Here's When You Should Send Wedding Thank-You Cards

Is there such a thing as sending thank-yous too late? Find out here.
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
sarah hanlon associate editor the knot
Sarah Hanlon
Associate Editor
  • Sarah is an Associate Digital Editor for The Knot, with special focuses in fashion, pop culture and wedding trends.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Sarah was a contributing writer for Bravo at NBC Universal.
  • Sarah has a degree in journalism and resides in New York City.
Updated May 05, 2021

In a perfect world, all of your wedding planning tasks would end the day you and your S.O. say "I do." But, believe it or not, there are a few things that can't be completed until after the big day (like legally changing your name or preserving your wedding outfit). The most important task to accomplish, though, is sending out thank-you cards. It's one deed that can't be overlooked—and while it might seem overwhelming at first, there are ways to make it manageable (and, yes, enjoyable). Since you'll most likely start receiving gifts before your big day, you might wonder when to send wedding thank-you cards, or how long you can wait until after the wedding to send your thanks. We answer your most pressing questions about how soon to send out wedding thank-you cards right here. First, brush up on the important timing rules all couples need to know. Then, use this guide to write your thank-you notes in an efficient and timely manner so you and your spouse can soak up as much newlywed bliss as possible.

When Should You Send Wedding Thank-You Cards?

So, can you send thank-you notes before the wedding? The answer is yes—and we highly encourage it! It's never too soon to send out wedding thank-you cards. In fact, it's recommended to send thank-yous within two weeks of receiving a gift before your wedding date. Loved ones will start giving presents shortly after you get engaged, so it's recommended to stay on top of your letters of gratitude.

Once you start receiving gifts, set aside a block of time every night to write thank-yous with your S.O. Staying organized and on track from the start is the best way to prevent postwedding thank-you note stress. As soon as you create your wedding registry, buy thank-you cards to have on hand when gifts start to come in. (Psst: We recommend browsing hundreds of designs—including styles that match your invitation suite—from The Knot Invitations.) You'll have fewer cards to write after your wedding day, and guests will be impressed by your timing etiquette skills.

How Long After the Wedding Can You Send Thank-You Cards?

You won't receive every gift before your wedding. Some guests will bring presents on the day of, but traditional etiquette indicates that they have up to a year after your wedding to send a gift. So, how long do you have to send wedding thank-yous? Aim to get your cards in the mail within three months after your wedding date. This gives you some time to enjoy your honeymoon, settle into your newlywed nest, and soak up that "just-married" bliss.

While guests will understand your desire to relax after hosting a wedding, it is important to thank them in a timely manner. Not thanking them soon enough may come across as rude or insensitive, even if that's not your intention. To avoid any hurt feelings, do your best to stay on top of sending wedding thank-you notes quickly.

Is Sending Wedding Thank-You Cards Late a Bad Thing?

Life can get in the way, though, and you might find it hard to stay on top of sending wedding thank-you cards. This may be the case if you and your S.O. will go through big life changes after your wedding, like taking a long, off-the-grid honeymoon, moving, or expanding your family. Sending wedding thank-yous late isn't the end of the world. In fact, it's never too late to be gracious toward your loved ones. While it may feel awkward to send a thank-you card a few months (or a year) after your wedding, it's always better to send a late note as opposed to not sending one at all.

When writing a late wedding thank-you card, keep your message positive. (Read: Now's not the time to divulge too many personal details or excuses as to why your note is coming later than expected.) Focus on your gratitude for the gift or the guest's presence at your wedding. While you can address the delay if the card is coming a year or more after the wedding, it's not always necessary; a few lines about why you liked the gift and how you've been using it will suffice. Write what feels comfortable in regards to your relationship with the guest. Just make sure your thank-you addresses the guest by their name and directly references the gift you received—your loved ones will appreciate that you took the time to send them a handwritten message of gratitude.

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