Wedding officiants are often asked for recommendations on readings for the wedding ceremony. As an wedding officiant serving northern New Mexico and Colorado I have a list of favorite readings that run the gamut from wedding/couple related to spiritual or religious. The latter are often verses from the bible and are an excellent way to lend a religious tone to a ceremony.
There are many places during a wedding ceremony to incorporate a reading or readings. They are also a good way to break up the flow and keep your guests interested, especially if you have someone else do the reading. It’s a great way to have someone special participate in your ceremony that otherwise doesn’t have a specific role. What I’ve seen as a marriage celebrant is that some readers have never done it before and make a couple of unfortunate mistakes that could be easily avoided. One is the rushed reading. This is ceremonial and there is no race. Emphasize slow – majestic even! – reading of the poem or verse. The other frequent error I see is a quiet voice. It is important to speak in a large and clear voice. These two common errors can lead to the reading being lost on your guests.
If you have a favorite poem it is an easy choice on what to include. If you’re not sure you can find a lot of collections on the internet by searching for “wedding readings” and you’ll find much to choose from. Your officiant should also have some favorites to recommend.
An excellent touch is to take the theme of your reading, or a phrase from it (particularly if it has long been a favorite of yours) and include it elsewhere in your ceremony. An example would be to expound upon the concept of the reading during the opening words or to include a phrase in your preliminary vows. There are lots of options and you shouldn’t be boxed in by any rules. If your wedding minister says “no” to any ideas you may not be working with the right person!