(Closed) Settle the debate – do guests get thank you cards just for attending?

posted 8 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: Do guests get thank you cards for just coming to the wedding if they don't bring a gift?



    Other -- I'll explain below.

  • Post # 77
    367 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2014

    View original reply
    @aspasia475:  Where exactly is this tradition valid?! I’m from Europe and the money is a standard gift. There is always a big nice box with the hole in it to put envelopes after the ceremony. I uderstand the gift thing, but it is the same idea when you go to somebody’s birthday party… they provide food, you bring a gift. I don’t mean to sound like I’m all about gifts, but I know I always bring something (usually money) to weddings, so I do not understand how people can show up empty handed (provided they are not in a financial trouble).

    Post # 78
    10635 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: January 2011

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    @inspiration86:  Yeah, at least those ones did show up.  We had people who RSVPed yes and never came, including DH’s grandma and they didn’t bother to send a card either.  We sent her a card (worded differently than a thank you) as it was a photocard, a DVD of the ceremony and slide show, and a favour.  We didn’t even get a phone call.  I was annoyed for DH’s sake, but that whole group is a little off.  The first time I met a great aunt of his I reached out a hand to shake hers, said nice to meet you and she just turned to talk to someone else, leaving my hand in the air.

    On the other hand, we did get gifts from some people who RSVPed no, and some who weren’t even invited, they got thank yous.

    Post # 79
    1511 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    @TwoStatesBride:  I’m definitely no etiquette expert (far from it!), but I’ll at least comment with what we’re planning to do.

    Yes, we will be writing thank you cards to every guest regardless of whether they bring a gift or not.  To be fair, I really would prefer a no gifts wedding … But that’s another story completely.

    Basically, I really want to thank everyone for taking the time to celebrate with us.  Yes, I wouldn’t write a thank you note to a friend for meeting up for coffee or something … But a wedding is a much more formal event, and therefore guests deserve a formal “thank you.”

    Post # 80
    1692 posts
    Bumble bee

    View original reply
    @inspiration86:  It is a tradition you will see among the “founding families” cultures in the southern and north-eastern United States, in the professional and landed gentry classes in England (and the gentry classes in western european countries as well), and in older “WASP” families throughout Canada.

    In farming villages in Europe, it was quite a common tradition well into the twentieth century for wedding couples to be given wedding gifts to start up their household — actual goods, sent to the home ahead of the wedding — and also for there to be a collection of money at the wedding itself. In some cases the money was actually recorded down to the pfennig in an account book, with the expectation that the couple would be under an obligation to return the money to the family that gave it, when weddings occurred in that family. It functioned in the community as a floating “start-up” loan, available to young couples at the beginning of their married lives and then returned into the community over the years to help out the next young couples. A kind of floating community trust-fund.

    Similarly, Asian weddings involve the gifts of red envelopes, and a great deal of behind-the-scenes keeping track of which family owes how much to which other families and who gave enough or too little or too much.

    These are cultural traditions that served a very important purpose in village life in ages past. They are less supportive of the community nowadays with people spread broadcast around the globe, and with good access to credit and banking facilities, but they remain traditions and are valid. What is important always is to note that they are specific class and ethnic traditions, not universally applicable. The logic of the eastern-European village loan system does NOT directly correlate to the red-envelope system, and neither of them are appropriate to the WASP professional-class expectations. That is one reason for standard etiquette: if you are mixing different ethnicities and expectations at a wedding, you need to be tolerant of the differences but you also need a cross-cultural standard to fall back on if you are at a loss to understand the specific customs you are encountering.

    Post # 81
    2141 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2015

    I’m planning to send one to everyone 

    Post # 82
    2639 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa

    Ordinarily,  I say no.  But I’ll be doing this (after a fashion) for my wedding.  It’s a destination wedding far away,  so I intend to send a letter afterwards to everyone who attended reflecting on the fun times we had (individual memories with people- most of them all will be there for a week,  so there should be something). I am also planning on sending letters to people who rsvp yes,  telling them how excited we are to see them there,  etc. Since I’m having an intimate wedding that requires a lot of extra effort from guests,  we will be doing this.  But ordinarily I think it is weird. Especially if all it sAys is thank you for coming,  nothing personalized (which I realize isn’t possible to have special memories with everyone at huge wedding,  which is why I say don’t do it).


    Post # 83
    2965 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: April 2013

    WOW I am so shocked by the number of responses “NO”. My wedding was at least 45 mins from my hometown. My guests spent money to come to my wedding. I got thank you cards (10 for $1 so seriously, not a huge expense) and simply stated on the card “Thank you so much for sharing our special day with us. We are so fortunate to have family like you” Or something like that. Not giving them a thank you card sounds ungrateful that they attended your wedding. This is supposed to be family and friends, c’mon ppl!

