December 03, 2003

Another Note on Notes

Last night I went on a writing tear, finishing most of the thank-yous for the gifts we received at the engagement party. Most of the cards will be in the mail by the weekend. L thinks it's great that I've finished so soon after the weekend but is also a little nervous. Will the fact that I wrote all of the notes - she just had to sign her name - be used against her at a later date when a larger task needs to be done?

On Saturday, we waited until after people had left the party to open a few presents. I don't have a lot of experience with this, so how are you supposed to react when you open their present in their presence? "Wow! The blender we picked out for ourselves! Now we know exactly how much you spent on us! Thanks!" We're not ungrateful jerks, we just feel a little uneasy making a show of our gifts. It's one thing to open presents at a party when you are seven years old and unwrapping Legos and Star Wars figures, it's another thing to do it when you are thirty and unwrapping frying pans.

Because we want people to know how appreicative we are, L and I agreed that we shouldn't let a week go by without sending out a thank you. I took up the task with gusto. There are a number of challenges that go into writing the notes and I'm always up for a challenge.

Here's what I learned:

Some of the notes tell people all the things we plan to do with the gift they generously gave us. We'll make pies at future Thanksgivings with the great pie plate. We'll toast to years of happiness in the beautiful wine glasses. We'll comb through the cookbook and make great recipes for years to come. When I couldn't figure out exactly how to make the use of a spatula sound personal, I knew I had to focus more on people's attendance at the party and thanking them for making the trip.

One challenge was figuring out who might compare notes, so to speak. Since notes go out to family who will talk about such things, you can't write a carbon copy thank-you, sending some sort of Mad Libs form letter:

"Thank you for the (gift name). It was incredibly (adjective) and we look forward to making (plural noun) as we (verb) our new life together."

I actually had a lot of fun writing the notes. Because we were mostly appreciative that people made the effort to come to the party - and will be similarly appreciative when people fly west to Milwaukee this summer - it was easy for me. Of course, we still have two showers and the wedding itself to come which means we'll have a lot more notes to write. Talk to me this time next year. I'll probably have L take over.

Posted by The Groom at December 3, 2003 11:47 AM

You'd be surprised how well you will do in the court of popular opinion (or family opinion?) by writing really good thank you notes. At least 10 people complimented us on how well we did with writing them for the same occasion as you mention.

It's shocking how few people write truly thoughtful notes of thanks when people go out of their way to a) come to your damned party, first of all b) bring a gift of any kind, c) anything else they've done, including help clean up afterwards, get your elderly aunt in a cab, give you advice, whatever.

Your site is fab-- keep it up!

Posted by: Catherine at December 3, 2003 12:47 PM

Hey there... I stumbled upon your website a few weeks ago and bookmarked it to return to when I had some more time. I just read your archives, and I'm glad that I saved the site! It's nice to read about someone else's experience without hearing things like, "Last night after fighting for hours, we booked X DJ and I want him to play these 27 songs..." I also love that you're getting married at a summer camp... If I could get married at my Wisconsin summer camp, I would, but my partner wouldn't hear of it, being an indoor kind of girl and all.

Anyway, my partner and I decided around the same time you two got engaged to have a commitment ceremony and reception next October, so it'll be fun to follow along. Thanks for sharing with us!

Posted by: Rebecca at December 3, 2003 06:44 PM

I just found your blog referenced on the Knot! I love it. We are getting married a week before you in the NYC area and got engaged around the same time you did. My parents threw us an engagement party Sunday, but we weren't so organized with the thank yous (i.e. we have none)! Maybe we need the wedding software to organize better...

Looking forward to following along!

Posted by: E-lawyer2be at December 3, 2003 10:21 PM

The mad lib comment nearly made me fall out of my chair. That's brilliant. Just brilliant.

Posted by: Malinda at December 19, 2003 12:07 AM

Again on the Mad Lib thing..... what if they give you sheets? I'm not sure you want to tell them about the (plural noun) you will be making with them........

Posted by: Malinda at December 22, 2003 01:32 PM

Came across your post about using wedding gifts before the wedding and I love your blog. Have been laughing out loud at many of them and when FI asks me what's so funny, I've read them out loud to him. Thanks for the guy (and humorous) perspective.

Posted by: Wendy at December 24, 2003 01:24 AM