A Love Letter Ceremony
The love letter ceremony is a ritual you could choose to hold within your wedding ceremony. You write each other heart-felt letters and they’re locked away for safe keeping.
This ritual is filed under “symbolism”. However, there’s nothing “symbolic” about reading a love letter in front of your friends and family – it’s real!
It’s what you do with the letter afterwards that makes this cute ritual more or less meaningful. And it’s this which creates a “Love Letter Ceremony”
Lock your Love Letter away
Exchanging letters is a small ceremony-within-the-ceremony, just like Cocktail-making, sand-pouring, hand-fasting, candle-lighting and so on. Some people refer to this as an Icelandic tradition. This “Icelandic tradition” sometimes includes letters from parents and other family members. Couples don’t read the letters on the day, they lock them within a box to be read on anniversaries. As well as letters, you can put in all sorts of other bits of memorabilia from your wedding day. You could even tuck away a bottle of wine (make sure it’s “laying down” quality!).
Even the least romantic can get all mushy on their wedding day! So, whilst you’re “feeling the love”, pour your heart out within a letter. Then lock it away to be read in 5, 10, 15 or even 25 years’ time.
When I say “locked”, you can have fun with this! Literally nail the box lid down with a hammer. The celebrant can help, in this way you ensure there’s no cheating before the allotted time. Or, buy a box with integral locks or with padlocks.
Having said that, and on a serious note, you may open the box before the anniversary in a crisis. In the future you may feel your relationship needs some help from your “Just Married” selves. If this is the case, get comfortable, open the box. And the wine if you included some. Then read those letters together to remind each other what it is that got you together in the first place.
Love Letters within an Intimate Wedding Ceremony
Part of what’s inspired this blog for me is having just had a script approved for a beautifully intimate commitment ceremony in a month’s time. The Couple are having no guests, it’s just them and me in a fabulous rural retreat in Carmarthenshire – Ceridwen. They’re writing letters to each other and locking them away to be read in five years’ time. The letters are preceded by a poem by Khalil Gibran and my take on their future life together. I’ve used a metaphor of two rivers joining each other as they tumble down a mountainside. (This was how they described their relationship to me). I can’t wait to feel the romance of this moment!
Trans-Atlantic Love Letters
Letters became part of another wedding I was celebrant for a couple of years ago. It was held in Manorbier Castle, another of my favourite venues. Living on each side of the Atlantic, my couple got to know each other by short messages which grew longer. The letter ritual started with their wedding rings. These had been padlocked to their keepsake box. After they’d exchanged vows, their mothers gave them the keys. They unlocked each other’s keys and exchanged them. Then, they locked their vows in the box as their first letters to each other as a married couple. They also promised to write letters to each other annually to reaffirm their love and commitment. Ahh!
Love Letter Hints and Tips
I’ve picked up a few thoughts along the way to share with you;
- Write your letters on some beautiful acid-free stationery to ensure they last your decades of marriage!
- If you don’t feel you can read your letter aloud, you could ask someone to read it for you (including your celebrant)
- Write about your dreams for your future – long term (children, pets, home, travel?) and short term (that honeymoon!)
- Include anecdotes to show why you love this love-bunny of yours – the picnic they magicked up when you were fed-up. The troubles of their own they put to one side to celebrate your victories.
- Don’t worry about crossing outs and little mistakes – a hand written letter from the heart outdoes anything typed and spell-checked!
- Keep it short and sweet, especially if you’re going to read it on the day! This is a note to the love of your life, not a Mills and Boon! (Millennials etc – look it up!)
So, you see. Whilst there are a great variety of traditions and rituals to choose from, if you let yourself be guided by your celebrant, you can find something that is very “you” rather than the same as all the others. Good luck, whatever you choose!