A good friend of mine was married recently, and I was one of five bridesmaids. Before she left for her honeymoon, the bride told us that she would like to take us all out for dinner to thank us for our support and friendship over the years.
She had booked a private room at a nice restaurant. When we sat down, the bride passed each of us a box. Each contained a fountain pen, a stack of blank cards, and a list of 70 guests, their addresses, and the gifts they had given the bride. Before we could eat, she wanted us to write her thank-you notes for her.
I thought for a moment, then said that perhaps the guests would be happier with a simple personal message from her, even if it were just something along the lines of, "Dear ___, Thank you so much for the ____. It means a lot to us that you thought of us. Love, Bride and Groom." She reassured us that she was personally writing the notes for those guests who would recognize her handwriting!
I think that all the bridesmaids were stunned, but nobody wanted to make a scene. We wrote, addressed, stamped, and sealed in grim silence for almost two hours before we could order dinner. As far as I know, none of us has spent much time with her since then.
One thing that has begun to annoy readers of this web site is how frequently people display their complete lack of a backbone which results in them being used abominably by the ever increasingly dark side of manners. Let's get one thing straight - the "scene" was already created/made by the bride and a reaction to her outrageous presumption would not be "making a scene" unless you flung the fountain pen across the room to embed it into a painting of the Marquis De Sade or flipped the box of notes in the air creating a stationery snowfall.
No, it is quite possible to decline this lovely honor without making an idiot of yourself. Here is one scenario of how it could be done:
Bridesmaid: sits blinking at the contents of the box then gently pushes it away from her place setting saying with a sweet smile, "Thank you but I think I will decline the honor of writing these."
Bride: "Why not? Aren't you going to help me?"
Bridemaid: "It is neither my duty nor obligation to express your personal thoughts of gratitude for the gifts your guests gave you." Still smiling sweetly....
Bride: "But there are so many! How am I supposed to do all these myself?"
Bridesmaid: "One at a time is the usual method." Bridesmaid then makes a mental note in her head to never host any type of shower for this person again and seriously considers never buying her a gift again. After all, it would be very unkind to burden the bride with such an onerous duty to write her thank you notes.