Planning a wedding can be a whirlwind. There are so many things to consider and make decisions about that you might not have even known existed before getting engaged. It can easily be overwhelming and you can feel like there are things slipping through the cracks. The truth is, none of these things are life or death (even if they feel like it).
One of the things that’s easy to overlook when planning your stationery is something you won’t even use until after the wedding: thank you cards. The truth is, if you’re on top of your game you will use some of your thank you cards before your wedding, thanking any of your respondents who won’t be able to attend your wedding but may have sent a gift already. You need to do this so that you’re replying in a timely manner. It also reduces the amount of note writing you have to do after you get back from your honeymoon.
Paper serves as bookends for your wedding. A save-the-date or invitation announces their big day and a thank you card closes out this celebration with gratitude to their friends and family. To maximize the quality of your guests’ experience, build out your entire stationery package to be a cohesive match to the design of your wedding.
Anatomy of a thank you card
It may seem obvious or it might be something you’ve never really considered. There’s a right way to write a thank you card:
- Address the person you’re thanking. This one seems like a no brainer, but when you’re on your 48th thank you card of the day, it may be easy to forget. Just like a letter, start your thank you card with a salutation like “Dear Warden Family.”
- Thank them. Even if your thank you cards say the words “thank you” on them, start your note off with some expression of gratitude
- Tell them what you’re thanking them for. The first two were cursory; this is the meat of a thank you note. It’s adding details the show your guests that you are truly grateful for the part they played in your big day and their generosity of gift.
- Pro tip: keep good records as you open your gifts-it would be gauche to thank Dr. and Mrs. Smith for something the Archers gave you!
- Make a connection. Most people suggest that this is where you tell the recipient how you’ll use the gift they gave you. I don’t think that’s always the right approach. The purpose here is to connect with the person you’re thanking. Perhaps the mixer they gave you remind you of the KitchenAid that sat proudly on your grandma’s countertop throughout your childhood. Or maybe the gift you received match your style to a T. Tell them that! Make a connection between the gift they gave and your life.
- Close it out. I like experimenting with ways to close out notes. Technically, it’s called the valediction. I’m fond of the phrase “With gratitude.” This is a great place to show some personal style. But it can be a place to get hung up on. I’d suggest picking two or three to use for your thank you cards and sticking with them – expend your mental energy on personalizing the other areas.
What’s it going to look like
While the contents of your thank you note should generally follow a fairly standard format, the size shape and layout of the note card doesn’t have to follow very many rules. I generally suggest keeping them rectangular (square mail costs more in postage than rectangular) and within the range of what the USPS considers a first class letter. Many people go with a 4Bar envelope, which is a little dainty and frankly kind of adorable in your mailbox. The insert of a 4Bar envelope is approximately a three-and-a-half by 5 inch note card. Technically, you could go all the way up to a 6×11” for the same amount of postage.
Thank you cards are often folded, typically along the long edge. I’m a big fan of flat thank you cards. That way we can use the same press sheets we use for your invitations to create a high impact, memorable thank you card.
It might make sense to purchase personalized note cards to use those as thank you cards instead of ones emblazoned with “Thank You.” Even though most of us should be saying thank you more often than usual, your last name or a monogram printed on your cards might make them a bit more versatile.
Whatever you choose, it’s best to plan for your thank you cards when planning the rest of your stationery. They can often be printed on the same press run as your invitations, building a cohesive look throughout your entire stationery suite.
One of my favorite things about being in the stationery business is that get to be there from the beginning to end of the biggest day in my clients’ lives. To all my clients past and future, thank you for trusting me with your big day.