If you're a bride-to-be, then THIS is the article for you. Right now, you are probably in your wedding bubble finding your dress, finding a venue, coordinating your bridesmaids, and managing every down-to-the-minute detail that needs to get done. Trust me, I've been there and I know how it feels.
But, in all the craziness, there is something you should take the time to do: prepare for all of those "Thank You" notes that you will be writing as soon as the wedding is over. Here's why: when the wedding is over, the craziness does not stop there. You and your now-fiancé will most likely be moving in together (unless that detail is already covered) and managing all the details of your new life. However, writing those Thank You notes is the right thing to do to thank all of the guests who blessed you and contributed to your new life.
To prepare for this process and make it as easy as possible, here are my tips.
1. Create an excel sheet that tracks your wedding gifts!
This means that you should track every single gift you have received during the wedding process, including all your bridal showers and pre-wedding events. Any time you open up gifts, either have someone enter things into the spreadsheet for you, or have someone write everything in list format that you can enter in later. This is what mine looked like:
As I wrote the Thank You notes, I highlighted the family's or individual's name in green so that I knew it was completed. Or, if you prefer, you could add a third column labeled "completed" and place an "X" in it if that Thank You has been written. This is just the first step to getting organized for the beginning of a rather long process!
2. Format your guests addresses in a label template for easy printing!
If you are addressing your wedding invites, you should already have a complete list of the addresses for the people you are inviting. Take all of these addresses and put them into a Avery Label Template in a Word Document - if you haven't done this before there are lots of instructions online on how to go about. Unfortunately, I won't spend the time divulging that information here. You will also have to purchase the Avery Labels that you can run through your printer.
Once I had everything set up, I stuck the Avery Labels in the printer and printed off 4 sheets of addresses that included every SINGLE guest I had invited to the wedding. You will need to make sure that you have everyone's addresses, because even if they can't come to the wedding they might still purchase you a gift!
3. Find cute and cheap thank you cards with envelopes!
Hit up Amazon, Minted, Paper Source, Target, or any other place that sells "Thank You" cards by the dozen or more. Make sure they also come with envelopes! Amazon will probably give you the best price deal, so stock up on a bunch that you feel match the feel of your wedding and/or personality. And even if they don't match anything and are just plain darn cute and sweet then that's ok too! Actually, even if they are blank white note cards, that also works.
4. Buy USPS postage stamps in bulk for your thank you notes.
You can even buy a roll of 100 of them (they normally come as a patriotic American flag design) but any will do. I was lucky enough to have a whole bunch left over from the wedding invitations so I kept those.
5. Invest in a "Return Address" stamp for your wedding thank you notes!
I actually create custom address stamps for $50. And, if you buy an ink pad this is the quickest way to add your address to every single envelope that you are sending out. I guarantee not all of them will make it to their destination which is why having a return address is always important.
6. Store all of these items in a safe and easily-accessible place!
Stick all of these items into a shoe box, zip lock baggy, or some sort of container that you can hide away and EASILY find when the wedding festivities have ended. You will have every address already printed on a peel-and-stick label, plenty of "Thank You" cards, plenty of stamps, and an RSVP stamp.
When the time comes to sit down and get to business after the wedding, simply pull out your excel spread sheet and your pre-made "Thank You" kit to get started!