Tag Archives: Thank You notes

Wedding Cheers!

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I love late Summer weddings. After just returning from a knock-out family wedding in Durango, Colorado this past weekend, (i.e. tailgating pre-wedding service, the most unforgettable flower girls and pooch ring bearer, fireworks, roasted s’mores for dessert!), I’ve had weddings on my mind and all the surrounding details, from beginning to end. So grab a pen and paper, you bride and groom to-be, and get ready to take some most likely needed notes!

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We all know the weeks and months leading up to the Big Day are often filled with many ‘things-to-do’ lists, including mailing off the save-the-date, wedding invitations and RSVPs…

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Alice & Max Save the Date

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Tyler and Eddie Wedding Invitation by Workhorse Printmakers

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Botanical Vintage Roses Wedding Invitation and RSVP from Citrus Press

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The international master of calligraphy and fine stationery, Bernard Maisner (the Editorial Director of Martha Stewart Weddings, Darcy Miller, used Maisner for her wedding invitations).

…The rush of the event keeps the bride and groom rolling full steam, but often the arrival of the dreaded Thank You note can kill the fire. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Keep it simple with the following suggestions, with help from our friend Peggy Post, great granddaughter to the Queen Bee of etiquette.

1. Every gift or act of kindness deserves a handwritten card, no exceptions. This list should include people who give money, your attendants, friends and family who entertain for you or house your guests, vendors who go out of their way to make your wedding memorable, and even Uncle Tom who will supervise the parking at your reception. These individuals matter.

2. Respond in a timely fashion. Ms. Post feels ideally you write the note on the day you receive the gift. Possibly set a goal to write three or four notes a day. Do remember, the accepted standard is to write and send a card within three months of receiving a gift. But don’t make yourself crazy with the thought of writing each day especially leading up to the wedding!

3. Share the responsibility. We live in a modern society so why not work as a team to write these notes together. Open a bottle of good wine, light candles, play music, laugh about moments from the wedding. And be sure to include a signature from both individuals.

4. No shortcuts. Signing a store bought card or writing the same message to everyone does not cut it. The notes people remember are the one which express your heartfelt feelings. Be thoughtful and considerate. Tip: look at the gift when you are writing the letter for inspiration.

5. Be sure to pick up some kind of return address stamp to move the addressing along.

6. And a little additional suggestion from Mrs. Brown here, keep your Thank You list and notes in one location, maybe even a basket or bag with pockets for pens, stamps and cards. This way you can write on the fly. Stop at a coffee shop with your spouse before work, sit at picnic table at a favorite park or plant yourselves at a location meaningful to you both.

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Wedding Paper Divas

Bottom line, especially in this day and age, a handwritten Thank You remains the gold standard of courtesy. Express your words and emotion on paper. There is simply no other way. Now briefly on to the cards themselves…

When were married, we simply ordered plain Thank You notecards (with a touch of the wedgewood blue from our wedding theme, wowza were we into details) through the old Dayton’s (cue to weep!). But nowadays there are many options.

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Polaroid Photo Wedding Thank You postcard from Marty McColgan.

Although Peggy Post believes one should not include a wedding photo or photo card, if this will delay sending notes, I tend to disagree. I feel people enjoy a reminder of the day through an image. I’m especially fond of the greeting cards from Prinstagram. With the ease of using your Instagram account and the high quality card stock and envelopes, it’s a done deal.

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My friends Beth and James are considering the above photo to use for their Thank You notes thru Prinstagram. It captures a blip of a moment which most guests didn’t catch yet holds the energy of the evening and the sweetness of the couple. Be authentic. Be you.

Is Late Ever Too Late?

When I was spry 20-something and antsy for the next best thing, I quietly asked my then boss’s boss, a Senior VP for a very large corporation, for a letter of recommendation for a new job I was seeking. My fearless mind and body (with my entertaining sidekick/boyfriend, Nick, beside me) drove over to his lovely home in an elegant neighborhood one Saturday afternoon, knocked on the door and was greeted by the Senior VP and his wife with open arms. Not only did the Senior VP agree to write the recommendation, but a thoughtful letter, both written and typed, arrived in my mailbox in a matter of a few weeks. I was touched.

