How to Find a Passage for a Ceremony Reading

Wedding ceremony reading ideas

Photo: Jonas Peterson

Whether you and your groom compose your own poem or prayer to accompany your vows or choose a verse from another source for your wedding ceremony, a brief reading is a lovely way to express any special thoughts you may have. You might also include close friends or siblings by asking them to recite the reading for you. This is a great way to include people whom you could not in your bridal party. The best time for readings to be offered is before the vows and after the exchange of rings (although some officiants will have other recommendations). Guests may enjoy following along with their own copy of the reading, perhaps included in a wedding program. Be sure to consult with your officiant or clergymember for approval, as well as other suggestions. Here, some places to look for inspiration, and how to do it.

Sacred Scripture: To find meaningful readings, ask your clergymember for suggestions or check your local library for compilations of wedding readings, and be sure to look on the Internet. Read many translations before you choose your Scripture selections. Keep the passage short — generally a few sentences are enough to convey your message. Don't only look at verses pertaining to love and marriage; perhaps one that refers to happiness sums up your thoughts perfectly.

Poetry: The works of e.e. cummings, Robert Frost, Rainer Maria Rilke, Sara Teasdale, Percy Shelley, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, John Keats, and Shakespeare are all popular. Also consider the work of Pablo Neruda and Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet).

Novels and plays: Writers such as John Updike, Thornton Wilder, D. H. Lawrence, Emily and Charlotte Brontë, Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea) and Gabríel García Marquez offer great inspiration.

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