Is it too late to mail wedding thank yous?
July 11, 2011 3:38 PM   Subscribe

My wedding was almost two years ago, and I never sent out official thank you cards, because apparently I suck. I want to go ahead and send them out now, but would that be even more awkward?

Because of stupid life circumstance stuff, my husband and I never mailed the thank you cards after the wedding. Many of the notes are completed, and I think they are still in a moving box, but they weren't mailed and the wedding was in August of 2009. Every couple weeks or so I think about this and get that awful sick guilty feeling. I feel terrible that I never mailed these, but at the same time, mailing out thank yous now seems like it would just call attention to how much I suck. I've thanked most of the people in person or in email, but I still feel bad.
Is it a dumb idea to send out notes on/near our second anniversary, saying something about how I'm sorry I never sent out a thank you after the wedding, but we're doing great and we use x gift all the time? Or does that just make me look more like a jerk? In most cases I would just sort of suck up my guilt and say, "I'll do better next time," but I'm really only planning on getting married the once, so I'm having more of a complex about this than usual.
posted by crowyhead to Human Relations (41 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I still remember that Linda and Jose never sent me a thank-you for the wedding gift I got them in 1976. Send the cards.
posted by sageleaf at 3:40 PM on July 11, 2011 [13 favorites]

Send them out! Send them out, apologize for them being late (don't gush about it or make excuses, what you have written up there is fine), and be done with it. Better late than never!
posted by phunniemee at 3:41 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Better than late than never.
posted by amro at 3:42 PM on July 11, 2011

Do it. Think about it this way: if someone would be bothered by receiving a thank-you note after 2 years, they are probably already bothered even more right now, not just forgetting. Everyone else probably falls on a range from not caring either way, to being pleased about getting the late thank you.
posted by Ashley801 at 3:48 PM on July 11, 2011

Nthing SEND THEM. It's totally better late than never. I also have a few people in my life who haven't properly thanked me for major shit like wedding gifts, and although I still love them, I am disappointed in their rudeness in that lack of action. A late note would be better.

Also, it's time for you to alleviate that guilt!
posted by pupstocks at 3:48 PM on July 11, 2011 [8 favorites]

If I'd been at your wedding, I would

a) not expect a thank-you card. I would think you were having too much fun as newlyweds to have time for such things and be happy for you. I've been to a lot of weddings, and never received one that I can remember.
b) If I received one 2 years later, think "aw, crowyhead is still walking on a cloud of newlywed bliss--and took the time to thank me for my small part of showing up. awww....."
c) If it was obviously written 2 years ago, I'd think "aw, crowyhead was having too much newlywed bliss to remember to actually send the cards. But probably found them a few nights ago and had a good night looking over the photos. I'm happy that they were so happy then and still all loved up now."
posted by K.P. at 3:56 PM on July 11, 2011 [9 favorites]

Not only would I completely understand that these things happen, I'd be totally charmed to get a thank-you card two years after the wedding. Who wouldn't love to hear that their friends are doing well and thinking of them?

Send them. You will feel so much better when you do. And if anyone is huffy about the timeline...people like that are never going to understand anyway, and you can be happy for them that they've never known circumstances that stand in the way of social niceties.
posted by corey flood at 3:57 PM on July 11, 2011 [6 favorites]

There's always, "OMG, I totally thought ______ sent these for me! Turns out he/she forgot and just now brought the box over!"

Lame, I know, but... ?? Not everyone wants to own up cold turkey. Use a crutch if you need one.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:59 PM on July 11, 2011

Send them, and don't even mention that they're late. Just be all, "Thank you so much for X! We use it every day and think of you!" Or whatever is true.

Seriously, it will be even more guilt- and procrastination- inducing if you force yourself to write an excuse to each and every person. Just update them as needed and send them!
posted by muddgirl at 4:01 PM on July 11, 2011

Of course sending them now will call attention to how much you suck. But not sending them now will make you continue to suck in ever-increasing quantities until such time as you send them.

