the person you're in love with say those three
words is incredibly romantic. Just remembering the
sound of them, spoken with love, can warm the
heart for years. Receiving those words of love in
print is a way to constantly feel the love.
What could possibly be more romantic than
receiving a love letter? Writing one!
Putting your love in writing is a way to have it
endure for ever. Love letters can be beautiful and
important part of your wedding day. They keep the
uniqueness and romance of your wedding alive.
Any time is a good time to write a love letter.
But having a private message of love delivered to
your beloved on the morning of your wedding is
particularly intimate. Photographers love this,
too, because it gives them an opportunity to
capture some very emotional reactions in a way
that conveys the connection between you, even
though you are not together. So, tempting though
it might be, this is one occasion where a text
just won't do. After all, there is nothing
particularly visually special about a photo of
someone looking at their phone.
Love letters in the
Love letters can be included in your wedding
ceremony in two ways. One, an exchange of love
letters during the ceremony, requires that they be
read aloud. The other, the Wine Box ritual
- Exchange of love letters
How this works is that each of you writes a
love letter to the other, to be kept secret
until it is read aloud at the ceremony. You
can read your letters, or ask your celebrant
to do it on your behalf.
- The Wine Box
This ritual involves a
box, and a bottle of wine, and love
letters. During the ceremony you put a
carefully chosen bottle of wine into a
prepared box, along with your sealed love
letters and lock it, ready to open on a
Love Letters and Vows
Before you get starting on writing either your vows
love letter, it is important to get the difference
between them clear. Much of the advice about
writing personal vows Google will serve up to you
blurs the difference.
Put simply, a vow is a promise. When you
make your personal vows you are making a public
commitment about the person you are going to be
within your marriage and how you are going to
behave towards you spouse. A love letter, on the
other hand, can include promises and commitment,
but is also very much about feelings - how you
feel, and how your beloved makes you feel.
Before you put pen to
paper (or finger to keyboard)
LIke any piece of writing (other than a Post-It
note) a love letter needs to be planned in order
to effectively communicate. So, before you start,
ask yourself three questions:
- Why am I writing this letter?
Obviously, because you to express your love.
And the tips in this blog work just as well
for a private letter that you are writing,
just because. But, in the context of your
wedding day, a love letter to be read
privately, a love letter to be read aloud and
shared with your guests, and a love letter
sealed up and put into a box to be opened at a
later date will all have subtle, but
- Who am I writing this letter to?
Of course the answer is the bleeding obvious.
But you need to dig deeper than the obvious of
who to what makes your beloved tick. What is
important to your beloved. What do you share
that would speak to their heart?
Coordinate with your
When my couples choose to include the reading of
love letters in their ceremony I ask three
- Do you want to read them or would you like
me to read them on your behalf?
- Would you each prefer to read your own
letter to the other, or would you like to
exchange them so that each of you reads your
beloved's letter for the first time when you
read it aloud and share it with your guests?
- Would you like me to create matching cards
for your letters, or do you want to do your
And we also discuss length. If your letters are
going to be read aloud during the ceremony they
need to be relatively short. I've found 160
words about the perfect length. Long enough to
say what you feel, but not so long as to invite
waffling or repeating yourself. Even if you're
keeping the letters secret from one another, I
always encourage sending them to me, in
confidence. That way I can make sure that they
are of similar length. While no-one comes to
your wedding specifically to pass judgement, a
noticeable difference in length does invite some
speculation. I can also make sure that no-one
has written a business letter rather than a love
letter! It happens.
Don't feel awkward about asking your celebrant
for some help with your draft letters. After
all, being a wordsmith is part of our job.
How to write your draft
No-one ever writes a great love letter first try.
It can take several drafts. And that's fine. In
fact better than fine because the process allows
you to make sure that your letter is not only easy
to read, but that the message is clear.
Staring at a blank piece of paper in front of you
can be a bit daunting. Especially if you're used
to writing on a device. Use whatever is most
comfortable and familiar to you. If you're used to
writing on a device, use it to write your drafts.
You can always print your letter out and copy it
in your best handwriting when you're happy with
your final draft.
- Start early so you can take your time
Writing vows or love letters on the morning of
your wedding might be the stuff of rom-coms,
but is also a sure recipe for failure. Writing
a draft, putting it aside for a day or so, and
then coming back to it with fresh eyes goes a
long way to ensuring that your final letter is
everything your beloved hopes it will be.
