Dear ladies and gentlemen, I propose you to discover rules every well-educated person should know: how to write a proper thank you letter. For a gift, a recommendation, a wedding: let’s find out together how to be successful at it.

Why do we write letters? 

Sending a letter is a personal involvement but doing a handwritten letter is even more touching. You will express your gratitude, if you need to ask for forgiveness, to recommend somebody, to welcome someone in your place / hotel,  after a wedding, etc. 

When should we write a letter? 

If you chose to send a thank-you letter to the host of a party or wedding, don’t send it after two days. About the receiver, if it is a big company, address it to the highest-ranked person. If it is for your friends who came at your wedding, send one letter per guest. If it is for a family, mention each family member in the letter.

The letter’s architecture

Step 1: Here is the recipient name. Placed on the left-hand top of the letter, we should find the coming information about the beneficiary: his name, title, company name (for business letters) and the address. Sometimes, for less formal form, you may only indicate the name of your correspondent. 

Step 2: There are two different manners to fill the right-hand top. You can either reserve it for your personal information: name, address, email address and phone number. The second choice is to only write the date of the moment you wrote this letter. 

Step 3: Starting a letter is same as email, introduce the recipient respectfully: “Dear …”, “Dear Madam…”, “My lovely…”, or even the first name only (like “Mary,”) etc.

Step 4: The first paragraph of the letter is to express your feelings. Saying you are grateful, sorry, interested in a job, etc. 

Step 5: The second paragraph is used to explain why do you have these feelings, remind some moments shared, reveal your intentions, why are you interested in a job or why are you sorry. 

Step 6: The end should be a polite and respectful thank-you sentence as: “Thank you for your consideration” or “Thank you for the opportunities I have been given” for a business letter; “Thank you for being part of this beautiful moment” or “Thank you, you are a very gracious host.” for friends or relatives, etc. 

Step 7: A letter should contain a salutation before your name. The list is non-exhaustive, here are some examples: “Yours sincerely”, “Gratefully”, “Warmly”, “Best regards”, etc. The signature should be handwritten.

The specific cases 

Beware, if you address somebody “Dear Ms Jensen, Dear Mr De Bernadac” the final word should be “Yours sincerely”. If you don’t know the person exactly, you start with “Dear Sir, Dear Madam”, and write “Yours faithfully” at the end.

If you recommend somebody to another person, the introducing sentence should be: “To whom it may concern”.

In hospitality, you will simply wish a good stay to your guest, with a short and warm text.

Ladies and gentlemen, I hope those 7 steps helped you to understand the handwritten letter etiquette, and that you will now take pleasure to write letters to your boss, other company, friends and relatives.