Wedding Thank You Note Etiquette

purple and white wedding invitations and thank you notes

Here’s an email from a friend of mine about thank you note etiquette, followed by my response:

We got our first wedding gift today. (Steak knives! Bad luck? I dunno, that’s another blog post.) Anyway, our wedding isn’t for a couple more months. We don’t even have our thank you notes ready yet. What is the proper thing to do regarding thank you notes? Should we send them one now even though the wedding is months away? We don’t want to look like we overlooked their gift, but we also don’t want to look tacky, like we couldn’t wait to open the gift. Thoughts?

According to Emily Post’s daughter Peggy in her Wedding Etiquette book, “It is wise and correct to write thank you notes for any gifts received before the wedding.”  Ideally, you write a thank you the day it’s received. The rule of thumb is to send a thank you within three months of receiving the gift.

I think people expect you to open gifts as they arrive, so I wouldn’t worry about that.  So do whatever you prefer — if you’d rather knock out thank yous as gifts come at you, just say thank you with whatever nice stationery you have on hand. Or you can buy something to get you by until you get your official stationery.

If you rather, wait until you get the official stationery and then write thank yous to the early-birds who have already sent you gifts.

Photo courtesy Ann Allen, Bullfeather Design

Check out our guide “Etiquette for Bridal Shower Thank-You Notes” for more on this topic!


  1. Great post, Christine! Since I received gifts so close to the bridal shower, I sent thank you notes along with my bridal shower thank you’s. Typically the ones who sent gifts were those who could not attend the shower, so it worked out. I know what she means about ‘not being able to wait to open them’. It’s so much fun to tear the paper open as they arrive! 🙂


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