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Thank you Notes from Hell

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
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My sister decided on a very 'economical" way of thanking people.  She phoned all the guests and left a "thanks for the gift" message on their voicemail or answering machine.   I asked her about it later and she said the phoned when she knew people would be at work so she could leave a voicemail instead of "wasting money on a long distance call"!



"Dave" and I have been friends since I was 13.  We met at summer camp and kept in close touch by mail and phone over the years, since we lived 3 states away from each other.  We even long distance dated, as best we could, for a short while.

We both became engaged around the same time.  He announced his wedding date, near the end of August.  My fiancé and I also were aiming for August, because family had to travel to our wedding and we needed to avoid the start of the school year.  We specifically planned our wedding for two weeks before my friend's wedding so that we could go on our honeymoon and be back to fly up and attend their wedding.

And so we did.  We paid for the flight and two premium weekend nights in a bed and breakfast in the New England countryside.  We bought them some bedding and pillows off of their registry and had it sent right to them.

To this day, more than SIX YEARS LATER, we have not received any acknowledgement of our gift.  I have no idea whether the department store ever sent it or if they ever received it.

Notably, this is the first thing that comes to my mind now when I think of "Dave."  Not fond memories of escapades.  Not hanging out at the beach.  Not even anything about his wedding.  It's the fact that they never sent a thank you that stays foremost in my bitter mind.

Now, this did not stop me, however, from loading him and his wife up with baby gifts for her baby shower when they announced they were expecting their first child (a year after our daughter was born, no gift from them).  I sent a big box of (new) clothes and other baby goodies.  Do you think I have received a thank you?  I'll let you figure it out.



My friend "Sara" had an extremely expensive wedding. Her parents are well-to-do and she has an advanced degree in engineering and makes a great deal of money for a young woman in her 20s. Her now-husband has a similarly lucrative job. She and her family obviously had the money to spend on the wedding, and they really went all out, best of everything, money no object. The original budget was something like $40,000 ... she kept us all updated on budget and so forth - I charitably assume because it was on her mind 24/7, not because she was bragging to us, as most of her friends were poor grad students from considerably less-wealthy families. She didn't make us pitch in for anything and was very sensitive to her bridesmaids' lack of means. The final wedding ended up costing around $60,000 for a little less than 100 guests ... they just kept finding things they couldn't live without. I want to be clear that we were happy she and her parents could afford her fairy-tale wedding, which was quite lovely and gracious. I also want to be clear that there was a lot of money going around.

The invitations were on beautiful heavy-stock expensive paper with hand calligraphy and each one cost around 60 cents to mail.

I spoke to her not long after the honeymoon and I was mentioning how my fiancé and I had spent the whole weekend on thank-you notes from a couples shower thrown for us by a friend of my mother's. She looked appalled.

"You sent thank you notes?" she asked.

"You didn't?" I returned, equally appalled.

And she said - and I quote - "Do you know how much it would cost me to send FIFTY thank you notes with THIRTY-SEVEN CENT STAMPS on each one? I saw everyone there! Besides, e-mail is FREE! I'm not going to pay for the mail!"

Oh, yeah, I'm so sure that $18.50 for stamps on top of the $60,000 wedding would have broken the bank. Especially after spending probably $3000 just on the invitations. I guess thanking people for attending wasn't nearly as high on her priority list as impressing people into coming.

What was particularly galling was that she was freaking out of the idea of $18.50 for stamps being *so expensive* and such a waste after a 2 1/2 week honeymoon in Europe AND buying themselves a $5000 big-screen plasma TV right when they got home. Thank God they didn't spend that $18.50 on stamps, or they might have had to skip two or three cocktails in Monaco.


Last summer , my husband and I attended the wedding of his good friend. The wedding went well ( no stories there). We gave them a check as a present.

The thank you was received quickly. However, it was a preprinted thank you (kind of like the invitations) no personal message on it, and, to top it off, the envelope was written by the groom's mother (she has very distinctive handwriting)

Tacky tacky tacky...



I attended my cousin's huge, fancy wedding in July of 1997 (give or take; I might have the year wrong).  I spent a lot of $$ on two settings of the china she registered for at an expensive store.  I got the most pathetic thank you note I have ever seen in my life!  It was a pre-printed note that was very short on words, something like "Thank you for the wedding gift.  Love, Jennifer and David".   THAT WAS IT!!!!   It was not hand-signed by either the bride or groom.  There was no "Dear Diana" hand-written above the pre-printed thanks.  JUST THE PRE-PRINTED THANK YOU AND THAT WAS IT!

By the way, by November of the same year (i.e., four months later) the couple were DIVORCED!!!!  It took my poor uncle about 3 or 4 times as many months to pay off his daughter's huge wedding than the stupid bride's marriage actually lasted!  When she remarried just a few months after her divorce, she did NOT get a present from me!  


My cousin, "Ann" was married in 1998.  Ann and I were very close growing up, so I wasn't surprised when she asked me to be her maid of honor, in fact, I was flattered.  She and her fiancée were engaged for 18 months and had a wedding for 450 guests planned.   To this bride, the title maid of honor also meant, in my opinion, slave of honor.  I did everything from plan the shower, pick out the bridesmaid dresses, run the shower (welcome, games, etc.), addressing and writing thank you cards and wedding invitations.  I have to admit that I did all of this happily, because Ann had never been so happy and I truly was thrilled for her.  The wedding went off without a hitch....even though she NEVER verbally thanked me for my assistance.  

About a month after the wedding, Ann commented to me that she had finally finished all of her thank you notes.  Two weeks later, my mom told me that she did not receive a thank you note for her and my father's monetary gift.  I asked my cousin politely, only because my mother was quite offended, "Ann, did you tell me that you finished all of your thank you notes?"  "Yes," she replied.  I went on to tell her that my mom did not receive a thank you card and was a little upset. Ann responded by telling me that she did not receive a gift from my parents.  I was angry, because my parents are very kind and gave her a VERY generous monetary gift. She should have known better than to think that they would come to any party/wedding empty handed.  

When I told my mom, she immediately called Ann's father, her brother, and asked why he didn't inform her that Ann did not receive their gift.  "You know me better than to think that I would bring my entire family to a wedding and not bring a gift."  My uncle said that they thought something was odd, but assumed that since at that time my dad was ill, that my parents couldn't afford a gift.  During the course of the conversation, my mom found out that the bride and groom, both sets of parents and three or four siblings all opened the gifts and cards ON THE WEDDING NIGHT at the bride and groom's hotel room.  The gift was probably lost amidst all of the hands wildly opening packages and cards.  Ok, things happen.  What shocks me however, is that even after my cousin and her parents KNEW that they (or one of the other "gift openers") lost my parents gift, they still did not send a thank you note.  They assumed that my parents would replace the gift.  My mom thought about it, but never did.  My cousin has never said anything to me about it again, but I would be lying if I said that I don't look at her in a different light.  Then again, this is the same girl that had her father hang an invitation up at the hospital he works at because she wanted the extra money and gifts that these people would bring...she didn't care if she didn't know them!   


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007