In the South, good manners are passed down like a treasured family recipe for pecan pie. However, unlike the formula for a favorite after-dinner treat, guidelines to being well-mannered are changing with the times. With wedding season in full bloom—bringing an abundance of gatherings—many of our etiquette conundrums surface, and we are left feeling confused about social protocol. Every other week throughout wedding season, Erika Preval of Charm Etiquette school in Atlanta, will answer a question that helps us navigate the grey area of modern etiquette.
Q: We’re anticipating 300 wedding guests. With showers fast approaching, I’m starting to feel overwhelmed with the amount of thank-you notes that have to be written. Should I start now or do we have a year to send them? Can I make this easier?
A: Since a large amount of wedding gifts are purchased and shipped online, sending thank-you notes isn’t only important as a gesture of gratitude; it also reassures your guests that their gift has made it safely to its destination. This must-do is the last portion of wedding planning. Start early, pace yourself, and thank your guests properly considering this advice:
True or False – The notion that you have a year from the wedding to write thank-you notes is a myth; they should be mailed within 3 months. Notes for gifts received after the wedding should be sent right away. As with all gifts, wedding thank-you notes must be handwritten – no preprinted messages.
Use it or lose it – Showers and gifts received prior to the wedding offer a great opportunity to get a head start on writing notes and use of any stationery that bears your current name or monogram. Shower thank-you notes should go out within 2 weeks, and those for gifts received prior to the wedding can be sent right away and received before the big day.
Note: Stationery with your married name, “Mr. & Mrs.” or your shared monogram is reserved for correspondence after the wedding.
Share the load – Unless his handwriting is illegible, your groom can also assist in writing thank-you notes. Wedding gifts are meant for both of you to enjoy, and he may have more of a connection to some guests that have sent them. Traditionally, only the writer of the note signs it, although the other person should be mentioned. “Ashley and I thank you for… Love, William”
We want to hear from you! What wedding etiquette questions would you like Erika to answer?