Crafting our ceremony: readings

16 October 2012

I didn’t much mention our ceremony in pre-wedding posts (though of course, I shared our chapel with you here… also mentioned tidbits here and here), mostly because we wanted as much as possible to unfold as a surprise for our guests. Behind the scenes, however, our ceremony was the topic of choice in the months leading up to the big day. The ceremony was by far the most important part of the day to John and me; we wanted it to tell a story about our relationship (where we’ve come from), our present (what we value), and our future (our hopes and dreams). Arching over everything, we tried to make decisions that would celebrate the faith we have in our Lord.

We felt one of the best ways to do that was through our readings, and we’re so pleased with the ones we decided on! One was extremely easy to pick, one was fairly easy, and the last one was quite hard. I’d love to tell you about them!

The first one, the one that was easy, was an excerpt from Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. MC is one of both my and John’s favorite books, and this passage in particular has always been meaningful to us. Here it is:

When I first read this passage, soon after John and I started dating, I pretty much hated it. I thought it was unromantic, and untrue. Seven years on, I find it both terribly romantic, and very true. I would love to hear your thoughts! This reading was given by Alyssa, whom we met in college and consider the first dear friend that we made together.

Our second reading I said was fairly easy to pick. We knew we wanted a reading from the Bible, and though we considered several, including Philippians 2:1-5, Philippians 4:4-8, Romans 12:9-18, and Proverbs 3:1-12, we eventually decided on Colossians 3:12-17, RSV:

I love this reading so much, and really look to it as a guide for how I should be treating John. The patience part, I am still working on :) Some of you might remember that we also used a verse from this reading (different translation) on our invitations, so including it in our ceremony was a nice way to bring things full circle. We asked our dear friend Jackie, with whom we attended both high school AND college, to give this reading. We like to think she was extra qualified, since she had just graduated with her Master of Divinity!

For our final reading, we wanted something more “literary,” since we both have always loved reading and I was an English major with a concentration in poetry. However, it was hard to agree on a reading that we both loved AND found meaningful. We considered a few poems (I love Neruda), tossed around the idea of an excerpt from a letter between John and Abigail Adams, and almost went with this one, except that John didn’t think we should choose something that he had never heard of before our wedding:

In the end, I’m glad he insisted, because the reading we ended up with couldn’t have been more perfect. We found it by going back through a box of old letters we sent to each other over the years. In one, I had included this excerpt from The Little Prince:

Once we chose this reading, we knew exactly who we would have read it at our ceremony: my high school English teacher and long time mentor, Amanda. She did a beautiful job!

Next week, we’ll talk ceremony music selections!

Tell me: Which readings did you choose for your ceremony? I LOVE hearing what people picked, so please share!

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October 16, 2012 2:54 pm

Ah I love this! We just got married too and actually used Colossians 3: 12-14 as well. We paired it with a passage from Ruth (1:16) and thought it was very appropriate for us and our relationship without being the same bible reading that gets done over and over!

We also did the “Art of Marriage” which I just love.

Thanks for Sharing!

October 16, 2012 4:39 pm

Being a guest at your wedding, I must say my favorite readings were the first (Lewis) and the last (Little Prince). I fell in love with both of them, and it gave such depth to your ceremony. I love them!

Will and I leaned heavily on music, and not as much on readings. The lyrics to this song were my favorite at our wedding : “Heart of Servants” by Shane and Shane :

Jesus, You are
Jesus, You were
Jesus, You will always be
a perfect servant to us
a perfect servant to death
even death on a cross.

Give us the picture of Your face
show us the measure of Your grace
reveal the love of the Father
put within us tenderness
release from us all selfishness
we’ll consider them better
we’re Yours
give us hearts of servants

October 21, 2012 12:16 pm

Beautiful passages! I definitely love the Mere Christianity quote, as well as the Little Prince being very sweet and different! I’ve mostly heard I Corinthians 13 and the Colossians passage…however that never negates their import. Many of the weddings in my faith use so much music that I love the idea of a reading for the air of reverence it lends.

Thank you for sharing these personal choices and reasonings!

March 18, 2013 1:01 am

I must admit – I’m completely new to your blog, but I plan to read more. I found the CS Lewis MC passage on Pinterest (gotta love whomever created that!). I’m touched by the message and had to find the originating web post. I’m glad I strayed from pinning. ;)

I’ve been married for nearly ten years, been with DH for fourteen years. Marriage has not always been easy, so the MC passage is even more meaningful with the trials we have behind us.

We did not have a traditional wedding. In fact, we really did’t have one at all. We were at a point in our relationship that made us think marriage was just a change of name for me and joint tax return status. So, rather than do things “right”, we went to a justice of the peace (quick read-the-preset vows, exchange cash, sign papers, good-bye). Looking back, it’s sad that we thought that. We missed out on professing our true feelings for one another in front of our loves ones and realizing that Lewis’s message was true and just as valuable as being “in love”.

Also, at the time, we were not what you would consider faithful. We each had our private feelings and beliefs but weren’t faithful together. In recent years, a variety of situations have brought out the faith in me that was always lingering in the shadows. With a lot of prayer on my part and a lot of reading & discussion between us, he’s beginning to feel His presence. Our ten year anniversary is approaching and we’ve discussed a re-commitment ceremony. This time around, we want our friends and family to share it with us. I think the aforementioned passage is going to be at the top of the list for readings, and the others will definitely be considered.

There have been a couple times in our recent past that we could have used the Lewis passage to remind us what’s important and that the “change” in our relationship was normal and necessary and healthy. Currently, we’re there, but I’m planning on printing and framing it so we are reminded when we need to be. And, I’m planning on getting a copy of Mere Christianity.

Thank you for posting it, and thank you to whomever pinned (and repinned) it. <3