Tag Archives: party etiquette

The Lost Art of the Thank You Note

thank you note

Or, “Do I really have to write that?”

I always talk about entertaining at home but what about when you’ve been invited to someone else’s home for a dinner party or an afternoon in the back yard?  Do you need to send a Thank You note (I’ll get to email later) or is just saying ‘thank you’ as you leave enough?  Expressing your gratitude at the end of the day or evening is critical but so is taking the time to actually write a thank you note later and here’s why.

Think about how much time you put into planning and executing a gathering at your own home.  It doesn’t matter if it’s just family, business colleagues or your best friends who are the ones on the invite list.  You expend effort and energy on the planning of the guest list, the menu, cooking or picking up from your favorite restaurant, décor, setting your table (al fresco or even at your breakfast table), and then making sure everyone is having a great time during the party.

And, your host has spent just as much effort on their event as well.  So, when you take the time to send a personal thank-you note it’s simply a lovely reminder for the host that you appreciate everything they did and that you’re glad you were included.

Send it as soon afterward as possible – don’t wait a week.  Just that small gesture of writing a short thank-you note will be remembered.  Try to make it as personal as you can, say ‘thank you’ at the beginning of the note and add a detail or two from the evening.  It will show you put some thought into the message.  Even if you didn’t like the food or the group, find something positive to say – maybe you loved the way the table was set.  It does not have to be a novel; a short note is perfectly acceptable.

I promised a note on sending an email thank-you and here it is:

Email thank-you notes don’t carry as much weight as ones that are hand-written.  When you write one by hand it shows that you have taken the time to express how much your host’s invitation meant to you.  I know it seems a bit old-fashioned to actually put a stamp on an envelope and use snail mail, especially in these tech heavy times, but it will impress.

However, email notes are more likely to get written AND, more importantly, actually sent. And, it’s much better to send an email thank-you than no thank-you note at all. If you are ‘hand-writing challenged’ and you can’t even read your own writing, then an email is preferred! They may not be as nice to receive but at least it will be legible! Depending on who is receiving the note, they may appreciate that an email is ‘greener’ than pen, paper, and stamp.

Having said that, write a thank you and you’ll get on the next invite list for sure!

thank you note

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