10 things you need to know to make your modern wedding readings memorable. These reading ideas, tips for planning and help for your speakers will make sure your ceremony is truly special.
- Don’t discount wedding readings as a tired tradition – they’re as good as you make them! Look for words that sum you both up rather than those that sound old fashioned and you’ll already be on the right track. Wedding readings make your ceremony last that bit longer and are a chance to make it more personal. Trust us, you’ll be grateful for both of these things when the big moment arrives!
2. There are few set rules when it comes to your readings. Pretty much anyone can stand up and say a few words, so it falls to you to find the right people for the job. More and more, we see our real couples choosing people who miss out on conventional roles to give a reading – it’s a great way to involve those closest to you but outside of the bridal party in your ceremony.
3. Down to you – again! Wedding readings take place during the ceremony, but beyond that the choice is usually yours. If your wedding ceremony is religious, you may be advised on when readings should happen, but in general they can be both before and after your vows. You could have your readings run from one to the next if they follow a similar tone, but we think spacing them out is better. This way they won’t feel too long and can be read at the most relevant point in your ceremony.
4. Modern readings are inspired by modern life, so if you haven’t been near a library in years, you don’t need to start now. Why not look to other cultural and contemporary sources that you’ve already come across? Think song lyrics, poems, and quotes from films that you love, as well as excerpts from novels. All of these contain heartfelt sentiments that can be shared in your ceremony.
5. And here the rules return. Religious ceremonies will usually require at least one religious reading (makes sense!), but if you introduce any others they won’t usually need to be too. On the other hand, civil ceremonies require readings that steer clear not only of religious texts themselves, but of readings with religious themes, topics and terminology, too.
6. For this very reason, it’s worth finalising your wedding readings as early as possible, even if you haven’t settled on the speakers yet. You’ll usually need to have them approved by your registrar or officiant beforehand, so get them in the bag early just in case you need to make any changes.
7. Help out your speakers so that they can sleep and speak easy. Let them know the running order of the ceremony and who will go first if you have more than one. Practise with them a few times and have the readings printed for them to hold onto. And only ask someone who has the confidence to carry it off comfortably – you should all enjoy the experience. Having a reserve reader on hand is also recommended – you don’t want your ceremony compromised because of illness or absence. If you’ll be choosing a child to give one, these reading ideas will help you to get it just right.
8. Short readings might be popular with speakers because they take the pressure off, but approach with caution. Choose a reading too short and it could be over in seconds, especially if the reader’s nerves mean they speak faster than usual. You’ve chosen the words with care; they mean something to you, so make them long enough to make a meaningful impression, too.
9. If you want modern wedding readings that are romantic, make ‘The Notebook’ by Nicholas Sparks, ‘Your Personal Penguin’ by Sandra Boynton and EE Cumming’s ‘I carry your heart’ starting points.
10. And for contemporary readings that will make you laugh, ‘He Never Leaves The Seat Up’, ‘A Word to Husbands’ by Ogden Nash and Pam Ayres’ ‘Yes I’ll Marry You My Dear’ will all have you and your guests smiling in seconds.