Couple dancing during a mountain engagement photo session
Photo: We, The Light Photography

Though engagement gifts aren't expected in the same way that they are with a wedding, some guests who attend your party will bring you presents. They may be as simple as a candle or as elaborate as a brand-new set of bar tools off your preliminary registry. No matter what the engagement gift is, it's polite to send a handwritten note of thanks to the gift giver. But how long do you have to put pen to paper? Find out here.

HOW TO WRITE A GREAT WEDDING THANK YOU NOTE

When to Send a Thank-You Note

There's no official deadline for mailing a thank-you note for an engagement gift—and even if there was an "official" time, there's no gratitude police checking up on you. But it's a good idea to get the job done ASAP before you start wedding planning. Don't procrastinate: It's pretty easy to write a couple of short notes and put them in the mail within two weeks of receiving the gifts. You'll get many more wedding gifts to send notes for, so consider this a warmup.

What to Say

No need to write novel-length notes. Keep them short and simple. Address the gift giver ("Dear Aunt Janet"), offer thanks and acknowledge the gift ("thank you for the stainless salt and pepper shakers"), and end with a specific nod to the gift ("they'll look gorgeous on the table when we have dinner parties"). Then sign your name and your fiancé's. Done!

How to Keep Track of Gifts

Get in the habit of keeping a running list of every gift you receive—include what the gift is, who gave it to you, and when you sent a thank you. Put the list in a spreadsheet so that it's organized and handy.

Which Supplies to Get

All you need is a bunch of notecards, stamps, a pen, and the gift givers' addresses. The notecards can be elegant, informal, or anything in between. They don't have to match whatever style you'll eventually pick for your wedding stationery.

This story originally appeared on Martha Stewart Weddings.