Not that I don’t agree that sending thank you notes to people who sent you gifts for your wedding (or Baby Shower or House Warming) shouldn’t be done. Not everyone can attend and they have no other way of knowing if you got the gift on time and in one piece. Sending a Thank You note in reply covers all of that. Etiquette says if someone was kind enough to get you a gift you should remember them and take the time to send them a handwritten note in reply.
That would be nice but we ain’t got time for that. Many also don’t have the money. With many people paying for their own events while still being financially unstable and the prices of these events going up as you invite more people, people cut back wherever they can. Modern etiquette does not say its rude to just ask your friend, “Hey, did you get my gift. How did you like it?” Especially since today’s world moves quicker and events like weddings and baby showers still have so many moving parts. Also, with today’s technology its easy to keep in touch (or not).
So here are some modern alternatives to the thank you note:
1. Ecards. I think by now we’ve all heard of Evites. Its a no brainer why cutting back on paper invites and sending out beautiful Evites. You can still get them bundled with matching thank you Ecards. And even connect them so they automatically go out. Who doesn’t have an email account nowadays? If your guests can order your gift online, you can send them a thank you note via the internet. Here are some examples of companies that make great Ecards; Paperless Post is very well known and there is also Punchbowl as a cheaper alternative.
2. Video Messages. We have everything from video cameras to cell phones to Facebook Live so there are tons of ways to make a thank you video. It can be prerecorded or you can have a live video chat with your friends and family; particularly those who couldn’t make it. In many cases this is a free option, like via skype, but if you want to make things a bit fancier you can use paid apps or even fancy editing software.
3. Visits. I’m a fan of not inviting people you are not close with to your personal events. But even then it can get crowded and you don’t get to spend quality time with your guests. So as an alternative why not set up a date in the future with just the two of you so you can catch up and give your thanks in person. This is particularly for those far flung friends and family who just couldn’t make it. And it works great whether they send a gift or not!
I will caution people to keep in mind older or old-fashioned family and friends who might expect or like a hand-written thank you note. Having a few for those people will not break your budget. And also for those who expect everyone to send you thoughtful gifts for your life’s every milestone, you should at least tell each person thank you in some meaningful way in exchange.
Lastly, not everyone has to send a gift or expects to receive one. Many modern couples don’t. And they don’t invite everyone to their events. Particularly not people they don’t speak to on at least a semi-regular basis. So your congrats on their Facebook wall is enough for some. Just don’t expect more than a reply saying “Thanks.”