Sunday, 22 April 2012

The Right Words - find the perfect readings for your wedding

I have heard some people say that they think readings at weddings are a waste of time.  People want to get the ceremony over and done with as fast as they can in order to get to the reception and have a drink.  To me, this is rather sad.  A typical wedding ceremony lasts around 30mins and it is such a significant moment in a couple's life that it deserves at least a couple of minutes pause and reflections.

Source unknown

It's all to easy to become obsessed with 'The Wedding' and forget that after 'The Wedding' comes the Marriage.  Readings help to focus the mind, to remind those witnessing your marriage why they are there, and to give a sense of the kind of couple you intend to be; whether that is reflective and level-headed, or lighted-hearted and humourous.

The first place to start looking for suitable readings is, of course, ye olde faithful Google.  The web has a wealth of poetry, short stories, sayings, proverbs and anecdotes at its fingertips.

If you're a little more traditional, you could head to your local bookshop or library.  There are hundreds of books giving suggestions on readings for a wedding ceremony, but there are are also poetry anthologies, such as the Nation's Favourites collections put together by the BBC.  Take a look at the Love poems or the ones about Desire and you're bound to find something.

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If you're having a religious ceremony, speak to your minister about passages from religious texts that might be appropriate.  (Remember: if you're having a civil ceremony, any piece you choose must not contain any religious references or connotations whatsoever. ) Always read a piece all the way through before making a decision about it.  It must be appropriate to you as a couple.  There's no point in having someone reading out something you or your partner thinks is utter rubbish.

Author's own

You could always do what two friends of mine for their wedding: they turned to a close writer friend (i.e. ME!) to write and then read something composed for them and them alone.  This is what I wrote for them:

Throwing Out The Cliches

The other afternoon I went to my closet, searching for the right words.  I had a very important speech to make; I was speaking at my friends’ wedding.  I’d known them for years and I wanted to find the perfect speech for their perfect day.  As I opened the closet door, a ‘love is like a red red rose’ and a ‘compare thee to a summer’s day’ fell out.  I picked them up and looked at them.  They were classics for sure - the Mary-Janes of love poetry - but they looked a bit tired and old.  I’d worn them too many times before.  So I put them to one side and carried on looking.  I came across a ‘Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing’ I hadn’t used since 2002.  I doubted it would fit anymore.  Further on, I found a ‘My Heart Will Go On’ that was even older.  I shook my head in disbelief, tutting to myself at the rubbish I had kept hold of.  This closet didn’t need a clearout – it needed an exorcism!  At the back, I found a little box of tiny gems such as ‘I can’t live if living is without you’, ‘Never seen you looking so lovely as you did tonight’ and a very precious ‘you are the wind beneath my wings.’  Beautiful though these gems were I didn’t think they were quite right for this occasion.  As I moved through the closet, I found more one-time classics like ‘You had me at Hello’, ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’ and ‘Ditto’.  But everyone had heard those before.  What was the point in saying the same old thing yet again?  And it was then that I had my eureka moment.  The thunderbolt of inspiration; my muse of fire!  Why not start from scratch and create something completely new.  Something in today’s style, something that would fit perfectly and, above all, something that would keep it simple:  The groom is a man who’s kept me laughing for more than ten years.  From belching his way through school plays to a scarily accurate impression of a psychotic RS teacher.  And he didn’t even shout at me the day I shut his nose in a door.  The bride is a lady guaranteed to make me feel inadequate because her beauty, her smile and the warmth of her personality could outshine Sellerfield during a meltdown.  I am so happy you two have found each other and, like everyone else here in this room, I want nothing but good things for you two; even if you’re engagement and subsequent setting of your wedding date has set me back a tenner.  I love you both very much.  And with that ‘I love you’ I realised I’d uttered the ultimate cliché.  But I thought, ‘What the heck?  Just because it’s a cliché, that doesn’t make it wrong.’  So I said it again: I love you both very much.

Author's own

If you would like to have a poem or story written for your special occasion, please get in touch with me at

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