Fast forward to six months later, I ran into the Senior VP in a downtown Minneapolis skyway. By this point we both had left our former jobs, myself being hired by the agency I aimed for, possibly with the assistance of his recommendation. He asked if I had received his letter. Dead pause. I was speechless and instantly red in the face. Of course I received the letter but How On Earth did I not thank him with a responding note? If not attached to a fabulous bouquet of flowers?!?! Looking back at that time of my life I remember days of wedding planning, traveling for work, job change…a lot. Of course, now juggling three kids and a business my old lifestyle looks like a breeze! Even then I was aware of my enormous lapse in judgement by not acknowledging the letter, especially with a written Thank You.

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Still to this day, I think of my lack of grace with this incident every so often. Crazy I know. But it leaves me wondering…is it ever too late to write a Thank You note? In my case 15 years later, an out-of-the-complete-blue Thank You card, praising my old friend’s recommendation? I honestly don’t think it is too late.  Would I find it strange or tactless to receive a note of gratitude a good while after an occasion? Not in the least. I might even appreciate it more, knowing my actions were meaningful enough to stay on the recipient’s mind years later. And, most importantly, it meant they took the time and thought process to sit down and write.

For the most accurate answer I turned to the Manners Bible, i.e. Emily Post’s Etiquette 17th Edition (written/edited by Emily Post’s great-granddaughter-in-law, Peggy Post). No surprise, promptness was number two when it came to the fundamentals of expressing gratitude. Aside from the Wedding Gift accepted standard with a three month window of time, a written Thank You note should arrive no more than a week after an event or action. OK. So I will go against the Queen of Etiquette. I’ve always been a bit of rule breaker anyway.

So after a little more thought, guess what I did today? I Googled my old friend and mailed a letter to his current place of business. Hopefully he’ll laugh, be reminded of the importance of his influence as well as the value of a written note. Even 15 years later.

P.S. I did find a few sites (here and here) with interesting insights on the later-than-usual Thank You note for those interested!

A Trend for Life

Handwritten étiquette and social stationery seem to be making the hot list these days. From a recent article in W Magazine which featured Sofia Coppola’s “wardrobe of stationery”…

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…to an April article in the Fashion & Style section of the Sunday Times stating that the Thank-You Note is making a comeback, is this latest writing trend here to stay?

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Writing letters and thank-you notes has never left my universe. I feel a bit fortunate for my age. It was only toward the end of college in ’94-95 when the internet began to take form (we all felt so giddy emailing each other across the room in the computer lab at UW-Madison). I was still writing my parents from travels abroad and keeping up with college friends via long handwritten letters soon after graduation. When I could afford it, personalized stationery came back into my life later on in my 20’s (mom spoiled us with monogramed stationery as kids) and my love of paper goods continued to gain speed. Even today, the only drawer I try desperately to keep my 1-year-old daughter out of would be my stationery drawer.

At a market last weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many more young adults were purchasing Brown Ink Paper Goods. These folks also seemed the most enthused about the variety of products. It gave me hope. The Millennials might be shooting off a fancy, graphic designed picture sharing their gratitude for a memorable party, but if sources are correct, they also are following up with the thoughtful correspondence via snail mail.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered

As the festive season is coming to a close, wouldn’t it be nice if your stamps and Thank You cards were all lined up and ready for writing early in the New Year? Yes? That’s what we thought too!! Kick off your enthusiasm with ordering a few of these beautiful stamps for the new year.

The elegant 2014 Year of the Horse Forever stamp features Chinese drums and drumsticks painted red for luck, the seventh in the Celebrating Lunar New Year series.

Nothing beats the classic Ray Charles Forever stamp, a part of the Music Icons Series. The stamp sheet was designed to appear similar to a vintage 45 rpm record sleeve, with one side filled with stamps and the other an image of a record peeking out the top of the sleeve.

