When you’ve been a wedding photographer as long as I have, you quickly realise that love stories aren’t just captured through the lens. They’re also woven into the very words spoken on the big day itself. Yes, we’re delving into the realm of wedding readings.
These aren’t just random words selected from the nearest book. They’re powerful verses that echo in grand halls and quaint churches, causing even the most stoic uncle to hastily dust something off his cheek. It’s these spoken vignettes of love that, like a well-baked Victoria sponge, add a layer of depth to the wedding day’s emotional palate. They’re there to set the mood.
The process of picking these words can feel as daunting as trying to snap the perfect sunset shot on a cloudy day. But, with a wealth of wedding experiences tucked under my belt, I’m here to help. Ready to navigate the literary landscape of love? Let’s explore how to select the perfect wedding reading!
Understanding Wedding Readings
If we liken a wedding to a well-crafted photo album, then wedding readings are like those particularly striking photos that immediately draw your attention. They’re more than just words; they add character, depth, and personalisation to the ceremony. They’re like a spotlight, illuminating the love story in a way that’s uniquely meaningful to you as a couple.
Think of wedding readings as the narrative thread that weaves through your wedding day, from that exciting morning preparation through to the late-night dancefloor antics (where Uncle Bob, yet again, pulls out his unexpected dance moves).
The tradition of wedding readings dates back centuries, transcending cultural and religious boundaries. Whether it’s a poignant verse from the Bible in a Christian ceremony or a heartwarming excerpt from a beloved childhood book, wedding readings are all about speaking to the heart of the couple’s love story.
In essence, they’re the narrative kernel that encapsulates you as a couple. So, how does one go about picking the right ones?
How to Choose a Wedding Reading
Choosing a wedding reading might initially feel like trying to decide on a favourite photo from an entire wedding album – a bit overwhelming and chock-full of possibilities. But just like how we photographers have a keen eye for the standout shots, there’s an art to picking the perfect reading.
Firstly, it’s essential to choose a reading that resonates with you as a couple. This isn’t just about picking beautiful words but about selecting a piece that echoes your love story, your values, or your hopes for the future. Does it make your heart skip a beat? Do you find yourself nodding along to every word? If so, you might be onto a winner.
Consider the tone of your wedding. If you’re planning a formal, traditional wedding, a classical piece of literature or a well-known religious verse might suit the occasion. But if you’re aiming for a more relaxed or whimsical vibe, feel free to think outside the box. Maybe a snippet from your favourite film script or a charming piece of children’s literature?
Remember, these readings are a reflection of your journey together. Just like how a well-composed photo can tell a thousand words, the right reading can convey the depth of your love story without needing to say a word.
So, whether you’re looking at a Shakespearean sonnet or a heartfelt quote from Winnie the Pooh, the key is to select a piece that’s meaningful to you. And fear not, up next, we’ll explore some examples for both religious and non-religious ceremonies to give you a bit of inspiration.
Wedding Readings for Religious Ceremonies
When it comes to religious ceremonies, the chosen readings often hold deep spiritual or moral significance, much like the time-tested traditions they accompany. From the Book of Corinthians’ famous verse on love in Christian weddings to the Seven Blessings read in Jewish ceremonies, these readings resonate with profound meaning and sacred significance.
Here are a few examples of popular religious readings:
- Corinthians 13:4-7 (Bible – New Testament): Known as the ‘Love Chapter’, this reading speaks volumes about the enduring, selfless nature of love – an apt choice for any couple about to tie the knot.
- Ruth 1:16-17 (Bible – Old Testament): Ruth’s declaration of loyalty to Naomi in this verse serves as a testament to the commitment and bond in marriage.
- Blessing for a Marriage by James Dillet Freeman: Although not directly religious, this poem carries a spiritual tone, asking for blessings of joy, understanding, and companionship upon the couple.
- The Seven Blessings (Sheva Brachot): Central to a Jewish wedding, these blessings celebrate love, joy, and the companionship of the couple.
But remember, there’s no rulebook stating you must stick to traditional choices. As long as the reading aligns with your beliefs and the overall spirit of the ceremony, feel free to explore lesser-known scriptures or spiritual poems. After all, the best photos often come from thinking outside the frame!
In the next section, we’ll explore readings suitable for non-religious ceremonies.
Wedding Readings for Non-Religious Ceremonies
Just because your ceremony doesn’t follow a religious tradition doesn’t mean you can’t have poignant, meaningful readings. In fact, a non-religious wedding allows for a broad scope of creativity – think of it like a blank canvas, ready for you to paint your unique love story.
