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Thank you notes

Posted by bridal_writer (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 30, 04 at 21:33

I am a freelance writer working on deadline for an article on wedding thank you notes. Im looking to get impressions from both brides who send thank you notes AND from wedding guests who can share their experiences of getting a thank you note. Why do you feel thank you notes are important? Did a particular thank you note warm your heart? Make you feel appreciated? Or did you send a gift and never receive a thank you note at all? Please email your experiences (good OR bad) to bridal_writer@yahoo.com

Thank you.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Thank you notes

I have sent gifts and never received a thank you note. I am never sure whether the couple actually received the gift, or if they perhaps didn't like it so didn't respond, or if they are just busy. I feel that a thank you note is a courtesy. When a guest takes the time to purchase a gift, the least the recipient can do is let them know that it was appreciated.

In looking back through my files, I found thank you notes from a bride who was a fairly new acquaintance and who was marrying a family member. She sent a thank you note to say thank you for welcoming her into the family and that she felt accepted and loved. That is the kind of note that is really special. She didn't have to tell me that, but she took the time to do so.


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RE: Thank you notes

Sweet Pea...can I use your comments for the newspaper article I am writing? If so, I need to use your name. If that's OK, please email me with your name. Thank you for responding!


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RE: Thank you notes

I went to a wedding in September and have not received a thank you yet. Not sure if it is late or just not coming. It kind of makes you feel like something went wrong and they lost your gift. Althought mine was a check and I see they cashed it.

I have received other thank you's from different weddings and it is nice when the bride and groom write a personal note and not the corny "thanks for taking part of our special day".


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RE: Thank you notes

I'm from a family with old fashioned values. Not sending a "Thank You" note is rude!

We had our photographer take a group photo before the guests left the ceremony site. That photo became our Thank You card. Everyone Loved it. A lot of my friends have the picture framed and siting on their mantel.


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RE: Thank you notes

I sent an old friend of mine a shower/wedding gift last year that was VERY costly. I was unable to attend the shower (due to work--I live 3 hours from her and it was a last minute--1 week notice of the up coming shower date). So, I had my mom buy the gift the day I got the invitation and had her give it to this girl's parents so that she could open it at her shower. A year and a few months have gone by and I have still yet to receive a "thank-you" (verbally or written). I was raised that "Thank-you's" are a must, people like 1)knowing you got the gift and 2)feeling that their gift touch you even if you returned it the next day. I feel that it was very RUDE of her to not even call me up and say "Hey thanks for the gift...I really needed it" or something to that degree. I know that once I start receiving my gifts for my upcoming wedding, ALL of my guests will receive a "thank-you"!!!

Springbride04


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RE: Thank you notes

Sending thank you notes promptly for my wedding gifts was very important to me. I wrote all of them on the airplane to/from my honeymoon and mailed them as soon as I got home. I had a list of what everyone had gotten me and wrote a special note to each and every person/couple that attended our wedding and/or gave us a gift.

I think it's extremely important for my guests to know that it was appreciated that they shared in our day and purchased a nice gift for us. The people that attended our wedding all meant something to my husband and myself and the day would not have been the same without them. They needed to know that we are grateful and thankful.

I think it's extremely rude to not send a thank you note for a wedding gift; and that thank you note should be send within a reasonable amount of time.


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RE: Thank you notes

My mother had us kids at the dining room table every Christmas, writing thank you notes. "I don't care if you don't like it - that's not the point ..."

Obviously, I think thank you notes are crucial. I also think they are far too seldom written by grooms.


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RE: Thank you notes

This past year I sent gifts to two couples, both of whom I was a friend to the mother of the bride. The weddings were in another state. Both women were well educated and well brought up. In both instances the gift was sent through the bridal registry and was about $100. One was last May, the other last July. I did not receive a thank you note from either. I know to most brides that writing thank-yous is a "chore", so I wouldn't expect a particularly meaningful note (although wouldn't that be lovely!), but I would have liked an acknowledgement of the receipt of the gift. Just to know it got there. And I wouldn't want the Mom to think I hadn't sent a gift. I have been torn about whether to write a note to ask if it had been received, but I feel a bit odd doing that.


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RE: Thank you notes

Rainebeau22, I wouldn't hesitate to ask the brides' mothers if my gifts were received. Especially since you did not send them yourself, but I'm assuming that the store handling the couples' bridal registries shipped the gifts for you. Had you sent the gifts yourself, you could have sent them via certified mail, return receipt requested - but you don't have any sort of delivery confirmation going thru the store directly, right?

Failure to acknowledge a gift is absolutely inexcusable -- so inexcusable, in fact, that I find it unthinkable that anyone could do that (although yes, I know that people don't always acknowledge) and would be more inclined to think that my gifts were never received in the first place.

If the couples did receive your gifts, then they deserve every bit of embarrassment they receive from you bringing their lack of common courtesy to light. (Although, again, it is questionable whether anyone who would fail to acknowledge a gift even has the ability to be shamed by their improper etiquette!)

And I completely agree with joann23456 -- thank you notes are not exclusively the bride's responsibility!


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RE: Thank you notes

My tacky thank-you note story:

Husband and I attended a wedding of one of his co-workers in September, two weeks after our own. A few weeks later, we received what they apparently considered an appropriate thank-you: A pre-printed wedding photo of them with "Thanks for the wedding gift" and their names printed next to it. First of all, people who receive this don't even know their gift has been received - bride and groom could have sent these out to anyone who signed their guestbook. And forget about a personal message, since they couldn't even personally SIGN them!
We were disgusted that the thought and effort of their guests was repaid with such a tasteless thank-you. Completely unacceptable and borderline laughable...


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RE: Thank you notes

Well, well, isn't life funny. I just received, one day after my "kvetch" about not receiving thank you notes, a THANK YOU NOTE from the May couple! And it was a charming, newsy note to boot! So, I guess there's still hope for the July couple.


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RE: Thank you notes

IMO- one should always send a thank you note when one receives a gift. Its common curtesy. I keep a note paper with information on what day I recieved teh gift and who it was form. This way when I opein it I know who to send the thank you notes to.


