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Thank You Note Etiquette


A breezy acknowledgement or a sincere thank you isn't quite enough when someone has taken the time to find that perfect gift, or has helped you in some way. A hand-written thank you note will resonate and ring true with words that linger. It also shows that you have taken the time to consider this person when they realize you've picked out the card, signed it, and delivered the note to them. This is a grand opportunity to express your words of thanks and touch on the importance of your relationship. It makes the person you are saying 'thanks' to feel that their time and/or money is well invested with you.

Gift Certificate Ideas
  • Thank them for their extended hospitality with a note and a gift certificate to HomeGoods.
  • Thank him for helping you move with a note and an enclosed gift certificate for a new sweatshirt or jeans at American Eagle Outfitters.
  • Thank them for their long hours and preparation for the event with a note of thanks and a gift for a fun evening at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery.
Frequently Asked Questions

Is a thank you note always required after receipt of a gift?
While thank you notes are not required for birthday, shower, housewarming and other holiday gifts that are presented in person, and have been acknowledged with a verbal "thank you", a note is always appreciated and never inappropriate.

Etiquette does require a handwritten thank you note for all wedding-related presents, and for hostess gifts sent after a guest's stay.

How long do I have to write my thank you notes?
Prompt thank you notes are imperative! For general gifts, a note after two or three days is best. In the case of weddings two weeks to one month is ideal. Anything beyond three months would be considered late. With long engagements and large weddings, it's easy to be overwhelmed. We advise writing thank you notes as soon as gifts are received!

What should I say in a thank you card?
Thank you letters needn't be long. It is most important that the note be handwritten and that it mentions the gift specifically. For example: "Dear Aunt Hilda, thank you so much for the beautiful leather clutch. It is a classic piece and goes with everything in my wardrobe. I'll enjoy it for years to come."

What about thank you notes from children? My kids can't write yet.
Until your children are old enough to write, parents should write on their behalf.

What kind of stationary should I use?
Traditionally thank you notes were written on correspondence cards in white, cream or understated neutral shades. While such cards are indeed elegant, and extremely useful to have on hand, you might also express your thanks with another style of card. The important point is that you are sending a thank you. Are pre-printed thank you cards acceptable?

Pre-printed cards can't replace a handwritten note. Printed acknowledgment cards are acceptable in only three instances: for sympathy gifts where a large number of flowers, food or other items have been received; for charitable donations; and from public officials upon receipt of contributions.

Who should write the thank you notes after a wedding, the Bride or Groom?
Today, many couples are sharing the responsibility of writing the thank you notes. And while it is fine to sign both of your names, it is traditional for the person writing the note to sign his/her name and simply mention the other person in the text of the card.

It has been eight months since my wedding and I still haven't written my thank you notes. Is it too late?
While you are certainly late, writing your thank you cards now is better than never. Make a brief apology for your tardiness, but don't belabor the point. It's still most important to emphasize your appreciation for each person's gift and how much it will be enjoyed.

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