Simply put, my mission in life is to "encourage people to encourage people." And when I lead a letter writing workshop, I love to inspire participants with simple examples of ways to be encouraging and affirming in addition to writing letters.
Recently, I was sharing a "Word Cloud" that I had created for my daughter's 21st birthday. I recounted how I had asked friends and family for one word to describe my daughter, and then assembled the collage of words into my own little work of art. The hostess of the event enthusiastically snapped a few photos of my illustration.
A few weeks later, a wonderful text and photo arrived showing how that simple seed of an idea had blossomed for her. Her son was about to be married, and my friend had adapted the idea in a very creative and thoughtful way.
She asked each member of the bridal party for three words to describe the bride and groom. (Guys for the groom, girls for the bride.) And then she put together a Word Cloud with the couple's names in the center and the wedding date underneath. Using the theme colors of the wedding, the bride's name and affirming adjectives were in one color, and the groom's name and character qualities were in the other.
The groom's parents presented this framed work of love and affirmation to the couple as part of the rehearsal dinner celebration and toast.
The finished product summarized the wonderful feelings that friends and family have about the bride and groom and gave them a lasting form of encouragement as they start their life as husband and wife. What newlyweds wouldn’t cherish a thoughtful and supportive gift like this?
A similar gift could be prepared for a couple celebrating a milestone anniversary. What better way to honor parents and grandparents than to tell them, in writing, what they mean to their family? And yes, while it’s wonderful to tell loved ones that we appreciate what they have done for us, it’s also vitally important and life-giving to affirm the character qualities that you cherish in them.
Words are so incredibly powerful. That's why, at special times of celebrating a marriage, we often share toasts as a way of honoring the couple. Combining those spoken words with something lasting to memorialize the sentiments is a magnificent way to encourage a couple in their journey as husband and wife.
I hope that you will take the time to do something this intentional and uplifting for a couple that you love.
Remember: “memories fade... but ink lasts.”