You’re in love and are getting married, so of course you and your fiancé want the world, or at least your closest friends and family, to know what’s in your hearts. So why not choose special ceremony readings that represent the beauty and love of your relationship? Meaningful readings are a wonderful, and relatively easy way to share your feelings feelings of love while personalizing your ceremony.
Your ceremony readings should be beautiful, moving and interesting to your guests, while reflecting the words and feelings in your heart, yet still adhere to the formality and “feel” that you want for your ceremony. You’re probably wondering, “Now where can I find readings that are beautiful and appropriate for my wedding?”
The answer is easy. There are many, many wonderful sources available to find readings that aren’t just suitable, but perfectly express your thoughts on love. You can find readings in scripture; (I Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Love is patient. Love is kind . . . ,” Ephesians 5:21-32 – “Honor Christ by submitting to each other. . . . And the two shall become one.”, Song of Solomon 6:3 – “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine . . . “; from selections of poetry (Alfred, Lord Tennyson – “In true marriage lies, Nor equal, or unequal,” anonymous Chinese poet, Han Dynasty – “O, celestial beings, Let our feelings for each other, continue without diminishing,” ); or excerpts from literature, William Shakespeare from As You Like It – ” . . . no sooner met but they looked, no sooner looked but they loved, no sooner loved but they sighed . . . “). Perhaps you or your fiancé has a talent in writing poetry or verse. Put this talent to work and write something specially for your ceremony. Be sure to have a copy printed (or calligraphed) specifically as a keepsake, to be framed and displayed in your new home.
However, since there are so many sources, the task can seem discouraging and overwhelming. Don’t let this send you down the simple route of merely looking at a list of possible selections (usually provided by your officiant or person who is helping with the ceremony), and picking a couple readings only because they’re on “the list” and therefore must be the appropriate choices. Visit your local library and look under topics such as poetry, literature, wedding readings. Check your (and your fiancé’s) bookshelves, and music collection. Some of the most beautiful words of love are song lyrics.
Don’t be too quick to dismiss readings that have “been done.” If you find yourself hesitating over a particular selection because you’re afraid that your guests will groan, “Oh, no! Not this one again,” stop a moment and give it a thorough once over. Read the selection out loud, or have someone read it to you. The spoken word has a much greater impact than just seeing them on a piece of paper. You may need to back up a bit to include a preceding verse or sentence or two, or if you have someone who is creative with words, can write a suitable introduction. Including this intro can help make the “same old” come alive, becoming something that is new and fresh. In a beautiful introduction to Corinthians 13:4-8, the bride’s aunt described the differences between love and infatuation. An excerpt follows. “Infatuation is fleeting desire. True love is a friendship that has caught fire. Infatuation says we must get married right away. I can’t risk losing you. Love says be patient, don’t panic, plan your future with confidence. Infatuation might lead you to do things you will regret. Love never steers you in the wrong direction. God, in His amazing, infinite wisdom, said it perfectly in Corinthians.”
Of course, you’ll want to take special care in choosing the person(s) who will be your readers. Look for someone who is comfortable in front of a crowd, and can read in a good speaking voice. Even the most beautiful, emotion evoking words will lose their meaning if read in a droning, monotone voice.
Finally, to avoid any unpleasant surprises on your wedding day, make sure to obtain a list of rules and regulations from your ceremony site regarding what is and is not permitted, and get your officiant’s okay before finalizing any choices. And remember, if worse comes to worse, and you’re not allowed to use a reading that you just cannot imagine doing without – have someone read it at the reception. Words of Love aren’t just for the ceremony.