Readings and Readers
One of the great things about using a Celebrant for your ceremony, apart from the obvious personalised nature of the work we do, is being able to have any readings you want included. They can be religious, poems, quotes or something that has been written especially for the day.
However, what you will need to think about is who will read these for you as part of your ceremony. It is not usually a good idea to spring this on a family member or friend on the day as public speaking is not for everyone! Think carefully about who would be best suited to this role and who will be able to convey the sentiments of the reading you have chosen. Having someone you know well making a reading really takes your ceremony to a higher degree of personalisation and can make the ceremony very emotional.
Being asked to read something at a ceremony is a great honour but it does come with great responsibility! Readers can often be fearful of fluffing their words or becoming too emotional or nervous to talk. Make sure that you ask if the reader is comfortable to do it and will not be struck down with fear on the day. They need to be confident with no fear of public speaking and you should explain the significance or meaning of the reading to them so they can get the pitch and timing right.
There are things you, and your Celebrant can help you with, to help readers do a good job and for the ceremony to run smoothly. The best (and most obvious, but you would be surprised) way of helping them deliver a successful reading is to show them the reading in advance. You could even ask them to choose a reading for you if it is someone you trust. This will allow them sufficient time before the day to get to know the text, any tricky words and the rhythm of it in general. It is also vital that you ensure that they have the correct version of the reading as readings are often shortened or words changed.
Often when we ask the reader if they have the reading they will look at us blank and say I do not even know what it is I am reading (honestly, this happens)!!!! On the day we always find the readers prior to the ceremony and put them at ease. We will discuss where their reading sits within the ceremony, where they would like to stand or sit and give them a printed copy of the reading. This helps to calm any nerves they may have and ensure they feel looked after. We have often seen readers turn up with a small scrap of paper with the reading on or even mobile devices. This doesn’t look great as part of the ceremony and this is why we always bring a printed version of the reading with us.
However, don’t worry if you have chosen the perfect reading and cannot think of anyone to actually read it. Any good Celebrant worth their salt will offer to do this for you anyway and will also be on hand to step in should the person you have chosen not be up to it on the day!