- Write with your heart and from
Use your own words, not something copied
from the internet. If what you write doesn't
sound like you, it won't feel real.
- Be specific
Tell your beloved how much you love them,
what it is about them that makes you love
them, and what makes them so dear, special,
and important to you. It can help to make a
list of dot points and then weave them into
- Don't forget to say how happy you are to
be marrying them and how much you are
looking forward to spending the rest of your
- Keep in the forefront of your mind that
this is a letter you want your beloved to
Forget the boring and the trivial and Dad
Joke quality comments. They add nothing
to something you want to be a memento and
monument to your love.
- Keep the tone conversational.
Read your draft aloud. If it sounds unnatural,
it will read unnaturally on the day. It could
even sound pretentious, or like you're
delivering a lecture.
- Don't fall into the 'I' trap.
When we're talking to someone who starts every
sentence with 'I' we tend to roll our eyes and
switch off. Enough said. When you use
'I' make sure it is balanced with 'You'. In
fact, try to use 'You' a lot - it is the
verbal equivalent of reaching out and
- Be careful with the baby talk
Even if you do use baby talk and baby names to
one another in private, don't include them in
a love letter that will be shared with others.
It can give the wrong impression about power
in your relationship. As can using girl
or boy when talking about one
- Remember that while letter writing is
talking on paper, it isn't like our normal
conversational ways of talking. In a
letter things that might go unnoticed in
ordinary conversation will be noticed. Jargon.
Repeating yourself. Half-finished sentences.
Bad language. Too much information (remember,
a letter in a ceremony is not private, so you
don't want steam coming out of someone's
ears). Clichés. The word Very. The
word Special. Meaningless
exaggerations like 'You are the most
beautiful woman in the world'.
- Be funny, but hold off on the teasing
In a short letter, any humour is going to be,
of necessity, a one-liner. Just make sure that
it doesn't come across as sarcastic, or have a
sting in the tail.
- Don't write your letter at work!
When we write for business purposes, we
automatically write in a particular, and more
formal, style. You can't help it. So
save the letter writing for times where your
mindset is romance rather than business.
Some practical advice
Whether your letter is going to be delivered to be
read privately while your beloved is getting ready
for your wedding, exchanged and read aloud during
the ceremony, or handed over to be sealed up in a
box, it will be photographed.
- There are several good reasons for
committing your love letter to paper
- Paper lasts. For centuries
- Your letter will always be accessible
because paper is immune to technology
obsolescence. In fifty years time who knows
what technology will look like. One thing is
sure, however, a lot of the files that are
on our devices now will be totally
unreadable because either the software won't
be available, the operating system is
different, or nobody remembers what was used
to create the letter in the first place.
- Be as careful about choosing how your
letter will look as you have been about
choosing what you will wear or how the
ceremony area will be styled.
Thin, lined paper that will flap in the wind
is not going to look great in photos. On the
other hand, luxuriously thick paper adds a
sensuous element. Your letter is not only
going to be read, it is going to be touched
and held. .When my couples choose to exchange
love letters during the ceremony I create a
folded and decorated card for them. There are
many options. If your love letter is short,
writing it on a postcard that has significance
for your relationship works beautifully. If it
is long, using a card allows you to reinvent
the custom of earlier times of writing a
letters on a single sheet of paper folded in
half to make four pages. This could be stapled
into the card down the middle to make like a
little booklet (you'll need a long arm
stapler), or stitched or fastened with ribbon
through holes made at the fold.
- If your handwriting is beautiful, or at
least even and legible, hand write.
But there is nothing wrong with a typed
letter. Just make sure you address it (Dear
...) and sign it in your own hand. Choose a
font that is easy to read, but is serious. No
Comic Sands or cutesy fonts! And use black
- Leave a decent margin, and break the text
up in logical paragraphs.
It makes your letter easier to read,
particularly if it is being read aloud.
- Make the text big enough to read without
No-one wants to have to whip out their reading
glasses during their wedding ceremony, or down
the track at a 25th or 50th wedding
A love letter is a real affirmation. That's what
makes it a perfect inclusion for your wedding day.
And, as the years go on, and your letter is read
again and again, each time it will deepen in
meaning as all of the events and feelings that are
yet to come are superimposed over your words.