On the morning of your wedding, as the nerves settle into your stomach and you’re finding yourself crossing the final items off your wedding to-do list, one of our favorite wedding traditions is exchanging a handwritten letter with your partner. This exchange takes the place of spending the morning with the person you’re about to marry, allowing you both to prepare (and get glammed up) solo before seeing each other for the first look and taking that first step toward becoming a happily married couple.
"It's important to write out our feelings because very often we take it for granted that our partners know how we feel, when they may not," explains marriage therapist Dr. Jane Greer. "It's heartening to receive words of love in print because then you have the opportunity to read it over and over again. It's a way to constantly feel the love whenever you need it. This is particularly important on your wedding day because it's the day where you declare your love, and part of that is putting your love in writing as a way to have it endure for all time."
Meet the Expert
Dr. Jane Greer is a marriage and family therapist, sex expert, and the creator of the celebrity sex and relationship commentary "Shrink Wrap."
So, what belongs in the letter? Make the words, the stories, the promises, and the memories that you jot down be personal and heart-thumping so your partner not only has a keepsake once the big day is over but also something to make them smile before it actually begins.
Here's what to keep in mind as you write your letter to your partner on your wedding day.
What to Include in Your Wedding Letter to Your Partner
If writer's block creeps the second you sit down to write a wedding letter, take a deep breathe and think about why you love them.
1. Your Reason Why
One of the very first things you want to write is your reason for loving your partner unconditionally and your reason for wanting to spend the rest of your life with them. It sounds like a mushy way to start the letter, but it’s a great way to begin your wedding day. Your partner can spend a couple of minutes basking in all of the reasons why you feel committed, confident, and connected to them.
2. Your Hope for the Day
One thing that’s certain about the wedding day is that it will fly by fast. Include a part about how you hope the day will go and what you look forward to doing together. Maybe your biggest hope is that you both get to enjoy every bite of the food and a slice, or two, of cake, or you’re most looking forward to your first dance (that you practiced close to 20 times in your living room). Either way, share some of your hopes for the wedding day so that your partner can look forward to the fun ahead.
3. Your Promise for the Future
As your partner reads the letter you wrote on the morning of your wedding, one part they’ll look forward to is what you share about your promises for the future. Some of those promises might be saved for the vows you read during the ceremony, but in the letter, go wild with some promises that are laugh-out-loud funny, such as letting them watch Sunday and Monday night football.
4. Your “I Fell in Love” Memory
Remember the moment you knew the person you’re marrying was the one for you? Perhaps, it was on a specific date, after something they said, or because of an accumulation of things that happened over time. Recalling those memories brings the beauty of your relationship to the surface and lets you walk into the wedding day treating your partner to a spectacle of moments when your love first sparked and how much it has grown and flourished since then.
5. Your Proudest Moment
A great way to end the letter is with a moment or two when you felt the proudest of your partner. Perhaps it was after they achieved a major life accomplishment or when they found themselves closer to conquering a life-long dream. Sharing a time when they inspired you, motivated you, or just made you feel like you’re with the kind of person that’s going to push you toward working hard for the things in life you desperately want is a wonderful way to breathe a final bit of energy into the note.
Tips for Writing a Wedding Letter to Your Partner
Writing is easiest when all conditions are right. Here are some tips for creating a letter that'll be read over and over again.
Speak From Your Heart and Include Little Details
"The best thing is to be open, honest, and speak from your heart," Greer advises. "Tell your partner how much you love them and especially why you love them and what makes them so special, exceptional, and important to you."
Keep in mind that no detail is too small to include. You and your partner love each other for specific reasons. Embrace every reason, big or small, and add it to your letter for a note written straight from the heart.
Make a List of Everything You Want to Include
If you write down everything you want to include at the start, you won't accidentally leave anything out. According to Greer, some of the things to consider including are how thrilled you are to be starting your life together, how happy you are to have found a soulmate with whom to share your life journey, and how delighted you are that your partner made you their choice and the love and commitment they have found in you.
Take Note Whenever You Think of Something You Want to Say
Inspiration can strike at any time, whether you're in the grocery store, getting a manicure, or jogging on a treadmill. If something pops into your head that you just have to say to your partner, make a note in your phone (or handwrite it in a notebook) so you won't forget when you actually set about the task of writing.
Set Aside a Quiet Time to Complete the Letter
When you write the letter is up to you, but whenever you do it, make sure to give yourself the time and space to write it. "The night before or the morning of could both work," says Greer. "Sometimes, it can be smart to do it ahead of time so it doesn't get lost in the hustle and bustle of the day."
