How to choose a reading for your wedding ceremony

Heads up – there is no such thing as an original reading at a wedding. You can dredge the internet all you like, but don’t get sucked into the ’12 wedding readings never read before’ headline. Ask any wedding celebrant or officiant, we have heard them all and many of them several times!

But that’s fine, because we are in wedding ceremony land all the time. You and your guests aren’t, so it just may be possible that they haven’t heard that obtuse reading you found on your ‘wedding readings no-ones done before’ google search.

If you really want something unusual and original, write it yourselves. Or ask your chosen reader perhaps to write something – or your mum, or a best friend. One of the most touching moments I’ve seen in a wedding ceremony is when the best friend of the bride wrote and read a letter to her. It was so personal and full of beautiful details.

If this isn’t a possibility and you still want something different, look at ways in which your can make an existing reading different.

‘Soulmates’ by Richard Bach is a reading I have heard a few times and for good reason. It beautifully expresses the way a relationship is between two kindred spirits and if you feel your partner is your soulmate you would definitely consider it for inclusion in your wedding ceremony. I included this reading in a very relaxed beach wedding ceremony where nearly all of the 30 guests were friends of the couple. I’d thought about asking the maid of honour (also the brides best friend) to read it as a surprise for the couple, but then I thought ‘why can’t they all read it?’ And that’s what we did. The maid of honour chose eight people, including herself, to read a line each. When the time came in the ceremony for the reading, eight familiar voices rang out one at a time with a line from the poem!  It was an emotional moment as the couple were completely surprised and really touched.

Another way to make a favourite reading sound different is have it translated into another language – preferably one of course that you understand! I have performed many wedding ceremonies now where one of the couple has Greek heritage. The location of their wedding has been in their parents birthplace somewhere here in Greece and therefore many Greek relations were invited to the ceremony. ‘We would like to include a reading in Greek so that our Greek family and friends will feel included’ they said. The first time I was asked, I plundered the internet for suitable readings. This should be easy, I thought, knowing the Greek peoples propensity for passion and drama. But there was the problem – the drama. And the tragedy. Everything I found was a passionate, dramatic tale of love, sprinkled with a whopping dose of death and unrequited feelings…

So I thought about readings I knew that would translate well and sent them to the couples to choose. ‘The blessing of the hands’ by the Rev. Daniel L. Harris was translated by the lovely Foteini Moschi, a literary translator and blogger, and if anything the sentiment in this reading was enhanced by the beautiful Greek language. I used it in two wedding ceremonies this year and it was so well received.

I have to confess to hearing one wedding reading this year which I haven’t heard before. It’s on the internet of course, so I am sure it’s out there on the readings search engine results. But I absolutely loved it. And really that’s what it’s all about. Choose readings that resonate with you and hold meaning. Really it shouldn’t matter if it’s been used a thousand times before. If it speaks to you and it’s relevant, use it. With your personalised, celebrant led wedding ceremony you already have bucket loads of originality. Time better spent is working with your celebrant to create your ceremony rather than trawling through websites for that elusive ‘little known’ wedding reading.

‘Soulmates’ – Richard Bach

A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be.Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise.Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.

And my favourite reading from 2017:

Cosmos – An adaptation of readings from Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Douglas Adams, Mark Twain, Buddha, and The Beatles. 

The size and age of the Cosmos are beyond ordinary human understanding. Lost somewhere between immensity and eternity is our tiny planetary home. And yet our species is young and curious and brave and shows much promise. In the last few millennia we have made the most astonishing and unexpected discoveries. They remind us that humans have evolved to wonder, that understanding is a joy, that knowledge is prerequisite to survival. Our little planet floats like a mote of dust in the morning sky. All that you see, all that we can see, exploded out of a star billions of years ago, and the particles slowly arranged themselves into living things, including all of us. We are made of star stuff. We are the mechanism by which the universe can comprehend itself. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth. We should remain grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides. The sum of all our evolution, our thinking and our accomplishments is love. A marriage makes two fractional lives a whole. It gives to two questioning natures a renewed reason for living. It brings a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life.

‘We are made of star stuff…’

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *