Readings for your Wedding
It’s National Storytelling Week in the UK, so what better time than now to talk about readings for your wedding? Readings are the perfect way to add a touch of personality to your service and express what’s important to you as a couple – here’s our guide to making sure you get it right!
Ask your officiant
If you’ve yet to decide which readings you’d like, it’s a good idea to ask your celebrant for their ideas! Not only will they have recommendations, they’ll also be able to let you know what is and isn’t appropriate. If you’re having a civil ceremony, it’s forbidden to include any religious references, just as there’ll be things leave out during a religious service.
Make it meaningful
Try and choose a reading that sums you up as a couple by picking a subject that is close to your heart. Thinking about true love and family is a good place to start, and readings from Louis de Bernieres’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres and 'These I Can Promise' by Mark Twain have become classics for that very reason. However, there’s no pressure to follow suit – Shakespeare’s writing on love is a wedding staple, but if it doesn’t mean anything to you as a couple, don’t pick it. While poetry and prose are traditional, you could also choose a song lyric if it means more to you.
Writing your own readings, poems or vows can add a meaningful, personal touch to proceedings, and can be a real emotional high point of the day. What better words to express your love for each other than your own? Similarly, if a friend or family member has a flair for writing, you could ask them to produce something for the big day. Not only will your reading be full of meaning, it’ll be unique as well!
Choose your speaker wisely
Try and pick someone who will speak clearly and confidently – and ensure that they practice before the big day. It’s also a good idea to encourage them to learn the reading by heart so that they’re not looking down at a piece of paper constantly, as it really helps with the delivery. If you have a lighthearted or comedic reading, don’t ask your most serious friend to read it – and vice-versa!
Be mindful of time
The ideal length for a reading is around two minutes. Any shorter and it may feel weak, longer and you risk boring your guests. If you are including multiple readings, it’s a good idea not to go over five minutes in total, as it can then start to overshadow the vows. If there are too many readings for the time, or your officiant has warned that you can’t include your top pick in your ceremony, you can include them in other ways – perhaps in the programmes, during the toasts or in your thank you notes.
Add a Scottish twist
If you'd like to celebrate your Scottish heritage during your ceremony, choosing a reading by a Scottish author or a passage written in Scots or Gaelic can be a great way of doing it. You can read some of our favourites in our blog on Scottish Wedding Traditions.
Ultimately, your readings should celebrate your love for each other. When you look back on your readings on anniversaries to come, you’ll want to remember why you chose them, and ultimately for them to resonate with your guests into the future too. Enjoy the process of finding the right one - together!