Ideas to Revolutionise Your Wedding Reading
Wedding readings. Boy oh boy, readings can be hard work for both the reader and the audience. I think we’ve all been there. Friend/Brother/Sister/Auntie/Uncle/etc come up to a reading, and they stumble through the words, making it very uncomfortable for them and everyone else.
So, in the hope of saving both reader and guests from an uncomfortable situation, here are seven ideas which may help in the hunt for an appropriate reading.
Get Them To Choose
Ask your readers to choose the reading themselves, and to keep it a surprise from everyone. People really rise to this challenge, and I’ve worked with many readers who have come up with surprising and amazing ideas – poems or extracts which are very unusual and personal.
Say a Song
Choose the words to a favourite or meaningful song. It’s a great moment when people ‘click’ that they recognise the words. It usually takes a few lines, and always evokes a smile.
Y’know…. like love advice from the master of 80s pop, Rick Astley
We’re no strangers to love
You know the rules and so do I
A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of
You wouldn’t get this from any other guyI just wanna tell you how I’m feeling
Gotta make you understandNever gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you…
Or those well-known love gurus, Metallica
So close, no matter how far
It couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trusting who we are
And nothing else matters
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know I never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words, I don’t just say
And nothing else matters
Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters
Don’t Google ‘Readings’
When using the internet to search for readings, rather than typing in ‘wedding readings’ – which will result in an overwhelming abundance of readings type in words which are more specific as to your interest eg: ‘poem dog love’, ‘lyrics love travel’ or ‘funny poem dance couple’.
Share the content of a letter. It could be a love letter between the bride and groom, or the parents/grandparents of one of the party. I conducted a ceremony where a letter written by the groom to the British Home Office was read by the best man requesting them to process his visa application so he could be with his bride-to-be. I think a little creative licence was used in the re-reading of the letter, but it had many guests in (good) tears.
Ask the couple’s parent/s if they have anything in their possession which might fit the bill.
Be resourceful. I conducted a wedding where the couple had come from the same town but had both moved away as adults and met via internet dating. They had never met when living in the same town but Sarah’s mother, who had passed away some years prior, had taught Jack. Jack’s reader, Adam, started ‘I know that Sarah’s Mum would have loved Jack. In fact let’s hear what she has to say about him …’ It transpired that Adam had asked Jack’s parents whether they still had any of his school reports, which they did. One of the reports had been written by Sarah’s mother, and Adam read out her synopsis of Jack’s behaviour and aptitude in her class.
What is Love?
If the reader knows some of the other guests, they could liaise with them and ask them for their love advice, or what they think love looks like, then read this out during the ceremony. This works particularly well if there’s parents, grandparents, or other family members who epitomizes a healthy relationship – after all, they must have some secrets and advice, surely?!
Kid You Not
If you have children, ask them to collectively deliver a reading. I had a couple marry who between them had seven children aged from 2 to 16 years. The children wrote their own poem to read, two lines each, with the older children supporting the younger. As it was held in the family home, even the dog came up on the stage.
Letter from a Missing Guest
If a guest can’t attend the wedding, they may wish to write a letter, which can be read out by another guest or your celebrant. I have done this a number of times during COVID. I had an Irish couple who, unfortunately, could not have either sets of their family attend. Both sides of the family wrote letters, and these were read out by two friends – who happened to be Irish. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
If you have chosen creative readers who enjoy writing, you could ask if they would write or say something bespoke for you. I’ve had readers deliver a poem, a passage, or some wise-words about marriage, written especially for the couple… it’s almost like a gift they can give to you for you to keep thereafter.
Flash Mob Styley 1
If you want to get some other guests involved with the wedding reading, why not do a flash mob style one. The way to do this is to print off the reading you want to do, and hand them out discretely to all the guests when you arrive.
On the paper will be a reading broken down into groups. For example, the lead reader will read the first paragraph. On the second paragraph, everyone who has known the bride or groom all their life will stand up and read this paragraph. On the third paragraph, everyone who has known them for 20+ years will join in. Fourth, everyone who has known them for 10+ years will join in. Fifth, everyone else will join in.
Flash Mob Styley 2
In this version, the reader says the first line of their ‘reading’ which is, in fact, a song. They will then sing the second line. The third line one guest will join in. Fourth line another guest. And so on. I did this with a couple and there were eight singers, with myself included. I sure ain’t no Pavarotti but it truly was delivered with gusto and was a great surprise for the couple who were both musical theater lovers.
You can read about this here.
Sing a Song
If you have friends or family who are musically blessed, you might want to take advantage of their talents. I did a wedding where a friend of the bride and groom performed ‘You’re the One That I Want’ from Grease, slowed down, a cappella, in a room with incredible acoustics. It was barely recognisable, but so very beautiful and moving.
I got chills
And I’m losing control
‘Cause the power you’re supplying