I had four hours to kill while my chicken stock cooked, for the most part I spent that time on social media – as ya do. I also got the mail.

Eventually I sat down to tackle a task that needs to get done but I’ve been putting off. Writing thank you cards.

Armin and I got married December 29th. We’d been getting presents delivered to the house off the registry since we registered and I’d been trying to write a thank you as soon as I got a gift, to keep them from piling up after the fact and so that people would know we actually got what they sent. That worked for the earliest gifts, but most of the presents sent directly from the registry arrived the same week as finals and I had 80 blue books to grade. Nothing was getting done except grading and drinking, certainly not thank you cards. Important, turgid little things.

I’ve knocked out several of these things since finals week. Being in Charlottesville with nothing to do and no car while Armin was at work meant that I was bored enough to write several cards. Then there was the plane ride from Virginia to Iowa where once again I was a captive audience. Most of the guests at our American wedding were my family and friends, unsurprisingly. Which means I have the lion’s share of the cards to write, and I don’t mind, Armin only knew a portion of the guest list. It also means I’ve developed a thank you card writing method.

I shared my method with Armin and now I’ll share it with the internet. That’s what bloggers do, right? Share ‘advice’? My method:

The Dear [Name] is a given. My opening line has two variations, one for if they were at the wedding and one if they weren’t. If my recipient was at the wedding I start my card with thanking them for attending the wedding, we got married at the Leid Lodge in Nebraska City, which is located near my extended family (for the most part) but near literally nothing else. Usually the joke would be about their attending our destination wedding to balmy, exotic Nebraska. Sometimes, if they did something during the wedding or reception, like dance or help fluff garland, I’d bring that up and thank them for that – especially for the dancing. I love to dance, despite not being particularly good at it, but my family and friends are slightly more reluctant to show off their (lack of) dance moves. If my recipient was unable to attend the wedding I’d make a joke about them having a better offer than spending the holiday season away from their family in the middle of nowhere. Most of the people who RSVPed “be there in spirit” also included notes about what they were doing instead of partying with us. And most of them were doing very reasonable things like living on another continent or visiting family, etc.

After the opening I’d downshift into the actual thank you for the specific gift. I’d first say thank you for the X. Then I’d follow up with what I’m going to do with the gift. Monetary gifts I’d usually say something like “this is going to help us set up the new apartment in Virginia” – which is literally true, Armin is living with a futon and an air mattress and wifi until I can get out there with all our stuff. Specific gifts get more specific comments, as I’ve got a bit of reputation as a cook and even more of a reputation for posting food pictures on social media I’m grateful that so many people have gotten me cooking supplies. I don’t write it in the card but I’ve gotten a habit of tagging folks in pictures of food I made with their gadgets.

I close with a reiteration of thank yous, a joke or reference if they’re close friends/family or if I know we’ll be seeing them soon I’ll write about that. Then I sign off, all our love, Caitlin and Armin. Signed, sealed, and ready to deliver.

So there you go, the quick and dirty way to write a thank you card. 1) start with a joke 2) thank them specifically for the gift 3) what are the plans for the gift 4) thank them again 5) all our love and send it off.

These are our Thank You cards.

I found these blank note cards in the gift shop at the Lied Lodge when my mom and I visited in August to do the catering decisions. I chose them for a couple of reasons, one our color theme/inspiration for the wedding was the winter foliage, trees, and the Lodge itself so these pine cones fit perfectly. Two, I’d already planned on sending thank you cards on a rolling basis rather than waiting until after the wedding so there’d be no photos we didn’t do engagement photos either so other than selfies there were no pictures to use on the cards. They’re from Earth Sky + Wind Inc. and I ordered like 80 off their website. They are about $10+ for an eight pack, four of each the White and the Scotch pine and eight envelopes. I’m quite pleased with them.

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