Thursday, July 30, 2009

sealed letters tradition

A dear friend of mine mentioned a tradition she’d seen at a wedding she’d been to recently. She’s not getting married, nor is she really paying attention to details at weddings, but this one stuck with her for some reason. She mentioned love letters, a wooden box, two wine glasses, and a bottle of wine. It’s supposed to work something like a unity candle, or pouring grains of sand into one vessel. But when she explained it to me, I liked it more than these two options. And so did Mr. CB.

The tradition goes something like this: The couple writes love letters to each other. In their letters, they detail why they fell in love with each other and what they really, truly admire about the other person. The letters get sealed up before they are read by the person they are intended for.


The sealed letters are brought out at the end of the ceremony. They are put into a wooden box that the couple supplies. Along with their letters, they put a nice bottle of wine into the box with two glasses. Once all is in the box, the wedding party hammers nails into the box to close it.


The point of all this? If, at any point, the marriage is in serious jeopardy, the couple is to open the box, read the letters about why they fell in love with each other in the first place, and drink the wine together before making any irrational decisions.


While, some could see this as a somewhat solemn ritual and not a celebratory or joyous tradition, I see it as being realistic and somewhat romantic. It’s a metaphor for keeping the marriage based in truth and what is real. The hope is that you won’t have to open the box but, who knows, maybe on your 40th anniversary, it’s a treat.

Mr. Cowboy Boot and I were immediately drawn to this tradition. We love wine and can think of several vineyards that mean something to us. If times were tumultuous down the road, I could see those certain wine bottle labels bringing us back to more carefree days and to the things we love about each other.

Ms. Cowboy Boot in Tuscany

Before we were on Capri (where we got engaged), we spent a few nights in this gorgeous agriturismo in Tuscany called Torraccia di Chiusi. Every day we walked on an old pilgrimage road through vineyards and stone houses into the town of San Gimignano where we did a very Italian tradition: fare una passeggiata every evening. That means to take a walk; to simply stroll and enjoy the atmosphere, the people, the stores, the language.

Those are some of our favorite memories. And, if we ever needed to break open The Box, we’d be reminded of this. And, of being with each other in a foreign environment where we had hurdles, but mainly just romance.

Are you including any symbolic traditions in your ceremony? If so, what?