and we are grateful for friends like you. The Barnes family
Dear Lucas, Thank you for your donation to the Lions Club in honour of my husband, Geoffrey Barnes. It has given my family some comfort during this time of sorrow to see his legacy helping others in the community. Thank you for your support, Julie Barnes and family
Thank you cards can seem like a hassle, but they are a great opportunity to spend a little longer soaking in the love of your family and friends. The day of your wedding, baby shower or birthday can pass so quickly that it becomes a blur! Writing your thank yous can be a fun process of reflecting on each and every person who was part of the day channelling all those good vibes into something tangible. Which is basically what you did to create the event, right? Get organised, make time, and have fun with it.
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