Wedding readings really personalise a wedding – they can be romantic, a religious blessing on the union of the couple, or just plain funny that makes everyone laugh – whichever flavour, often bringing a tear to the eye. But how do you decide which reading is appropriate for the occasion and you as a couple?
If you are having a civil wedding it is not allowed to have any music, readings or poetry with any religious content. As long as it is non-religious and non-offensive usually anything goes! It is usual to have up to two readings, but you could have more if they were short poems or affirmations.
Readings are traditionally read by trusted close friends and family or even the bride and groom to each other. There are strict guidelines on what is acceptable and must be secular to follow the theme of a non-religious ceremony. Each registrar may have differing views on what has religious connotations and what doesn’t – Robbie Williams “Angels” was deemed to be religious at one point – so it is very important to check with the registrars office, rather than be disappointed on the day. Each ceremony has time for a couple of readings if they are of suitable length. You may be able to include more if they are short. Your local registrars will have a list of approved music and words, but if you are choosing something off their approved list you will need to provide the registrar with your chosen content for their approval before the wedding day.
A church wedding is an obvious choice for couples who have a strong Christian faith. The Christian faith encompasses the Church of England, Church in Wales, Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches and Free Churches (Baptist, Methodist and United Reform Churches). You have the right to marry in the parish church of the town you reside in or are on the electoral role. Church of England will now marry in any church if they are a family member have a connection with the church.
Church weddings usually feature readings, either from the minister, or by one of the wedding guests. It is usual to have two readings, and one should certainly be religious. However, it may be possible to have a secular reading – check with your minister on what is acceptable and what is not.
There are lots of readings suitable for weddings, but to make your choice easier we have included a list of the most popular readings in our Wedding Ceremony category – Wedding Readings and Poetry.
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