Here’s a peek of a few of my favorite stamps arriving in the coming year…

A new postcard stamp of the graceful hummingbird will arrive early in 2014.

  The great spangled fritillary butterfly 66 cent stamp will make its way out in the New Year…

…as is the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Priority Mail stamp marking the bridge’s 50th birthday in 2014, a part of the USPS  Stamps Places series.

(If you are stamp nut, look back at the 2013 Stamp Stories and vote for your favorite stamps!)

Now all you need are some Thank You notes…

The Capri Thank You Set on Brown Ink Paper Goods is perfect for anyone on your list.

Although created for wedding needs, this modern and personalized Vista Thank You Card Set from Seaborn Press would be brilliant to have on hand.

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Throw a little nostalgia in your note with the 60’s VW Bus card set from Pistachio Press.

If you are looking to make Thank You cards enjoyable for the kid in your life, try out these Many Thanks stamps on Brown Ink Paper Goods, with a variety of ink pad colors to select from.

Or pick a set of Les Animaux cards for the more mature young adult.

Whether they actually say “Thank You” or simply display a memorable image, it’s the written word which will appeal to the receiver on a cold winter’s day!

The Post Holiday Sigh

The post holiday sigh…yes, I heard it coming from my mouth last night. It was sort of a combination of the low pitched ahhhh, I will miss laid back mornings, not crazily getting my boys to brush their teeth and use the toilet before the winter layering begins. And also the high pitched ahhh, back to the schedules, routines and brown ink.  The latter ahhh also had something to do with the bit of relief I felt knowing the Thank You note list has been completed. My goal was to have each recipient crossed off by the time school began and I was thrilled to reach the end.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing notes. I do. It honestly does not feel like an obligation, a “should.” It feels more like sending a kiss or handshake in the mail, almost as if the note recaptures my expression when opening the gift.

However, life becomes full even on vacation and taking the time to write notes is not on everyone’s agenda. I get that. So how long do we have to write these needed notes of thanks?

To answer this question I headed to the original, the universally accepted Emily Post’s Etiquette 17th Edition updated by her great-granddaugher-in-law, Peggy (the 18th Edition came out last November, I’m a bit behind the times I guess). Peggy feels it’s almost never too later to send a Thank You note. “Within a week is great; a month is acceptable” she states. But here’s the odd turn. Later on in the book Peggy goes on to state the holiday Thank You note is obligatory “unless you’ve thanked the giver in person. For a very close friend or relative, a phone call is sufficient.” Well surprise, surprise.

My next source is Margaret Shepherd, a calligrapher who wrote the book The Art of the Handwritten Note. She would disagree with Ms. Post and feels even if you open the gifts together, thank each other later on paper. “The notes you write to your own children or younger relative are perhaps the most important of all, because you can inspire them to write their own notes.” Love her.  She also feels “the gifts themselves are not as important in ones friendship as the thank you notes that result.” Margaret is my new guru (more on her in future posts).

What both Post and Shepherd agree upon is the ability to use your natural voice. No one needs to excel at writing to compose a good note.

 

The Thank You is not only a reminder to your friend of how much you appreciate the gift received but, more importantly, an indication of the value of that person’s friendship. And the beauty is you can send a Thank You note for many reasons, not just after receiving a gift. Such as…

– To someone who provided you meaningful advice

– To a friend who had you over for a memorable meal

– To a host of a fabulous summer cocktail party you attended

– To the post officer who helped you with an enormous amount of packages during the holiday rush

– To the next door neighbor who consistently saves your dinner with the needed lemon or stick of butter

– Or to someone who has supported you through difficult times

I find the unexpected note of appreciation and gratitude is one I value the most of all.

But I digress.  Back to the post holidays notes – And herein lies the question: Have you finished your Thank You notes? We swear, no guilt coming from brown ink only a reminder of the satisfaction you’ll feel knowing your sentiments have been signed, sealed and delivered.  And don’t worry about the length, keep it short. It’s the authenticity that counts. Grab some pretty paper, your favorite pen and get to it. At least before Valentine’s Day.