More than words: Top tips for finding the perfect wedding reading
Choosing readings for your wedding is one of the nicest jobs when planning your day, but it can also be a daunting prospect. Endless options and sources to trawl through, religious or non-religious, funny or serious, traditional, classic, long, short, romantic, modern.... Ahhhh!
Where a wedding reading traditionally would have been a bible passage perhaps, with more and more couples opting for civil or non religious weddings, the possibilities for what your readings can be are vast! It is important for couples that they are represented in their ceremony too, with meaningful readings spoken by their close family and friends. A well chosen and meaningful reading, whatever the source, will often bring a tear to the eye.
If you're stuck on where to find the ideal passage for your big day, here are my top tips for finding that perfect reading:
1. Before you start trawling the internet, think about your theme. Are you having a traditional wedding, a country wedding, any religious elements? Your reading needs to reflect you as couple (more on that in a minute...) as well as the type of celebration you are having. Think "does this fit with the feel of our day?" and that will help weed out any unsuitable options early on.
2. Consider what you are like as a couple. If you're a very affectionate couple who aren't afraid of a PDA, a beautifully romantic reading will reflect you as a couple. If the thought of an emotional, dare I say soppy, reading makes you want to cringe, then choose a reading that reflects your personalities. Laughter within a wedding ceremony is a great thing (when at the right time!) so if you're a playful and funny couple, choose a playful and funny reading. Even though you won't be the ones reading it out loud, you will still have to be comfortable listening to it and your guests should feel that its reflective of you and your relationship.
3. When choosing your reading, consider the length of the readings you are considering. Don't make it so short that its over before its begun so then its almost pointless including it in the ceremony. A particularly long reading, unless it has significant meaning to you or your families, is difficult for the reader to get through without mistakes or stumbles, and you don't want bored and restless guests. Two to four paragraphs is a perfect length.
4. Think about who will be doing the readings. Choose carefully! You might love your best friend to be the one reading your chosen passage, but if public speaking is their worst nightmare find them a better way to be involved. The friend or family member (s) you choose needs to be comfortable reading in front of a crowd of strangers (as don't forget whilst you'll know all your guests, they won't necessarily know each other), they need to be confident in their delivery and have a good voice so everyone can hear (you don't want to finally find your perfect reading for no one to be able to hear it because the reader is mumbling with nerves) and whoever you choose
5. Think about where you will source your readings from. The internet is our friend and will give you lots and lots of suggestions and options. Don't just Google 'wedding readings' though... Think about inspirational quotes, script passages from films and books, quotes and sayings about love, marriage, commitment and friendship, cultural sayings and prayers, and finally ask friends and family. You never know, there might be a poem your grandparents had at their wedding which would be the perfect fit and include in your celebration also, and there starts a new family tradition
6. When you've got a few options, before committing yourself, read them out loud. What sounds good in your head might turn out to be too complicated, long or not of the right sentiment when read out loud so be sure to test it out on each other first
7. Finally, once you've found the perfect words for your ceremony or reception, be sure to supply your chosen readers with the passage in time for them to practice and have print outs on the day in case they don't bring it with them or lose it. Cover all your bases for a stress free day.
To help you get some inspiration, I've included my top 5 favourite readings. Who knows, one of these might be the one for you! Good luck and happy reading.
Chapter One of One Thousand
For two people this dawn brought on a magical day
Now husband and wife they head on their way
As a boat setting sail may their journey begin
With calmest of waters, most helpful of wind
And if they should stumble upon turbulent sea
May it pass them unharming - leave them be.
For here are two people whom love has well bitten
Here opens their book which has yet to be written
As the first page unfolds and their life inks its path
May it write a true story where forever love lasts
Let their journey be happy till death do they part
Of one thousand chapters may this be the start.
Time In A Bottle
If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do, is to save every day ‘till eternity passes away, just to spend them with you. If I could make days last forever; if words could make wishes come true; I'd save every day like a treasure and then, again, I would spend them with you. If I had a box just for wishes, and dreams that had never come true; the box would be empty, except for the memory of how they were answered by you. But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them. I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with.
From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.
I Carry Your Heart With Me
I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)
I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)
I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
And it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
And this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)
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