AOW A-Z of Getting Married – R is for Readings


The AOW A-Z of Getting Married is a resource for brides (and grooms) to be.  It’s a welcome piece of sanity in an industry-saturated world where people are bombarded with what weddings they should have, what they should act like, and how a bride should feel.  Created by the team behind Any Other Woman, this A-Z is the first collaboration of its kind, bringing together posts from readers across the AOW community filled with advice, wisdom and experience from sane, smart, real women, many of whom have been there.  From wedding planning to family trials to breaking taboos, no topic is out of bounds.  We are honoured and excited to run each and every post, and we learn from each and every one of our readers.

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R is for Readings by Hollie

When we first got engaged I thought knew that there would be some sources of stress when it came to planning the wedding (the dress, the guestlist, the venue all had potential stress written all over them to me), but one thing I didn’t figure on creating difficulties were the readings for our ceremony.

How wrong I was.

A reading (or two or three) has the power to transform a standard wedding into something entirely personal. This is particularly the case if you’re having a civil wedding and haven’t actually met the person marrying you until you turn up to do the deed. To make the ceremony feel like ‘you’ as much as possible you are relying on the choices that you make about the parts that you can personalise – the music and the readings in particular.

We started the search for our readings fairly early in proceedings as we thought it would be something that we could tick off our to-do list relatively easily. On paper it should have been a straightforward task given that we both like reading, are highly sentimental and aren’t particularly afraid of a little bit of slush(!!)

Our trusty friend Google was our first stop, and while we found a few things that we liked, nothing really grabbed us. There were a couple of poems and passages from books that one of us loved, but they represented us more as an individual than a couple, which wasn’t what we were aiming for on our wedding day.

We found a fabulous poem that would have been great if a child had been doing the reading during the ceremony, but as we were having a child-free ceremony and the readings were actually being done by Bren’s Dad and my Mum, it wouldn’t have really worked.

At one point we thought we were going to settle from two verses that we thought would do the job well enough, but we were both disappointed with the options that we had found.

In the end, we decided to go back to basics and talk about what marriage and the day itself really meant to us. One of the things that we kept coming back to was the fact that the day symbolised the start of a new branch of our family tree and that our two families who we are very close to were joining together. In both our families we also have couples that we see as being great marriage role models, in particular both of our grandparents who have been married for 68 and 49 years respectively (not a bad feat I’m sure you’ll agree!)

With that in mind, we decided to ask our grandparents to write a reading each (one per couple) that sums up marriage to them. We didn’t give them much guidance at all as we wanted their perspectives on it, but in to try and make them a little bit different from each others’ we asked my grandparents to sum up what marriage means to them, and Bren’s grandparents to write about why they got married.

There’s no doubt they were absolutely thrilled to be asked to compose something for us, and loved the idea of being involved in the most important part of the day. We absolutely loved the results, particularly because they were written specifically to us made them all the more special. As our parents were reading them too, we had all three generations of our families represented in the ceremony – something I will always treasure.

While the readings might not have been what we initially thought we would have at our wedding, in the end they were perfect and just what we wanted. As with everything in wedding planning, when it came to the readings we discovered along the way that if exactly what you want isn’t available elsewhere, with a little thinking outside the box and some effort you can get something even better that represents you and your relationship completely.



Categories: A-Z of Getting Married
9 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Oh what a wonderful idea – this is just lovely.

  2. Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    What a fabulous idea having people you love writing something personal for you and having their words with you forever.

  3. Zan
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    A lovely idea. We’ll be looking for readings over the Christmas holidays, but will keep this in mind if we don’t find anything we like :)

  4. Peridot
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I loved our readings – and we had lots of compliments on them. We chose this one which a male friend of ours read – we’re both older and my husband had been married before so it felt especially pertinent:
    Maybe – Anon
    Maybe…We are supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one, so that when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

    Maybe…it is true that we don’t know what we have got until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives

    Maybe…the happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

    Maybe…the best kind of love is the kind you where you can sit on a sofa together, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you’ve ever had

    Maybe…you shouldn’t go for looks; they can deceive. Don’t go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile, because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright.

    Maybe…you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy.

    Maybe Love is not about finding the perfect person; it’s about learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. When you do what you can, love will do what you can’t

    And this one which my aunt read.
    I’ll Be There For You by Louise Cuddon
    I’ll be there my darling, through thick and through thin

    When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin

    When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.

    When life is just threatening to drive you insane

    When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page

    When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age

    When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm

    When the forecast said “Fine”, but you’re out in a storm

    When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum

    And your holiday photos show only your thumb

    When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay

    And return to discover you’ve been towed away

    When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste

    Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist

    When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes

    When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes

    So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…

    When you break a rule, when you act the fool

    When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew

    When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue
    I’m telling you, I’ll be there.

    We deliberately gave the more sentimental reading to a man and the humorous one to the woman – but my aunt still gave a small sob reading hers (she was thinking how proud my grandmother would have been, had she still been alive).

    I love them both so much that I am going to have them written out beautifully in proper calligraphy, frame them and hang them on the wall.

  5. Peridot
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Wow that was long – sorry

    • Posted December 19, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Not at all, they were beautiful. I was holding back the tears but only just!

  6. Posted December 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I love this idea! We have a serious lack of grandparents so I’m actually really pleased I didn’t see this before our wedding. Will certainly store this up as a suggestion for friends though. Such a good way to involve important people.

    We had bible readings at ours, S was working at Bacardi at the time so one was the water into wine at Cana because it’s about a wedding but would also appeal to his non religious mates. That sounds a bit ridiculous but it worked for us. The sentiment is also that you should give your best first and not save the best wine for show which I really like and take to mean much more than wine at weddings!

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