Wedding gifts help a new couple gear up for their life together. But in addition to the cookware, fine china, wine glasses, vacuum cleaner, bath towels, and the like that they’ve registered for on Bed Bath & Beyond’s Wedding & Gift Registry, why not add an unforgettable, personalized touch to what you give them?
A heartfelt letter or a framed photo collage that encapsulate special moments you’ve shared with the bride or groom over the years can make any gift feel unforgettable. “Giving a heartfelt letter of appreciation as a gift is not only free, but it’s also likely to be highly valued because you’re telling that special someone that he or she has made a big positive difference in your life,” says Lynette M. Smith, author of “How to Write Heartfelt Letters to Treasure: For Special Occasions and Occasions Made Special.”
Smith should know. Six years ago, she and her husband received a framed letter from her son, Bryon, at his wedding rehearsal dinner. His fiancé, Rachael, also presented a letter to her parents. “Their best man and maid of honor read each letter aloud as Bryon stood by us, and Rachael by her own parents,” Smith says. “There wasn’t a dry eye to be found.” The letter is now in a prominent place in Smith’s home. “Every time I read it, my hand just goes to my heart,” she says.
That got Smith thinking about how important written letters can be. “You can tell people how special they are in an email, in a tweet or an instant message, or over the phone, but it’s fleeting. When you write a tangible letter about the wonderful qualities they have that you admire, it’s something they can save forever, re-read and feel just as good as they did when they first received it,” Smith says.
The Write Stuff
But what to say if you’re giving a heartfelt letter as a wedding present? Yours could be about a special memory you shared with the bride or groom when you were growing up or over the years, along with your best wishes for their future. It could include a favorite poem or quotes about marriage that you admire or just be a photo collage with captions (or not) of special snapshots of you and the bride, groom, or just the couple.
A word “cloud” that you create on Wordle.net is another option. “Just type in words about the person you’re creating the Wordle for, then push go,” Smith says. If you want certain words to show up larger, like the bride or groom’s name, type them twice or three times. “Keep playing until you have a word arrangement you like. Then print your Wordle in color,” she says.
Framing: If you decide to present your personalized letter, collage, or Wordle framed, shop for the frame first, Smith says. That way, you’ll know how much writing or workspace you’ll have. Some frames, like this Photoguard Milan Black Signature Frame, have a significant mat, which lends itself to both a photo and a personalized letter. Keep the frame style simple so it will blend in with any home décor.
Writing: You can handwrite your letter or type it on a computer. If it’s typed, use 12 or 14-point type in a serif (not block letters) font. “It’s easier on the eyes to read across,” Smith says. Don’t type in bold or in caps, and don’t forget the finishing touch — hand sign it when you’re done.
If you handwrite your letter, write your sentences in a straight line. As a guide, use a ruled line grid as a guide. “Put your ruled-line guide behind your stationary as you write,” she says. Use nice stationary and a pen that flows well. “Use a pen with ink that won’t run if the paper happens to get wet later,” she adds. (You never know.)
If you don’t frame your letter or collage, don’t fold it. Instead, present it flat in a large envelope or certificate holder, along with a wedding gift from the bride and groom’s registry.
Heartfelt letters are a win-win. “When the bride or groom receives your letter or your collage, they’ll feel validated. Everybody wants to know they’ve made a difference in another person’s life,” Smith says. You can feel good about your handiwork and the personal touch it provides.