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RE: Thank you notes

I'm on this forum as a MOB, but get caught up in all the threads because I'm so interested in weddings! (I'm also a minister who's conducted too many weddings to count--you'd think I'd get bored, but I never do!).

I was married for the first time in 1967, when the tradition (at least for my wedding!) was that many of the invited guests were friends of the B&G's parents. Thus we received many gifts from people I didn't know at all (my husband's parents friends). Some of them were difficult to identify ("What the heck is this?")

I was brought up right, forced to write thank-you notes for Christmas gifts before I could go out to play, and certainly wasn't about to slouch on notes for our wedding gifts. (I used to take note paper to the laundromat with me and write a few with each load of laundry.) But how to write a note for a gift when you don't know what it is? The formula I decided to use was "Thank you for the lovely wedding gift. It's much too nice to use as an ashtray." My adult kids think this is a hoot, and we all still get a laugh out of it!

Judy


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RE: Thank you notes

A poster above wonders if she should ask two brides' mothers if the brides received her gifts (I assume she is saying mothers and brides, not fathers and grooms, because she mentioned that she is in both cases a friend of the MOB). I think most people's first reaction is,
"Sure, why not? It's inexcusable not to write a note, and anyway, you need to know if the gift arrived."

But this isn't as simple as it sounds, is it? Believe me, I feel the same urge, too. But I realize that in most cases I do know that the gift arrived. In most others, there would be other ways to check. And while I usually know the parents better than the bridal couple, really, the latter are the ones who definitely know whether my gift was received -- the parents would likely have to call them to find out.

So I wonder if my true motive isn't really to check on the status of my gift, but to make people uncomfortable because they were rude to me. Especially if I call the parents instead of the couple -- really, then I'm just ratting them out to their parents, and I'm also putting my friend, say the mom, in a very awkward position. She will feel that I am insulting her child, and probably her for not raising him/her with any manners. Then she will yell at her kid, who will yell back not to nag, and they will be unhappy, too.

Sometimes you really are in a position where you must check, though. Once a store accidentally delivered the gift to my house instead of the bride's. They picked it up for redelivery, but there was something funny about it -- I don't recall what -- that made me uneasy. Good thing I called the bride to check: it never got there. Now, in a case like that, she knew that I really was calling to check, not needling her about not writing. But really, when the only reason to wonder is that you never got a note, let's face it -- they are going to see right through your inquiry and be annoyed and uncomfortable.

Sure, they were rude and wrong not to write -- no question about that. So we may feel that they "deserve" to feel uncomfortable or "have no right" to feel annoyed. But so what? Are we the etiquette police? More important, is that how we want to make our friends/relatives feel? Especially the poor parents -- it isn't their responsibility or their fault. (If you don't believe that, just wait until YOU are a parent and your kid refuses to do EXACTLY the thing you are most persistent about!) Anyway, when people feel put on the spot and criticized like that -- especially about their children -- they don't learn any lesson about manners. They just feel defensive, which makes them mad at YOU and not longer feeling guilty about their own lapse.


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RE: Thank you notes

Right on, gellcom!

"Are we the etiquette police?"...I believe I have also read Miss Manners stating something along the lines of good etiquette is doing what WE can to make other people comfortable -- NOT making sure everyone else is "following the rules".


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RE: Thank you notes

gellchom, you and grace3 make excellent points! I take back my suggestion to contact the "offending" couples' parents, tempting though it may be to want them to look bad for being so thoughtless! ;-)


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RE: Thank you notes

grace3, I remember Miss Manners saying that, too -- but then, I also remember her (in her hilarious way) telling how to call the bride's mother and ask "I wonder if you could check on the little package I sent some time ago -- the one with twelve full place settings of china? I know the young people are so busy setting up housekeeping, but the stores are so unreliable, and I don't have to tell you how the post office is..." and then describing the phone call the mortified mother makes to her daughter, who then immediately sends a dashed-off note. But I bet she wouldn't do it herself. Because even though it doesn't violate any etiquette rules -- in fact, it's a classic example of making people miserable while remaining faultlessly "correct," which she always reminds us is possible -- it's just plain mean. And these are people we supposedly care about enough to have sent a gift in the first place.

It is so true that the manners we need to mind are our own, not others'. Sometimes it's hard, though, isn't it? I am disgusted with a particularly ungrateful and spoiled bride and groom right now -- so far I've successfully avoided letting them or their families know how I feel, but it's an effort! :-)

That's one of the great things about this forum. It lets us blow off steam safely, and for that matter to check our instincts about what is "okay" to do, with people who understand and won't be hurt or judge us.

Auntjen, you are so gracious, I bet you would never have done it anyway!


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RE: Thank you notes

gellcom, now that you say that, I remember, too, "the rest of the story" from Miss Manners! LOL But I agree, it's hard to imagine her actually making that call.

And the point is still true, that the people we should be most concerned about is *ourselves* -- doing what WE are supposed to.


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RE: Thank you notes

gellchom, you are right, it was the thought of making making my friends (and daughters) uncomfortable that held me back. Plus, I figure there must be some accounting that the wedding registries do for the couples--if the store shows eight place settings purchased, but the couple received only four, then they must handle that somehow, I would guess.

Anyway, speaking of Miss Manners, did you see today someone asked "When is it too late to send a thank you card?" And Miss Manners' answer: "When the person who was generous to you is dead, and you have to live with the knowledge of your ingratitude." LOL!! I can wait!


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RE: Thank you notes

One thought on thank-you notes:

I had a big reception (my IL's family is pretty big!) and there were a lot of cash presents given to us on that day. We wrote out the thank-you notes the first week we were back from our honeymoon, and waited to mail them out until they were ALL written--no mailing in batches.

It was a good thing we did, because I found out later that the folks who got them compared NOTES. They apparently even read them to one another, bcs. my MIL told me someone had said, "Talley writes such lovely thank-you notes, and she wrote a different thing to everyone! So thoughtful!"

Yeeps! I'm glad I didn't mail as I go--can you imagine the gossiping? "well, I didn't get MY thank-you note yet; maybe she's forgotten me!"

That was a big lesson.


