Most people have no idea what goes into creating a one-of-a-kind wedding stationery ensemble. I will try to make this an interesting multi-part series about creating a bespoke stationery wardrobe from save the dates to thank you notes.

With 90 percent of the attention paid to wedding planning, post-wedding courtesies can be overlooked. Ideally, your wedding announcements and thank you notes should be ordered at the same time you select the rest of your wedding stationery ensemble. This ensures a consistent look and feel to all the pieces and removes the excuse to not start on those thank-you notes right away.

Wedding announcements

Why?
You don’t have to send wedding announcements. They let extended family, colleagues and people who weren’t invited know you made it official. Some people view announcements as a gift solicitation, but that’s not the case: A wedding announcement is like a newspaper announcement that’s directed at specific people. (If anyone does send you a gift, PLEASE send a thank-you note right away!)

Wording
Formal announcements are worded like wedding invitations, except that the wedding has already taken place. The bride’s parents can announce your wedding (especially if they hosted it and their names were on the invites) or the couple can do it.

  • If your parents announce it:

Mr. and Mrs. John Parker
have the honor to announce
the marriage of their daughter
[or “announce the marriage of their daughter”]
Joan Vivian
to
Steven Andreas Miller
Saturday, the fourth of June
Two thousand five
Central Methodist Church
Denver, Colorado

  • If you two announce your own wedding:

Joan Vivian Parker
and
Steven Andreas Miller
announce their marriage
Saturday, the fourth of June
Central Methodist Church
Denver, Colorado

When to Send Them
Send announcements on the morning of the wedding day or on your way from the ceremony to the reception. But don’t send them too soon — you’re announcing an event that has already happened. Feel free to enlist a member of the bridal party to drop them in the mailbox the morning after.

Thank you notes

You already know how I feel about giving thanks. Please don’t wince at the thought of writing your thank-you notes. You’re sending them to people who mean something in your life and you want them to know that. Think of this as an opportunity to say “I love you, and am glad you love me too.” It’s really not that hard. Just keep in mind that people like being appreciated, and if they feel you actually notice the nice things they do for you they will continue to do them. Also it’s nice to get handwritten mail.

ANATOMY OF A THANK YOU NOTE

  • Date
  • Salutation
  • Say Thank You
  • Mention the gift by name
  • Say what you will do with the gift or why it’s perfect
  • Something personal
  • Thank you Again
  • Close

Preparation
Keep in mind that the wedding thank you note project begins way back when you gather your wedding guests’ names and addresses to send the invitations. Before you start opening gift boxes, find the list and record each gift next to the giver’s name and address.

Set up a comfortable designated writing area. Equip yourself with pens that you like to write with. Stay away from the cheap ones that make big ink blobs when they’re overused. Roller-ball pens are much smoother. Mont Blanc makes some impressive models, if you’ve got the cash.

Tips & Tricks

  • Try to start writing wedding thank you notes as soon as gifts start arriving. This may mean before the wedding, so be ready. If you ordered your notes as part of your wedding stationery, you’re ahead of the game.
  • Don’t attempt to get them all done in one sitting. It simply won’t happen.
  • The rule is that you’re supposed to get thank-yous out for gifts received before the wedding within two weeks of their arrival; after the wedding, within a month after you return from the honeymoon. (For the gifts we received before the wedding, I wrote mine on the long plane ride home from our honeymoon.)
  • You shouldn’t use notes with your married name on them until after the wedding; if you must monogram, get some notes with your maiden name or initials and some with your married name or initials.
  • Be sure to write a few words about the gift so you don’t get confused. You’ll never remember which of the 10 crystal vases your Aunt Alma gave you, so be specific: “Waterford Balmoral vase.”
  • If the gift was money, mention how you plan to use it: “Thank you for the generous check. We are using it as part of the down payment on a house.”
  • Put a big check mark next to the guest’s name on your list when the thank-you note has been signed, sealed, and placed in the post.

Examples

  • Sample wedding thank you note for a cash gift:
    Dear Aunt Wendy and Uncle Todd,
    Thank you so much for your generous gift. Talia and I are saving for a new home and thanks to you, we’ll be shopping for our dream house very soon. Again, many thanks for thinking of us and for sharing our special day. Love, Shawn and Talia
  • Sample thank-you note for a gift chosen from your bridal registry:
    Dear Aileen and Brian,
    Thank you so much for the crystal wine goblets. We now have a complete set! Derek and I are looking forward to your next visit, when we can enjoy a drink together. Thank you again for thinking of us at this special time in our lives. Warmest regards, Talia and Shawn
  • Sample thank-you note for a wedding gift you really didn’t like:
    Dear Lynn and Tom,
    Thank you for the fluorescent lava lamps. You are both so thoughtful! Every time we look at them, we will think of you and this special time in our lives. Again, many thanks for sharing our joy. Fondly, Talia and Shawn

And … thank you’s aren’t just for gifts. Let your bridal party, officiant, planner, etc. know you appreciate everything they put into your special day.

Next week: the last post in the series.

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