Congratulations Messages: What to Write in a Congratulations Card

congratulations card

A race run, a dream job landed, a new home, a big promotion, a little victory…It’s one of life’s great joys to see someone you know accomplish what they’ve been hoping for and working toward. Sending a congratulations card with a warm handwritten message is a perfect way to honor that person and recognize their achievement.

In this guide, you’ll find inspiration and personal-message tips for a variety of congrats occasions and recipients. We’ve organized our ideas by what they say and how they say it. Feel free to read the whole guide, or jump straight to the ideas that work best for you and the person you’re congratulating.

Oh, and if you’re looking for something a little more specific, we also have tips and ideas unique to Wedding Congratulations, Baby Congratulations, and Graduation Congratulations.

Inspired? Create and share by tagging @Hallmark.

Simple Congratulations  

The gesture of sending a congratulations card says so much all by itself. And often the card’s printed message says a lot, too. But you can add warmth and personality with just a few words of your own.

More Casual

  • “Congratulations and BRAVO!”
  • “This calls for celebrating! Congratulations!”
  • “You did it! So proud of you!”
  • “I knew it was only a matter of time. Well done!”

More Formal

  • “Congratulations on your well-deserved success.”
  • “Heartfelt congratulations to you.”
  • “Warmest congratulations on your achievement.”
  • “Congratulations and best wishes for your next adventure!”
  • “So pleased to see you accomplishing great things.”

Writing Tip: The examples above don’t name a specific achievement, but if possible, you should. Your message will mean even more when you congratulate your recipient specifically on their acceptance to Harvard Law School, new job at Google, new boutique opening…or whatever the case may be.

Happy for You  

“I’m happy for you!” is another warm, enthusiastic message to add to a congratulations card. It’s hard to go wrong telling someone you’re happy about what they’ve achieved.

More Casual

  • “Hope you’re thrilled about your new job! I sure am happy for you!
  • “Hooray! We just couldn’t be happier for you!”
  • “It makes me so happy to think about your promotion. It couldn’t have come to a more deserving person.”

More Formal

  • “Feeling so much joy for you today. What an impressive achievement!”
  • “We hope you can feel all the pride and happiness surrounding you as you head off to medical school.”
  • “Simply overjoyed to hear your good news.”

Writing Tip: A “happy for you” thought can stand alone, but it also works well as part of a longer congratulations message.


A big achievement is a perfect chance to remind someone how talented, hard-working, and deserving they are. (A little achievement is a good excuse, too!)

More Casual

  • “You’ve worked so hard for this. Congrats!”
  • “This is awesome! You’re awesome! Way to go!”
  • “Congratulations to my favorite new home owner! With your touch, it’s going to look amazing!”
  • “Bet you thought no one would notice you’ve hit your goal 30 days in a row. Well, I did, and I’m impressed. Here’s to your streak! Keep it up!”

More Formal

  • “Sincere congratulations on your hard-earned success.”
  • “You are proof that good things come to those who are willing to sacrifice to reach a worthwhile goal. Words can’t express how proud I am!”
  • “You have the creativity and determination to do whatever you can dream. I hope you feel proud today and confident in your ability to rise to your next challenge.”
  • “Celebrating the dedication you’ve shown on the way to this achievement. You’ve earned every bit of the success you’re enjoying.”

Writing Tip: The more specific your compliment, the more meaningful it will be to your recipient.

Looking Ahead  

A friend’s or loved one’s success provides an opportunity, not only to celebrate the moment, but also to encourage them and look forward to future successes.

More Casual

  • “I’ve got a feeling this is only the beginning of even more great things to come for you!”
  • “Celebrating the record you just set and looking forward to watching you cross your next finish line!
  • “Congratulations on your new place! Can’t wait to see you make it your own.”

More Formal

  • “I’m sure today will be only the first of many proud moments for you at your new firm.”
  • “Sending you heartfelt congratulations today and wishing you all the best on your next project.”
  • “I commend you on this latest success, and I look forward to seeing even more great things from you.”

Writing Tip: Face-to-face praise tends to embarrass some people, but a written message removes some of that immediacy. That’s the beauty of a card. So go ahead and gush a little in what you write!

Inspiring Quotes  

If you know of some inspiring words that would speak to the proud moment and honor your recipient, then quote those inspiring lines when you sign your card.


  • “The talent of success is nothing more than doing what you can do well; and doing well whatever you do…” —Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  It really warms my heart to see you succeeding like this. Congratulations!
  • “The reward of a thing well done is to have done it.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson Congratulations on a job VERY well done!
  • “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” —2 Timothy 4:7 (ESV) Here’s to you, fighting the good fight, and coming out a big winner!

Writing Tip: You can draw inspiring quotations from songs, stories, poetry, Scripture, movies and more. Include your quotation in the body of the rest of your message, or write it separately on the inside left of the card. (Typically, you will end up signing your name on the inside right.)

Congratulations Without Saying “Congratulations”  

What should you write if the card has already said “congratulations,” or if you just want to add a little more voice and personality to your message? Try one of the phrases below. (Just add exclamation point!)

Phrases grouped by type:

  • ADJECTIVES: Wonderful, Amazing, Impressive, Awesome, Beautiful
  • “ATTA”: Attaboy, Attagirl
  • CLAPPING: Applause, Bravo, Take a bow, Encore, Three cheers
  • EXCLAMATIONS: Woo-Hoo, Hooray, Yippee, Yee-haw, Hurrah, Huzzah
  • GESTURES: Cheers, Hats off to you, Here’s to you
  • GOOD: Good show, Good for you, Good on you
  • JOB: Good job, Great job, Excellent job
  • KEEP: Keep it up, Keep up the great work, Keep going, Keep believing
  • NICE: Nice work, Nice job, Nice one, Nice going, Nicely done
  • SO: So pleased for you, So thrilled for you, So tickled for you
  • SALUTES: High five, Salute, I salute you, I commend you
  • WAY: Way to go, Way to be, Way to work, Way to shine
  • WELL: Well done, Well deserved
  • YOU: You inspire me, You amaze me

Writing Tip: These little variations on “congratulations” make nice additions at the end of a longer message, too. They work like happy punctuation!

Warm Closings  

A warm closing is like the frosting on the “Congratulations” cake. Choose one of ours, or create your own.

  • Sincerely,
  • Warmly,
  • Love,
  • With love,
  • With love and pride,
  • Lots of love,
  • Love always,
  • Best wishes,
  • Warmest wishes,
  • All the best,
  • Good luck to you,
  • Congratulations and best wishes,
  • Heartfelt congratulations,
  • Warmest congratulations,
  • Best,
  • Congrats,
  • Blessings,
  • God bless you,
  • Keep up the good work!