Friday, October 23, 2015
The Art of the Thank You Note
It's no secret that I'm in the midst of wedding insanity. 40 day countdown is upon us, people!
I expected the stress. I expected the financial kick-to-the-groin. I even expected the dreaded "you'll invite this person you've never met because they expect to get an invitation, even though they won't come!".
One thing I didn't expect? This is going to sound totally awful, but I did not expect to be so overwhelmed by the love, support, and generosity of my family and my future-family. As such, I've felt the need to really examine thankfulness, chiefly in the form of the Thank You Note.
Having written a fair amount already- and with hundreds (yes- literally hundreds) more in my near future, I found it important to develop a sort of 'formula' to keep myself from getting overly-frazzled each time I put pen to paper.
Without further ado....
Minnesota Nicely's Thank You Note Guidelines
For weddings, graduations, showers and general generosity.
First and foremost- it is never a bad idea to have an arsenal of 'Thank You' cards on hand. You never know when you'll need one spur-of-the-moment, and the faster you can get a thank you note out, the better. Check out TJMaxx or Target for super cheap, yet beautiful/fun/artistic thank you cards.
Second- keep addresses up to date. Again, you never know when you'll need to send out a card, so putting together a file of friends and family addresses is a must. Bonus- you'll be ready to send out invitations, holiday photos and birthday cards whenever the mood strikes.
Take Advantage of the Guest List
If you are sending out invitations for a shower/graduations/party/etc, print the addresses on clear labels. Trust me- this is stupid easy to do and has a great pay-off. Once you've printed the address labels for the party, print a second sheet for your thank you cards.
Thankful for Presence vs. Presents
One of my favorite wedding mishaps comes from a cousin of mine. On her invitations, she printed the standard 'So-and-so request the honor of your presences at the marriage of...", but instead of 'presence' as in attendance, she put 'presents', as in "request the honor of your gifts at the marriage of...". Eek.
Not only is this an important grammatical distinction to make sure you pay attention to, but this is also a great reminder as to what we should be truly thankful for: Presence, not presents. Your card should always strive to make sure the recipient knows that you are thankful for their thoughtfulness and their physical presence at your gathering/event. In fact, I think that this is such an important focus that I recommend 'sandwiching' your thank you with this message. Open and close the note with some form of 'thank you for your thoughtfulness/thank you for coming' to really reinforce that you appreciate their presence.
Elaborate on the Gift
When you're thanking someone for a present, be sure to include a little tidbit as to how you're going to enjoy the gift. Aunt Sally gave you a nice set of mixing bowls? Great! Let her know you can't wait to use them to make Grandma Gertrude's famous fudge recipe. Cousin Betty brought a fresh new stack of kitchen towels? Wonderful! One can never have too many towels to clean up after a fun day of baking. BFF Eliza got you that new book you've been longing for? Excellent- let her know you can't wait to take some much needed 'me time' to relax and read.
In some way or another, people want to be sure that they got you something you'll enjoy, not just something you'll use. Let your gifter know why you're thankful for their present and you'll put a smile on their face.
Enemy, thy name is Generic
When you've got 30 thank you notes to write, it can sometimes be tempting to carry on with a generic message. DON'T. Each message doesn't have to be uniquely crafted (actually, I would encourage you to have a few repeat phrases to use for each note) but there should be some personal touch included for each individual. Get heartfelt for your mom, formal for your stuffy Great Aunt, and totally chill for your friends. The recipient should be able to hear your voice in the words, so if you're writing the same note over and over again, it's going to sound less like you're sincere and more like you're a robot. Include your personality!
So let's put all of this together, eh?
I just had to take a moment to thank you for coming to my bridal shower. I'm so happy you were able to make it! It truly would not have been the same without you there.
I'm so overwhelmed by your generosity- those wine glasses are gorgeous! I can't wait for us to break them in on the next girls night. Let's not wait too long!
Again- thank you so much for being there to celebrate with me. Your friendship means the world to me, and your support over these last few crazy months has been the only thing keeping me from becoming a Bridezilla! I can't wait to party with you at the wedding!
Lots of love, girl!
See- easy enough! And if you're still struggling, go ahead and start with the underlined text. Those phrases can be the base template for all of your thank you notes, while still allowing you to personalize the message and tailor the voice of the note to the recipient.
Now get out there and thank someone!