From heartfelt poems to memorable book excerpts, and even a touch of humour, here are some versatile options:
- “Sonnet 116” by William Shakespeare: A timeless ode to love’s enduring nature. Because who can resist a bit of the Bard on a day filled with romance?
- “I Carry Your Heart with Me” by E.E. Cummings: This modern classic beautifully encapsulates the deep, all-encompassing love between two people.
- “Us Two” by A.A. Milne: A charming choice for couples looking for a sweet, playful reading.
- “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton: This delightful tale of two dinosaurs in love strikes the perfect balance between humour and sentimentality. Plus, who said dinosaurs can’t teach us a thing or two about love?
Remember, the key to choosing a great reading for a non-religious ceremony is to pick something that truly resonates with your love story. Whether it’s a verse from a song you both love or a line from the film you watched on your first date, choose something that, like the perfect photo, captures the essence of ‘you’.
Up next, I’ll share some top tips on delivering your chosen wedding readings.
Delivering Your Wedding Readings
Choosing a reading is a bit like setting up the perfect shot – it’s only half the battle. You’ll also need the right person to deliver it. After all, a stunning photo can lose its impact without the right presentation.
Here are some top tips to consider:
Choose the Right Person: Not everyone is comfortable speaking in public, so when you’re deciding who to ask, consider their confidence and presentation skills. Just as you wouldn’t ask your camera-shy cousin to model for your wedding photos, you’ll want to select someone who will relish the opportunity to contribute to your ceremony.
Practice Makes Perfect: Encourage the chosen reader to practice the piece before the big day, not just for their performance but also for their comfort. A well-rehearsed reading can help soothe those wedding day jitters, just like a pre-wedding photoshoot can help you get used to the camera.
Set the Pace: Much like how we create rhythm with photos, pacing in a reading is crucial. Remind your reader not to rush. Each word should be savoured, allowing the message to resonate with your guests.
It’s Okay to Get Emotional: Just like it’s perfectly okay to shed a tear when viewing your wedding photos for the first time, it’s okay for your reader to show emotion during their reading. It can add a beautiful, raw authenticity to the moment.
Preparing Your Reader: A Handy Handout
To help your chosen reader deliver the best performance, we’ve put together a little ‘reader’s guide’ for them. Feel free to print it out or email it to them – whatever works best for you.
Reader’s Guide: Your Role in the Ceremony
- Get Comfortable: Familiarise yourself with the reading well in advance. Read it out loud a few times to get a sense of the rhythm and flow.
- Practice: It’s normal to be nervous. Practising will make you feel more comfortable when it comes time to perform the reading on the big day.
- Pace Yourself: Remember to breathe, pause, and take your time. It’s not a race, and your audience will appreciate the chance to take in every word.
- Emote: Don’t be afraid to show some emotion. It’s a beautiful moment, and your connection to the words will help everyone feel them more deeply.
- Enjoy the Moment: Above all, remember to enjoy the experience. It’s an honour to play such a special role in the couple’s big day.
Next up, we’ll talk about how to seamlessly integrate these readings into your wedding ceremony.
Integrating Your Chosen Readings Into The Ceremony
Whether you opt for a religious ceremony steeped in tradition or a non-religious celebration full of personal flair, incorporating your chosen readings seamlessly is key.
Timing is Everything: Consider when during the ceremony the reading will have the most impact. It could be a heartwarming preface to your vows or a reflective moment post ‘I do’. Your ceremony, much like a well-curated photo album, should have a flow that tells your unique story.
Introductions Count: Just as we wouldn’t dive straight into taking photos without a proper introduction, it’s a nice touch to introduce the reading and the reader. This could be done by the person conducting your ceremony, or by the reader themselves.
Make it Visual: We’re all about the visuals, aren’t we? Consider printing the reading in your wedding programme, so your guests can follow along or revisit the words later.
Remember, there’s no wrong way to include readings in your ceremony – it’s all about what feels right for you.
Wrapping It Up
Selecting meaningful wedding readings can feel like a monumental task, akin to picking out the perfect wedding dress or suit. There’s pressure to find something that strikes the right balance between heartfelt and personal, serious and light, traditional and unique. But hopefully, with this guide, you’re feeling more prepared to make that choice.
Remember, the right reading is the one that resonates most deeply with you and your partner, the one that, like a beautifully captured photograph, encapsulates the essence of your love.
And speaking of photographs, if you’re still on the hunt for a wedding photographer who understands the unique storytelling elements of a wedding, then look no further. With years of experience in capturing these precious moments, I would be honoured to help tell your story.
Your Story, Beautifully Told
Get in touch to learn more about my wedding photography services. Together, we can ensure your wedding day is captured in the most beautiful way possible – through a lens that understands and values your unique love story.