The thought of writing a love letter probably causes most people more than a little bit of panic. What if I don’t say it right? What if it’s cheesy? What if it is not appreciated?
If that’s you, just relax! I’m going to walk you through a brainstorming session that will hopefully ease your fears and inspire you to write a sweet note to the person in your life that means the world to you. With Valentine’s Day looming, what better way is there to show your appreciation than to write that romantic saga that has been bottled up inside you?
Ok, maybe it’s not a saga, but if you have something you have been wanting to say – then you should!
I can’t tell you what to write, no one can. The words have to come from you, that is what will make them special and uniquely yours.
What I can do is point you in the right direction.
Writing the Letter
To begin with, ask yourself, “Why do I want to write this letter?“. Answering that question will give you your motivation and your topic. Perhaps you are writing the letter because you miss them, or maybe they recently did something romantic for you and you want them to know how much it meant to you. Perhaps you are just so in love you feel as though you have to tell them, or you’ll burst!
Now take your first answer and ask yourself why once more.
Why do you miss them?
Why is it important that they know how much their gesture meant to you?
If you are more comfortable sorting your thoughts out first, make a list of what you want to say. No one ever said you can’t start a love letter in point form!
Be prepared from the beginning to write several drafts. Don’t be ashamed of crossing out lines and puzzling over sentences. Great works of art take time, a great work of emotion is no different.
If there is ever a time to use flowery language, this is it. But if you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t force the words out. Your partner will know that it was awkward. Instead, concentrate on being honest. Honest and heartfelt.
Don’t be uncertain. Avoid using phrases like, “I’ve never done this before…” or “I don’t know if this makes sense…”. Say what you want to say, without making excuses or apologizing for how you feel!
Alright, so once you have an idea of what you want to say, you should probably begin that first draft.
Put pen to paper. Typing might be faster, and easier to read, but there is nothing romantic about a typed sheet of paper. Nothing. Your handwriting might not be neat, and that is fine – work out the kinks with your drafts and when you’re ready to get started on the final copy, write slowly and neatly. This isn’t a race! Use blue or black pen and try to avoid the crazy colors. They might seem more fun, but if your love can’t read the letter, what’s the point? (You’ll have a chance to spice it up once the letter is complete.)
Begin your letter with an endearment. If your first instinct was to write the word “To”, your instinct was wrong. If you must stick with “Dear”, add to it and try “Dearest”. Ideally you should use a nickname or endearment that means something to the two of you. Keep in mind that the use of last names is very formal, and formality is something to be avoided in love letters.
You will have put so much thought and effort into the letter by the time it is nearing completion that you should finish it in a special way. Do more than just sign your name. Sign it in a way that they know that your heart is irrevocably theirs.
Date the letter. When the letter is re-read in the future, that date will make it even more valuable to the recipient.
Don’t feel like the letter must be a certain length. The correct length of a letter is a letter that says everything you wanted to say.
Avoid writing your letter on full size 8.5″ x 11″ paper. The full size sheet will feel intimidating, and if you are determined to fill a page or two, writing on a smaller page isn’t cheating in the slightest. A small page fits better in an envelope, looks much more elegant and is also easier to read!
Presentation of the Letter
Hopefully you’re now thinking about what you want to say, and if so then I’m thrilled, but before you lick that envelope we should probably discuss presentation! A great love letter will also look like thought and care has been put into it. Not just into the words (which are hard enough) but also what it is written on, how it is presented and also the delivery.
Don’t worry, I’m not talking about diamond studded envelopes or stationery covered in flowers. There are many other very simple ways to make sure that a love letter conveys the impression you want it to. That impression, in case you are wondering, is the fact that you care enough to put in the extra effort.
See the letter in the above photograph? It looks fabulous, and romantic! But if you look closely you will see that it is nothing more than a half-size sheet of white paper, an envelope and some beautifully preserved rose petals.
Add a little something inside the envelope, whether it is rose petals, a photograph or a small gift. If a small shower of petals falls to the floor as the letter is opened, the meaning behind the letter is immediately understood. Letters are not always letters of love, you want to demonstrate that this is a letter they will want to read right from the very beginning.
Don’t leave the envelope blank. You don’t want them to mistake it for something unimportant. Write an endearment on it, draw a heart or if you’re feeling adventurous do something like embroidering a heart on the front of it. (see second photo) TIP: Should you decide to embroider an envelope, you may wish to make the envelope yourself. It is much easier to embroider a flat piece of paper than trying to do so inside an already completed envelope!
The letter doesn’t have to be placed in an envelope, it can be rolled up like a message in a bottle, folded into an origami flower or displayed however you want it to be.
Don’t think that you have to simply hand the letter to the recipient and then stand there waiting for them to read it. In fact, that is probably the last thing that you want to do. Wanting to see their reaction is completely understandable, but the discovery of the letter and having time to enjoy it in private, when they are not worried about hiding their emotions, is much more important.
Place the letter somewhere they will discover it. Perhaps on a fireplace mantle or in front of a photograph of the two of you. Maybe your partner has a certain morning routine, if so, you can place the letter somewhere they would look every morning. If you leave before they wake, place the letter on your pillow with a few flower petals.
Mail it. Hide it in the pages of a book you know they will be reading in the future. Include it with a gift or even hang it from the kitchen chandelier!
Use your imagination to choose a method of delivery that will bring a smile to their face before they even open it.
Gentlemen, if any of you read this blog – love letters may seem to be a woman’s domain but I promise you, should you take the time to step out of your comfort zone and write one, a love letter from the heart will be a gift that is cherished more than any diamonds you could give.
Love, after all, is much more valuable than any earthly trinket.
You may not wish to embroider an envelope or buy a matching set of stationery, but tying a piece of twine around a rolled up message and placing it in a bottle for her to find, is definitely not demeaning to your manhood in any way!
With all this talk about presentation and delivery, do not let me dissuade you from leaving those quick little love notes that brighten up even the worst of days. If all you have to say is a sentence or two, don’t keep it in because you feel like it’s not enough.
P.S. If you want to include the romance of love letters in your wedding, the Love Letter Ceremony is an extremely memorable option.
(Included in this photo shoot were preserved natural rose petals, a wooden keepsake display stand and the French Whimsy stationery collection.)