There’s a reason we can recite many of these vows from memory already: because they’re great, and they’ve been working for centuries.More >>
There’s a reason we can recite many of these vows from memory already: because they’re great, and they’ve been working for centuries. More >>
It’s getting down to the wire; you’ve found a fabulous officiate in the picture-perfect church, you’ve selected or written your vows. Now it’s time to choose the readings. The few words spoken during the wedding ceremony are a beautiful way to communicate the significance of your marriage to your guests and loved ones; they’re also a warm way to invite those close to you to share in the joy of the day by reading aloud. Whether scripture, poem, or prose from the bard himself, couples can use readings to personalize the ceremony and have others besides the bridal party participate in the celebration.
Non-denominational readings If you’re having a non-denominational ceremony or if you have a flexible officiate, your well of resources is unlimited. Plato, Virgil, Shakespeare, Blake, Whitman, Frost: all may be tapped for inspiration and for words to express your love and commitment to each other. Consider passages that have moved you in the past, or ones that portrayed the institution of marriage as you envision it. Poetry, prose, and songs can be included, and also consider rites that take place in other cultures.
Christian readings There is a wealth of verse to choose from to fit you and your loved one’s tastes, but often your officiate can trim the choice down with a list of suggested and most appropriate readings.
Some of the most popular Biblical readings include:
Genesis 1:26-31, 2:18-25 “The Creation of Man and Woman”
Song of Songs 2:8-10, 14, 16a, 8:6-7a “Love is Strong as Death”
Matthew 7:21-25 “The House Built Upon a Rock”
Matthew 22:35-40 “Love, the Greatest Commandment”
John 15:9-16 “Love One Another as Jesus Loves You”
I Corinthians 13:1-13 “The Way of Love”
Ephesians 5:21-33 “The Mystery of Marriage”
Jewish Readings After the vows are exchanged and the ketubah, the marriage contract, is signed, the seven blessings or sheva berachot, are recited over a glass of wine. The blessings can be said by either the rabbi or various people that the bride and groom wish to include in the ceremony.
Need more help making sense of all the wise words on matrimony and love? Check out the following books, Wedding Readings: Centuries of Writing and Rituals on Love and Marriage by Eleanor C. Munrow or Weddings from the Heart: Contemporary and Traditional Ceremonies for an Unforgettable Wedding by Daphne Rose Kingma, for more ideas. In the flurry of all the preparations what better way to remind the two of you what the upcoming day is all about than joining together to pick the words that say it best.