Gifts for Attendants

Dear Miss SOS:
I am having a groomswoman in my ceremony. I am buying the groomsmen monogrammed cufflinks. What would be an appropriate gift for the groomswoman that would be similar to the cufflinks or should I get her the same thing?

Attendant’s gifts should reflect their gender and not their station in the wedding party. Cufflinks for a Groomswoman would be as inappropriate as a bottle of perfume for a Bridesman.

Miss SOS would suggest a beautiful small evening bag, perfect for the occasion in holding her lipstick and comb. You might also wish to consider a lovely brooch that she could wear on her tuxedo lapel and then later on her sweaters or jackets, or a dainty set of earrings, a small encrusted jewelry box, or an engraved heart-shaped charm (perhaps with you and your groom’s initials and wedding date on it) dangling on a charm bracelet.

Broken Engagements

Dear Miss SOS:
I told my friend I’d try to find out the answer to her problem. Her daughter was planning to be married 10 days from now but has decided she should postpone it until she is more sure. Should the wedding gifts be returned NOW, or should she wait a few weeks until they know exactly when or if they will marry? How long is too long to wait? Thanks so much!

If a wedding has been postponed and another date has been decided upon, guests may be informed by telephone or mailgram, or if there is enough time, by printed invitation:

Mr. and Mrs. John William Pearson
announce that the marriage of their daughter

Debra Lee
Sean Henry Kelley
has been postponed from
Saturday, the fourteenth of August
Saturday, the fourth of September
at five o’clock
St. Michael’s Catholic Church

Unfortunately, it happens where the decision has been made not to go forward with the wedding. Again, guests are to be informed by telephone or mailgram, or if there is time to give guests enough advance warning to change their plans with ease, a formal printed announcement mail be mailed:

Mr. and Mrs. John William Pearson
announce the marriage of their daughter
Debra Lee
to Sean Henry Kelley
by mutual agreement
will not take place

This is a time for face-saving and compassion. Anyone connected with the wedding, whenever the subject of cancellation of the wedding comes up, should say, “Both decided it was the best thing to do …” or “Both equally agreed that the wedding should be called off.” Of course, it rarely is a mutually agreed-upon decision but for the sake of saving the injured person’s pride, everyone should play his or her part.

The woman should return her fiancé’s ring and he should return any of her gifts to him. All wedding presents should be carefully wrapped and returned directly to the donor with a short note announcing the wedding is off and expressing the couple’s thanks for their beautiful and generous present. That’s all that has to be written.

As the wedding has been postponed due to uncertainty and not due to a death in the family, or illness, or deployment in the military, all wedding and shower gifts are to be returned within a reasonable time. Miss SOS suggests within two weeks after the wedding was to take place unless a new date has been chosen.
Dear Miss SOS:

After sending out the wedding invitations, my fiancé and I decided to end our relationship. What do I do with the wedding gifts that we’re starting to receive? I don’t even know what to say to people.

If an engagement is permanently broken, ALL wedding gifts are returned with a note from either the Bride or the Bride’s mother saying that the wedding will not take place and thanking them for their kindness in sending the gift. No other explanation of why the wedding plans were changed is necessary.

Gifts & the Correct Responses

Dear Miss SOS:
One of the employees where I work is getting married. She’s been dropping hints regarding the presents she would like – from saying she wouldn’t mind if someone gave her cash to informing me of the big sale going on for her china pattern. I still haven’t received an invitation, verbal or written, so I don’t even know if I’m invited to the wedding. What response, if any, should I give the next time she brings up the subject?

Miss SOS advises you not to say anything. The nice thing about dropped hints is that you don’t have to pick them up. You can let them lie there, right where they fell flat.

Dear Miss SOS:
I was recently married (June 1, 2003) and I am in the process of sending out my thank you notes. I had a fairly expensive wedding with open bar all evening as well as cocktails and a full buffet dinner. (The wedding cost us about $30,000.) All in all, at least 15 of the guests gave us no gift at all. Additionally, a few people gave us checks that bounced. Am I required to send these people a thank you note, simply for attempting to give a gift or for coming to the wedding? Help – I am not sure how I should handle the situation.

