Including readings in your wedding ceremony

Thinking about including a reading or two in your wedding ceremony? Think long and hard! There are many good reasons to do this. Readings can express your values and your style. It is also a wonderful way to honor someone in your circle of family and friends, perhaps someone who is not in the bridal party but means a lot to you, or a dear aunt or uncle. It can be almost anyone at all. Readings can range from religious, to romantic or humorous. They might come from your heritage, or reflect your interests and taste, via literature, poetry, and even pop culture.

A well executed reading can be a memorable moment.

A well executed reading can be a memorable moment.

Here is the downside. Asking someone to read at your wedding can put more pressure on him or her than you might imagine. So be clear when asking that it’s perfectly ok for them to say ‘no’ if they’re not comfortable with it. The anxiety surrounding this task can be really terrible for some people!

The bride's uncle, a monk, did a great job!

The bride's uncle, a monk, did a great job!

When I speak with couples about this I always ask that they take a moment and think about who they want to read at their ceremony. Does someone particular come to mind, maybe an outgoing person in their lives, someone who would be delighted to do this, and even relish in the moment? This is exactly the kind of person you want. If you can’t think of anyone who fits the bill, I recommend not doing it.

And now a word to the reader. If you are the person reading: practice, practice, practice. Seriously. Trust me on this. While people think because they read through it (silently, in their minds) that they can do it, it often turns out that they can’t, at least not very well. Just take a few minutes and read it out loud. This will make a huge difference. I’ve witnessed moments in a wedding service when it seemed the reader was seeing the words for the first time – they seemed completely unfamiliar with the selection on the paper. This is completely unacceptable in my opinion. If you care about the couple, and I’m sure you do, you need to think about the meaning of the reading and then how your delivery will best express it. Go ahead and underline important words you want to stress, and make other notes to yourself.

Choosing the right reader is key!

Choosing the right reader is key!

Yes, I’ve seen it over and over again. It can be the best or the worst of the moment in the ceremony. It can be very uncomfortable to hear someone struggling with their reading. Or it can bring joy, laughter and tears when it’s done right, and be a profound and memorable moment.

The right reader and the right selection.

The right reader and the right selection.

Including others in your ceremony in this way is wonderful, but only if it works!

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  • Blog Author

    Lois Heckman

    Lois Heckman is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who officiates at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies in the Poconos and beyond. She has performed hundreds of ceremonies and brings a wealth of knowledge to her work. Visit her website: ... Read Full
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