    Post # 84
    452 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: March 2014

    I have to admit I’m a bit surprised by all the No’s. We’re going to be thanking everyone. Most (probably 90%) of our guests are coming from out of town and spending 100’s of dollarall just coming to the wedding. To me, our reception is a celebration of our marriage that we want to share with people, not a thank you for coming to the ceremony. Also – how much time does it really take to write thank you notes given that your (or at least our) guests gave up a weekend for your wedding

    Post # 85
    2346 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: November 1999

    I’m having a Destination Wedding and guests who attend will have spent a lot of money and time to be there. They will get a free dinner at the rehearsal dinner. Yes, all guests will probably come to our rehearsal dinner since we have no bridal party. They will get a free plated dinner at the wedding. They r getting welcome bags where they will get free beach towels and small trinkers and a thank u note handwritten by me. They will get a personal thank u at the reception. We will have a shower where we will ask those who have RSVPd yes for no gifts, as their attendance at the wedding is their gift to us and will get personal thanks then as well. They will also get a thank u card after the wedding. 

    Is all that thanks enough?

    Post # 86
    1065 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2014

    The. Reception. Is. Not. A. Thank you.

    The reception is a party YOU are hosting to celebrate YOUR marriage which YOU chose to have. You invited your guests because they are, hopefully, people you like and love, who you want to celebrate with you.

    Gifts are totally optional on their part. But because you are hosting, you should thank all of your guests for coming to support you and celebrate your marriage.

    How hard is it to write out thank you cards?

    ETA: Just read that Miss Manners concedes you don’t have to send thank you notes to guests who didn’t give gifts. She says in the current gift-grabby climate it could seem like pressure on guests to send something (that never even crossed my mind). Normally, I do anything that woman says, but handwritten thank you notes seem so rare nowadays, I think it is important. I’m only having 50 people at my wedding. Should be simple to thank them all.


    Post # 87
    719 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2013

    I know that “no gift, no thanks” is often a “rule” stated on here, but I think it’s a terrible rule. Simply because they didn’t give you a gift, you no longer appreciate their attendance enough to write a couple of lines and post an envelope? Did you invite people for their presence or their presents?

    Writing thank you notes is tiring, I know – I did about 100 of them after our engagement party alone. It can be tempting to start drawing a line, but to me it just feels wrong. If people come out to share in our joy and support us on our biggest day, I can certainly write them a thank-you note.

    If you’re not sure what you want to do, err on the side of caution. Better to think later “I probably didn’t need to send one” than sheepishly think, “I probably should have sent one.” No one is going to complain about your gratitude, as long as it’s genuine.

    Post # 88
    3173 posts
    Sugar bee

    I had less than 45 guest come to my wedding thrown together after a 4.5 month engagement so it was a no issue for me. Anyone who gave a gift got a hand written thank you note that matched my invitation. Everyone who attended received a photographed “Thank you for coming” card. With that logic, some people got two cards, but we sent out thank you for the gifts cards immediately after receiving the gift so sometimes there was a bit of space between the two cards and other times it was sent in the same mail. I love sending out cards and showing my appreciation to people.

    Post # 89
    3941 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    No, mainly because if I were to receive a thank you card and I hadn’t given a gift (which would NEVER be the case) then I would assume it wasn’t a sincere thank you, or a “where’s my gift, thanks anyways” sort of card and I would feel obligated to send a gift.  Maybe I’m a pessimist, but I certainly wouldn’t expect a card if I didn’t give a gift.  

     What’s rude is when people don’t send a thank you card and you spent a butt load of money on a gift for them.  Because that’s what’s happened in the last THREE, yes THREE, weddings I’ve attended.  Not a single thank you card.

    Post # 90
    785 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    View original reply
    @KateByDesign:  I posted a similar question about a week ago asking if people would feel I was being gift-grabby by sending cards to people that didn’t bring a gift.  Most said they would just enjoy the card and wouldn’t think it was a hint for a gift.  Maybe this is just really really culture/geographic specific so there can never be one right answer.

    For what its worth, I gave a thank you card to everyone that came – even those that didn’t sign my guestbook or bring a card for us – to say that I was so happy to have them there to help us celebrate.   Only one person didn’t get a card and that was because she caused a scene and I was NOT thankful that she came lol. 


    Post # 91
    2624 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I will propably put “Thank you for coming” tags on the favors so everyone who attended gets one and then send Thank you cards in the mail to everyone who gave gifts.

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