Also, I do not know if somehow some of these gifts went missing. I didn’t get much help from anybody at the actual wedding and things were a little hectic for me. I called the Lodge to find out if any gifts were left there, but they assured me that nothing was left behind. Do I call these people to find out if they gave a gift? I personally find that very inappropriate, but if they did a give a gift that went missing, I fear it would be terrible not to acknowledge the gift. I am in a serious quandary. Please advise me on what to do. I always like to do the right thing. Thanks very much.

Despite popular belief, wedding guests are not required to give a gift at all, regardless what the event cost. It stems from the old-fashioned belief that a guest is one to whom hospitality is extended; that the inviter sincerely desires the presence of the invitee on this special occasion because of the love or friendship between them. Should an individual desire to give a gift commemorating the wedding, etiquette provides up to one year after the nuptials for the individual to do so, however it is not obligatory.

It is regrettable that many people believe that bringing a gift to the wedding reception is the “price of admission” for their attendance. Au contraire. Gifts are NEVER to be brought to a wedding ceremony and its reception for the reasons you mentioned. It is considered extremely rude and inconsiderate to force the happy couple, on one of the busiest days of their lives, to take full responsibility in securing and relocating gifts without breaking them, losing them, misplacing gift cards, or having them stolen. Gifts should be sent to the Bride’s home prior the wedding or delivered to the couple’s home after they return from their honeymoon.

You may not contact a guest to state that the reason you have not sent them a thank you note for their gift is that you have not yet received it. Nor may you question your guest asking if they brought a gift to the reception because you cross-referenced your guest list to gifts received and noted their gift was absent.

A bounced check is another matter. Every time Miss SOS believes that she could not be shocked by unsuitable manners, something like this is brought to her attention. A NSF check has cost you money in bank service fees. Though you have Miss SOS deepest sympathies in this matter, you should contact the individual to let them know that their wedding gift was not honored at their bank and inform them of the penalty fee your bank assessed. Let the individual take it from there in extending the appropriate apology and remedy. If none is offered, it is unfortunate but you should do nothing further other than learning from this regrettable experience about the person’s character.

Dear Miss SOS:
When a couple’s marriage doesn’t last but five months, what is customary to happen with all the wedding gifts?

Whether a marriage lasts only a few days or weeks, the wedding gifts are not returned unless they have been unopened and unused. If returned, a note to the sender is sent thanking them for their thoughtfulness. No explanation of why the marriage was terminated is necessary.

Dear Miss SOS:
I read your advice that wedding gifts are to be sent before or after but not brought to the wedding itself. Could you please advise me on the proper way to address the name on a gift to be sent ahead of time to the home of the bride (who is living with the groom)?

All prewedding gifts are addressed to the Bride-to-be. After the ceremony, gifts are addressed to the happy couple. Some individuals may take this as a sign of inequality however nowadays some people will take offense at anything. Fortunately, sending people presents goes a long way toward mitigating any perception of offense.

Hostess Gifts

Dear Miss SOS:
I am real soon going to be having a shower in which six women are involved in it. Two are in my wedding party, two are friends of the groom’s mom, and the last two are family members. I have picked up small bags with items for each one. I am not sure what or how to address the thank you card to each person. Do I just write thank you for wanting to give me this wonderful party or what. I have never been very good with words and I don’t want to sound stupid or unappreciative. Thank you. If you could get back to me as soon as possible it would be greatly appreciated.

What a beautiful gracious gesture in expressing your appreciation by presenting a small gift to each of the six hostesses involved in planning your bridal shower. A small handwritten note accompanying the gift may be simply worded and still convey your pleasure in being the guest of honor. Though you are certainly free to expand on the wording, something along the lines of “For all you do and for the love/friendship we share, thank you” would be sufficient.

The hostess gift(s) and accompanying note(s) do not negate your responsibility to write a separate thank you for any shower gift(s) you might receive from the individual. Thank you notes are to be written promptly and express a degree of enthusiasm for the gift received, whether or not it is felt: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened your unique present of the stuffed owl. It is truly one-of-a-kind and will be a distinctive addition to our new home. Thank you for thinking of such a inimitable gift that Johnny and I will appreciate for years to come.”

