Ceremony Reading Tips Appoint readers who are good performers. Not everyone is comfortable reading in front of a group! Think carefully about how your readers speak, how they feel in public, and what their experience is. It is a gift to deliver special words in a ceremony; it works best if you choose people who will enjoy their role. You can find other ways to honor and include shy people, such as helping you dress that day, handing out programs, making flowers or decorations, or tending to any young children in your party. Consider length. Listening to a reading is very different than being able to see the words and follow along. Generally, no more than three formal readings in a ceremony, with each one only about one to three paragraphs, is best. Choose the right reader for the passage. You probably don’t want your 12-year old nephew reading to you about “The Art of Marriage,” or a college roommate sharing your first love letter to your spouse. Think about the reader’s personality as well as your own, and select something that will feel appropriate coming from them. This will help make your readers most comfortable as well. Prepare properly. I always print extra copies of the readings for the ceremony, in large type, double-spaced, on a good cardstock so the page looks nice at the ceremony. It is more challenging for a reader to read directly from a program, or from a tiny, folded scrap of paper stashed in a jacket pocket or purse! Send your readers their texts as early as you can, and invite them to your rehearsal so they can practice in the ceremony space, and can ask any questions they may have. Amplify. Be sure that your officiant, or your venue, has a good sound system for the ceremony. Microphones can either be handheld, if the reader will be standing near the front, or attached to a podium. Make sure all your readers have a chance to practice with the microphone beforehand. It is important that your guests be able to hear these words you have worked so hard to find!
Important Moments It can be very empowering to include passages that have been an important part of your relationship already. Standing under their favorite tree, Cory and Amanda read e.e. cummings’ poems to each other as part of their vow exchange, poems they had given each other years before at a very significant time in their courtship. They were overcome with tears (as were many of us), as they read those emotional words from a time that was very powerful, now holding hands on their own wedding day. Love letters, or even early emails, can be very heartwarming to share as well. These are best read by the couple, or their officiant—it would be awkward to hear such personal words from friends or family. Find a passage that communicates on both
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a personal and universal level, so that your guests can learn from it, rather than feeling excluded by something too private. If you share a little of the story behind your choices, or your officiant does it for you, it helps to include your guests in your journey. Of course, only impart what you feel comfortable with; the wedding is generally a ritual of celebration, acknowledgment, and looking forward.
Blessings of Faith For couples whose faith is a significant part of their lives, readings from sacred texts are often central to the wedding. Many lesbian couples choose the biblical passage from Ruth, “And Ruth said (to Naomi), “Entreat me not to leave you or to return from following you; for where you go I will