Tucked away in a series of shoeboxes within their Washington home are the love letters that Clayton and Andrea (nee Feldmann) Voss have written to each other over the years. The pair, who were married June 19, 2021, have written hundreds of letters to each other. 

“Basically since we started dating, we have been writing each other letters every month,” Clayton said. The tradition of the handwritten letters, which typically range from a half-page to three pages, stems from when Clayton was a rising senior at St. Francis Borgia High School and attending a spiritual retreat. The rules prevented him from taking his cell phone and Andrea sent him a letter, in hopes of encouraging him to complete the retreat but also to express how she felt about him. 

“That was the first time that I ever really expressed interest in something more than a friendship,” said Andrea, who attended the retreat previously. The pair had known of each other, but despite growing up in the same Washington neighborhood and having attended Borgia together for years, never really interacted. 

“The only time I would see him was when he would come in to the classroom for his math class, which was after my class. I was always a really long test taker, so I would be the last one to leave the classroom and he seemed to always be the first one in,” said Andrea, who is the daughter of Dan and Michele Feldmann. She graduated from Borgia in 2014. Clayton, a 2015 Borgia graduate, is the son of Kurt and Kim Voss. 

The pair’s first interaction came during Andrea’s senior year at Borgia, when they were able to hang out at a friend’s house following a basketball game. 

“Obviously, she is very pretty — that was the first thing that caught my attention,” Clayton said. After that party, Clayton and Andrea said that a friendship grew. 

A friendship that turned into something more, thanks, in part, to a letter. 

Clayton had asked Andrea — unsuccessfully — to go out a few times, but then he received that first letter. 

“Getting that letter was pretty surprising to me,” Clayton said. That letter sparked more letters and now the couple, who have been together for eight years, say they have sent more than 200 letters to each other. Even though they exchange other gifts, the couple will write letters on special occasions, such as graduations, birthdays, new jobs, Christmas and other holidays. The monthly letters continued, even with Andrea moving to Columbia, where she graduated from the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri. The pair continued to write each other throughout the following year when Clayton enrolled at MU, where he studied accounting and would later graduate from law school.

“It is a good reminder for the other person, how much they are loved,” Andrea said. “It is also a good reminder for the person writing the letter how much you love the other person. Each month, we try to make it a point to remind ourselves and the other person about why we’re together.”

Clayton, who will take the Missouri Bar Exam later this year and has been hired by Thompson Coburn, a St. Louis-area law firm, said the letters “allowed me to express feelings more clearly and eloquently than I could have if I was just talking to her.” 

Andrea, who now works for Mercy Hospital’s orthopedic surgery clinic, and Clayton both said they appreciated the old-fashioned way their modern day romance developed. 

“I’m not in the dating pool, nor have I been for a long time, but I remember in high school how much everything revolved around texting and social media,” Clayton said. “I can only imagine how much more that has been exacerbated now. I think we really appreciate that our relationship got stronger because we put the phones down and connected with one another by putting our thoughts, our feelings on paper.” 

On June 13, 2020, Clayton proposed to Andrea — near the swings in Krog Park, which was the site of one of their first dates — with a ring from Altemueller Jewelry. In true fashion, the couple wrote about their engagement in letters afterwards and would exchange letters on their wedding day. 

Andrea said she believes they will still be writing letters to each other in 2071 — when they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary — and beyond. 

“Who doesn’t have 15 minutes a month to sit down and tell someone what they mean to you?” Andrea said. “I think that’s the reasons we will be doing it in 50 years. It is our way of showing that we are a priority to each other.” 

The Wedding In Detail

With their last letters as singles exchanged, Clayton and Andrea Voss were married in a double-ring ceremony at St. Francis Borgia Church in downtown Washington on June 19, 2021. The wedding ceremony was officiated by Rev. Mike Boehm. 

For the ceremony, Andrea wore a simple, fitted ivory gown that she chose from White Traditions Bridal House, a St. Charles bridal boutique. The dress, which matched her ivory-colored floor-length veil, had no outward embellishments of rhinestones, lace or beading. Instead, the lining of her dress had been stitched with two heirlooms. The first heirloom, which was given to her by Clayton’s mother, was a bow from his baby blanket and a note that said Andrea is the “most cherished possession that he wants to hold onto for the rest of his life.” The second heirloom was a blue-colored bow from Clayton’s great-grandma. 

As she made her way down the aisle, she carried a bouquet of coral roses, periwinkle blue hydrangeas and other greenery. The bride’s bouquet was designed by Four Seasons Florist. 

Clayton said the sight of his soon-to-be wife left him too stunned “to even smile.” 

“She looked so beautiful in her dress that I just froze, but I’ll always remember that walk down the aisle,” said Clayton, who wore a classic black tuxedo, with cummerbund, that he had chosen from Wedding Creations in Washington. His boutonniere featured a large coral rose to match the bride’s bouquet. 

Standing with the bride and groom were six bridesmaids and groomsmen. The bridesmaids were dressed in periwinkle blue dresses, which they had chosen from an online retailer. The groomsmen wore black tuxedos, also from Wedding Creations. 

Following the ceremony, the couple celebrated their wedding with a reception at the KC Hall in Washington.