The Etiquette of Acknowledgements

Your Sympathy Acknowldegements

Personal letters are not expected to acknowledge expressions of sympathy. Usually a singed acknowledgement card is sufficient to say "Thanks" for flowers, mass cards and personal services.

If a more personal touch is desired, a few words may  be written on the acknowledgement referring to flowers, letters of condolence, memorials or assistance. These words make the recipient feel that one's thanks are as personal as if they had been expressed verbally.

Acknowledgement cards are customarily mailed within two weeks following the funeral service.

The following suggestions will be helpful in acknowledging the various expressions of the sympathy received during bereavement:

  • Clergy: Send a personal note of thanks for their spiritual help. If a gratuity is offered, it may be included with the note.
  • Bearers (including honorary): Including a message of thanks in an acknowledgement for their services.
  • Letters or telegrams: Replies may be short and written on an acknowledgement.  
  • Sympathy Cards: No reply is necessary. If there is a personal message on the card a note may be written on an acknowledgement. 
  • Friends who volunteer cars and services: A personal note written on an acknowledgement is correct. 

For Gifts of Flowers, Memorial, Mass Offerings, Money, Food:

  • From an individual: A personal message may be written on the acknowledgement. 
  • From an organization: Send an acknowledgement to the leader and write a message referring to other members. If the members' names are in the card, a signed acknowledgement (without a personal message) is sent to each name.
  • From an unorganized group (neighbors, employees, relatives and friends): Send a signed acknowledgement to each name.

For any expression of sympathy not mentioned above, use your judgement as to the category in which it falls. In general, use of the acknowledgement folder, with a few personal words added, is sufficient to express your gratitude.