Q: We recently attended a family member’s beautiful wedding. The invitation was addressed by a computer, little effort there. Our gift of cash was acknowledged only by a generic computer-written thank-you with pictures of the bride and groom. There wasn’t any real mention of a gift, just a thanks for being there and sharing their day. Am I wrong to think when you invite people to come and bring a gift, handwritten invitations and thank-yous are the correct way to go? People have gotten so lazy and in such a hurry.
A: You are not wrong. It is truly a shame to witness all of the impersonal technology-driven aspects that are overtaking so many areas of our culture, especially in the wedding arena. Proper protocol for weddings in the areas you addressed is as follows:
1. Invitation addresses should be handwritten, using black ink, with the most beautiful penmanship possible. The inside envelope should be handwritten as well. The return address on the upper left corner of the invitation should also be handwritten.
2. Thank-you notes should be handwritten, using black ink. That includes the address and return address on the outer envelope. The return address is important because it provides the recipient with the newly-married couple’s new address. The contents of the note should be handwritten and should specifically mention the gift received. If money is given, for example, the amount of money received should not be mentioned. However, how the money will be used, or has been used should be. Wording examples:
“It was so wonderful having you with us for our special day, and we thank you so much for your generous gift. We are using it to purchase one of the serving pieces to our china. We look forward to using it when you come to dinner as soon as we are settled in our new home.”
Or, “ Having you both witness us sharing our vows on our wedding day meant so much to us. Thank you for making it a very special day for us, and thank you so much for your wedding gift. We used it to purchase a very beautiful painting which is now above the mantel of our fireplace. We think of you with love each and every time we look at it.”
Choosing to include a picture of the bride and groom in the thank-you note is a nice touch, but it should not be a computer-driven photo. It should be of the quality that one could frame and place on a mantel or coffee table.
Dianne Isbell is a local contributing writer. Send your etiquette questions to Lifestyle Editor Patrick Kuhl, Belleville News-Democrat, P.O. Box 427, 120 S. Illinois St., Belleville, IL 62222-0427, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.