(Closed) When to send thank you notes for guests who didn't bring a gift/card

posted 4 years ago in Etiquette
  • poll: When would you send thank you notes to people who didn't give you anything?


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  • Post # 16
    9575 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2015

    Lucky for you the by the book etiquette answer is never! Thank you notes are for gifts. Otherwise it just reads like a “thanks for nothing” note.

    Post # 17
    6929 posts
    Busy Beekeeper

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    keepcalm101 :  the answer, which I’m sure has been said many times before me here, is never.  Your reception was your “thanks for attending my wedding ceremony” and nothing more is needed.  If you do send one, some of your guests will be thrilled, others will take it as a passive-aggressive reminder that they didn’t gift you.  Doesn’t matter how you intend it, what matters is the recipient’s interpretation.

    Post # 18
    2505 posts
    Sugar bee

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    keepcalm101 :  never. You DO thank guests for attending, at the wedding. It’s your bad that you didn’t get a chance to talk to all your guests – that should have been a priority. Thank you notes are only for gifts; you missed your chance. 

    Post # 19
    306 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: November 2015

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    blahblahgirl :  I agree!  We sent notes to everyone, and some of them just said “thank you so much for coming;it meant a lot to have you there!”  We still had a few stray gifts arrive after the wedding, so I would wait a couple of months.

    Post # 21
    831 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2013

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    keepcalm101 :  I am surprised people are saying not to send a thank you. You send a thank you for attending your special day, whenever you send everyone else their thank you. 

    Post # 22
    7660 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper
    • Wedding: February 1997

    Emily Post indicates that you send a thank you note to anyone who gave a gift (wedding or shower), the wedding party, anyone who hosted an event for you or entertained your wedding guests, vendors, and anyone who helped (decorating, accepting deliveries while you were away, etc.). That’s it. No notes for those who attended without gifting.

    Post # 23
    731 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: August 2016

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    keepcalm101 :  your guests have a year to send gifts so it may still be coming. If your guests came from a long distance or had significant travel, I would say thank them! Emily post is big on when in doubt thank. I did mine via ecard on paperless post and used an engagement photo. This way it was more about sharing photos and less about being gift grabby.

    The bee has some very vocal voices on honeymoon funds, open bar and non edible favors..and thank yous for non gifters. Do what you think is right. I’m sure you are going to get a few haters about this on the bee.

    Post # 24
    225 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2016

    We had our photographer send us a few “sneak peek” shots to order our cards from Vistaprint within a week of our wedding. Once they arrived, we prioritized our Thank You cards (because my hand would cramp up from writing so many at a time) by:

    – Guests that gave us gifts,

    – Guests that traveled for our wedding whether they gifted or not,

    – Wedding party for spending the whole day with us, whether they gifted us or not,

    – Close friends that didn’t give a gift but we were really happy with their presence.

    ^ Those 4 bullets covered about 97% of our guest list. The remaining guests I didn’t write one because I felt that our reception (plated dinner, unlimited beer/wine, cake, late-night burgers, favors, and we visited every table) was good enough.

    Post # 25
    1692 posts
    Bumble bee

    Let us be perfectly clear: you may send a note any time you like, to anyone with whom you are socially acquainted, on any socially-acceptable topic you wish. If you want to write to people to tell them that you were happy to see them, you certainly may. Social correspondence is a nice, polite thing to engage in.

    Thanks technically ought to just slide into your normal social correspondence: a few words of gratitude along with the rest of your regular exchange of news. But alas, “thank-you notes” have become a thing: for most people the sole residual trace of the old practice of letter-writing, and correspondingly stilted. “Dear Aunt Aspasia,” they read, “it was so lovely to see you at the wedding. Thank-you for the lovely soup tureen. Joseph and I are looking forward to serving our first celebratory borscht from it this Thanksgiving. Love Mary.” Thus the thankyou-note checkbox can be ticked on your post-wedding to-do list. If you do not routinely engage in correspondence, then even such a perfunctory note is indeed required to anyone who has sent you a gift.

    But thanks for simply attending a lovely party correctly go in the other direction. Guests are properly supposed to send a “bread-and-butter note” to their hosts on the morning following any substantial entertainment. One of those stilted perfunctory notes sent in the reverse direction does indeed come across as passive-aggressive.

    So if you feel obliged to thank people who simply attended, at the very least include those sincere thanks within a sincere, newsy and informative social note.

    Post # 26
    1115 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2017 - Mississauga Convention Centre

    For our engagement party we sent thank you cards within a month. For our wedding it will be longer, we are going to Bora Bora and Tahiti for three weeks, when we get back we will be moving into our house. Once we’re settled then i will write thank you cards

    Post # 27
    441 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: June 2016

    I’m sending thank you’s to everyone who attended, regardless of gifts. Some people had to travel quite far and spend a lot of money in order to enjoy the day with us. I think that deserves some thanks, even if they didn’t give us anything.

    I think the only way a “thank you for celebrating with us” message could be interpreted as gift grabby would be if you said “thank you for celebrating with us and for the lovely gi- oh wait, nevermind”.

    That said I chose ASAP because I just would want to be done with it. If you get the gift afterwards you could always call them to thank them for that after the fact.

    Post # 28
    9820 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2012

    I personally would not send thank you’s to those that did not give a gift. If you want to thank someone for a speech, call them up and tell them.

    Post # 29
    736 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: December 2025

    I would send thank yous to everyone who attended, gift or no gift. My mother would have a fit if I didn’t! 

    I don’t quite get how saying “Thank you for sharing in our special day, it meant so much to us to have you there with us to celebrate!” is gift grabby? You’re not demanding they send a gift, nor are you drawing attention to the fact that you didn’t get a gift – you’re simply saying thank you!

    I’ve gotten a thank you note with a thinly veiled hit in it and it was very clear what message she was trying to send. The bride-to-be felt we didn’t stay long enough at their engagement party and felt it necessary to write that much in the thank you card. It came off as incredibly rude (a few of our friends got the same kind of note), pissed off the entire friend circle and put a huge rift in between my Fiance and hers – and it showed her true character, which I will NEVER forget. 

    Unless you’re saying “thanks for coming and not sending a gift”, I would send a thank you card to every guest. 

    Post # 30
    4729 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    We only had a couple guests who didn’t give a gift, but we sent thank you’s to all. I know that reception is supposed to be your thank you, but many guests had to travel to our wedding and I wanted them to know that I appreciated their attendance and support for our wedding.

    To be fair, the guests were 20-something guys, so I’m not sure they would’ve thought twice about a thank you card, so I wasn’t worried about seeming gift-grabby!

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