This is the third installment of a three-post series on wedding gifts. Monday’s post discussed alternative gift ideas. Wednesday’s installment covered some popular online registry services available and how to integrate them with your wedding website. My wrap-up post today will guide you through gift tracking and writing thank-you cards.
In this post:
- Gift record keeping with tools like Google Docs and your wedding website
- WedShare e-Stationery and automatic correspondence tracking
- The art of writing the thank-you note
While many guests will bring gifts to your reception, some will find it convenient to ship items directly to you, especially if they’re ordering the items online. Gifts can start coming in months before your wedding, depending on when you set up your registry, and the closer you get to the big day, the more will come. The key is to keep on top of your records and pace your thank-you cards to avoid getting overwhelmed later.
Gift Record Keeping
As gifts come in, make sure you save the enclosed card, mailing label, and invoice; you’ll need these for exchanges or returns. There’s some specific information you want to capture for each gift, and how you do it depends on which tool you prefer to use. We’ll get into that next. Here’s the stuff you should jot down:
- The sender’s name
- The sender’s mailing address
- A description of the gift
- Date the gift arrived
- The store it was shipped from
- Comments (anything that comes to mind. It will help later when doing the thank-you card)
- The date you sent out the thank-you card
How to Track It All
This really depends on you. For some, using pen and paper does the trick. For others, its an Excel spreadsheet. If you’ve got your notes and guest info on a spreadsheet, you probably want to keep all your information in one place. Something I’ve seen a lot of couples doing lately is using Google Docs (docs.google.com), Google’s online suite of office tools, to manage their details. There’s a spreadsheet and word processor, among other tools, available to all free of charge.
What’s so great about Google Docs is that it’s available online with nothing needed to install on your machine. And if you have existing spreadsheets or other Office documents, you can use the upload button to edit them.
Still others prefer to integrate their information with a tool or set of tools specifically designed for wedding detail management. If you’re using a WedShare website, for example, you’ve probably already got a Guest Manager full of all your guest details, possibly with information your guests have posted themselves via your wedding website. The same database that you use to receive and track RSVPs, send invitations, and exchange other correspondence can be used to track your wedding gifts and thank-you cards.
Because most of your guest information should already be entered in your Guest Manager, you can edit a guest’s profile online when their gift arrives and quickly add the information you’d like to capture. Then, when it comes time to write thank-you notes, it’s a simple matter to do a search on all guests who have sent a gift. WedShare’s Guest Manager provides a one-click dropdown menu option for this.
If your wedding website service has a space to record correspondence, you can keep notes on when each guests have been sent a thank-you card in the same place. In fact, WedShare’s online e-stationery can automatically add this to your guests’ profiles anytime an e-card is sent. Note that e-Stationery thank-you’s can accompany handwritten notes, but shouldn’t substitute them completely (see my point on this below).
Using a centralized information system like this makes it easy for you to keep up with your received gifts and track your correspondence, all in one accessible place.
The Art of Writing the Thank You Note: My Three-Step Guide
Sending a prompt note of thanks for everything you receive is key. Handwrite your thank-you’s. I think it’s best when the task is split: let the groom send them to his family and friends, and the bride send them to hers. Online and printed thank-you’s can be sent if you need more time to get your handwritten ones done, but they shouldn’t be considered a substitute. Having bad writing isn’t an excuse, either: your chicken scratch will make it that much more personal.
Thank-you’s shouldn’t be boilerplate. Be unique with each one: mention their contribution to your wedding and their gift, specifically. How will you come up with personal, unique ways to thank potentially hundreds of guests? The answer: use a formula.
Step One: Identify the Gift. Name or describe the gift that you received.
Thank you so much for the china place setting.
Step Two: Mention how you and your spouse (by name) will use it.
Peter and I love having company over and these will get a lot of use!
Step Three: Add a personal comment in a sentence or two. It’s up to you and your relationship with the particular guest. If they came from out of town, this is the perfect spot to thank them for the travel.
We were so happy you were able to make it to our wedding. Thank you for coming so far to make our day that much more special!
Wrap up your note by signing it. You don’t both have to; whoever is doing the writing on the particular card is fine. Give yourself a little time each day to send some out to stay on top of things, and it’ll be smooth sailing.
Have a fantastic weekend everyone, and come back to visit next week for more e-planning tips and wedding inspirations!