The write choice: writing a personalised reading isn’t as scary as you might think

Although there’s sure to be a reading out there that’s personal to you both, Sarah Gillespie reckons nothing can compare with one written for your big day

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The readings that usually hit the spot are ones that are composed by the speaker themselves, as that makes it so personal.

I recently wrote a poem for my friend’s wedding and I can honestly say it was one of the most special moments of my life.

When she asked me (after a few drinks, of course), I was instantly panic-stricken. I write for a living, but in my head there was a massive gulf between being a journalist used to writing about wedding cakes, and a proper creative writer producing heartfelt prose. Turns out, if you know two people inside out and have a basic understanding of rhyming, it’s not that difficult. That’s why I would recommend it to couples looking for something truly special for their ceremony.

Once I stopped trying to be Shakespeare and started thinking about my friends and everything that I loved about them (even if they hated it about themselves or each other), my finished product was something that they couldn’t have found in any book. My friends weren’t great romantics, so cheeky nods to her poisonous cooking and occasional need for an escort home from the pub at midday and his penchant for tank tops and pinching things had the entire ceremony room in hysterics – much to my relief.

If you can’ think of anyone who would be up for it, it’s something you could ask your friends, bridal party or families to work on together. One piece of advice I’d give them is no matter how scary it seems, or how rubbish you think your reading is (last-minute doubts are a killer!), it’s the most poignant gift you can give a couple getting married. After the wedding I had my reading printed and framed with their wedding horseshoe as an extra present. I love going to their house and seeing it on the wall. It makes me feel as if I did something really special for them.


READINGS THAT YOU’LL LOVE

CUTE

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton

The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.
Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur. The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.
I like this Dinosaur, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny. He is also quite clever, though I will not tell him this for now.
I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur. She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice. She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.
But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. He is also overly fond of things. Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?
But her mind skips from here to there so quickly, thought the Dinosaur. She is also uncommonly keen on shopping. Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?
I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur, for they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.
I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping, thought the Dinosaur, for she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.
Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.
Look at them.
Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.
For the sun is warm.
And the world is a beautiful place.

ALTERNATIVES
1 Us Two by A. A. Milne
2 Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton
3 I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

POP CULTURE

Carrie’s Poem from Sex and the City

His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She was a question to be answered
And his answer was ‘I do’

ALTERNATIVES
1 500 Miles by The Proclaimers
2 I Love You Because by Johnny Cash
3 As by Stevie Wonder

FUNNY

Yes, I’ll Marry You, My Dear by Pam Ayres

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
And here’s the reason why.
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry.
And if we hear a knocking
And it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch, you see,
And you investigate.

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It’s you that has to mend it.
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him.

Yes, I’ll marry you,
You’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty,
You can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!

It’s you who has to work the drill
And put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT
It’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you.
And so before you see the light,
I DO, I DO, I DO!

ALTERNATIVES
1 I Rely On You by Hovis Presley
2 He Never Leaves the Seat Up by Anon
3 Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr Seuss

TRADITIONAL

1 Corinthians 13

Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.
When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

ALTERNATIVES
1 My Luve is like a Red Red Rose by Robert Burns
2 How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
3 Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

 

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