(Closed) Do you need to write thank you card to guests who didn’t bring a gift?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
4485 posts
Honey bee

Yes you need to write a thank you note even if they didn’t give you anything. Proper etiquette says they have up to a year if they choose to give you a gift, but also that a gift is never required. They chose to attend, which they were not required to do, so the least they should get in return is a thank you note. If they didn;t give a gift, then it makes no sense to mention one. How much you paid per person to host the event and the income of said guests are both entirely irrelevant.

Post # 4
5788 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’m of the opinion that you should write them a thank you card thanking them for sharing in your special day. Its nice that you spent $150 a person but that was your decision.

Post # 6
46470 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m of a differing opinion. Since when did hosts send guests thank you notes for attending a party?

Even Emily doesn’t think you need to send thank you notes to guests for attending your wedding.

“Who needs a note?

  • Anyone who gives you an engagement, shower or wedding gift, even if you have thanked them in person. Individual notes should be written to people who contributed to a group gift.
  • Anyone who gives a gift of money: cash, checks, contributions to savings accounts and donations to charities. Mentioning the amount is optional, but it does let the person know the correct amount was received. You should mention what you plan to do with the money.
  • Your attendants. A warm personal note attached to your gifts to your attendants will let them know how much you appreciate their efforts and support on your behalf.
  • Anyone who hosted a party or shower for you. Ideally these notes should be written within two days of the event. Each host or hostess should be thanked individually with a note and a thank you gift.
  • People who house or entertain your wedding guests. A note and a small gift should be sent to anyone who houses or entertains out-of-town wedding guests.
  • People who do kindnesses for you. The neighbor who accepts delivery of your gifts when you are at work; the cousin who supervises the parking at the reception – anyone who assists you before, during or after your wedding.
  • Suppliers and vendors. You don’t have to write everyone you hire for services, but anyone who exceeds your expectations will appreciate a courteous note of thanks.
  • Your parents or whoever is hosting your wedding. “

Whether or not they should or need not have sent a gift is a whole other subject.

Post # 7
4038 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I sent everyone that attended a note. I know for some of them it was very financially difficult to get there (short engagement + most of my family lives across the country) and I just wanted to tell them how much we appreciated them being there with us. It wasn’t anything long or fancy, just a “Thank you so much for celebrating with us.” (well, a little more than that, but you get the idea.)

EDIT: I’m also aware this isn’t the norm, and there’s no etiquette saying it’s necessary. Also, including the wedding party, we only had 50 people at our wedding, so this was completely doable for us. I’m not sure we would have done it if we had had 100 or more guests. 

Post # 8
806 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I don’t think it’s necessary.  And I consider myself pretty strict about Thank You note etiquette.  Maybe it would make more sense if you had a far away destination wedding and you know your guests went to great trouble and expense just to be there.  But for local guests, I just don’t see it.

If I attended a wedding and accepted $$$ worth of food and alcohol, and came empty handed, I wouldn’t expect a card thanking me for accepting their hospitality.  In that case, the nice event they are putting on (i.e. free food and booze) is how they thank me for “simply being there.”

Yes, a guest supposedly has “up to a year” to send a gift – I’d sent a Thank You note when that happens, if that’s the case.


Post # 9
7695 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2010

@Ember78: No, they actually do not NEED a note. If you write them a note then that is your choice and it is extra nice but there is no etiquette saying that you need to do this! The “thank you” that you are giving to your guests for coming is the party that you throw with the food, drinks and dancing (hence why many people say that not having your guests pay for drinks is proper etiquette because you are providing things to them to thank them)

I wrote a post about this very recently – http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/thank-you-note-psa

Post # 10
10366 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2010

Just because Emily Post doesn’t think it’s necessary doesn’t mean that it isn’t a nice gesture. We sent TYs to everyone, since most people had to travel to our wedding. We really appeciated that they went above and beyond to be there with us!

Post # 11
7295 posts
Busy Beekeeper

sounds like the general idea is to send a Thank You note to those who brought a gift or to those without gifts, but traveled to get there (and therefore was a burden or expense to get there).  i will be doing thank you notes for everyone because my wedding is in Jamaica!


@crayfish: (and others).  i am just purely curious about this. because i find that people who advocate sending to notes to guests who did not bring a gift also usually mention that their guests traveled to get there….so i am curious, what if your guest only had to walk across the street to get there AND brought no gift. would you still feel the same way about sending a note?

Post # 12
127 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

My thank you to all who attended was the favor at our wedding.  The thank you notes are for the generous gifts we received, so those who did not at least write us a card are not getting thank you notes.

Post # 13
7300 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

@FinallyGettingMarried: You shouldn’t expect gifts. You need to write a thank you card for them coming to celebrate with you. ^_^ 

Post # 14
7295 posts
Busy Beekeeper

@shanbrice:  thats how i think too.  except before i joined the bee, i assumed all guests get thank you notes, but that was also because i assumed all guests bring gifts!  as a wedding guest, i would never dream of not bringing a gift.  however, since that some people do not bring gifts, i think it makes sense that the notes are for those who did, or like i said, because my wedding is in Jamaica, everyone will get a note with a little picture just for coming all that way.

but its totally true that the favors also serve that purpose of giving the guest something for being there and celebrating with you (which is why some other people give notes for everyone regardless).


* i feel like i need to prevent any “arguments” by saying that i think there is absolutely nothing wrong for giving notes to everyone, gift or no gift. it is a definitely a nice gesture to do so and i am not saying those who do are “wrong”.  i am just curious to hear what people have to say and the rationale for it.

Post # 15
2714 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@dynamic_duo: * i feel like i need to prevent any “arguments” by saying that i think there is absolutely nothing wrong for giving notes to everyone, gift or no gift.

Correct. But the OP is asking if she needs to write a thank you. Etiquette says no, you do not. And I will not write thank you cards for those who do not come with a gift. I am not expecting gifts of course, but I am not having a Destination Wedding and I am giving out favors. For me, the favors will be our thank you to the guests who came and celebrated with me.

If a guest chooses to give me a gift then I will write them a thank you card for going above and beyond attending/celebrating my wedding with me and will thank them for their generosity.

Post # 16
139 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

If this was a destination wedding, it would be best to send everyone a Thank You note.

If this is a local wedding, your wedding favors should suffice as a “proper” Thank You to the guests w/o wedding gifts.  But please continue to provide Thank You notes to guests who were fortunate enough to provide a gift.

I dont understand why people have to go above and beyond with any event related to a wedding.  Would you send someone a thank you card for attending a birthday party without a gift? NO.  IMO, I appreciated your presence enough to foot the bill for food and entertainment. 

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