There's an app for every aspect of wedding planning now. But it's a double-edged sword. Just because you CAN do something more quickly and easily than ever before, doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea.
In the past, I've blogged about how important it is to write a GOOD thank you note, and the fact that a well-written thank you note doesn't take any longer to write than a bad one. It's all about the amount of thought you put into it.
I've offered a lot of advice about how to write thank you notes to your wedding guests that actually convey your appreciation, and don't make the gift giver feel like they're getting a canned response. You have to know that when you write a really crappy note to somebody, that person may well share it with other friends and family. Sure, that's a snarky thing to do. But they do it because their feelings are hurt, as a result of your thoughtless note for something they put a lot of thought into buying or giving.
I've been accused of being too much of a wedding traditionalist about some things, and I tend to make fun of things I disagree with (like the app that bills your wedding guests for dinner if they no-show). So when I received a publicity pitch for yet another new wedding app that offended my etiquette sensibilities, I decided to reach out on social media to get opinions from other people before I put pen to paper, so to speak. It's always good to get feedback from others who aren't as picky as me before I give somebody a Huffington Post tongue-lashing.
The app is called "PunkPost" and it is a service that you pay to hand-write your thank you notes, geared for brides and grooms (and other people - they do thank you notes for every occasion) who are too busy and important to sit down and write their own damned thank you notes (okay, you can probably tell what I think of it already).
Let's talk about the name of the app. PunkPost??? As in your friends and family are being "Punk'd" because they think you actually wrote a thank you note? Wow. Really poor choice of words. Visions of Ashton Kutcher dance through my head... and I definitely wouldn't let him write my thank you notes.
To quote the company's co-founder, Alexis Monson, PunkPost is "an app that lets you send handwritten cards in the amount of time it take to send a text message (meaning brides and grooms could send all of their thank yous while waiting to catch their flight for their honeymoon)."
"The process is easy. You pick a card from the app, type a thank you message, add a confetti bomb or a photo of the two of them from the wedding. Then one of our Scriptists will take the message and write it in the card, print out your photo, throw in a confetti bomb, address the envelope, put a stamp on it and get it in the mail within 24 hours. Brides and grooms can send their thanks all in one day without ever picking up a pen," Monson explains in her perky pitch email to me.
A confetti bomb? Seriously? Um... I thought the purpose was to send high-quality, hand-written (albeit not by the author) thank you notes. Save the confetti bombs for holiday cards and big announcements.
How much does this service for busy new couples cost? A mere $6 per thank you note. All you have to do is tap a message into your phone screen when you're bored waiting for a flight, or while you're sitting on the toilet (don't pretend that won't happen), and your job is done.
No muss, no fuss. But isn't that what a thank you note is supposed to be? Making a fuss - in writing - about the fabulous, clever and thoughtful gift you received. Does this helpful app for busy couples actually help, or does it give them a free pass that won't be readily accepted by their friends and family? Despite our move to an entirely text-based world, some people do still recognize handwriting.
Obviously, I think using this new cheater app for getting out of writing thank you notes is tacky as hell. And it definitely gets filed away as yet another example of what NOT to do, even though you can. With that said, I went back to my trusty friends on Facebook to find out what they had to say after I floated the following questions:
What would you think if you got a handwritten thank you note, but it clearly wasn't written by the bride or groom? Something commercially created. Would you rather get something late and actually written by them? Or would you rather get an email they actually wrote themselves? Or would you be okay with them using a thank you note writing service, assuming they're telling them what to put on the card?
The response was immediate, and overwhelmingly AGAINST using a service to hand-write thank you notes. People were appalled. Only two people didn't have a problem with it, most of the others tended to have strong opinions against it. Instead of being impressed by the time it would save brides and grooms (or anyone for that matter), they were horrified that the receiver of a gift couldn't use five minutes of their precious time to acknowledge the gift with a pen and ink.
"There is no such thing as 'too busy.' These people just took hours to plan a wedding... They can't spend the same effort on their guests? Too easy for this generation to be lazy and given the excuse to be lazy. People who don't want to write thank yous probably got participation trophies too." - T. in Connecticut
The responses came from mostly women, but there were some gentlemen with opinions too. Wedding guests from literally all over the world said they'd rather receive a personally handwritten thank you note that is really, really late (even a year late, according to some), than to receive something akin to an extremely expensive text message.
"Handwritten thank you note every time. Nothing else will do. I have also been in the position of giving a very generous cash gift to a couple on their wedding day and receiving absolutely no thanks from them. Have never been able to look at them the same since. If people go to the trouble to choose a suitable gift, gift wrap it and attach a hand written card, is it so difficult to repay their generosity by simply penning a few lines of thanks?" - G. in Glasgow, UK
"Not writing your own personal thank you is lazy and shameful." - D. in Illinois
"I would rather have a handwritten note even if it's late. It's more personal." - K. in Kentucky
And they argued with each other. Contrary to what you may have heard is common, or the trend these days, only one person said they felt sure that an email was an appropriate thank you. And she got lectured by other people who disagreed with her!
Wedding guests seem to take their thank you notes very seriously. Something all the brides and grooms reading this should take note of, because this is how people will talk about you if they feel you've failed to do your duty properly.
The questions I asked also set off rants. I could relate to some of them. Others just made me shake my head in sympathy.
"Personalized handwritten note! I once went to a wedding where thank you notes were already on a table as you left. They didn't even know if I gave them a gift yet! LOL" - L. in Puerto Rico
"No excuse for not sending a personal note. No commercially created crap. Emily Post is rolling over in her grave." - T. in Connecticut
Everybody agrees on one thing - however you do it, you have to send a thank you note. If you don't, the repercussions may extend much farther than you think. It's not something people won't notice, and it is something many gift givers will bitch about to other people who know you. I can't even tell you how often I've heard complaints from parents' whose own children totally dropped the ball. And my Facebook friends feel exactly the same way.
"My daughter in law never sent thank you notes for anything, and then my sister would call me to bitch about it. Ugh." - A. in Ohio
"My son's godmother sent them over $1,000 check, and never got a thank you. It made me feel like crap, and no, it didn't get mis-mailed. None of my friends from far and wide got a thank you. Shame on me for raising an ingrate of a kid and thank you to all of MY friends and family who were so generous to gift." - L. in New York
Only one person suggested it didn't make a difference.
"Initially, I said handwritten card by bride or groom, but if they dictate what's being written on the card, how is that different than getting a dictated card with your flower or gift basket delivery? You'll know it's from them by the words they use. They'll need to make them personal so there still is a personal touch." - C. in Dubai, UAE
Just this quick sampling told me that my instincts were right, and I'm not being an old fuddy duddy when I say the following: NEVER HIRE SOMEBODY ELSE TO WRITE YOUR THANK YOU NOTES. Consider that a rule. I'm not sure the Posts would have even considered that a remote possibility when they wrote their etiquette guide, so I'm happy to address it.
And just to keep things fresh and up to date, it's not acceptable to simply pop off a quick email or text message in lieu of writing a note. If you're too busy to write the note just then, it's okay to send a message digitally to acknowledge the gift, but make sure you actually write and mail a thank you note when you do have time.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!