Over the course of my time as a marriage celebrant, one of the key things that I see in pretty much every wedding is a reading of some sorts. It could be a poem, a reading from the Bible or simply a word of encouragement. The long and the short is you can have any reading you want.
My encouragement for anyone getting married is to consider including a reading in your service.
There are 2 key benefits of a reading:
Firstly, it provides a way to include another family member or friend in the service.
It's a very privileged position to bring a reading at a ceremony, and if there was one person you desperately wanted to include in the bridal party, but couldn’t, why not consider giving them the role of bringing the reading at the ceremony. They will feel honoured and appreciate that you have a role for them to play.
Secondly, many marriage celebrants today like to provide a brief word or message of encouragement for the bride and groom. A nice way to transition into this is from a reading. Thus, the marriage celebrant uses the theme of the reading as the basis for his/her message of encouragement. So if the reading centres on ‘love,’ the celebrant might consider bringing a short 3-5 minute message explaining what love in the context of a marriage is and how the couple might display love to each other.
As you see, a reading’s not just another thing to throw into your ceremony. It's, in fact, very important and has numerous benefits. It provides you with a way to include someone you couldn’t fit into the bridal party, and it helps provide the celebrant a theme to use in their encouragement message.
Therefore, as you're in the planning stages of your wedding, start thinking about what reading you want, who will bring it and how the celebrant can use it in the service.