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Thank you Notes from Hell

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
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Last June I dutifully attended a shower for a daughter of a friend of my DH’s family. My SIL and I attended and met up with our MIL and our DH’s sister. The shower was rather large and was held at a hotel. The bride seemed surprised and received at least 60 gifts. I purchased two 4-pc placesettings for her everyday china. Come August, the wedding arrives and we attend. First of all the ceremony is in one state and the reception in another about 1 1/2 hours drive away from the ceremony site. So there is about 3 hours or so between the ceremony and reception. I never appreciate that kind of thing but maybe there isn’t anything wrong with it. Anyway, we attend the reception, which was fine. The placecards are little picture frames that you can use later. I put a photo in mine and never paid much attention to the placecard inside.

Fall rolls around, and then winter, spring and summer once again. No thank you note for the shower or the wedding. I am a huge stickler for timely thank you's. Never got one. My SIL noticed when she reused the picture frame/placecard holder that on the back of the card it said something to the effect of "thank you for sharing our special day". Ok, that is really not good enough as a thank you note but even if you thought you could get away with that, what about the shower? How can people be so tacky as to invite 60 guests to a shower and hundreds to a wedding and not bother with thank you notes? Wait until she has a baby...I doubt I will be attending or sending a gift.
Thank You 0804/03

I just love your website and I surf through it often to remind myself that all the wedding craziness I'm going through now (my wedding is in nine days) is nothing compared to what other people have gone through. Anyway, here is my story for the tacky thank you notes section (with names changed for obvious reasons!):

While I was in high school I was good friends with a guy I'll call David. David and I spent a lot of time together, so much so in fact that many people thought he was my boyfriend. (This is despite the fact that I had been dating another guy since my sophomore year of high school.) After graduation we kept in touch but we were never as close afterwards as we were in high school.

One summer a few years after graduation, we met for dinner and he started telling me about this girl he had met in one of his classes at the local community college. I got "the vibe" and I just KNEW this was the girl he would end up marrying. Bear in mind I had never seen her, met her, or heard about her prior to this dinner date. Anyway, sure enough, about a year later he e-mails me to tell me that he's proposed and that the wedding would take place the following summer (in June 2000).

In due time I received an invitation and I responded that I would be coming. I also did something that I know you're not supposed to do, but I did it anyway: I e-mailed David and said by the way, I've been dating this guy "Michael" for a while now and I was wondering if I could bring him along so David and Michael could meet. David responded that I was welcome to do so, and "Michael" came with me to the wedding. (BTW, Michael is the guy I'm marrying in nine days so it all worked out that I brought this random guy to a friend's wedding.)

Now, at the time of the wedding I had just finished my first year of law school. Like most law students, I was very cash poor and could only afford a nice set of mixing bowls from their registry with a local retailer. I wrapped it up and toted it along to the ceremony and reception and duly left it with the other gifts. (There was no gift table so we actually created a de facto gift pile by the door.)

A few months after the wedding, David and I met for lunch at a local restaurant. He mentioned during the meal that he and his wife were working on the thank you notes, thus implying that they knew I had given them a gift and had not yet sent me a note. No problem, I know you two are busy and will get to them when you can. Christmas 2000 went by, first wedding anniversary went by, Christmas 2001 went by, etc. We had fallen out of touch after the lunch I just described and so I was surprised to hear from him in early 2003. By this time Michael had proposed and I was busily planning my own wedding, including registering for gifts with the same retailer that David had registered with. Anyway, David and I were sending e-mail messages back and forth for a few days. In something like the third or fourth e-mail to him, I asked him if by any chance he had received the set of mixing bowls I had given him for his wedding, since it had been three years since the wedding and I wasn't sure if he had ever received them. To this day, he has never acknowledged that e-mail or sent the thank you note! Now, I don't mean to sound petty about a set of $30 mixing bowls, but that is a lot of money to a starving law student and it would have been the decent thing to at least acknowledge it.

And no, he and his wife were not invited to my wedding.

Thank You 0821/03

I recently received a thank you post card from my best friend after attending her wedding 5 months ago. The post card was to me and my boyfriend, and the writing was tiny, as it had to fit on a less than 2 inch by 2-inch space of the postcard. She thanked me for the check I sent, and had previously told me that the check was "one of the biggest we received" (is that tacky- to rank my gift to my face?). In a P.S. she wrote that I was the best friend ever. Well, I (did a hell of a lot more than write a check- things that took a lot more time and energy, not to mention money, which she never mentioned in her microscopic thank you card. Let me list:

1) Arranged and helped pay for her engagement party

2) Arranged her bachelorette party

3) Had 5 out of town guests stay in my apartment (which my boyfriend really didn't appreciate- needless to say he was never thanked)

4) Helped pay for some of her flowers

5) Threw a party the night the out of town guests arrived (about 3 days before the wedding, so I had 5 guests for 4 days, and a post-party apartment)

6) In addition to my check, gave her a pair of socks I crocheted myself

7) Introduced her to the boutique she bought her dress from

8) Assembled her handmade invitations with her

Not a single mention of the efforts I gave in her little thank you. I feel like I've been slapped in the face.

Thank You 0910/03

I got married to my long-time fiancé early in 2003. The wedding was absolutely perfect - nothing happened to spoil it at all. We had several guests from the next city over, about 8 - 9 hours drive from ours. We were thrilled that they had made the effort to come, and my husband thanked them in his speech. One particular couple - we'll call them Alice and Bill - were very low on funds, so we were especially thankful they could make the trip over. They contributed to a lovely gift, and we sent them a handwritten thank-you note shortly after. So far, so good.

