Writing your thank-you notes should start right after any engagement party you may have. If people are kind enough to give you a gift, a lovely handwritten note (on a fold-over note card, written in black ink) is a priority—a priority you should carry all through the bridal shower, cocktail parties, rehearsal dinner and wedding events.
I usually send my wedding gifts to the bride's mother's home. I feel it's a little declasse to bring presents to the ceremony or reception. Having sent my gift early, some very conscientious (and socially knowledgeable) women have sent me a lovely thank-you right away. And why not send them right away? It will keep you caught up, and you will come across as a woman of grace.
Always mention the gift—except money, when you may say something like, We are saving your gift toward a down-payment on a house. But for instance, if someone gives you a bowl; mention it, how you intend to use it, and how grateful you were to see them and hope to see them soon.
I have about 50 wedding etiquette books. There is not one that says you have 30 days or six months or a year to send thank-you notes. I think the person who made up that timeline is probably the same low-class clown who said you have a year to send a wedding present.
Never use anything computer-generated for a thank-you card, and make 100 percent sure that you spell the person’s name correctly. And this may come as a shock, but about 90 percent of the people who gave you a gift do not want a picture of you. Do not enclose one.
If you use a monogram on your stationery, sending thank yous for any gifts received before your wedding should have your maiden name initials. For gifts sent after the wedding, if you choose to use monogrammed notes with your married name, use your maiden name as your second initial.
Let me straighten something else out: You are not required to send any vendors a thank-you note. It is deliciously wonderful if you do, but these things are superfluous and are social niceties above and beyond your responsibilities. Payment in full usually is thank you enough.
However, I recently received a second thank-you note from a bride and groom on their first wedding anniversary. They were looking at their video and saw their flowers from Ken Miesner’s—something they may have been too excited to enjoy on their wedding day.
I'm also going to tell you about the worst (by a mile) thank you I ever received. It was a postcard with a photo of the bride and groom, standing in the surf (Mexico, Hawaii or Florida) and holding a piece of torn cardboard that read, "Thanks."
It was addressed by their computer on a label. My name was spelled correctly (it usually is) but Ken Miesner’s name was massacred. This was the most crude card I wish I never received.
I did call one bride, as I had given her a very special gift and it had been months later and I had not received anything. Well, I was yelled at and vilified by her on Facebook for calling to make sure she got the incredibly expensive 3-carat heirloom ring I sent.
Every bride introduces herself to her family and friends by her thank-you notes. They radiate grace, chic and knowledge of etiquette. There are brides who send no thank-you cards. I guess that is what they are used to. I consider this one of the major etiquette ‘sins.’
But given the choice between a misspelled, computer-made label and the photo of two, wet young people holding an irregular torn piece of cardboard reading Thanks!, I think I would have preferred none.