Aroha mai, Aroha atu
Love received demands love returned

A Māori whakatauki / proverb

What is a reading?

A reading is where a poem or an excerpt from a book, the words of a song or any other written material e.g. a love letter is spoken (read out) during the ceremony. It may be about your journey as a couple so far, it may be about the things you love in each other or love doing with each other, it may be about your future together as a couple.

Why have a reading?

The crafted words of a poem, song or story excerpt encapsulate meaning, often symbolically and act as a touchstone within the ceremony. This article explores 'what makes a poem right for a wedding?'

What do you want to say?

Your ceremony is about you and who you are as a couple. What is the style of your ceremony; traditional, modern, unconventional? Do you love classical romantic literature or prefer contemporary poetry. Do you have a line or two you love from children's literature? Do you want the words to be light, humorous or quirky. 

Think about what you are passionate about and how does this influence your life together as a couple and what you wish to express to yourselves and others through your ceremony. For example you might consider:- your family, travelling, theatre, art or music, your cultural, philosophical or spiritual values and beliefs or nature and the environment.

Choosing the right piece

You may have clear ideas about this already. If not, I can suggest poetry or readings for you once I know what you want in your ceremony. You can also look online, however, I think it is helpful to have formed some ideas around the type of poem or reading you want before you start browsing the web based on what I have suggested above. This is all part of the conversations we have together and what I offer you as your celebrant. 

Poetry for weddings

This article explores the challenges the author faced in finding just the right poem to read at a friends wedding. In writing the article she spoke with poet Paula Green who edited Dear Heart: 150 New Zealand Love Poems (now out of print). There are some useful suggestions contained in the article I do havea wide range of resources and can lend you a book or two to browse through. You can also check out your local library or bookstore. It is also well worth visiting Unity Books and/or Scorpio Books.

Penguin Books has Poems and Readings for Weddings by Julia Watson. This is available as a ebook and can be downloaded through Google Play Store. You could also try Poems for Weddings and Poems for Love selected by Laura Barber also published by Penguin Books.

Searching Online?

Weddings Guide NZ has a selection of readings to suit a diverse range of ceremonies.

You can also try Poemhunter or PoetryNook here you can search by category e.g. love, marriage or weddings.

Don't forget the music ...

However, don't forget your favourite music as a source of inspiration. Is there a significant piece of music from when you first met, or is there a favourite song you both love?

Of course, you also need to think about the music you want to include in your ceremony - usually a piece to commence the ceremony or enter into the ceremony with, a piece to play during the signing of the documents and a piece to end and/or exit the ceremony with.