Monetary Gifts

Dear Miss SOS:

For our wedding, many guests gave us gifts of money. How do I write a thank-you?

When money has been received as a gift, it is appropriate to indicate how it will be used. You may also identify the amount that was given, just as you would mention the specific item in a thank-you note for a clock or a place setting. “Your generous check of $50 is going to our “front room fund” and we can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciate it.”

If there is no such specific use to mention, you can simply say that it will be a big help in furnishing your home, or building up your savings account.

Dear Miss SOS:

My fiancé and I are to be married this November. Last night we discussed the invitation list and a possible gift registry with his mother. Since we both have been married previously and have been living together for five months now, we really don’t need anything for the house. We have all the kitchen utensils you can think of and our apartment is also fully decorated to the hilt. We couldn’t fit in anything else if we wanted to which rules out the possible luxury item or unique presents couples sometimes register for.

I know that invitations are not the place to “request” presents whether it be money or otherwise but I don’t know how to let everybody know what we’d like. We are leaving the state early next year that will cost us quite a bit of money. We are paying for the wedding ourselves which won’t be cheap.

Our monetary present request would be for a honeymoon. I don’t want to tell everyone that receives an invitation that we want money, not presents. Does everybody that’s invited to a wedding and wants to give a gift always asks the bride and groom what they want? And if they do, what would be a nice way to let them know what we want? I’m sure you’ve been asked this question before but I’m stumped. Thanks for your help.

Miss SOS applauds your recognition that you are not to include your registry information with the wedding invitation. It stems from the old-fashion belief that the inviter sincerely wishes the presence of the invitee to share in this momentous occasion in their life. Presents are not a requirement nor expected.

There will, however, be many people who will wish to express their joy of your union by giving you a gift. Grandma might want you to have a family heirloom; a favorite aunt might make you a hand-made quilt. Not all guests will be as decisive and will inquire what you would like. When asked, you are to demur slightly and then mention where you are registered, all the while gently protesting that it is not necessary that they give you anything at all.

In the past, etiquette used to frown on couples registering for a honeymoon or establishing an account for a down payment on a home. That rule applies no longer applies. With Miss SOS’ permission, you may register with a reputable travel agency firm.

Dear Miss SOS:

How does one word the wedding invitations in a nice polite way in this situation? My fiancé and I will be combining two complete households so are not in need of any presents, i.e. toasters, linens, glassware, etc. However, we would like to receive money instead of gifts. How does one word this without sounding extremely tacky or rude or any other adjective that might offend anyone? Also we don’t want to make anyone feel that they have to give anything if they cannot afford to or wish to. Thank you for your help on this one.

It is considered highly improper to indicate a connection between wanting certain people at your wedding and expecting a gift from them. The purpose of a wedding invitation is to request the presence, not presents, of an individual. It stems from the old-fashioned belief that the inviter sincerely desires the invitee to attend this important occasion in one’s life. There should be absolutely no mention of a gift (registry or cash) on a wedding invitation. If you prefer money over household presents and accessories, rely on your network of attendants, friends and family to discreetly tell guests what you’d like.

Gifts—Rules of Giving

Dear Miss SOS:
Having been invited to a number of engagement parties, bridal showers, and weddings this summer, is there any gift-giving etiquette rules I should know?

Find out where the couple are registered; bring a shower gift to a shower; send a wedding gift before or after the wedding (never bring the wedding gift to the ceremony or reception); send a wedding gift within one year of the wedding (within one month, though, is best); ask the store to enclose a receipt for the item (omitting the price); wrap the gift in a box with the stores’ name or logo; if mailing, insure the package to cover damages; mail the gift to the address on the registry form or to the return address on the wedding invitation; make monetary gifts payable to the Bride or to the Groom prior to the wedding; make monetary gifts payable to both the Bride and Groom after the wedding; and if you don’t receive a thank-you note, wait at least one month after the gift was sent before asking if it was received.

Dear Miss SOS:

I have been invited to my co-workers daughter’s wedding. I have never met the daughter and rarely speak of anything personal with this co-worker. I have looked for the proper etiquette for this instance. I do not plan to attend this wedding but wonder if I am required to send a gift. Can other co-workers, who do not know this co-worker or her daughter any better than I do, and I combine funds and send 1 gift if a gift is required?

