Top Tips when Choosing Wedding Readings and Readers

Your Wedding is a reflection of your style, individuality, personality,  and as such couples can have a truly unique, personal and meaningful occasion, and include content in the ceremony that allows them to showcase these aspects with their choice of music, prose, poetry, or favourite song lyrics.  Adding Readings to a ceremony can bring warmth, fun, lightness, storytelling, meaning and context.  Choosing Readings that have significance and meaning, and Readers who will deliver with drama and sincerity, is a lovely, inclusive way to bring these elements into the ceremony. So where to begin?  And who to choose?  This is where I want to share my top tips with you! 🙂 There is a wonderful thing called the internet, and this is where you might begin – and many of the wedding directory sites and wedding bloggers have lots of fabulous resources and suggestions which again take time to go through, but if you are short of inspiration, they are a fantastic starting point. You might consider the lyrics of your favourite song, “your” song, something from a treasured book from your childhood, or you could even ask your Reader to choose a surprise Reading for you. You might decide to choose to sing a hymn or have a bible reading or a Blessing. (Celebrants can include religion in the ceremony, but your Registrar will not allow any religious content). The main thing is to choose something that is right and fits “You” and “Us”.  Two Readings and a Song/Hymn would work well and ending with a rousing chorus or communal song is amazing! I remember a couple who asked their guests to sing Wonderwall with them! And one couple, who loved everything Disney, who asked everyone to join them in “Under the Sea”! Totally magical!

So, now we come to choosing your Reader, and I need to say here, make sure you choose with care. It is often a person who is in your close circle, but not in the main Wedding party. Make no mistake, anyone asked to give a Reading will be totally honoured and probably feel a little nervous too. It’s a bit like being asked to give a speech, or a do a formal presentation – those who have experience will always find it less stressful, but everyone has a few nerves on the day, which is why I always introduce myself to the Readers and if necessary and if there is time, give a little on the spot coaching. So choose wisely, and choose someone who knows you well, is confident in front of a crowd (although there shouldn’t be any hecklers!), is cool, calm and collected, and has the personality to carry off the style, drama and emotion that the work requires! They will be so proud to have been asked, but it is a nice touch to thank them during your speeches later, and perhaps even add a small gift or keepsake.
The last thing you would want to do, I know, is to ask someone to give a reading or a short speech in front of your wedding guests and family, who you know would get all hot and nervous, and who would struggle and affect the overall vibe of your ceremony. A Celebrant style Ceremony is by its own unique nature, generally more relaxed and informal but anyone who is asked to stand up in front of people on such an important day,  could find this a bit daunting. Bearing this in mind though, it is a wedding and a totally one-off experience, so Readers will naturally want to be “word perfect” for their couple ! So, when you are choosing your Readers, and Readings, if you decide to have them, here are my personal top 5 Tips to start you off in the right direction!
  1. Choose a Reader who is close to you but not in the wedding party – perhaps family, uni or college friends, cousins, and even other siblings. They know you and your partner well enough to understand your choice of reading, or if they are asked by you to choose a reading for you, they would be able to make a fantastic choice that will make you smile or even shed a small but emotional tear.
  2. The Reader you choose is comfortable being called up to speak in front of an attendant crowd of your nearest and dearest. They know how to handle any parts of the Reading with panache and personality, without making it seem too jokey (unless of course, it is one of the more humorous wedding readings, which call for a bit of theatrics).
  3. If you’re unsure of what text they might choose, ask them to sign off their choice with you beforehand – you won’t mind some surprises on your wedding day, but you wouldn’t want it to create offence! If necessary, choose the Reading for them, and perhaps do a quick rehearsal or two over the phone/Skype or WhatsApp if you can’t meet in person.
  4. If you are choosing Readings and Readers, then do try and match the words and context of the Reading, to the Reader you’ve chosen. That will ensure that you have a virtually perfect fit as their personality will bring out the significant and important parts of the Reading itself.
  5. Remember too that in a Celebrant led ceremony, if you wish to ask a member of your church or clergy, or a lay pastor or priest to read from the Bible, or perhaps Bless the Wedding Rings, or give a Family Blessing then you should ask and see if they are willing, and able to do this for you.

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