Are Wedding Thank You Cards Still Necessary in 2020?
Wedding thank you cards have been around for centuries. Though many wedding traditions have come and gone throughout the years, thank you cards are here to stay.
Sending thank you cards after your wedding is how you show appreciation to your guests. They’ve sacrificed an entire day of their lives to celebrate with you – or even more, if your wedding stretched across several days, or you had other events (such as a rehearsal dinner). They may have had to book time off work, pay for a babysitter for their kids, or spend money travelling to your wedding. Many of them probably bought a whole new outfit, too!
Most guests will also have given you a gift of some description – whether it was a physical present, or cash. The average wedding guest spends around £40 on a gift for the bride and groom. Whether they gave gifts or not, you absolutely owe your guests a thank you, and sending a card or a letter is the best way to do so.
Are Thank You Cards Outdated?
There are plenty of reasons why you might not jump for joy at the idea of sending thank you cards. There’s no doubt that it’s a hassle to write, address, stamp and post each one individually. And if you forgot to leave space in your wedding planning budget, it might be an added expense that you feel you don’t need. But unfortunately, there’s really no excuse for not sending thank you cards – even in 2020 and beyond.
There are hundreds of thank you card designs out there, and they don’t have to be expensive. For example, Bride and Groom Direct sell thank you cards starting at just £0.50 each – and that includes envelopes!
Yes, we all have busy lives – and the first year after your wedding might well be one of the busiest, especially if you’re moving into a new home together. But if you can spend a year or more planning a wedding, then you can find the time to send thank you cards.
To make things easier, order your thank you cards at the same time as your invitations – then you’ll have them ready to go. After your wedding, just spend an hour or so every evening on them, with the TV on in the background if you wish. You’ll get through them faster than you realise.
The sad truth is that if you don’t send thank you cards, a lot of your guests will be offended or even upset. Don’t be surprised if they choose not to attend the next event you invite them to (a baby shower, for instance).
Do You Need to Handwrite Thank You Cards?
You should handwrite every one of your wedding thank you cards. This might sound like a big task, and it is – especially if you had 100+ guests. Nevertheless, it’s the polite thing to do. Handwriting your cards shows that you truly care about each and every recipient.
Every guest should receive a personalised message. Don’t copy the same thing into every card. Mention a moment you shared at your wedding, address the specific gift they gave you and how you’re going to use it, and wish them well.
If you can’t face handwriting the cards, or you simply don’t have the time, typing the message is better than not sending one at all. You and your spouse should still sign each card, even if the main body of the card is printed.
How Long Have I Got to Send Thank You Cards?
It used to be the case that you had an entire year after your wedding to send thank you cards. This is because, traditionally, wedding guests would often send their gifts in the post after the wedding had taken place. You had to wait for every gift to arrive – which could sometimes take months – before you could start on the thank you cards.
This isn’t the case these days. Although wedding guests technically can send gifts after the big day, it doesn’t often happen anymore. You can pretty safely assume that if they didn’t bring a gift on the day, then they aren’t going to give one at all. (Of course, you should still send cards to guests that didn’t give gifts, to thank them for sharing your special day.)
Modern etiquette dictates that you have up to three months after the wedding to send thank you cards. However, it’s best practise to send them as soon as possible (within a few weeks, ideally).
Alternatives to Wedding Thank You Cards
If you can’t face the hassle of sending wedding thank you cards – or maybe you just fancy saying ‘thank you’ in a different way – there are options at your disposal. Handwritten notes will always be the ‘proper’ way to show your gratitude, but here are four acceptable alternatives that might appeal to you a little more.
1. Thank You Video
If you feel more comfortable when speaking than writing, recording a personal thank you video for each of your guests might be your cup of tea. You don’t need a fancy video camera – a smartphone will do. Simply record a short clip for each guest (a minute long is fine) of you and your spouse thanking them for coming to your wedding. Express gratitude for their gift (show it on camera if possible) and wish them well. Then, send it to their email address or in a Facebook message, for example.
Thank you videos are the eco-friendly alternative to cards, and they can definitely be just as personal and heartfelt. But you might still need to send a card to any of your less digitally literate guests.
2. Thank You eCard
Another environmentally friendly option is to send an ecard. This is a virtual card that your guests will be able to view on their computer screen. Some ecards are free, whereas other sites will charge you a small fee to access and edit a design. Each ecard should still be customised according to each guest (the same way that you’d write a physical card).
Ecards are only really appropriate for computer literate wedding guests. Your great-aunt, for example, might not even have an email address to send one to. Use your discretion and only send ecards to those guests that you know will appreciate them.
3. Thanking Guests in Person
Thanking your guests in person is a great way to show your gratitude, and it’s bound to be appreciated just as much as a thank you card or letter. There are plenty of ways to go about it, whether you visit each person at their home, invite them out to coffee or lunch, or have them over for dinner.
Of course, the downside is that this approach might not be practical if you had a large wedding. It’s only really appropriate if you had a small wedding, with only close friends and family.
4. Telephone Call
A phone call is probably the least effortful way of saying thank you to your wedding guests. But there is a chance that your guests might perceive a phone call as ‘lazy’ – especially older guests. Of course, it’s still a hundred times better than not thanking them at all.
If you’re going to call your guests to thank them, you should explain that you aren’t sending thank you cards, and why. You’d better have a good reason ready!
Can I Send a Text or Email Instead?
If you absolutely hate the idea of sending thank you cards, you may wonder: can I say thank you in a text or email instead? The short answer is ‘no’ – texts and emails are just too impersonal. However, to some extent, it depends on your individual circumstances.
If you had a small, casual wedding with only close friends and family, and you specifically asked for (and received) no wedding gifts, you might be able to get away with sending a text or email. We’d still highly recommend sending a card, but you know your loved ones better than we do. If you know they won’t be offended or upset, it’s your decision to make.
No matter how you send your thanks, it should still come across as genuine and heartfelt. Don’t send a mass email, but write each one individually. Tell each guest individually how much you appreciate them celebrating your special day. And remember, for any older guests that aren’t tech-savvy, a physical card is still the way to