Words: Heather Wiese-Alexander | Photos: Arturo Rodriguez
Heather Wiese-Alexander, founder and owner of luxury stationer Bell'INVITO plays modern-day Ms. Manners, offering her tips for writing a meaningful (and beautiful) thank you note.
Many rules of etiquette are meant as a guide toward grace -- and there is a reason why “grace” and being “gracious” have the same root. Saying “thank you” is more than just something to be checked off a list; it is an act of grace. Take note.
1. Be Authentic
Don’t worry about “sounding right.” Use your own words to communicate exactly what you are thankful for. Was it an experience, a memory, a gift, an opportunity? Tell the recipient how thankful you are and for what exactly. If possible, include how you might use what you are thankful for. Make your purpose in writing the note to let the recipient know they were needed and appreciated.
2. Be Accurate
Auto-correct has all but killed our spelling skills, but thanks to the digital age, Merriam-Webster is at your fingertips. Use it! Make sure names are spelled correctly; when you are in a position to assume, don’t. Go the extra mile to be sure you are getting details correct. The worst thank you note you can write is one where the recipient's name is mis-spelled.
3. Be Appropriate
Your stationery matters. Interpret what is right for your situation. For example, when you are writing on professional terms, refrain from glitter. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but you do need appropriate stationery for different occasions. If you’re not sure where to start, look for a corresponding card and envelope in bristol cotton or vellum paper.
4. Write a First Draft
If you are nervous about a mess-up or you tend to misspell, scratch-out or ramble on, pull up a blank Word document, write what you want to say, take advantage of spell-check and then pen your note beginning with a person’s name. Precede it with a salutation and end it with an appropriate valediction. Then, hand-write your note from the edited document. It is proper protocol to include the date across the front the salutation on the right side.
5. Write Often
The best time to write your note is the day of or day following the gift, opportunity or gesture you are thankful for. For occasions where you have received multiple gifts, like a wedding or shower, longer timeframes are tolerated. The key to forming good habits is being consistent.
There are so many things to be thankful for in life, so become a note-writer. It is a wonderful way to nourish and encourage people. You will be surprised how much positive feedback you receive from such a simple gesture.
About the Author...
After a friend introduced Heather Wiese-Alexander, a former art director for Neiman Marcus, to the evolving craft of letterpress, she unearthed some forgotten family heirlooms, including a number of late 19th Century printing presses that had been covered in dust for decades. With that, Bell’INVITO was born. These days, she works and blogs in Dallas, Texas from over 14,000 square feet of production and design space.