Credit: Liz Banfield

Take a page from your favorite book (or even a phrase from a special song), and share it with your wedding guests. They're bound to be touched by the beauty and the sentiment.

They may not be as important (or as legally binding) as that small-but-significant phrase "I do," but the words that are read at your wedding nevertheless have a big impact. They can send spirits soaring, speak volumes about your love, and make a powerful impression on your guests -- quickly eliciting a few chuckles or even a few tears. Whether it's a poem, a short essay, or a passage from a longer work, "a reading is a great opportunity to put your stamp on your ceremony," notes Liz Seccuro of Dolce Parties in Greenwich, Connecticut. If you find a selection that clicks, "when you look back on your day, it's something you'll remember," she says.

Unfortunately, it's also something brides and grooms often overlook. Couples tend to be so focused on other aspects of the wedding that they forget to think about this way to add meaning, as well as a moving and personal touch, to their ceremony, the pros say. Many end up choosing readings at the last minute -- "often right before we go to press with the programs," says Seccuro -- or delegating the task to their planner or officiant.

That's a shame, because while poring through stacks of books may seem daunting, the search you undertake with your fiance to find the perfect words to express your love can be as romantic as the words themselves. Don't think you need to choose something you struggled through in literature class. In fact, if a passage seems stuffy, or if you have a hard time making sense of it, it's probably not right for you. Instead, you might turn to a beloved childhood story, a few lines from a novel you adore, the lyrics of a favorite song -- almost anything goes, as long as you follow a few guidelines.

First Things First

Picking Your Readers

Just the Right Words

Readings to Consider


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