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RE: Thank you notes

We received some presents up to two months before the wedding. It was much easier to write the thank you notes as the presents came in rather than wait and do them all at once. Also, I think thank you notes should go out as soon as you receive the gift, or, if you received it at the wedding - within the first few days of getting back from honeymoon.


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RE: Thank you notes

Talley Sue, yikes! I had a similar experience. When I wrote thank you notes, I, like you, made it a point -- really just to keep myself from going crazy with boredom and to keep them fresh -- to write something a little different in each one. I got a lot of compliments on them, too, and I still recommend that, despite this story:
My husband had two elderly relatives living in Florida. I'd never met them (never did later, either). They were invited to the wedding and they didn't attend, but they sent checks, and I wrote each to thank them. Well, a short while later, my mother-in-law called and said that she had heard from one or both of these ladies. One was upset because on the other one's note, I'd written something like, "We hope to see you soon," and on hers, I'd written some other little pleasantry instead. Can you imagine? I mean:
- Don't they have anything better to do than to compare thank you notes?
- Did she honestly think that I hoped to see the other one but not her, when I didn't know one of them from the other?
- For that matter, does she really take everything in a thank you note so literally? I mean, I couldn't have told you one second after I sealed the envelopes what I wrote to whom. "We hope to see you soon" means about as much as "Yours truly" or "Dear Mr. Smith" -- no more, but no less, either: they aren't meant literally, but they are conventions to convey general good feeling.
- Why was she calling my new mother in law to tell her this? What possible good purpose was there to that?
- Why did my mother in law call to tell ME this?

Even as a self-conscious, want-to-do-it-all-perfectly new bride, I knew enough not to worry about this nonsense!

It is really amazing what some people will manage to find offensive; I guess they like to feel aggrieved. I certainly never worried about sending notes out in flights -- I just did them in the order the gifts were received. Talley Sue, what do you suppose these people say when they get NO thank you note!


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RE: Thank you notes

"- Don't they have anything better to do than to compare thank you notes?"

Sadly, they apparently don't! Let's all make a pact right now, girls -- that we will not turn into petty, backbiting, snippy little old ladies when our time comes to be "the elderly generation"! ;-)


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RE: Thank you notes

I just discovered this thread, in a panic, because I am still working on my thank you notes. I was married six months ago, and had a large wedding -- several hundred notes to write, and I am a writer by trade, so I am very picky about what goes into each!

People are pretty strange when it comes to thank-you note etiquette. Beginning a WEEK after the wedding, people started asking my mother-in-law why we hadn't cashed their checks yet, and complaining about it! I had wanted to wait until the notes were sent to cash the checks, as I believe is the polite thing to do. I thought it was very presumptuous to give someone a check, which is a gift, and then complain because it wasn't cashed right away. Not only does this imply that the person can't manage their finances properly, it seems to go against the very idea of giving a gift -- that it belongs to the recipient! If I wanted to frame everyone's checks and hang them on the wall, so what? They're not their checks anymore! Guests were also very strange about cash gifts, calling obsessively to make sure we'd received them (the reception was at a very nice hotel ballroom, well staffed, and an attendant was present at the gift table the entire time.)

The result of this badgering was that I felt ashamed and nervous about the impression I had made on my husband's family and friends, and I rushed to send out the thank-you notes and deposit all the checks so no one would worry, but I really resented the fact that everyone felt so free to criticize me mere weeks after they had been kissing and hugging me at the reception!

After that initial rush, which comprised roughly a third of the notes I had to write, we were sucked into a whirlwind of events that included my starting my own business, three separate deaths in the family, post-wedding depression, and finding and buying a new house. In all of that, I kept chipping away at the thank-you notes, but it was very slow going with all of my other obligations!

I was surprised, over and over, at how insensitive people could be. I saw one aunt a week after Christmas at my grandmother's funeral, and she made a comment about how I should have mailed my thank-you cards and Christmas cards together (implying that the thank-yous were late, of course.) An uncle, to whom I had not yet written, overheard this and quipped, "What thank-you cards?" I love both of these relatives dearly, but I doubt I will ever forget what they said. It was very hurtful, as I had thanked them in person several times and did, when the dust had settled, write each a very kind note.

Finally, I wrote to a friend to ask for another friend's address, and mentioned that I was finishing my thank-you notes. She wrote back: "But your wedding was 7 months ago!" Not only was she wrong (it was 6 months ago), she was rude.

Though I am also a stickler for thank-you notes, and send them whenever possible, I have learned my own lesson from all of this: Remember that gift-giving is always optional, and if you think you deserve a well-written note within a certain time frame, you shouldn't be giving at all. And, most importantly, you don't know what someone may be going through as a reason for not writing. It's much more kind to ask how the marriage is going than to angle for a thank-you note that will only come at the price of a close and trusting relationship.

Thank God, I only have eleven more to write. I can't wait until all of this is over, and I am saddened at the insensitivity that took all the fun out of it.


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RE: Thank you notes

I disagree that the polite thing to do is to wait to cash a check until you've sent a thank-you note, although I understand the feeling. I don't think people were implying that you weren't able to manage your finances - they were just hoping that you would help them manage THEIRS by not causing them to have an outstanding check they have to keep track of for weeks or months. It is also worrisome to people when their checks aren't cashed because they are concerned that they could be lost, and used for fraud.

I also disagree that gift checks are now your property and you should be able to do what you want with them. Checks are always the property of the account holder and the bank; they are just a temporary way of transferring money. That's why they are returned to the account holder after they are used. Checks contain very sensitive information - name, address, bank name, account number - and it is not considerate to keep the writer in limbo.

IMO the thing to do when you receive a check is to cash it immediately. If you have a number of thank-you notes to write, perhaps you can prioritize the ones that are for checks, so people don't have a long lag between their back statement stating you cashed it and receipt of the thank-you note.

Cash gifts are also sensitive; I would imagine that the people who were asking about whether their cash gifts were received were simply concerned that they could have been lost or stolen, and wanted to make sure that you knew that they gave you a gift. I bet they were worried that YOU might be thinking badly about THEM, thinking they hadn't given you anything.


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RE: Thank you notes

"if you think you deserve a well-written note within a certain time frame, you shouldn't be giving at all."