Miss SOS does not know, nor wishes to be informed, of the blogs and etiquette books that provided such incomplete information. Suffice to say that they were sadly lacking.

Miss SOS hopes that your co-worker is not using her daughter’s wedding to entertain clients, prospects, or business colleagues. If she is, then she had to include them all so that none felt slighted by not receiving an invitation and setting off a chain reaction.  Miss SOS would caution your co-worker that she may be diminishing her daughter’s day by inviting a number of people that she does not know nor would she care to know.

Unlike a bridal shower, a wedding gift is never mandatory but is instead at the option of the individual, and can be sent up to 12 months after the wedding has taken place.  Unless your co-worker has evolved into being a personal friend that you socialize with outside the office (lunch buddies don’t count), it is quite acceptable to merely extend your good wishes for her daughter’s upcoming marriage.

However, if you feel this would create difficulty or challenges in maintaining a cordial business relationship with your co-worker, then you and your colleagues may go in together for a group gift expressing your pleasure in the happy news.

Shower & Wedding Gifts

Dear Miss SOS:
If I thank everyone for their gifts at my bridal shower, do I still need to send written thank-you notes?

Of course! You need to send a hand-written thank-you note (no commercial pre-printed note) for every single gift you receive, regardless how much you gushed over it at your bridal shower. This also holds true for any engagement gifts you may have received.

Dear Miss SOS:
I’m really steamed. I was recently married to the man of my dreams and have yet to receive very many wedding gifts. When I asked some of my family members why they hadn’t sent a gift, my aunt for one responded that since it was my fourth marriage she felt that a congratulation card was more than appropriate. Granted, she had sent presents for my first marriages but I can’t help but feel that she’s slighting my new husband. How can I let people know that their actions are wrong?

Contrary to popular belief, family members, friends and wedding guests are not obligated to give a wedding gift to the happy couple, even for a first wedding or any subsequent ones that may follow. Your actions in contacting individuals regarding the whereabouts of any gift that you were expecting are unbecoming at best, and crude at worst.

Your wedding is not a fundraiser nor is it to be a method in which to furnish your home or obtain personal items. A note extending congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy life together is considered sufficient, especially in the circumstances you described.

Dear Miss SOS:
I’m freaked out. I peeked at my bridal registry and about 75% of the items are still there. What can I do to kick-start it?

This is what occurs when a Bride takes the position that her bridal registry is a shopping list and not a convenience for friends and family who are seeking ideas for a wedding gift. A giver is not required to purchase any item that’s been registered and may instead opt to gift you with another item altogether that they believe you may appreciate or enjoy.

You are to do nothing to “kick-start” the registry but merely express your deepest appreciation and gratitude for any present that you may receive, whether it be an item you registered for or a hand-crafted afghan that your grandmother made.

Dear Miss SOS:
My fiancé’s mother thinks we should display the gifts we’ve already received at the reception. I don’t think this is proper. Who is right?

You are! Gifts may be displayed at home before the wedding, but they should never be displayed at the reception site. Also, monetary gifts should never be displayed and all checks should be deposited as soon as they are received.

Dear Miss SOS:
I was invited to a wedding of a good friend which will be held in Mexico. I’m not going, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is I’m not convinced the wedding will actually happen (the groom-to-be isn’t officially divorced yet, although Mexico may have different laws). Also, even if the marriage does happen, I’m not convinced it will actually last.

Regardless, I do know that Miss SOS would tell me to keep my trap shut (which I am) and buy her a gift anyway (which I will). And, since I know her through business, I’m pretty sure I can write this off.

My friend has sent me her bridal registry filled with things I could buy them to make their honeymoon special. Again, I’m not sure about the whole wedding thing happening so I didn’t want to do that. I’ve attached a copy of her invitation. Can you figure out something, as inexpensive as possible, that I can mail her without me looking cheap and that can be returned so I can either get my money back or use myself? Let me know. Thanks.

