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I recently married and got quite a few congratulatory cards. However, I didn't get any message from a couple that is friends with my parents and usually congratulates me for everything (birthdays, job changes etc.). I know from my parents that they are very happy for me and were talking about it, so they definitely know (and approve) of it.

Since I am currently writing thank-you notes to all the well-wishers, can you think of a subtle way I could find out if they sent a note which might have gotten lost in the mail? (German mail ain't what it used to be!)

Additional info: This couple lives in the place where I grew up, I didn't specifically talk with them recently or about the wedding, since I haven't been home for a while, although they did congratulate me for my birthday just a month before. I feel like asking them personally would put them on the spot in case they just forgot. On the other hand, I would not want them to miss our thank-you notes (we make them by hand, personalized, fitting to the sent note and/or wedding present and send them by mail, my wife is very adept at decorating them so I wouldn't want anyone to miss out) if they actually did send a note!

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    "I know from my parents that they are very happy for me and were talking about it, so they definitely know (and approve) of it." Could this be construed as them having you wished well? – Anne Daunted GoFundMonica Nov 13 '17 at 17:50
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    Are the thank you notes personalized? If not, can you just give them the note, knowing they must have sent the congratulatory card if they didn't forget? How do you plan to give the thank-you notes? – Vylix Nov 13 '17 at 19:41
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    +1 for "German mail ain't what it used to be". OT: I am always surprised if Americans say something like "in time like a German train": do they really think that they usually are in time, or do they want to mock us? – glglgl Nov 15 '17 at 14:42
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    @glglgl In the rest of the world, the Germans have a reputation for precision and exactness. This results in the assumption that in Germany, everything must be exactly right and completely according to plan and schedule. There's no mocking in it. It's similar to how people assume that Italians are not punctual and don't care about precision. This results in the joke that someone of german-italian mixed parentage wants everything done completely and exact to the letter ... tomorrow. – Cronax Nov 17 '17 at 16:30
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I know from my parents that they are very happy for me and were talking about it, so they definitely know (and approve) of it.

You have three options :

  1. Ask them directly if they sent a card. This of course could result in some small difficulty if they did not. However these days many people regard cards as over-sold by companies who make them for everything and they may simply have not sent one for that reason.

  2. Ask your parents to discretely check. Bit unfair to your parents as they have to do the dirty work for you - you're all grown up now !

  3. Don't send a card acknowledging a card, but send a card saying, thanks for your best wishes.

The last option is safest. If they sent a card and it got lost, they'll assume this was your acknowledgement. If they didn't they'll assume you meant your parents passed on their best wishes.

Problem solved.

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    I like the third option. I think this is the way we'll go! – Cliff Nov 14 '17 at 15:39
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I suggest getting your parents to ask them, directly but tactfully. I'm sure they can speak for themselves but something along the lines of this would capture my concerns:

Cliff and his new wife were busy filling out all their thank you cards for the well wishes people sent them on their wedding day and although he was really happy to hear from you he's asked if I could double check just to make sure that you didn't send something as well? He didn't expect anything of course! It's just that if you did he'd hate for it to have gone missing and no-one to ever know!

The key reason I think you have to check with them is because what if they did send something and it was something particularly valuable / meaningful / personal?

If it has been lost in the post and you don't mention it:

  • You'll have no chance of tracking it down because no-one knows it is missing,
  • You may come across pretty ungrateful for not thanking them / sending a generic 'thank you' card.
  • It could come to light down the line in a random conversation between your parents and them and then you'll really be kicking yourself for not checking!

It sounds like the couple are close family friends of your parents, which to me increases the chances that they did send something. Even if you aren't close to them, they are close to your parents and that makes you important to them.

If they are as close as I reckon from the post they aren't going to get upset at your parents for checking, and they are a couple as well meaning they've likely been in exactly the same situation (assuming married couple) so will remember the stress of the post-wedding-thank-you-card phase.

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Do you use social media and have your parents' friends on it?

A very subtle but not-so-subtle tactic is to put out a blanket thank you message which includes asking people to speak up if they sent a card / gift and don't get a thank you card.

Here's something to get you started and give you an idea of what I'm thinking:

My lovely new wife and I have just finished writing all the Thank You cards for everyone who celebrated with us and wished us well on our wedding day. Looking back over all the gifts, cards and congratulations we received I can't believe what generous and kind friends we have. We do have one more small favour to ask you though, if you did send a gift and haven't received a Thank You card please, please let us know! We hate the thought of missing someone out because we are very grateful to everyone! And this is doubly important if you sent something by post because we might not have got it and we'd never know! Of course if you didn't send a gift now is a great time to claim you did and just blame the German post for losing it. ;) Thank you once again from Mr and Mrs Cliff!

Subtle in that it doesn't call out your parents' friends directly, not subtle in that you are giving explicitly instructions.

You could even do this and then have your parents follow it up with their friends as per my other answer.

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