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Get Some Manners: How to say 'Thank you'

by Lisa Norton

The big event is over, but the work isn’t done. You are probably burnt out from party planning and making sure the event ran as smoothly as possible, but you will have to have energy for this last critical hurtle—saying thank you to your guests who took the time to celebrate you.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Of course I know how to say thank you. Excel spreadsheet, mail merge, standard ‘Thanks for coming, loved the gift’ stamped in each card…and presto!” Unfortunately, if you really want to say “Thank you” properly, the project requires a bit more work than a simple click of the mouse. But, never fear, you CAN write amazing “thank you” notes that will make your guests feel appreciated but will not require you to stress out too much. Just follow these simple tips and you will be on your way to being known as the best host/hostess among all your family and friends.

  1. Before sitting down to write your notes, you must do some pre-writing preparation. Make sure the gifts still have the givers’ cards attached to them. Go through each of the cards and gifts and create a list of the names appearing in the card and what the gift was. Here is where technology can be your friend because you can make a nice spreadsheet containing all the necessary information. This list will serve as the main reference for writing “thank you’s.” Note: Check the guest list to see if there was anyone who came but did not give a gift—you still want to thank them for coming to celebrate your big day.
  2. Purchase formal note cards with matching envelopes. Appearance is everything, and you want to show that you took the time to pick out charming cards and not any old scrap of paper that was lying around.
  3. Handwrite the note. It shows that you put effort into saying thank you. Make your friends and family feel like you really appreciated their presence at the event and their present.
  4. Addressing the note. Now there a couple options here. But first and foremost, the envelope should be addressed formally, “Mr. and Mrs. Smith, 123 West Oak Lane, etc. etc.” However, within the card, the greeting will differ based on your relationship with the giver. If it is someone you are not on a first name basis with—stick with the formal greeting. However, if the person is someone you know well such as a childhood friend, a family member, a close neighbor you have known all your life, you can feel free to greet them as you would normally—“Dear Auntie Diane,” “Hey Bob,” or use a nickname “Dear Nana.”
  5. Make the note personal. Here is where that list you made will come in handy. Say something about the gift and how much you liked it, “A new blender was just what I needed,” or “The necklace you gave me was so beautiful.”
  6. Sending them out. Make sure you work diligently and get those cards out ASAP. According to party etiquette, you should mail the “thank you” cards within 3 weeks after receiving the gift. Of course, the sooner the better, but if you just had a massive blow-out of a party, your guests will not expect “thank you’s” the next day. And if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, just remember a late “thank you” is better than nothing at all.

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