It's not that people "think they deserve," rather, it is proper etiquette to return the gift-giving sentiment with a prompt thank-you. (Two months is often cited as the proper time frame.)

I agree with all of Anita's comments.


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RE: Thank you notes

I'm with you, Happy Homemaker. I got married in Toronto in October 2003 and I've been working very hard on my thank-you notes since I returned from my honeymoon in November. I wrote them all within two weeks of returning from the honeymoon, and I'm holding onto them while the photos are being processed. The last round of photos should arrive any day, and then all the thank-you notes are going into the mail accompanied by selected photos for each guest. It has cost us quite a lot of time, money and energy to do it this way, but I thought this was a thoughtful and appreciative way to graciously thank my guests.

However, my husband and I have just received a very nasty letter from my husband's sister, accusing us of never thanking her and, outrageously, complaining that we "apparently could afford to take a honeymoon" but so far have not been able to afford to visit her. (Our honeymoon was a gift from the best man and we announced this at the wedding!) I was very grateful to her for travelling to our wedding from New York, and I have three 8x10 photographs being processed just for her. I was looking forward to getting the photos and mailing them out to her -- I'm not one of those brides who considers the thank-you cards a chore; I've been delighted to do this -- but her letter completely sours the whole thing. Further, I'm beginning to think she only attended the wedding as an investment toward a sense of entitlement she has obviously been accruing for some time.

I don't believe I have ever received a thank-you card within even six months of a wedding I've attended. Most, it seems, go out within a year and I recently received a thank-you card from a couple who had their first wedding anniversary three months ago. I was delighted to get their card and the photo that came with it, and it had not even occurred to me that I hadn't received a thank-you yet. What kind of people stew and fester waiting for a thank-you card and call upon ghostly unofficial deadlines to give themselves permission to sound off about it? It certainly says a lot about where their hearts are when they do the giving.


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RE: Thank you notes

My DD worked so hard to get her thank you's out (300 guests)...she was going to the university full time, working part-time, and her new hubby was not able to help (4th year med student, and was gone on different rotations for the first 2 months of their marriage). Anyway, she was able to get them all done by mid-November (wedding was at the end of August), and was so pleased -- and relieved -- to have it done...

...but... this week she said to me, "Mom, guess what I found..."

A whole stack of thank yous, addressed and stamped, had fallen down behind her dresser. She thought they had all been sent. She's just sick about it.


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RE: Thank you notes

Sorry, I have to disagree. I believe that letters of thanks should be sent out promptly, for weddings just like any other occasion. It's nice of you to include a photo, but I wouldn't do it if it meant delaying for several months.

Everyone understands that bridal couples have a lot of letters to write, so of course they probably can't send them all out within a few days. But to let months to go by does not exactly send a message of enthusiasm for expressing gratitude, does it?

I have to say I am taken aback at these attacks (e.g., "What kind of people stew and fester waiting for a thank-you card and call upon ghostly unofficial deadlines to give themselves permission to sound off about it? It certainly says a lot about where their hearts are when they do the giving" and "if you think you deserve a well-written note within a certain time frame, you shouldn't be giving at all.") on the motives of people whose only offense seems to have been to send a gift. I don't "stew and fester" waiting for a letter -- but I have to admit that I am not impressed with the couples who haven't bothered to write. Conversely, I am impressed with the ones -- and there are many; in fact, most -- who write very promptly. I am sure they are as busy as everyone else; it just seems to be a higher priority for them. I think all this venom from people who didn't write promptly againt the givers is a projection about their own defensive feelings. There certainly doesn't seem to be any mention of the givers' feelings.

What do you want to hear, that we all agree that people who don't write prompt letters of thanks are being particularly gracious? It's true, it's not a crime not to write promptly -- but you can't expect universal approval for that. Even if you got it, here on this board, what would you do -- forward it to everyone you think feels bad or critical or is laughing at you because you never thanked them? You know that a lot of people think poorly of failure to write promptly (if you don't, search "bridezilla" and see what people write!); you can't change that by insisting that you are right and criticizing their motives.

If you truly don't care what they think, then it doesn't matter, does it? But if you do care what they think, then write the notes, because you can't change how they feel about it.

The point: if you don't write promptly, it's rude, but it's not the biggest deal in the world -- it's not like anyone is getting hurt. But don't expect congratulations for it, and for heavens sake, don't accuse the people you should be thanking of being the rude or insensitive ones!


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RE: Thank you notes

Our notes were all out within four weeks of the wedding. It was truly weird when my Mom said to me on the phone "Mrs. So-and-So said you wrote such a lovely thank-you note." Felt like I was 12 years old--Mom's friend reporting on the thank-you.

DH and I have not received a thank-you note for gift we gave at a wedding a year and a half ago. Very rude.

Asking if someone got the gift is, IMHO, equivalent to asking "We're you raised in a barn?" Imposing that on someones innocent mother instead of the bride-at-fault seems unfair. (Besides, we have the cancelled check, so we kow they got it.)

Another Miss Manners observation: those who are so ungrateful as to fail to acknowledge a gift should not be burdened by more gifts in the future.


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RE: Thank you notes

I have such a strong opinion regarding Thank you notes, that I have resisted posting to this thread...until now. A thank you note within the year? A thank you note received after the first anniversary? That is unbelievable to me.

Thank you note were/are my number one priority. Someone was thoughtful enough to get me a gift, no matter how big or small, they deserve to receive a prompt Thank you note. A verbal thank you is not good enough. I usually write my Thank you notes within 48 hours of receiving a gift. For my wedding I gave myself a little more time, but all of the Thank you notes for gifts I received at the wedding were sent out within 4 weeks of the wedding - most of them much sooner. It is the least I could do. I takes about 15 minutes to write a nice, thoughtful thank you note - It probably took my guests more time to pick out something they thought we would enjoy using.

And, it makes me feel good that people commented to my parents that they were so surprised that I wrote my thank you notes so quickly and they thought the notes were lovely. Most of the wedding guests have known me since I was a child and for others I am a new member of their family/circle of friends. I think the prompt thank you left them all with a positive impression of me and the wedding.

