A much-anticipated aspect of the wedding planning process involves creating a wedding registry and receiving an assortment of new home appliances, decorations, tools, and household essentials.
As wedding guests share their excitement for the newlyweds by offering a thoughtful gift from the registry, they express their admiration, love, joy, and hope to the couple. In his written analysis of The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, author and marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman comments on the significance of gift-giving. He says, “You must be thinking of someone to give him or her a gift. The gift itself is a symbol of that thought.”
Yet the deep fulfillment of gift-giving often comes when the recipient opens the gift with sincere gratitude or joy; as observed by St. Francis of Assisi, “it is in giving that we receive.” When guests are unable to see the bride and groom open their gift after their wedding, a thank you note helps complete the beautiful cycle between giving and receiving.
While giving a gift is a way to say “I love you,” writing a heartfelt thank you note is how to say, “I love you, too.”
If working through the list of thank you notes feels like a chore, hassle or waste of time, consider the following tips to convey gratitude, affirm your friends and family, and find purpose in your hand cramps:
Write Notes by Hand
There isn’t an expression of gratitude more authentic, powerful, or treasured than a personal, handwritten note. Despite the convenience and beauty of modern technology, it is important to take the time and effort to put pen to paper. Making the effort to handwrite wedding thank you notes and send it in the mail is not only a sacrifice, but an act of love for another.
Beyond gratitude for gifts alone, consider expressing your sincere thanks for wedding weekend assistance or for the presence of a loved one at your wedding. Every guest, vendor, and volunteer is a unique person who helped make your special day possible. The thank you note has the power to convey the message of appreciation for both the gift and their role in your life. As you express gratitude in a note as unique as the person it’s for, consider incorporating answers to some of the following questions:
What was the gift?
What was your/your spouse’s reaction when you received the gift?
How will you/have you used the gift?
Why are you and your spouse eager to bring this specific gift home?
How did their presence or assistance make a difference in your wedding day?
Did this person offer a skill, talent, or word of encouragement that no one else could have provided?
Share Something from the Heart
Stretch your focus beyond the gift and share a personal emotion or memory from your wedding day. By sharing an emotion, you expose a truth of your heart and invite the recipient of the message to express empathy or to make a deeper connection with you. For example, you could write about a favorite moment or a “behind-the-scenes” story that guests didn’t notice. Despite how much time you were able to spend with specific guests during the wedding weekend, sharing a personal story or emotion invites them into a deeper experience and memory of your joyful sacrament. In doing so, you offer them a gift in return, the gift of your heart.
Pay it Forward
The gratitude doesn’t have to end when the thank you note goes to the post office. When you unpack a gift or as you use it over time, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for the person who gave it to you and their generosity, or a petition for their own needs and desires.
Stay on Budget
If a family member or close friend wants to give you and your spouse a meaningful wedding gift that is not on the registry, consider inviting them to order the bulk supply of personalized stationery, envelopes, and/or stamps for your thank you notes. High-quality stationary reflects your personality and your gratitude, but it comes with a cost. If someone is able to give your stationary as a wedding gift, it is truly the gift that keeps on giving.