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You'll want to buy your gift "thank you" notes at the same time you buy the invitations and announcement cards. That just makes it easier, and you'll be sure that all the cards match. Just keep them in a safe place for the time you're ready to start writing.
One major tip is to keep close track of who sent you which gift. Many couples start unwrapping gifts but don't keep the tags from the gifts with the gifts, or they don't write down who gave them which gift, and it becomes a major catastrophe when it comes time to write the thank you notes. The best way to keep track of who gives you which gifts is to make a list. Get a sheet of paper and on one column write what each gift was. In the other column write the name of the person who gave you the gift.

When should you send the thank you notes?
A good rule of thumb is to write the thank you note as soon as you receive the gift. If you receive a gift during the shower, write that person the thank you note that evening or the next day. If you receive a gift at the wedding reception, write the thank you note as soon as you can. If you can write it that day, more power to you. You'll have no problem remember who it came from. Try not to wait too long after your honeymoon, however, to write your thank you cards. You want to let your guests know that you truly appreciate the gifts they provided. By sending the thank you note in a timely fashion, you do exactly that.

What should you say in the thank you notes?
Your thank you notes should be short and to the point, yet kind and appreciative. You'll want to be sure to mention what the gift is that they gave you, thank them for it and for attending your wedding or shower, if applicable. A short sentence telling the person what your plans are for the item is always a nice touch.