I always try to err on the conservative side. Some people will not care if they receive a Thank you note or not, but some people believe that they are a large part of polite society. I have never heard of someone refusing or complaing about receiving a thank you note - but I have heard people complain about not receiving a thank you note. I prefer to surprise those who may not expect a Thank you note, and impress those who do - Besides, I enjoy writing the note - it is very relaxing and helps me remember what everyone gave me.


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RE: Thank you notes

I have always heard and read that a bride/couple should not use any gifts before the wedding. In additon, "it is written" (somewhere) that thank you notes should never be sent until after the wedding. I've had all kinds of experiences as I'm sure all of you have. I recently took a wedding gift to a bridal shower and received a thank you the very next week. The note was in the bride's own handwriting and mentioned the gift specifically. Her wedding hasn't taken place yet.

I've given gifts by registery, hand delivered, mailed etc etc and some were acknowledged and some were not. The only time it bothers me if I don't receive a note (or phone call, email, whatever) is if I honestly have no way of knowing they received it. This is true of all gifts though, not just wedding gifts.

DD's wedding was last Saturday and she has everything ready for writing the notes. That was one of the things on her "to do" list in getting ready for the wedding. One thing that will also be helpful to her that I know isn't an option for all brides is, we live in the same town and so does her new MIL. The 3 of us are planning a time to get together, thus getting the job done and enjoying spending time together.

If you do end up having to do it all yourself, try to think of a time and a way to make it fun ... or at least pleasant. Even the busiest of grooms can place the return address label and postage stamp on the envelope! If you don't have address labels printed yet, you might want to put that at the top of your list. It is a big help and I use them for lots of things in addition to mail. When I take a dish to a covered dish supper, for example, I always stick an address label on the bottom of my dish. That way, if it accidently goes home with a wrong person or gets left behind, the person who has it will know who it belongs to and will know how to contact me to return it.

Above all else, don't get stressed out about thank you notes or anything else. This is a time to enjoy and the people who cared enough to buy you a gift, will care enough to want you to R-E-L-A-X. I'm sure you will get it all done. :)


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RE: Thank you notes

"'it is written' (somewhere) that thank you notes should never be sent until after the wedding."

I know local customs differ, but that's exactly the opposite of what I have always learned. Notes should be sent as promptly as possible after the gift was received (it's irrelevant that you won't be using it until later) for a wedding, the same as for any other occasion.

Ditto mother and mother-in-law (or anyone else other than the recipients) writing the notes. But I don't think that's what you are planning, Lindsey7, is it? -- I bet you two will stamp envelopes, make coffee (pour wine? :-) ), etc., just to make it all a fun experience rather than a lonely job. Probably you will have several letters to write yourself, too, to friends who helped out, vendors, clergy, etc., so you can do them while your daughter and son-in-law write notes for their gifts. That actually does sound like fun. You'll probably laugh a lot and always remember it.


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RE: Thank you notes

Like Lindsey, it has never bothered me to not receive a thank-you, no matter what the occasion is...

I think they are nice, and I notice when I get one, but I hardly ever notice when I *don't* get one. I'm sure I'm unusual in this, but, because I know that writing a thank you is considered to be the only correct thing to do, most of the time when I do get a TY note, no matter how well-written it is, it feels rather like a perfunctory response (sort of like a sales clerk saying "have a nice day").

Having said that, though, a wise person -- and especially a wise newlywed, graduate, or new parent (since these are the 3 main "big events" in a person's life) will do what they can to send thank yous as soon as possible, because there are far, far more people who notice and care about receiving a thank you than there are people who don't care.

And the sooner the thank yous are sent, the sooner the pressure to get them done will be removed.


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RE: Thank you notes

I can't remember when this "custom" started in my family, but for showers, the organizers (usually my sisters and I) give an appropriate amount of thank you cards that are stamped and addressed. Since we had to send out invitations to the event, it's not that difficult for us to address another set of envelopes. One of us makes the list while the new mother/bride-to-be opens the gifts. The list then gets tucked into the box with the thank you notes.

This probably stems from memories of sitting with our mother at the dining room table writing thank you notes the evening after receiving any gift.


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RE: Thank you notes

Being raised in the Deep South, I was under major maternal pressure to have all of my wedding notes done within 2 weeks of the Wedding.

I made the deadline except for 2 gifts. They were left at the reception.

They had no cards, no identifying marks on the boxes. To make it even more confusing, I had a 1 for 1 match between the invitation list and the gift register. (It was a fairly small wedding)

Mother made discrete inquiries, but we never did find out who left them. Still a mystery, 26 years later.........


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RE: Thank you notes

Cat,

I had the same experience at my wedding-- *30* years ago! LOL


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RE: Thank you notes

I have been to several baby showers and only a handful of weddings. I have recieved one thank you card from each. I definitely noticed that a thank you card wasn't sent. I know Grace said it's like a perfunctory response, but at least it shows they took the time to put two and two together and figure out which gift I gave them and acknowledge it. I think it's even more necessary for a wedding present than for a shower present because at the shower the recipient thanks you as they open their gift.


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RE: Thank you notes

You are right, Sunshine, that sending thank you's really is a *must,* for weddings, especially.

My comment about the "perfunctory response" was more to emphasize how much it *doesn't* bother me to not get a TY, usually. But I do think that I am in the minority.

I guess I just wish this was something that didn't elicit such strong emotions -- but it does, and, as I said before, the wise person acknowledges that and takes the time to respond.


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RE: Thank you notes

I was just reviewing the thank you note posts and I like many of those who posted have spent a lot of time on thank you notes. I was recently married and had the task of writing many thank you notes. I have also been the recipiant of many wedding thank you notes since I attended many weddings. There was only one couple who did not send a thank you note. I often do wonder if they received there gift since it was cash I do not know. However the couple did attend our wedding and gave a generous gift so I assume they did receive their gift. It did not upset me that I did not receive a thank you card. I really did not notice until I had to send my own thank you cards and a business associate like Happy Homemaker mentioned that they thought I should have sent my christmas cards with my thank you's. Which I did not I sent them separately. ( I thought combining them was tacky) Although by all standards it appears that I sent them to late.

