Most couples electing to have a traditional (or mostly traditional) wedding ceremony choose to have readings during their wedding ceremony. Personal readings add some sentimentality to the ceremony and help to enforce the wedding vows to come. They also help to illustrate the feelings and beliefs of the couple preparing for marriage for the guests.
We feel that a good deal of thought should go into choosing the right passages for your wedding. The pieces selected need to be warm and personal. Unique, but not too obscure.
Consider selections that describe your feelings for each other and those that interpret your new roles as husband and wife. Meaningful religious passages are wonderful additions. And reflections on love, fidelity, friendship and trust are always popular and appropriate choices.
Here are some great tips we’ve collected to help you in selecting your wedding ceremony readings:
- Make it personal. Be sure the reading means something to you as a couple, and is not just some remote passage or series of quotes.
- Consult with your religious leader if you will be married in a church, synagogue, mosque or other religious setting. You might be limited to religious readings only. If you would like to request a secular reading in addition to religious readings, your selection may need to be reviewed and approved in advance.
- Carefully choose your speaker. Be sure to choose someone who will be comfortable reading in front of an audience. Also, make sure the reading fits the reader’s personality. A friend or family member who is known for their seriousness might not be the best choice to read a lively or humorous piece.
- Limit your number of readings to two or possibly three. Consider choosing only one reading however if you have a musical selection included in the ceremony as well. And the readings shouldn’t be much more than five to six minutes each in length.
- Choose selections that complement each other. For example, if one reading is very sentimental, the other selection should be a bit more light-hearted. And of course, the messages shouldn’t contradict each other.
- Don’t choose something that is too trendy or that your audience won’t understand or connect with. Your choice should be easily understandable and should able to withstand the test of time.
If you’re looking for a great example, at several weddings we’ve filmed, the famous E. E. Cummings poem, “i carry your heart with me”, has been read and it’s always a moving experience:
i carry your heart with me
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 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