First, Inspired Brides. This is a magazine we produced for the company of the same name, who put on fantastic wedding fairs in the Midlands. It features a fantastic inspiration shoot and lots of other helpful pieces. We’re really proud of the design - it’s modern and classy, and we hope you all love it.
To find out more details and to read the online edition of the magazine, visit www.inspiredbrides.co.uk!
We’re so pleased with the finished feature and really proud to be part of such a great publication.
WHAT NOT TO DO
- Decide on a train of thought and stick to it. Don’t take guidance from Laurence Sterne, who began his letter by calling his dearest an ‘enchanting slut’ and then ended it with ‘P.S My service to your Mama’.
- Don’t overshare like Alexander Pope: ‘I have been sick ever since I saw you last, and now have a swelled face’.
- Play it a little cool. Yes, I’m looking at you Denis Diderot: ‘You are well! You think of me! You love me!’
- Mozart, why are you mentioning other women? “Madame Leutgeb has laundered my nightcap and neck-tie, but I should like you to see them!” That’s big of you.
- Going for shock and awe in the first sentence, like Napoleon, is risky and could backfire: “I do not love thee any more; on the contrary, I detest thee. Thou art horrid, very awkward, very stupid.”
- Avoid anything which could be misconstrued: “My dear Josephine, I fear you got a wetting last night.” Daniel Webster - I can only hope people in your day and age didn't have filthy minds.
- Don’t take any advice from James Joyce. His letters are absolute filth. I imagine his wife needed a stiff drink and a cigarette the minute she saw his handwriting.
- And finally, and most unfortunately, I’m afraid that most ‘famous’ letters written by women are really quite bad. Historical letters written by the fairer sex seem to revolve around a few things. ‘Oh no, we mustn’t!’ ‘Sorry I’m only just writing back, I’ve been sick’, ‘Thank you so much for not forgetting me!’, ‘Have I displeased you? I’m worried you hate me’, ’I was speaking to my friend Mary. You remember Mary? Half cousin Jane’s friend of a friend, once removed?’, ‘I’ve been quite overpowered by your words!’, ’My father hates you’, ‘I am not worthy of your love, you are so superior!’, ‘I am so very stupid’. Queen Victoria’s letters to Prince Albert are a hilarious exception: “You forget, my dearest Love, that I am the Sovereign, and that business can stop and wait for nothing.” That told him. So, ladies? Take one for the team and come up with something good.
WHAT TO DO
- You’re marrying this person - ‘I kind of like you’ isn’t going to cut it. Keats shows us how it is done: “You fear sometimes I do not love you so much as you wish? My dear Girl, I love you ever and ever and without reserve. The more I have known, the more have I lov’d.”
- Be honest and write in your own voice. Take it away Alfred de Musset: “I have something stupid and ridiculous to tell you. I am foolishly writing you instead of having told you this, I do not know why, when returning from that walk. Tonight I shall be annoyed at having done so. You will laugh in my face, will take me for a maker of phrases in all my relations with you hitherto. You will show me the door and you will think I am lying. I am in love with you. I have been thus since the first day I called on you.”
- Finding the one you want to marry is a big life win. Your life together doesn’t start when you get married, it starts when you first clock eyes on them. Mark Twain agrees: “Six years have gone by since I made my first great success in life and won you, and thirty years have passed since Providence made preparation for that happy success by sending you into the world’.
- There is one letter that I think sits above all the others, and that is the one we had as a reading at our wedding. My lovely mum (yes, I eventually forgave her for reading my letter marked ‘Very private!!! DON’T READ!’) read the letter written by Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett on the morning of their wedding. Which just so happened to be the same day as ours: 12 September. It goes like this:
“You will only expect a few words. What will those be? When the heart is full it may run over; but the real fullness stays within… Words can never tell you how perfectly dear you are to me – perfectly dear to my heart and soul. I look back, and in every one point, every word and gesture, every letter, every silence – you have been entirely perfect to me – I would not change one word, one look. My hope and aim are to preserve this love, not to fall from it. Enough now, my dearest. You have given me the highest, completest proof of love that ever one human being gave another. I am all gratitude – and all pride…that my life has been so crowned by you.”