If the sister is going to read at the wedding, this couple feels it has to be THE perfect selection for their civil ceremony. They want to chose something that reflects who they are and what they want their marriage to be. I thoroughly applaud their approach. Yet despite officiating weddings for over six years, I had not realized how daunting a task this truly can be for some couples.
Religious ceremonies may be a little easier in this regard as appropriate scripture passages are somewhat limited. Lists of ideas for scriptural wedding readings are easy to find, but frequently repeat one another with the same dozen suggestions. Many people are surprised to learn the Bible does not have any passages written specifically for a wedding ceremony. There is, after all, no wedding liturgy contained within the Bible. The most common passages read at weddings are not drawn from the context of addressing marriage, but their expressions of love are beautiful and capture the regard for one another couples wish for their union. When selecting a passage of scripture you should consider the wide array of translations. If you find a passage you like, you may want to look at the way a variety of translators have rendered the original Hebrew and Greek. Some translations lend themselves to blending well with the ritual of a contemporary wedding ceremony better than others.
- Does it matter whether the reading is poetry or prose?
- If poetry, do you want something with a classic sound such as William Shakespeare or Elizabeth Barrett Browning or do you prefer a contemporary poet like Maya Angelou or Roy Croft?
- If prose, do you want to select something from a novel or an essay - a famous author or an obscure one?
- Would it be meaningful if the author was a particular nationality or ethnicity?
- Would the lyrics to a favorite song make a good reading?
- Would you like to use something familiar to wedding guests or include something unique?
- Do you find serious readings more appropriate or would a humorous passage fit your personalities better?
So what did my couple choose? They decided friendship was the foundation of their relationship and wanted to emphasize that. Here's what they decided was The Perfect Wedding Reading...for them.
"When We Marry Wisely" by J.A. Stewart
We do not usually associate romantic love with friendship, but the qualities that make a good friend are essential to the foundations of a strong marriage. We look forward to time spent with our friends. We share common interests, appreciate their company, and can relax and confide in them. This is also what we should expect in marriage, for the alternative is unthinkable. The excitement of first love transitions into something more enduring as we face the inevitable changes life brings, changes that only true friendship can help navigate us through. When we marry, we tell the world we love this person unconditionally and will from this moment on, regard the other as our first and highest priority. When we marry well, we join our lives, not with the person we cannot live without, but with the person we would never want to live without. When we marry wisely, we unite in common purpose with our most important confidant, companion, and playmate. We marry our best friend.
Good luck and happy hunting!
Photo Attribute: Both photos from Karl Leopold at Images Forever