Whether you’re having a traditional, religious, secular, alternative or civil service, you’ll probably want to include some sort of wedding reading in your ceremony.
It may be that you have the perfect thing in mind – a poem, song lyrics, story or extract – but if you’re stuck, then these suggestions may help.
Some things to think about include:
Who will be taking the reading? A friend, family member, yourself or your partner, or you can even ask the officiant to perform your reading for you.
How long will your reading be? Wedding readings should be shorter than a few minutes long – so no Homeric epics please!
Is your reading self-explanatory or will it need some background information? ‘In jokes’ won’t work here – and it’s not fair on your guests if it’s only you and the bridesmaid sniggering at some obscure reference…
Is your reading suitable for your ‘audience’ – you don’t want to offend anyone with your reading, even if your favourite song IS a death-metal ode!
As with all aspects of your wedding, think carefully about how your reading fits in with the other elements – style, formality, personality and sense of humour. Or if you trust a close friend or family member to know you through and through, you could even ask for a surprise reading from someone you love.
Religious readings – At a church wedding service, bible readings are common, as are hymns. Your officiant can help you to choose the right extract if you’re unsure, although you should be welcome to pick your own. Religious readings focus on the joining of you as a couple, and offer blessings for your special day, emphasising the wedding vows and importance of love. Always check that your chosen reading is suitable for your setting.
Non-religious readings – At a secular wedding, your options are broader, and you can be as formal or informal as you like. Pick your favourite poem, prose, song, quotation – the sky’s the limit. You might even want to create your own piece to read as an alternative to personalised vows. Check that your reading is approved for a civil wedding as having no religious content.
The readings at your wedding will remain in your memory long after the day so think hard about what kind of message you want to put across. You might prefer a well known piece of text, or you may come across something perfect while you’re researching your readings. No matter what you choose, make sure you keep a copy of it to remind you of your perfect wedding day. Beautifully printed and famed wedding readings also make a great gift for bridesmaids.
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