Here's some previous advice I offered on the subject.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:08 PM on July 11, 2011

Send them now. I bought an expensive gift for a good friend's wedding over a year ago and never got a thank you note. Although I don't hold grudges, I now think that this friend is pretty rude, so there's that. A note, even now, would go a long way -- I'd stop thinking of her as rude and start thinking of her as just a bit forgetful, but well-meaning.
posted by k8lin at 4:12 PM on July 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

Send them: better late than never.

One of my nephews and his bride never sent thank-yous for their 2005 wedding: I overheard the bride a couple years ago when her aunt asked about this, and she laughed and said she considers written thank-yous a "waste of stamps". Classy, huh? (And then she had the gaul to tell several of us, in the middle of the family Thanksgiving dinner last year, that since we'd apparently 'forgotten' to give her birthday gifts, she'd be willing to accept $100 from each of us.....)
posted by easily confused at 4:13 PM on July 11, 2011

Have you thought about taking and including pictures of said gifts in use? I'm thinking pictures of y'all making cookies with the Kitchen Aid blender.
posted by Dukat at 4:18 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

My sister's ten year anniversary is in less than a year. She still hasn't sent out her thank you cards. Don't be like her, send them now!!!
posted by crankylex at 4:26 PM on July 11, 2011

If you're a few days late with a post-job-interview thank you note, it's better not to send it, because the point of a post-job-interview thank you note is to show off — to impress the interviewer with how organized and on top of shit you are.

But when you're thanking family for a present, it's not about you, and the point isn't to impress anyone. The point is just to make the recipient smile — even if they think of you as a bit of a flake while they're smiling. Send the damn cards.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:36 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

At the very least, it let's people know that the gift got to you ok,..important if it was a small gift or was enclosed in a card.

We gave a rather expensive day spa gift card once and were a bit miffed not to get a thank you note. It was weird to see them afterward, not knowing wether they were ungrateful whelps or if they thought we hadn't bothered to give anything.
posted by bonobothegreat at 4:39 PM on July 11, 2011

I don't give a rats ass about thank you cards. They are very nice, but I'm not going around judging people because they don't send them. Because it really isn't a gift if you give it with any kind of strings attached, including expecting thank you cards.

But apparently, plenty of people do just that.

I would definitely send them, and I would definitely include some form of acknowledgment of their untimeliness.
posted by gjc at 4:40 PM on July 11, 2011 [4 favorites]

Also, it could be a nice reminder that 1) you've been thinking of them, and 2) of the wedding itself. Plus, who doesn't like getting letters (that aren't bills or junk mail)?
posted by filthy light thief at 4:41 PM on July 11, 2011

To quote Peggy Post and the current edition of Emily Post's Etiquette: "Don't use being late as an excuse not to write. If you're still sending thank-you notes after your first anniversary, keep writing"
posted by fief at 4:51 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Absolutely send them- it's never too late for a thank you. Plus, by now you've had time to use the items so you won't even have to make up stuff about how awesome the gifts were and the writing will flow much easier!
posted by questionsandanchors at 4:56 PM on July 11, 2011

as an add-on, if there's any guilt to be felt, you shouldn't be feeling it all yourself. those presents were to your husband as well. you're only half-'guilty' of not sending the thank-you notes (not that there's any need to feel guilty). i hope he'll be helping you finish them up.

and btw, i nth that people mind more not receiving a ty than receiving a 'late' one...that 1 yr thing is a little arbitrary anyway....

--from a bride who never would have gotten around to the ty's if it hadn't been for a very conscientious husband....
posted by Tandem Affinity at 5:04 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's not a dumb idea. It will make you look like less of a jerk. People remember not receiving thank you cards, and they will appreciate that you made the effort - they'll understand that it must have been gnawing at you, and that alone says something. If they never get them they'll assume you were to rude to care. Better late than never. Good on you for caring.
posted by Dasein at 5:12 PM on July 11, 2011

There's always, "OMG, I totally thought ______ sent these for me! Turns out he/she forgot and just now brought the box over!"

