Okay, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. The mandatory Thank You Notes (TYN) you will have to write for each and every engagement, shower, and wedding gift. (Some brides determine the size of their guest list by the number of notes they can reasonably produce in a 90 day time frame.)
You may already understand that the TYN should be hand written, personalized (Dear Aunt Bina…), include a reference to the gift (the lovely milk-glass creamer/your generous check), and gushing appreciation. If you didn’t understand the process, consider yourself now informed. And remember to send them via snail mail as close to the event as humanly possible, although, some folks will say within a year of the wedding.
There should be no whining about how your hand hurts and your eyes are blurry from writing the TYN. Buck up! The folks who gave you a gift spent their time, talent, and treasure to find something that they feel you will enjoy, which brings up the OMG gift.
It is likely that you will open a beautifully wrapped present and it is something that is not your style, not on your registry, or just stops you cold. This is most likely to happen when the giver is hovering nearby and you are surrounded by a bevy of witnesses with cameras.
As a gracious bride your job is to smile sweetly and say something a little better than pleasant about the item. Imagine receiving a set of matching plaid PJ’s for you and yours lovingly hand stitched by the oldest relative of your MIL’s family. As the OMG springs to mind, squelch it by biting your lip, putting on the bridal smile, and saying how much these will be appreciated in the depths of February.
You do this because even though the wedding is all about you (two) everyone invited to the celebration has a vested interest in making a positive impression on you because that gives them happiness. Centuries ago, brides would have their dresses torn to shreds because their guests believed that by having a scrap of the gown it would ensure their own good fortune. A sweet smile and a nice note in exchange for an odd gift is much better than ending up nearly naked in public after your vows.
Like someone getting an Oscar, you have lots of little people to thank for your big wedding production. A charming note to your cadre of caregivers is wonderful and you will do that, of course, but in the meantime, work on keeping an attitude of gratitude. Start with your betrothed, who is the absolute best person in the world to be your life partner. Then mentally thank your parents and future in-laws for bringing up two such wonderful people even when you weren’t so wonderful.
Your wedding attendants are literally standing with you through all the wedding hoopla and they aren’t complaining (much) about their outfits or their assorted duties. They deserve your gratitude. Whoever is planning your wedding, fashioning your flowers, stitching your dress, staging your reception all deserve your appreciation, even if it is their job. A little recognition of a job well-done makes everyone feel great.
There is a completely selfish reason for your gratitude. By acknowledging the people who are supporting you through the wedding process and recognizing their efforts, you will become a calmer and happier person. You will be able to look around and see all the bridal booty, boxed or not, that is sitting right in front of you.
You’ll notice the outpouring of love that is being sent to you in anticipation of your wedding, even if it is in the form of plaid pajamas or a wedding shower that really is a complete surprise. These gifts may not be perfect, but they were lovingly and thoughtfully selected to honor your union. So give thanks from your heart to theirs.