It is difficult for Miss SOS to refrain from responding as she initially would have liked other than to comment what an interesting view of friendship you have.
You, as one of the Bride’s friends and confidants, will only wish her the very very best, regardless of any personal misgivings or doubts about the wedding and/or the single status of her fiancé.

Unlike a bridal shower, a wedding gift is never mandatory but is instead at the option of the individual, and can be sent up to 12 months after the wedding has taken place. In purchasing a gift, one does not cross-reference it to the invitation in determining how much money should be spent. That is totally dependent on you, your finances, and your relationship to the person.

Once the gift is given, it is exactly that – a gift – and may be used/disposed/returned by the recipient only. In other words, if your friend doesn’t like your gift, she returns it to the store herself, to either exchange or obtain the money/credit for the item.

Dear Miss SOS:
I have been invited to a bridal luncheon and the invitation requests a gift for a groom’s wishing well. I know what a bride’s wishing well is, but I am stumped as to what to bring for a groom’s. Can you give me any suggestions?

When the words “wishing well” are on a bridal shower invitation, it means that in addition to bringing a regular gift, each guest is also to bring a simple present, such as a wooden spoon or measuring cup.
For a groom’s wishing well, Miss SOS would suggest something appropriate for a handyman’s tool box, such as a measuring tape, screwdriver, picture hangers and hooks, or even duct tape (Miss SOS’ husband’s cure-all for everything). You could also purchase something for his car, such as a flashlight or a small emergency first aid kit.

Dear Miss SOS:
I have received an invitation to a bridal shower with the words “wishing well” written in the bottom left corner. What does that mean?

When the words “wishing well” are on a shower invitation, it means that in addition to bringing a regular gift, each guest is also to bring a simple present, such as wooden spoon, a bottle of detergent, or a set of measuring spoons. The wishing well gifts may be wrapped, or tied with a ribbon, or left unadorned. The items are placed in a cardboard replica of a wishing well that the hostess has either made or rented. At some wishing well showers, the hostess asks the guests to write a note to the Bride, which is wrapped around the gift and then read by the Bride when she pulls out the item.

Dear Miss SOS:
What do you think of guests who leave the price tag on a shower gift in order for the Bride to be aware of their generosity?

That the least they can do is to scream when the Bride opens the present, lean over and pull the price tag off, and then drop it into a nearby ashtray where everybody can examine it later at their leisure.

Dear Miss SOS:
We are looking for help on our wedding reception invitations. We are an older couple and have both been married before. We are having a very casual luncheon celebrating our recent private wedding. We want our friends and family to come and celebrate with us but we do not want gifts. Their presence is all we want. Is there any tactful way to word this on the invitation? Thank you!

In the past, Miss SOS has been very strict adhering to the standards of etiquette that forbids any mention of a gift on an invitation celebrating a wedding. She understands the basis of such a position and 99.99% of the time concurs whole-heartedly. However, etiquette was never meant to be a rigid set of rules that are not to be adapted when certain situations apply. Yours is among them.

One of the loveliest ways for you to say, “No gifts, please” would be the phrasing, “Your love and friendship are cherished gifts. We respectfully request no others.”

Dear Miss SOS:
One of my close friends is getting married two weeks before me and, due to the cost of flying to the state that she is getting married in, I am unable to attend her wedding. I’m wondering what I should do about a wedding gift for her and her husband. I sent her a bridal shower gift even though I was unable to attend. Should I send her a gift for the wedding too? If so, how much should I spend on their gift? Help!

Though it is not required to send a wedding gift, it is a lovely gesture to do so as one of the Bride’s closest friends and confidants. As to how much to spend, the formula is to take one month’s gross pay earnings, divide it by the number of years you have been friends, multiply it by …. no, Miss SOS is just kidding.

A wedding gift should be something you believe the happy couple would enjoy that is affordable to your budget. Should your finances be stretched due to your own wedding plans, consider something hand-made. Miss SOS has seen charming gifts that were a labor of love from the giver – from homemade quilts (quite time-consuming to make) to an assortment of homemade preserves and jellies (yummy) to a framed collage of photographs that have special meaning. Whatever gift you decide to give, if it comes from the heart, you have given the best gift there is.