Waiting for the pictures was one of the reasons and the others was a mixture of perfectionism and newly married life with a combined family. In the midst of buying a home getting children settled into a new home, new school and getting used to new parents it was very difficult to stay in the time frame of three months. Once I realized from the business associates rude comment (which was said prior to the three month deadline) I promptly began to mail the less than perfect thank you notes fearful that people were going to be insulted or that we would look ungrateful. It still took me more than six months to complete the task and I still have maybe two left over.

I believe that people who are sitting and waiting for a thank you notes should consider the life style and challenges that a newly married couple face before getting insulted and maybe should excercise a little patience. I was enjoying writing out my notes and personalizing each one until that comment was made. I know regret that I did not take more time and consideration for each note. I had a very difficult time finding the right words for each note and the internet was not much help (believe it or not) they talked a lot about the etiquette but did not give many examples for monetary gifts. Which seems to have become the norm in New York. I greatly appreciated my gifts but more important to me was that my guests had taken time out of their lives to attend my joyous occasion. In fact I had a number of guests who gave token gifts that did not even cover a portion of the cost to have them attend and some that did not give a gift at all. I had a particulary hard time finding wording for those thank you notes. Still I wanted my card to express not only how greatful I was for their gift but also more importantly how greatful I was that they made my day so joyous.

To sum it up I learned that when planning a wedding and finalizing with the thank you cards it is virtually impossible to make everyone happy as with Las23 not only did she want her note timely she wanted it written to her liking. It just is not reasonable and I now realize that of all the thank you cards I received I do like to have a picture of the bride and groom and will wait. I also like them a little later so they can give me their new address and I like when they take a little time to give me an update on how they are rather than rush them out. I also wish that some helpful etiquette expert instead of stressing us out about getting them out would give us some useful verses to help the challenged writers complete their task in all situations instead of concentrating so much on gifts.

Happy Homemaker trust me I to feel your pain and had to let go of many of the rude comments made during and after my wedding. You just can't please them all. I also agree with miss manners that a late thank you is definately better than no thank you.

Food for thought: Maybe those that are so concerned about the etiquette rules are really just angry about having to abide by those rules in the first place.


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RE: Thank you notes

Well, it happened ...

The young couple to whom I sent a big gift and for whom co-hosted an expensive engagement party, and from whom I never received any personal thanks, written or oral .......

.... is now expecting a baby.

As Mary and Miss Manners point out, "those who are so ungrateful as to fail to acknowledge a gift should not be burdened by more gifts in the future." So I really kind of do feel like not sending anything (they are very wealthy and don't NEED anything). But their parents, especially the husband's, are good friends of ours. So I probably will send something, although I have to admit that it will be with a lot less pleasure than it would have been had they displayed a little consideration and gratitude before.

What would you do?


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RE: Thank you notes

Gellcom,

When it comes to gifts for new babies, I always have the mindset that the arrival of *every* baby should be celebrated. For instance, I don't agree with the practice (in some communities & social groups) that baby showers are only given for the *first* child.

So, in your situation I would probably take the position that the gift is for the baby, and still give it.


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RE: Thank you notes

I know. I'm sure I will send something. But it's amazing how a lack of a simple gesture of gratitude kills the pleasure of being generous next time. By contrast, when I sent a baby gift last year to a bride and groom who had been particularly gracious in their wedding-gift thanks a few years earlier (and in fact always are gracious and appreciative), it was simply a delight to shop for them. I wasn't "rewarding" their having thanked us, and I doubt I sent anything nicer than I will send to this couple. But I felt like they had really appreciated the time and effort and thoughts, and cared about my feelings, too, not just about getting the loot, and it's just a lot nicer to shop for someone like that.


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RE: Thank you notes

gellchom, I'd send a baby gift because of the friendship with the soon-to-be grandparents. But I wouldn't go all-out by any means.

On the wedding thank-you note topic, speaking on behalf of many, many guests, a PROMPT and courteous thank-you note is very much appreciated for a number of reasons. Acknowledgement of the receipt of the gift, yes, but also an awareness of the fact that this person gave you that gift (as opposed to being one of many givers of a big haul, which is the way it feels sometime). And something else, less tangible, and kind of hard to explain. When you are a bride, you want people to care about this special time in your life. Your guests want to know that you care that they cared to acknowledge this significant life event.

Prompt is important. IMHO, and that of many others, it's much more important than enclosing a photo. It's nice to send a photo if you want, but send it separately, or send people links to a snapfish account later on. Get the notes out.


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RE: Thank you notes

Writing thank you notes was always important in our family and when I got married I had to badger my bride constantly to try and get them done. I arranged time to spend helping her out and each and every time she'd come up with some excuse to get out of doing the notes. I finally got good and fed up and sorted through the cards/gift list and wrote notes to my family and friends (almost 6 months after the wedding)and showed them to her and announced I was going to the post office to mail them. She finally got the idea and wrote hers out the next day and I mailed them along with mine.

Five years later we were divorced (the thank you note episode should have been a hint) and I still had people commenting on what a thoughtful think it was of me as a husband to help her out!


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RE: Thank you notes

But secsteve, why do you think of it as "helping her out"? After all, both you and your ex were recipients of the gifts. Sure, the bride takes the heat, but in reality, both the bride and groom are responsible.


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RE: Thank you notes

mary-md7 hit it exactly on the head (as usual). The bride and groom both receive the gifts, the bride and groom are both -- equally -- responsible for thanking the givers promptly. If I were a guest and hadn't been thanked six months after the wedding, I would be equally disappointed in BOTH of the recipients for their lack of gratitude and manners. I definitely don't think I would consider a groom who "badgered" his wife to be "thoughtful" for finally "helping" to do what was just as much his responsibility as hers in the first place.

As has been observed on this forum before: she who thinks of her groom as "helping" to write thank you notes soon finds herself married to a man who says he is "babysitting" when he takes care of his own children!

One trick some couples do is for each to write to the other's relatives and family friends, not their own (you tell each other the necessary info to make it good). Then each side of the family thinks that their relative married a gem!


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RE: Thank you notes

that's what we did, gellchom--we each wrote to the other side of the equation. (and like secsteve, we heard "how wonderful that your husband helped out, or wrote the note").

