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You think about the gift, you book the restaurant weeks in advance, but how much thought do you put into what you write in your Valentine’s Day card?
Heidi Ellert-McDermott, founder of the bespoke speech writing service Speechy and author of “The Modern Couple’s Guide to Wedding Speeches” (released July 4th 2023), gave us her advice for writing words that pack a romantic punch.
Here’s how to avoid the usual clichés and platitudes this February.
“Words like ‘soulmate’ should be banned. They’re the romantic equivalent of white noise; overused and underwhelming,” said Heidi. “Instead, think about the unique relationship you two share.”
“Is your partner actually your ‘partner-in-crime’, or your ‘favorite Netflix negotiator’, your ‘happy place’ or, just simply, your ‘favorite human.’”
Something different always says a lot more.
A Valentine’s card doesn’t need to be overly serious, or even particularly poignant, to be romantic.
“One of the most effective ways of paying tribute to someone you love is to recognize them as an individual, as opposed to some generic girlfriend or boyfriend,” said Heidi. “Saying you love spending time with them or that they make you feel wonderful, is just boring. Plenty of other people could say the same thing about their partners.”
Instead, Heidi advises that you pinpoint the characteristics and quirks that make your partner the awesome individual they are.
Are they the serious bookworm who likes to give names to inanimate objects, or are they the trainee counselor who still gets road rage?
Recognise them for who they really are and then your love seems more genuine and meaningful (as well as fun).
Did you fall in love with your partner when you realized they also thought “Pan’s Labyrinth” was the greatest film of all time? Or was it when you spotted them talking to a topiary? Or when they shared their dirty fries with you at Coachella?
“Memories ignite emotion; so transport your other half to one of your favorite ones,” said Heidi.
What can you promise your partner that 1) will make them smile and 2) you’ll be able to do? The promise is sweet, but it’s the follow-through that will win someone over every time.
“Don’t bother promising generic nonsense,” Heidi says. “Instead, promise specific things that only they will get! For example, promise that whenever they say ‘fancy a cheesy burrito?’ you’ll always say yes. Or promise them to always do your ‘special’ dance whenever Old Town Road comes on Sonos. Hunt out something meaningful to them.”
Sometimes, cleverer, funnier people than you have already managed to sum up what you think is our own unique brand of love. That’s why it’s worth looking up some love quotes to add to your Valentine’s Day card.
“Using a great quote isn’t the same as writing something generic and meaningless,” Heidi reminds us.
Heidi advises, “Think about the films, music, literature that means something to you both and see what you can find there.”
Of course, it depends what they’re into – politicians, Star Wars, rom-coms, comedians – it’s surprising how many sources there are to hunt down a great quote.
The perfect Valentine’s Day card is going to be different for each couple. Some couples like to tease each other, while others are more sentimental in expressing their affection.
Ideally, your words should reflect your relationship as it exists now. This way, you can both (hopefully) look back at your card with affection in years to come and immediately transport you back to your dating days.
One last piece of advice: Try not to be too offended if your loving words are put straight into the recycling on the 15th!
Our thanks to Heidi and the Speechy team for their advice on this topic. The award-winning team are on a mission to make wedding speeches better by offering bespoke speech writing services for grooms, brides, parents and the bridal parties in weddings around the world.