In an age of text messages and emails, a handwritten letter is a tangible keepsake that will be cherished for years (and generations) to come. Not only is a letter a beautiful physical keepsake of your wedding day, but it’s a beautiful opportunity to tell your future spouse how much you care about them.
EXCHANGING LETTERS ADDS DEPTH TO YOUR WEDDING EXPERIENCE, BUT IT ALSO ADDS DEPTH TO YOUR WEDDING FILM.
From a film-making standpoint, having the audio of letters assures that your film will have a strong, unique storyline that clearly articulates your love for one another.
How to write a letter.
You love one another deeply, but unless you’re a natural writer, it can often be hard to express these feelings on paper.
I recommend setting aside a quiet time to complete your letter— The night before the wedding is PERFECT. The emotions from anticipation of your marriage will be palpable, but you won’t be struggling to write while surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the wedding day. If you’re the type that really likes to be prepared, it can help to write bullet points in your phone as you think of them so you can refer back to them as you write.
I’ve prepared a free in-depth guide to help you along, complete with prompts, which you can access here:
When should you read your letter?
It’s important to consider your letter reading when planning out your wedding timeline. (If someone else will be making your timeline, don’t forget to mention this!)
My two favorite times to read a letter are:
Right before getting on your suit or dress (and after hair and makeup)
When you read letters separately, before seeing one another, my favorite time to read a letter is RIGHT before you get into your dress, for one IMPORTANT reason— wedding dresses are often challenging to sit in and I want you to be COMFORTABLE! This also allows us time for a quick makeup touchup if you’re a little teary.
2. During your first look
If you’re having a first look, reading letters during this moment allows you to read your letter directly to your future-spouse. You’ll get to see his reaction and hold hands through the entire letter and share a hug afterwards.
Letter reading is often one of the most emotional parts of the day and scheduling this during your first look allows you to share this private moment with the person you love the most.
Which letter should you read on video?
There is no wrong answer to this question, but my preference is for each letter to be read allowed by the person who wrote it. Here’s why:
When you imagine watching your wedding video years and years from now… your spouse may no longer be with us. Would you prefer to hear him read your words or would you prefer to hear him speak his own words to you… to hear him talk about when he fell in love with you and why he’s marrying you?
Hearing your partner’s own words in his voice will likely be a precious treasure.
Additionally, from a storytelling and filmmaking perspective, there’s just something about hearing a deep male voice say “when I was a little girl…” that can sometimes feel a little disjointed to me in a film.
Again, there is no wrong answer to this question, so go with your gut… but make sure you both know the plan!
What can you do to make this letter-reading perfect?
There are three tips I have for you to make this letter-reading every bit as special as you dreamed it would be.
Schedule enough TIME!
Whoever is creating your timeline should know that you’re planning to read your letter. While it typically moves pretty quickly, we should plan for about 10 minutes for your letter reading and include it on your timeline. The number one way to lessen the emotional impact of this letter is to feel rushed.
Make it private.
This moment is just for you. Typically, we’ll find a quiet space with good light for you to sit in and enjoy the letter without distractions. If you’re reading to your partner during your first Iook, I still HIGHLY recommend that it be a moment for just the two of you, to give you the space you need to feel all the feels. Added bonus: when it’s private, it’s quiet, which is VITAL for good audio!
Take a DEEP BREATH. Slow down. We have a tendency to read really quickly, but this isn’t a race. Slow down and take your time with this letter. Savor the words that tell the story of your relationship.
Hand write it.
In a digital age, there’s just something so special and intimate about a hand-written letter. This letter will likely be a keepsake your revisit and pass on for generations. Your handwriting will be such a special addition to an already beautiful heirloom.
Letters are such a special way to make your wedding day a truly emotional event, focused on your love for one another. They add depth to your day and to your film and take your video from a pretty highlight reel to a beautiful, customized keepsake that will be revisited for years to come.