Most people approach writing their wedding “thank you” cards as a task along the lines of scrubbing the bathtub or going to the dentist.  In other words, as tedious and maybe even anxiety-producing.  And no doubt, it is a lot of work.  But in the spirit of Thanksgiving I present a different way to think about your cards – as a way of expressing genuine gratitude towards the people in your life, and sharing what they, in addition to their present, mean to you.

When you were a kid your “thank you” cards probably read something to the tune of:

“To Jenny, Thank you for the stuffed animal.  I really love it!  From, Jane”

As our vocabularies grow, our “thank you” cards -thankfully- get an upgrade, yet most “adult” cards read very much the same as their little kid equivalent and are (sorry!) likely thrown in the trash soon after reading.  How many truly memorable “thank you” cards have you received?  How many were “keepers?”  It is the rare card that expresses a moment of genuine appreciation in a way that’s personal enough for the reader to feel touched and not like just a checked-off box on your “to do” list.  You don’t have to be a writer to craft a memorable card, and you can write them fairly quickly once you have a formula, of sorts, down.

1.  Let your recipient know that you were aware of their presence:

“That bear hug you gave me right before the ceremony grounded me as I walked down the aisle…”

“I loved spotting you two on the dance floor, song after song.”

“You looked amazing in that red dress!”

2. Tell them how their gift enhances your life. It can feel a bit awkward thanking people when the gift is a check, though you’re surely especially grateful to have money to put in the bank post-nuptials.  In that case, let them know what their gift is going towards – whether it’s a specific purchase like a new living room rug or paying for a fancy meal on your honeymoon, tell them.   If you’re saving for a future home and you’re grateful for their contribution, say exactly that.

3. Use the word “grateful.”  As in, “We are grateful to have you in our lives” or “We are so grateful you came all the way from California to celebrate with us.”  That word has a special resonance – it makes a person feel appreciated in a way that “thank you” just can’t.

4. Have the card be (truly) from both of you.  Writing cards almost always falls to one person in the couple, but some of my favorite cards were co-written.  Ideally both of you write a little something personal, but if that’s unrealistic, at least both of you can sign the card.  It’s a simple detail, but one that shows care.

Happy Thanksgiving!