Put your phone away and set aside time to focus on this as your only task, giving it your full attention without any interruptions from others. Writing a heartfelt letter requires peace and quiet.
Real Examples of Wedding Letters
Want to see how a few real couples shared their feelings with their wedding letters? Here are actual letters from five brides who share the loving words they had for their partners on the big day.
Bailey and Eric from Ojai, California
The day that seemed like a fantasy existing in some far-off place has finally arrived and...we’re doing this! We’re getting married. I’ve been taking really slow and long breaths all morning trying to slow down the day. I’ve been trying to notice every detail in what the air smells and feels like, what music is playing, what people are saying, what the ocean feels like. I want every detail of today to be ingrained in my spirit.
You’re surfing right now, and I’m sitting with our family on the sand bordering a tide pool on Playa Escondida. The girls and I were just swimming and we were caught in a rip. They were nervous, and I was tired as we struggled to figure out which way to swim to get out, but I knew nothing bad would happen. The wedding Gods are on our side today. Right?!
Our little dude is digging in the sand next to me as I write this, singing a song about ice cream robots and offering me the occasional sand pie. He’s happy.
I was worried that this day would feel like any other, like it might let me down because I had built it up so much in my mind. But, it seems to be crafting itself to perfectly suit our needs—happy people, big waves, a little shower right when it was getting too hot, and you and I nearing the moment where we’ll solidify our commitment with well thought out words and a ceremony blessed by all the people who love us. Oh, and tequila! This day has also given us tequila.
I feel excitement in my stomach and serenity in my heart as 4 p.m. tiptoes closer. I’m ready to keep loving you, today, and for all the others.
Your Almost Wife (Bailey)
Josie and Jessy from Knoxville, Tennessee
My Sweet Jessy,
First off, I want you to know that I love you so much. I have imagined this day since I was a little girl and it is finally here. The big day, I should be nervous and anxious but I find myself calm and at peace. I think it's because I know that no matter what happens today, by the end of it we will be married.
I remember as a little girl, dad saying to marry a man that loves me and protects me. I am so thankful that you go above and beyond this. I love how you never let me open a car door, that you cook for me, but most importantly I love that you put God before me, that you make sure He is number one in our lives.
I love you, you are my soulmate, and I will love you even through football season, forever a coach’s wife. I am so excited for this adventure that we begin today and to call you my husband.
See you at the altar,
Josie (your pumpkin)
Erin and Shawn from Carmel, California
Caring for you is something I look forward to. For the rest of my life, being your wife. To have and to hold, until we get old—that's our love story I want told. So it's with a loving heart, I give you this gift to start, these "In Case You Get Cold Feet" socks are for you. I even ordered them in your favorite NFL team hue. I can't wait to be your wife and vow 'I do' to you.
I love you!
Casey and Justin from Boston, Massachusetts
Right now you're standing on the other side of the door from me, inches and minutes from joining as husband and wife. I can't help but think over everything, the good and bad, that has gotten us to this exact moment (...) The first few months in our apartment when we both had to pretend we weren't terrified to be adults, and being responsible for keeping something alive: Pax. Then moving into the condo and having something actually worth cleaning, and realizing the cat we thought was hard to keep alive was a cakewalk compared to Zuri. We've been on trips, gotten into car accidents, had nights we couldn't get enough of each other, and nights we couldn't get far enough away from one another. We've had so many adventures together and today is our biggest one yet. I can't wait to see what other adventures life has in store for us. I hope your gifts help get us there. I love you more and more every day, so much sometimes I think my heart will explode. And to think...it all started with a beer.
Matt and Emily from Los Angeles, California
You are my love, my light, and my future. I can't imagine marrying anyone other than you, and as we join together on this day I feel 100% confident in this match. There's no one else on earth I'd rather share my life with, and I'm so excited to be your wife. I have no doubts. I've known since the first time you kissed me that you were going to be mine forever. You are my one true love.
I didn't believe in soulmates until I met you, but then you came along and changed everything. I thought life was good before you came along, but since we've been together I've been happier than I even thought was possible. You make me content. You even cured my previously insatiable need to wander and travel. As I roamed from country to country, I was looking for a home. I found it in you.
I promise to love you every day for the rest of my life, even when it gets hard. But knowing us, it's going to be way more good times than bad and way more smiles than tears. I am so thankful for you. You aren't just the man of my dreams—you're the man beyond my wildest dreams.
Thank you for asking me to be your wife.