Dear Miss SOS:
I read your advice that wedding gifts are to be sent before or after but not brought to the wedding itself. Could you please advise me on the proper way to address the name on a gift to be sent ahead of time to the home of the bride (who is living with the groom)?

All prewedding gifts are addressed to the Bride-to-be. After the ceremony, gifts are addressed to the happy couple. Some individuals may take this as a sign of inequality however nowadays some people will take offense at anything. Fortunately, sending people presents goes a long way toward mitigating any perception of offense.

Dear Miss SOS:
I want you to settle a dispute between a work colleague and me. She says that weddings gifts are to be brought to the church. I say that gifts are to be brought to the reception. Who’s right? There’s a $5 bet on this.

Please immediately abandon this concept that bringing a wedding gift to either event is the price of admission for your attendance. Neither of you are correct. It is considered extremely rude and discourteous to force the happy couple, on the busiest day of their lives, to take full responsibility in making arrangements in securing and transporting all gifts without breaking them, losing them, or misplacing gift cards. Gifts are to be sent to the Bride or Groom’s home prior to or after the wedding, but never on the day itself.

Thank Yous & Acknowledgements

Dear Miss SOS:
Help! My fiancé and I have received a wedding gift that we can’t stand and can’t return. I know I need to write a thank you note for it but can’t figure out what to say. What would you suggest in such a situation?

Miss SOS suggests you find something nice to say about it or about the senders, anyway. You can always bring the gift out just when they visit:

Dear Jan and Ted,
Thanks so much for the gum-machine lamp! It is one of the most unusual gifts that we received – and we’re sure it will be a conversation piece whenever we have guests. Please come visit us soon!
Fondly, Laura.

Dear Miss SOS:
I’m in a real pickle and am hoping you can help me. For years I used to give gifts to my niece, whether it was for her birthday or at Christmastime. However, no matter how many times I asked, I never received an acknowledgement that the gift had been received, much less thanked for it. Finally, in total frustration (and, I must be honest, in hopes of making my point), I stopped giving her gifts – though I still love her and enjoy her company.

Now my niece is getting married. I’m happy for her and would like to give her a gift – but I don’t want it to be ignored as my other presents in the past have been. Is there any thing I can give her that necessitates her writing me a note back in return?

What an interesting dilemma you have presented to Miss SOS, accompanied by a lament she has heard all too often in this day and age. The importance of a thank you note can not be overstated – whether it is in business or social circles. Parents shirk their duty in not teaching this important lesson in a young woman or young gentleman’s life.

However, instilling proper behavior in an individual during their childhood years is an entirely different matter than tackling the poor manners of a full-fledged adult.

Should you wish to give your niece a wedding gift with the hope of receiving a thank you note in return, Miss SOS suggests that you send her a check – but leave it unsigned. Though Miss SOS can’t guarantee it, she wouldn’t be surprised if the check was returned to you with a gracious note, reminding you that you “forgot” to sign it.

Dear Miss SOS:
I’m sure you’ve been asked this before, but what is the rule on thank you notes? If I’ve already thanked the giver in person, must I write a handwritten note as well? How about an email thank you? Is that OK?

Miss SOS continually must answer when a handwritten thank you note is required so let her take the mystery out of it once and for all. Here are the rules. To state it simply, like is reciprocated with like.

If you have received verbally, “Hey, heard you recently got married. Please accept my congratulations for a long and happy life together”, then you have Miss SOS permission to verbally reply, “Thank you for your best wishes.” No written note is required.

If you have received an email correspondence of the same nature, or even an email wedding card, then you may respond by email thanking them for their good wishes.

However, if you have received anything else that would be considered tangible, whether it be a gift certificate or money, household goods or linens, lingerie or honeymoon apparel, kitchen appliances or pots and pans, silver or china or crystal … in other words, everything you can think of … then a handwritten note must be written by either you or your Groom expressing your delight and pleasure in receiving the gift and the thoughtfulness that accompanied it. And yes, this rule applies even when you have verbally thanked the giver personally.

Dear Miss SOS:
Who writes the thank-you notes, the bride or the groom?

Since most gifts are sent to the Bride, it is usually she who writes and signs the thank-you note, however, there is absolutely no reason for the Groom not to share in this task. There are many relatives and friends of the Groom who would be delighted to receive a thank-you note from him.