How/why would you have written this in a note that, at the time, _________ hadn't yet forgotten to send?

Honesty is the best policy. Stings don't it?
posted by humboldt32 at 5:14 PM on July 11, 2011

Sending at a late date trumps not sending at all in my book. The positive karma will be worth it.
posted by Splunge at 5:42 PM on July 11, 2011

Someone once told me about an advice column (Miss Manners?) that went something like: it is basically never too late, though it would be a little strange to get a note saying "I had such a good time at that dinner party you threw in 1972." Since your wedding was less than 39 years ago, I think it can't hurt to send the notes.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:06 PM on July 11, 2011

If you're really going to do this, please pull out all of your previously written thank you notes and (if they aren't sealed) look things over and make sure your thank you is still appropriate (i.e. cousin Betty sent you that wacky blender that ripped your nipple off last year so you may not want to thank her for that gift)

Then check over who is going to be getting these notes and ask yourself:

A) are all the couples still together? (if not, you'll need to write 2 notes)
B) are they still at the same address? (if not, update your envelope)
C) did anyone die in the last two years? (yes, this is a sad but it needs to be asked)
D) did anyone who was single at the time of your wedding get married in the last 2 years? (if so, you'll need to update the info but still only thank the person not the couple)

If it was me and the envelopes were not stamped: I'd buy another envelope, put in the original thank you note and include a note like:

Dear friends,
We've been having such a great time being married these last two years that we neglected to mail our thank you notes.
Please be assured that that we were very thankful of your presence and/or gifts for our wedding in 2009 and we're still grateful to have all of you in our lives.
Yours in embarrassment,

Mr and Mrs Crowdyhead
posted by jaimystery at 6:21 PM on July 11, 2011 [9 favorites]

Send them.
If you don't, the guilt will last.
Trust me on this.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:33 PM on July 11, 2011

I was going to answer "Send them if it will make you feel better, but know at the same time that two years after the wedding no one is going to remember whether you sent them a thank you note or not." But based on reading the answers in this thread, it seems there are lots of people who really do remember. I guess it's a good thing we got ours out on time!

On the other hand, I haven't seen anyone say they'd be offended to get a card two years later. So: no apologies, no explanations. Just put those puppies in the mail and never think about this issue again.
posted by escabeche at 6:37 PM on July 11, 2011

I sent out thank-you cards for my high school graduation gifts nearly a year after my party. I procrastinated the entire summer after my party and, before I knew it, I was at college!

Sure, it's embarrassing to send a card so late. What was worse though, was thinking about those damn cards every single day (okay, so maybe not every day . . . but for sure like once a week, at least). The relief I experienced when I finally wrote and sent them was totally worth it. Also, I like to think that people had fun getting a cheerfully random thank-you note in their mailbox. I'm also a bit optimistic, so who knows.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 7:24 PM on July 11, 2011

It might be awkward for you to write, but I'll bet at least one person would appreciate it. IMO, better late than never. And, hey, life does get in the way.. I think imposing a due date for thank yous is unnecessary (the one year thing), and I'll bet enough people would be happy to know that you've been thinking of them, happy to hear from you, and wouldn't really obsess over how long it's taken. I love filthy light thief's comment about how it's a nice reminder to mention that you've been thinking about the gift givers and of the wedding itself. That's sweet. The one sentiment you can integrate into your notes that newlyweds wouldn't be able to: I assume you've been using the gifts since the wedding. So, instead of the forward-looking newlywed saying, 'my love and I are looking forward to a lifetime of making stacks of toast with your thoughtful toasting machine,' you can actually mention how you've been using and enjoying the toaster all this time. Sure, it's lovely to know that someone has received your gift and is acknowledging it, but it's even nicer to know that, years later, that person has been enjoying something you bought for them and that it's an actual part of their life.