Next month, we find out that they're going to be married. It's a last-moment thing, because Alice is from another country and her visa is about to expire. They invite us to the wedding, and ask us if we'll write testimonials for the Immigration Department so Alice will be able to stay (which we're obviously happy to do). On my birthday, I get an e-mail from Bill. How nice, I think, birthday wishes. But no - it's a short note with further instructions on the immigration thing. Oh well, I think, he's got other things on his mind.

So husband and I get time off work, hire a car (because our old banger won't make the trip) and drive the 8 - 9 hours to the next town. Bill has told us not to bring a gift, but we do anyway - something not too expensive, but nice. The morning of the wedding, my husband and I head off - me to the bride, him to the groom - to help them get ready. Alice, as I said, is from another country, so she doesn't have any friends over here, and I'm happy to help her out. As it turns out, I don't have to do much except cheer her up - it seems the groom-to-be had a bit too much to drink the night before and committed some act so heinous she won't even tell me what it is. She's still going ahead with it, so everything's okay. When we get to the registry office, Bill and Alice take me and hubby aside and ask us if we'll stand up for them - they need witnesses and someone to hold the rings, flowers etc. Again, we're happy to do so. The ceremony is fine, the reception is fine. We leave the next day and drive home.

Not a word of thankyou for standing up, not a word of thankyou for driving over to the wedding, the only thanks for the gift was an aside in an e-mail sent a group we're all members of - not even a personal e-mail thanks. No thanks for the testimonials, either. It was Alice's birthday last week. We sent her a small gift and card. I hadn't heard from her, so I sent her an SMS to make sure she received the gift in the mail. I still haven't heard anything.   Thank You 0911/03

In general, a printed out "thank you" note is a faux pas. A thank you note should be handwritten, acknowledging what you have received. And it should be after you receive the gift. The bride and groom decided to hand deliver to each person attending the reception, BEFORE THE FOOD was served at the reception, along with the Jordan almonds in netting, a pre-printed thank you, stating "thank you for attending our wedding and the thought gift ..."

Thank You 0916/03

I enjoy your site immensely, but I never thought I would have a story to submit. Silly me. This has been eating away at me and hopefully a trip to E-hell will make me feel better....

Last year a friend of mine got married. We were very close throughout high school, but went separate ways after graduation three years ago. We maintained the friendship through email and occasional phone calls.

When I heard that she had met someone I was very happy for her, because she had not always had the greatest luck with men. She abruptly cut off communication with me and our other friends. She stopped responding to emails and wouldn't return phone calls. It's understandable because we are all very busy and with her being in the glow of a new relationship, I didn't mind too much.

She came around again just in time to announce her engagement to this man. It was very exciting, as the first wedding in the group of friends. Once the new engagement excitement wore off, however, she disappeared from everyone's life again. The only communication I received from her were instructions about the dresses (I had agreed to be in the wedding, with no major trouble) or her numerous pre-wedding parties. I went to two of her showers, one of which was over three hours away from me. For the other shower, I bought her several small presents from her registry, which, while not a great deal of money to most, was fairly substantial for a college student.

No thank you note. No worries, I'm sure she will come through. I continue with her wedding gift, which is a beautiful cross-stitch picture of hearts and flowers, with their names and wedding date. I worked diligently on this project, putting in as much time as possible each day, which is somewhat tiring considering I was in college putting in fifteen hours of classes and at least twenty hours of cafeteria work, not to mention outside time for studying.

I had underestimated the size of the project and wasn't finished by the wedding. I mentioned to her that I had a gift that I was making for her that wasn't finished. She sweetly expressed gratitude that I would go to the trouble of making something for her. I assured her that as my friend, I was glad to do it. The wedding goes off without a hitch, and several weeks later I finish the cross-stitch. It was easily my best work ever and turned out just beautifully. I had put in a total of five months on this gift, was extremely proud of it, and couldn't wait to give it to my friend. Of course, after the wedding I couldn't reach her. I couldn't get her on the phone or email, I didn't want to send it in the mail as I was afraid of damage, and her house was far enough away that I couldn't just "drop by." It was another three months before I found her and presented the gift. She seemed very happy with it and thanked me profusely.

It has now been six months since I gave it to her, and not only have I not received a thank you note for either my shower or wedding gift, but my friend still blows off phone calls and never makes any attempt to get with me or anyone else. I'm mostly sad about the apparent loss of a dear friend, but I also wish that I had just bought something off her stupid registry and saved the beautiful personal gift for someone who would appreciate it. I'm sure I'll hear from her eventually, probably when she gets pregnant and wants attention again.

Oh, I did receive an email from her a week or so ago. It was one of those chain letters from several years ago that claims a mega-corporation will pay you for each person you forward the letter to. She can't take the time to write a personal email or call but she has the time to try to make money off my email address. Classy.     Thank You 0929/03

My best friend from middle school and high school got married a few years ago. I could not attend her wedding because it was 8 hours away and the same weekend I was moving out of my parents’ house into my first apartment. I sent her a check for 200 bucks and my mom sent her a check for 200 as well (even though she wasn't even invited). Well, the checks were cashed and neither my mother nor I ever received a thank you. I also never heard from this girl again. How rude, and a big fat waste of 400 bucks.

P.S. - Despite suggestion from people, my parents have lived at the same address for 25 years. Nothing was stopping this girl from sending thank you's to my mom's house...

Thank You 1102/03

This is not so much of a story, but more of a request: I'd like to request to all brides reading this that when you have a shower, fill out your own Thank You card envelopes. I have been to more showers (bridal and baby) than I can count where the bride/host left envelopes and pens on the tables for her guests to fill out their own addresses. This is tacky and lazy. And don't try to make it look like you're using it for a prize drawing, we all know what our own handwriting looks like when we finally get the TY's in the mail!
Thank You 1126/03