But I will say, we still live in a world in which most people think of the wife as the couple's social secretary. They expect HER to watch out for those things. You may not (though I bet a part of you does anyway), but most people trash BRIDES for not writing thank-you notes; they don't speak ill of GROOMS for not writing them.

As for "badgering," etc.--I figure couples know how to make the communication work inside their OWN relationships. If "badgering" is what it takes to get your helpmeet to HELP, so be it.

I don't think secsteve thinks he was so thoughtful as to deserve praise--but I also think he didn't figure the responsibility should be his alone bcs his wife wanted to weasel out all the time.

And in his case, I think he was wise to get his side taken care of, because they were the ones who would give HIM grief.


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RE: Thank you notes

Let's all remember that some women were never taught to say thank you...for those do not fret you will not die if they just don't send a note that is less than sincere. But in some cases a thank you was sent and like the lost gift, it never arrived.In some cases the card or note does not stay attached to the gift in transporting it home. I had three such gifts of unknown nature and did start calling friends and family to ask if could help out with the missing cards from these gifts. When that failed I thought I would send everyone that attended the wedding but had no record of a gift a thank you for making my day so special and for their lovely gift....again three people actually had the nerve to call to tell me they hadn't given a gift and was I nuts for thanking them! Surely you can all give up the worry. If you give a gift GIVE it and let it gooooooo....do it because it makes you happy to do it, or don't do it at all. Don't expect anything and when you do get that one amazing thank you, save it in your drawer. This is your gift for being so thoughtful, let the other stuff pass it isn't worth the time to get angry, because they may think you came and didn't bring so much as a card! In the whole scheme of life WHO REALLY cares


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RE: Thank you notes

Last Sunday night I went to a lovely wedding. I realized I had never sent the gift, which I had at home, and although I know I'm not supposed to, I brought it to the wedding.

On THURSDAY, I received a very nice letter of thanks from the bride. That means she had it written and in the mail by Wednesday, three days after her wedding, at the latest.

No, it wasn't a tiny wedding -- it was about 200 people. I assume they didn't go on a honeymoon right after the wedding, but she's as busy as any bride: she is a doctor, and they had to return to their home 2000 miles away.

Now, I certainly don't think that three days is a standard anyone should have to meet -- I was amazed. But if she can do THAT, then the rest of us can certainly thank people who have been kind and generous to us with reasonable promptness.


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RE: Thank you notes

I've read the posts and thought that I would add my two cents: I think that it IS important to write thank you notes within an appropriate time frame after you receive your wedding gift. This has nothing to do with "needing to be thanked." I think it has more to do with the courtesy of letting the person know that you have indeed received the gift and have the class to express this.

Six weeks ago, I sent two gifts to the granddaughter of a dear man who worked for us for over 20 years. I think the WORLD of his family. We had only met the granddaughter once at his funeral, but I took a lot of time to send and wrap a beautiful quilt that cost $175. + a check for $100. They were nice gifts by any account.

Although we were unable to attend the extremely small wedding in another town, we were told that she loved the gifts. I usually don't care about being thanked at all when I have given a gift in person. Because to me, giving gifts is ALL about their enthusiasm in receiving the gift. I love giving gifts and take a huge amount of time in trying to find the perfect gift and wrapping it exquisitely! When I hear nothing and haven't been there when it is opened, it means NOTHING to me because I don't even know how it was received. When I send a gift through the mail or for a wedding or graduation gift, I really WANT to know the recipient's reaction. Did they love it? What/where is it being used? And frankly, I really don't care whether I hear this through an email or over the phone or in a "proper" thank you note. But I want to hear SOMETHING from the person.

For those who say that the etiquette of thank you notes is rather passe' or not necessary - I say that giving wedding gifts (especially if you hardly know the couple) is passe' as well. Because the idea of gift giving for a wedding came about as a young couple was setting up for a home of their own. Nowadays, either the couple usually has their own apartment (and items) or they are living together already. I adore this family and I would never in a million years mention this to any of them. They are wonderful people. And I couldn't have been happier to give this gift. Truly. But am I disappointed that I haven't heard from the bride? Yes. I know that she is busy, but it was an extremely small wedding and frankly - I was super busy during that time, but I still made the effort to buy the gift, etc. By all accounts, they were very nice gifts and it is simply rude not to acknowledge them within an appropriate period.

I also think that there is some misinformation floating around out there. An unusual amount of people believe that it is perfectly acceptable to write wedding thank yous up to a YEAR after the wedding! Good grief. I didn't wait 1 year to SEND the gift. Accepted form is generally within the first month and never later than 2 months.


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RE: Thank you notes

wiapilot, you make a good point. So many couples say they have everything they need, because they already have one or two households. But some of them seem to think that is a reason to extract cash from their family and friends rather than forgo the traditional gifts to get them started in life.

One also hears that weddings are expensive. IMHO, people should entertain graciously in the style they can afford. If that means cake and punch in the church fellowship hall, then so be it. There is no consitution guarantee of a dinner-dance (or of having guests give gifts to cover the cost).

But I'm just an old crank.


 o
Three years later

And poor bridal_writer is getting copies of posts three years later!


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RE: Thank you notes

You're right, Mary md7! Hey, bridal_writer, did you ever write the article? May we see it?


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RE: Thank you notes

Im new to this forum so hello girls! I saw this and had to chime in because I am FUMING and need some perspective because maybe I am overreacting.

A very good friend of mine had her bridal shower 2 weeks ago, and I could not make it because of another shower I had, but I still purchased two gifts around $100.00 and shipped them to her house over a week ago via UPS.

Well I tracked the packages because they were fragile and wanted to be sure they got there ok, and it showed delivered on the 18th and signed by two names i did not recognize AT ALL. (she lives with just her fiance).

I emailed her and called her about 3 or 4 times because I am worried that she did not get the package, and UPS wants me to first check with her.

She has read all of my emails (I sent them online thru that 'social networking site' if you know what I mean, since she's always on there), and Ive left her voice mail messages for a week asking her to PLEASE let me know because I want to be able to have ups check on this if it was sent to the wrong address ... and she reads my emails, and then just ignores me. So far I have held my cool but I am about ready to blow!! Would this make anyone else angry? I can't help being so mad right now grr! i needed to vent.