Dear Miss SOS:

I attended a bridal shower that when I got there I was handed an envelope to write my name and address on. I was told that this way the Bride would know to whom and to where to send her thank you note to. Is this now proper etiquette?

To her dismay, Miss SOS has heard of this occurring in today’s bridal showers and absolutely forbids guests to participate in this practice.

Guests to a bridal shower consist of family and friends, so the Bride should already know everyone’s names. The fact that a guest has received an invitation is evidence enough that the Bride has the correct address. All thank you notes and their envelopes are to be handwritten by the Bride, a very small effort indeed in thanking someone for their time and effort in finding her a shower gift that they thought she would enjoy and appreciate.

Having guests write their own address on an envelope reminds Miss SOS of writing out her own dental reminder appointment card. Should you ever encounter this again, you have Miss SOS permission to decline, gently responding, “No, thank you. The Bride already has that information.”

Dear Miss SOS:

I am mad and I’m hoping you can set some people straight. I got married almost 6 months ago and have been busy with work and my new home. I’ve not had a chance to get to my thank you notes yet but I plan to. Someone actually had the gall to ask me if I had received their gift as they hadn’t received a thank you from me. Could you please let people know that a bride has up to a year to write a thank you note because she’s got so many other things to do?

Sorry my dear but Miss SOS cannot accommodate you on this one. Your confusion stems from the fact that people have up to a year after your wedding day to give a wedding gift, if they wish to give one at all. With misguided reasoning, brides then felt that they had twelve months to acknowledge the present. Au contraire. Thank you notes should be sent out immediately and in no case later than three months after receiving the gift. It makes no difference how busy you are. You’ve been married six months so sit down and start writing your belated thank you notes now.

Dear Miss SOS:

I have recently married and I am getting ready to write out my thank you cards with a wallet size picture of my husband and I. On the outside of the thank you cards there are two different type of readings: 1. Thank you for your good wishes and thoughtfulness; and 2. Many thanks to you for your good wishes and thoughtfulness. I am having a very difficult time figuring out what to write on the inside of the thank you cards. Can you give me some suggestions?

The one I keep thinking of doesn’t sound right to me for some reason, “Thank you for sharing in our special day.” For some reason I think it sounds corny. I want it to be nice and short since I have a lot to write out and I don’t want this little problem holding up the mailing of my thank you cards. Thank you for your help.

Miss SOS commends you in your desire to promptly acknowledge the gifts you have received in celebration of your marriage. The photograph that you wish to include is a beautiful touch but has no direct correlation to the thank you itself. In addition, a pre-printed commercial note is not considered sufficient.

Your note, which is to be handwritten, should thank the giver for the gift that they have given you. Should you have received money as a gift, it is appropriate to purchase an item and thank the giver for that item, as if they had bought it themselves. In writing your thank you, a degree of enthusiasm must be expressed, regardless whether or not it is felt. An example would be “Dear Aunt Betty, We were simply delighted to receive your gift of a stuffed owl alarm clock. What a unique and one-of-a-kind present. We will cherish it and the love we have for you over the years. Thank you for everything. Always, Darla and Jim”

Dear Miss SOS:
Although I’m not to be married for another two months, I’m already starting to receive wedding gifts. I want to write my thank you’s right away. Do I sign the notes with my maiden name or soon-to-be married name?

Miss SOS commends you in wanting to write your thank you notes as soon as possible. As you are not yet married, you are to sign with your maiden name.

Dear Miss SOS:
A group of people we know went in on our wedding gift. How and to who do I write my thank you note?

When you have received a single gift resulting from a collaborative endeavor from friends, relatives, or business colleagues, you should write a separate thank you note to each individual involved. Should the gift be received from an organization, company, or church you belong to, then the thank you note addressed to the group is considered sufficient.

Dear Miss SOS:
I have received the same wedding gift from a few different people and will be exchanging the extras for something else. How do I write my thank you note for the gifts I exchanged?

Write each note to the individual givers thanking them for their gift. It is not required that you share with them that it has been exchanged. Instead, let the one gift that was kept represent all.