After perusing Amy Vanderbilt’s New complete Book of Etiquette this morning, I have decided that things have not only changed since 1952 (1967 revised) but life as we once knew it is gone forever. Really now, does anyone today worry about how their beau might meet her parents, or even that there would be a “conference with the father”, or how one is to take the arm of an usher? I believe there should be some regard for these subjects, but would venture a guess that most couples don’t give much thought to the opinion of parents, or even think about ushers! Nor do we worry anymore about how to address envelopes, (well, maybe we do) or what to say in a well written ‘thank you’ note. Some of us can hardly find the time to send ‘thank you’ notes at all!
So, here is where I begin…because no matter how much time passes, or how our society and culture changes, gifts will always be given to a bride and groom, and a small token of gratitude such as a hand written thank you note is imperative, and one custom from the past that will never go out of style!
After an engaged couple has found the place to say I do, ( The Wedding House is a wonderful venue) and have successfully gotten their clan and friends to attend, and they have enjoyed their honeymoon time together and returned to the nest, they must not forget that their loved ones gave thought, time, money and energy to choose, hunt for, and wrap a gift just for them! Writing a personal hand written note of gratitude should be a priority that’s undertaken with warmth of heart and not looked at as a “chore”. This should be done within two to three weeks, not on your second anniversary. Also, according to Amy V., it appears it’s the bride’s place to write the thank you’s, even if a gift is from a friend of her new husband’s who she doesn’t even know. I like this, as well; it is adopting the supportive role as wife, and will warm the heart of the recipient. : )
A long time ago, it looks as if it were not kosher to write your thank you on a card that says, “Thank You” on the front, but, rather on the personal stationary of the bride. This would be ideal, and easy with all the great papers and printers available nowadays! However, you may have some real cool Thank You cards made up, and so I say, “Have at it!”
I do agree though, with “Amy’s” * “Stereotyped letters are never worth reading. You know just what they are going to say the minute you see a first line that begins, “ It was so kind of you to send the lovely cake plate”. If you were thanking Aunt Mathilde face to face, would you say anything so stuffy? Wouldn’t you be more likely to say, “What an awesome cake plate!” ? or, consider, “Dear Shannon, Brian and I want to thank you for the bath towels. Thank you. Love, Tracy” BORING!
Here is how you can put some spontaneity in a thank you note .
Dear Aunt Mathilde,
The lovely cake plate arrived safe and sound. I always wanted “Mikasa” and now I have a piece with which to start a collection. When you come by the apartment, I think you will like the way I have decided to display it, or if you are lucky, I may even have made a cake!
Your note should reflect who you are; don’t write an out of date or old lady-ish note, if instead you are a bright, friendly person. Sign your note, “Love, Sincerely, With Affection, etc… and just your first name to those you know well, or add your last name to someone you don’t know very well.
I hope you will enjoy reading about etiquette and social niceties from the past, and try to incorporate some of the suggestions into your 21st Century wedding plans! Remember, a bit of gratitude and consideration never goes out of style…even in good ‘ol Grand Junction.
*Excerpts from Amy Vanderbilt’s New Complete Book of Etiquette. Doubleday
I agree with your message of thanking people with their heart in a personal note. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to appreciate that someone did something thoughtful for you. It is simply responding with a note to a friend, family member or an acquaintance with an acknowledgment of their kindness. Thank you for the quaint reminder that even in these times, we can still be thoughtful.