I am about to respond to the wedding invitation a big fat 'CANNOT ATTEND' because i find this so obnoxious, but maybe i need to cool down.


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RE: Thank you notes

I don't think I'd bother to get quite so angry. I think I'd just drop her an e-mail and say, "since I haven't heard from you, I'm assuming the presents went through okay. But I would like to know if you liked them. Hope the shower was nice."

And see what happens.

I just can't fume about things anymore; I just don't have time or energy. That's not to say that my feelings wouldn't get hurt if I thought my friend was taking me for granted, but I just can't get so angry.


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RE: Thank you notes

Talley Sue is so right with her advice to try not to fume about it. All you are doing is hurting yourself. I know it's hard.

I wouldn't even bother with that last e-mail she suggests. I don't know what it would accomplish other than to let her know you are annoyed by her failure to thank you, and I am sure she already knows that. If she gets what she may perceive as a snarky jab from you, that may make her stop feeling guilty and just be mad at you for criticizing her -- it certainly won't make her feel grateful. Just be the bigger person and let it go.

But I don't blame you for being mad!


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RE: Thank you notes

I don't think daisy is het up about not receiving a thankyou (which I think is rude enough), but that she has legitimate reason to think that her gift may have been delivered to the wrong person
"Well I tracked the packages...and it showed delivered on the 18th and signed by two names i did not recognize AT ALL",
and having explained this to her friend still has received no reply one way or the other.
But, I suppose she could just take the attitude that rude people don't really deserve gifts and if someone else got the gifts instead, lucky them :-) Shame her money was wasted though.
I'd attend the wedding but consider the bride had already received sufficient gifts from me- $200 has already gone unacknowleged.


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RE: Thank you notes

Maybe this is way off base, but what's wrong with picking up the phone and calling to confirm receipt of the gift? I think I'd just forget about the emails and call and just ask if the gift had been received and state my concerns, as if I'd never even sent the email. In other words, I'd act on the assumption (whether true or false) that the emails had not been read. If she said anything about the emails I'd just say, Oh, since I didn't hear back from you I figured they hadn't gone through.

On the topic of Thank you notes, I'm not as nice as gellchom (I already knew that!). I'm one who thinks that people who don't send thank you notes don't need any more gifts. So... here's my story of an ungrateful recipient.

A daughter of a friend's apartment caught on fire, she escaped with her life and singed eyebrows! Several of uss dug into our closets to give her some basic items to help her make a new start, I gave sheets, a lamp, some other odds & ends. Subsequently she got pregnant. I (along with others) gave her a baby shower and a very nice gift. I gave her a gift when I visited her in the hospital, and another gift when I visited her later at her mother's house.

For all of this I received no thank you note. Neither did any of the other shower-givers. I felt like I'd done a lot for this girl and yet she could not take a moment to sit down and write even one note to me.

A few months later she got married. I attended the wedding but gave no gift. I figured I'd about done all I needed to for this girl.

Thank you notes are important. As has been said above, the giver has given time, effort and expense to you and the few minutes it takes to write a note is not a lot to ask. And it should be done in a timely manner. A year is not timely.

I'm afraid that gifts have become expected so that some people think they are owed. That's too bad. A gift isn't supposed to cover the cost of attendance at the wedding or meet any other criteria except that it should be given from the heart. And I agree that I'm not giving a gift in order to receive anything in return per se, but if I give from the heart and don't feel that the recipient has similar feelings in his/her heart for me, it doesn't make me want to rush out and buy yet another gift for that person. A thank you note is such a simple and easy way for a recipient to say, I appreciate and return your feelings.

Both of my sons were raised to send thank you notes for all gifts. They both had to address the envelopes themselves as well as write the note (when they were old enough to). My older son writes great notes which have humor and gratitude. My younger son tends to write two line notes. But either way, they understand the importance of the written note.


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RE: Thank you notes

It's probably a bad idea to revive the old how-fast debate, but I thought I'd share something else:

In late April, I received a thank you note for a gift I gave in January. Okay, that's pretty slow, but no record-setter, and I really didn't care, especially because I did know they had received it.

But in the same day's mail, I got another thank you note, this one for a gift I had given less than 2 weeks before.

So whatever your reasons or justifications for waiting months to thank people, remember that you aren't doing it in a vacuum, and your tardy note, too, may come in the same delivery with a prompt one -- and even if not the same day, your recipient probably has received notes from most other couples promptly. Do you want to set yourself up to look so bad by contrast?


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RE: Thank you notes

I'm guessing Daisy is long gone, but if I were the errant girlfriend, I might have interpreted the situation as follows:

- Daisy's gifts arrive at my house and Uncle Joe signs for them.

- I open gifts. Wow! Happy, happy.

- I'm very busy with work, life and wedding preparations and trying to keep up with Thank You notes so I don't get too far behind, but of course, I AM behind because that's how things are when you're planning a wedding and holding down a job and living a life...

- Then not even a week! later I get an e-mail from Daisy asking if I got the package. OMG! We all know that's code for "You ignorant slob. Where's my Thank You note?" Of all people, I thought my friends would understand. And to post it right on my MySpace page with a return receipt requested? That's practically a slap in the face. What should I make of this? I thought she was my friend. How should I respond? What do you think she meant? Did I do something to offend her?

A simple phone call would have been better and avoided the potential for misinterpretation.


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RE: Thank you notes

"I...called her about 3 or 4 times...and Ive left her voice mail messages".
Yes, Sweeby, a simple phone call would have been better but it seems Daisy is not answering her phone or responding to her voicemail. And in any case, knowing she wasn't going to get a note out soon, Daisy could have called her friend and said, "Thank you for your gifts! They just arrived and they're so perfect!" , then followed up with a written thankyou as soon as she could.
Since the longer they aren't tracked the harder it will be to find and retrieve the gifts should it turn out they WERE misdelivered, whatever Daisy thought was the underlying message of the email she received, it would have been more courteous to respond promptly with a "Yes they got here and they're lovely" or a "No, I haven't seen hide nor hair of them".


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