Doing your homework: Finding the right readings for your wedding

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Special feature by Chloe’ Yelena Miller, personalized wedding poet and wedding blogger.

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Photo: Keep it personal

Your wedding should reflect you and your love, not a generic love story. Your goal is to find something meaningful to share with each other and your guests.

Once you know you are getting married, keep an eye out for interesting ideas. They can come from anywhere: song lyrics, passages from novels, poems, quotes, or even bumper stickers.

A bride who was an art historian told me about a beautiful description of a painting that showed two lovers. She decided to use it as a reading because it represented their love.

Rasheea and Royce Hall integrated e-mails into their readings. They had been long-distance for a time before they got married. At their wedding, the best man and maid of honor read some of the e-mails from that period as if they were a conversation between the two of them. These informal, loving e-mails were also humorous and shared their relationship with their guests.

Rasheea writes, “I came up with the idea very randomly-- sort of like an 'A-ha moment'. I knew the traditional vows would not sufficiently set the tone for the type of ceremony we wanted -- I am very open -- so we both wanted to let people into our relationship in a very intimate way. I was organizing and clearing out papers when I found this binder I made for Royce of all of our early correspondence, and a light bulb just went off...”

I think you’ll enjoy this sample as much as I did:

Rasheea to Royce:
"Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with these emotions that I have for you - I can truly say I have never felt this way about anyone else. I so believe that God sent you specifically to me as a gift, even as a way for me to feel less alone. Royce, I love you sooo much. To be honest, I already feel like we are a family together...

As I write this my eyes burn with tears welling up in them. I love you so much and as Kelly Price sings, 'There are many things about tomorrow that I do not seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand, and I know SHE ;-) will hold us together.' We are soul mates, Royce!"

Royce's reply: "Hey, just wanted to apologize officially for forwarding your email. I was just really excited about it, and wanted to share with my good friends. It should just show you the way I feel about you...

The important thing is that in 5 days, you will be here with me. And we will never, ever have to do the long-distance thing again... Only 5 days till I have you in my arms. And, only 5 days until we start our life together. Life can be a wild ride, but I'm glad that I have you in the passenger's seat. I love you. I welcome you into my family and I welcome you into my heart."

What a great idea! Mull over things you’ve done together (such as trips, holidays, birthdays, or books you read) and consider how aspects of them might fit into the ceremony.

You may decide to use the readings to make a political statement at your wedding. Bride Bethany Albertson decided to choose a political passage for her wedding and she blogged about it.

Your creativity might need a jump start. I wrote about finding the right poem for your wedding on my blog here. There are a few good resources you might enjoy too.

After you find your readings, the next step is to share them with your wedding party. Discuss who will read what and give them enough time to feel comfortable reading the work. (Don’t spring it on them the morning of the wedding!) You might even ask them for suggestions regarding other pieces to add.

Happy readings!