Wedding gift thank you notes should not be tossed away like the bridal bouquet and written with a hasty hand. Nor need they be effusive eight-page essays of how you couldn’t live without the silver-plated serving platter. Crafting sincere words of gratitude is easy when you follow the three Rs of thank you note etiquette: reference, reason and regard.

After the salutation, simply reference the present itself. “Thank you for the collector’s edition of Star Trek Pez dispensors.” Naming the specific item avoids the faux pas of using the generic term of “gift” – that’s like saying, “I’m just not that into you.”

If you don’t recall what was given, an inquiring phone call is the best solution. Mention that during transport, a few cards and gifts were separated and you’d like to finish writing your thank you notes. Most wedding witnesses will understand and enjoy the story.

Select a favorite feature or overall positive quality of the present and write a complimentary remark. One sentence will do. Answer one of these two questions: Why do you like it? How will you use it? “I saw the T-shirt jersey sheets on Oprah and know they’ll keep us warm at night.”

While Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus, sometimes gifts arrive from former planet Pluto. On the occasion where a present doesn’t appeal to your earthly tastes, focus on the generosity of the gift giver or the craftsmanship of the product. “The serpentine stone sculpture from Zimbabwe is quite elegant.”

It’s most important to acknowledge the person than the gift. The closing sentence is best centered on your relationship with an honest expression of appreciation. “We were honored to have you join us and celebrate our special day – your gift was an unexpected bonus.”

Be truthful. Be positive. Be kind.

So whether you open your presents before or after your honeymoon, it’s good form to write thank you notes in a timely manner. Remember the three Rs (reference, reason, and regard) and you’ll remain under the magical newlywed spell for years to come.

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