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Words of Love - Signage suggestions for the incurably romantic

I feel like I need to be standing at the front of an assembly room with my hand over my heart as I say this, but here goes. My name is Gemma, and I’m a hand-lettering addict. I love each and every commission I get. Whether I’m writing the names of your friends and loved ones on seating plans and place cards or swirling a welcome on a chalkboard outside your venue I’ll have a smile on my face, guaranteed.


Image source: Gemma Jane Design, photo credit Chris Bradshaw Photography


However, my heart truly skips a beat when I’m asked to create larger, bespoke pieces - ceremony backdrops, top table signage, snippets and quotes to make people smile, to send the good kind of shivers up their spine, or to get them moving their feet on the dancefloor. I love it when my couples express themselves through poetry or lyrics, finding the perfect words to help them tell their love story, and allowing me to bring it to life with calligraphy.


Image source: Gemma Jane Design, photo credit Grace Elizabeth Photography

If you’re looking for a suite of signage, but stuck for inspiration on what it might say - help is at hand. I’ve done some delving around my bookshelves and favourite songs to put together a selection of quotes. From the first flutters of romance, to fiery passion and the realisation of forever, it’s all here. And I’m not going to lie, doing this research has given me the best kind of butterflies. It would be a dream come true to recreate some of these gorgeous quotes in calligraphy for your wedding day. To find out more about what I can do for you, why not drop me a line and say hello? I’d love to talk about your wedding plans.


Image source: John Mark Kuznietsov, via Unsplash


I’m starting with poetry, as it’s my go-to resource for romantic goosebumps. Sorry, Shakespeare, but I’ve left you and your sonnets in the shade this time. These verses might be lesser known than those of the bard, but they’re no less beautiful.


Chemistry

Nayyirah Waheed

chemistry

is

you

touching my arm

and

it

setting fire to my mind.


Sonnet XVII

Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,

or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms

but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;

thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,

risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.

I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;

so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,

so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,

so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.


A note on this next one - it was written by an intelligence officer in WWII, and was used as a code to transmit secret messages among British agents. This added layer of knowledge makes me love it all the more - it’s not as simple as it seems.


Code Poem

Leo Marks

The life that I have

Is all that I have

And the life that I have

Is yours

The love that I have

Of the life that I have

Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have

A rest I shall have

Yet death will be but a pause

For the peace of my years

In the long green grass

Will be yours and yours and yours.


Habitation

Margaret Atwood

Marriage is not a house, or even a tent

it is before that, and colder:

the edge of the forest, the edge of the desert the unpainted stairs at the back, where we squat outdoors, eating popcorn

where painfully and with wonder

at having survived this far

we are learning to make fire



Image source: Annie Spratt via Unsplash


Moving across the bookshelves now, and into the realm of young adult fiction. I quite often come across suggestions for wedding wording taken from children’s stories - The Velveteen Rabbits and Winnie the Poohs of the world. These classics have a special place in my heart, particularly such adorable gems from A.A Milne as:


“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?" asked Piglet.

"Even longer," Pooh answered. “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”


Isn’t that just gorgeous? However, let’s step away from the nostalgic charm of the childhood favourites for now, and instead look at those writers for teens, intent on capturing the intensity of first love. Here are some of my stand outs:


From The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman

‘..we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you...We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pin trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight…’


From The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.’


From The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, by Laini Taylor

‘Happiness. It was the place where passion, with all its dazzle and drumbeat, met something softer: homecoming and safety and pure sunbeam comfort. It was all those things, intertwined with the heat and the thrill, and it was as bright within her as a swallowed star.’


From Ignite Me, by Tahereh Mafi

‘It's the kind of kiss that inspires stars to climb into the sky and light up the world.’


Image source: Gemma Jane Design, photo credit Alison Harris Photography. Lyrics - David Bowie <3


From the bookshelf to the iTunes library, here are some of my favourite ‘I love you’ lyrics. Lots of these are great for dancing around the kitchen, too, so if you don’t know them already, give ‘em a listen!


‘Oh well I look at you and say

It's the happiest that I've ever been

And I'll say I no longer feel I have to be James Dean

And she'll say "Yeah well I feel all pretty happy too"

And I'm always pretty happy when I'm just kicking back with you’

5 Years Time - Noah and the Whale


‘I never felt magic crazy as this

I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea

I never held emotion in the palm of my hand

Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree

But now you're here

Brighten my northern sky.’

Northern Sky - Nick Drake


‘And I’d give up forever to touch you, cause I know that you feel me somehow. You’re the closest to heaven that I’ll ever be and I don’t wanna go home right now.’

Iris - Goo Goo Dolls


‘Sometimes you make me feel

Like I'm living at the edge of the world

Like I'm living at the edge of the world

It's just the way I smile, you said’

Plainsong - The Cure


Leave me a comment and tell me your favourite words of love.

Gemma xx

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