Also, just because some people don't care about thank you notes doesn't mean that everyone feels the same way. I disagree with gjc's comment that people who would be irritated about not receiving a thank you give gifts with 'strings attached.' There are multiple purposes for a thank you note, namely letting the person know that you received their present. I can't tell you how many weddings (or other events) I've gone to where I never received a thank you, and I wasn't even sure if the person of honor received the gift I had left on one of those chaotic gift tables. That's especially a worry if the gift was expensive or easily misplaced (like an envelope of cash). Also, I mean.. maybe thank you notes are negotiable if you've been thanked in person or over the phone, but to not say anything ever is weird. I don't think expecting an acknowledgement falls under gift giving with 'strings attached.'
posted by Mael Oui at 7:36 PM on July 11, 2011

Yes, send them. Send them as soon as you possibly can. Because you know what's worse than the guilt of not sending out the notes? The guilt of having another occasion arise where the same people are likely to give you gifts (like, say, a baby shower), and then fretting over whether your wedding thank-yous will be perceived as not genuinely heartfelt, but merely buttering-ups for another round of gifts.

FWIW, I would be completely amused and charmed to receive a thank-you note two years out.
posted by apparently at 7:44 PM on July 11, 2011

Send. It'll be a thoughtful surprise and a reason for them to calm you for some friendly chat :)
posted by Bun Surnt at 7:48 PM on July 11, 2011

Calm = call
posted by Bun Surnt at 7:49 PM on July 11, 2011

Oh! Can I add just one thing to my long comment above? This might be more practical advice. I don't know how many you have to send out, but for any new notes you might write.. definitely make them personal. A bit of humor and a personal message would make me think that was a note that was totally worth waiting for. Don't make it seem like each word was like pulling teeth. I recently got a thank you that was just about a year late, completely impersonal, and barely a sentence long. I have to admit, I wondered why the person even bothered.

Anyway, this absolutely does NOT make you look like a jerk at all! And I now see that you thanked most people in person or over the phone, so this would just be an added bonus to get a special note from you!
posted by Mael Oui at 7:56 PM on July 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's always better to make contact with people than not.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:05 PM on July 11, 2011 [4 favorites]

Send them. The absence of guilt will feel delicious.
posted by bluedaisy at 10:01 PM on July 11, 2011

If all the recipients of your notes are dead, don't send them.

Otherwise it's not too late.
posted by tel3path at 6:17 AM on July 12, 2011

I'd say send them because it would make you feel better. It could also be a nice excuse to get back in touch with anyone you haven't seen for a while.

That said, if I'd been at your wedding I'd have completely forgotten by now if you'd ever sent a thank you note or not - and what I gave you, for that matter.
posted by one little who at 11:55 AM on July 12, 2011

If I were you, I'd send them all a personal, handwritten note along with a recent photo of the two of you. Including the picture gives you an additional reason to send the thank you notes and, in this day of digital, I find that people (especially the older generation) still love to get prints of their friends and family members.

I usually use Walgreens, which allows you to upload photos from home and order them for same day pickup at your local location. Right now, they have a special where 4x6 prints are 10 cents if you order 50+, so at a 100 guests, you're only paying $10 for all the photos. Other places offer similar (or even better) deals, if you don't mind waiting, but I'd suggest getting on this now.
posted by avagoyle at 9:39 PM on July 12, 2011

Thank you for all the awesome answers, guys. I knew that sending them was probably the right thing to do, but I was worried that maybe I just wanted to send them because it would make ME feel better, and that I was being silly. You know what? Even if no one cares, I WILL feel better once we get them out, and everyone gets the bonus of some real mail.

I will definitely be re-writing the cards I'd written previously. Hopefully I still have the correct addresses for most people... :)
posted by crowyhead at 1:32 PM on July 13, 2011

Oh, I can assure you some people do care! My mom remembers every wedding gift thank you she has never received.

Also, I gotta say: I don't think you need to re-write anything, especially if it adds a lot of time and effort. I might scribble on the back, "Just found this packed in a box--so sorry I never mailed it after the wedding!" People might chuckle at that.

For the ones you write now, I don't think you need to apologize for the length of time. Good luck!
posted by bluedaisy at 3:02 PM on July 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

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