Personalizing Your Wedding Ceremony: Readings

hermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readings we choose for our wedding day
I have looked at our wedding photographs over and over again, each time I find new (more) favorites! But today, I want to talk about the moments of our wedding ceremony when my two cousins, Kristen and Nathan, were speaking the readings I had asked them to read. While they were reading Cory and I listened to their words, held hands and looked at each other. This moment I was able to soak in where we were, what we were vowing too and the person I was choosing to do this all with. I couldn’t believe that the person I got to look at was Cory. The hands that I got to hold were his hands! I got to see his mouth curl up into a smile that expanded to his cheeks. Those led me right up to his blue eyes and that is where time stood still for a moment.
As we listened to the words that we picked so carefully to showcase what we wanted our marriage to be built from that day forward, I knew that these readings helped to slow our day down. That choosing to look at each other during these moments helped me to truly soak in the ceremony that much more and memorize that smile that I was lucky enough to fall in love with.

I believe in personalizing your wedding day to fit your relationship in the best ways possible. That is why when I found these readings, I thought that they would be perfect. Each reminded me of our relationship and some aspects reminded me of each of my cousins’ marriages.

I always write about hand holding with your loved one and how much I think it represents our lives so I choose Kristen to read aloud to all of our guests the ‘Hands Ceremony’ reading. The author is unknown and I did take out some sentences to shorten it a little but this is what she read to us:
hermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readings
I ask you to join hands as a symbol of the union that you are making here today. I’d like you to think about the hands that you are holding. These are the hands of your best friend that are holding yours on your wedding day, as each of you pledges your love and commitment to one another all the days of your life. 
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other. The hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes your way. The hands that will work along side yours as you build your future together. The hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
The hands that will tenderly hold your children. The hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase your dreams. 
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it. These are the hands that will give you support knowing that together as a team everything you wish for can be realized.
These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you. 
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch. 
hermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readingshermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readings
We choose to write our own vows to each other and I selected the ‘Union’ reading for Nathan to speak to lead us into our personal vows. The ‘Union’ reading speaks about details of our relationship and our lives. From our long car rides to the mountains or to Florida, is when we have had some of our best conversations about our future together. We even picked our wedding song in the car driving through the mountains a few years before. This reading is by the author Robert Fulghum and Nathan read to all of us:
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way.
All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “you know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. 
Now you will say words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after this ceremony, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife. 
hermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readingshermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readings This look and expression that Cory has will always be my favorite memory of our wedding ceremony. His expression, holding each other’s hands, his eyes and his smile, bring me back to this exact moment in our ceremony. The most compliments we got about our wedding day was our wedding ceremony, especially our Vows. I am happy to say that each moment and detail chosen was to truly reflect us and our relationship as much as possible.
hermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readings hermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readings The other things that we choose that were personal to us, was I walked down the aisle to his favorite song by Sigur Ros. We choose the Vitamin String Quartet version. We wrote our own vows that took at least three minutes each to speak them out loud to each other. Our minister, Michael Simeone, personalized our wedding ceremony and did a marvelous job marrying us. He even whispered for us to not got get carried away during our first kiss!
(Sorry!) 😉 I am a wedding photographer, so I knew to kiss more than once to make sure our photographer got a great photo of it! Which she got several, because we just wanted to celebrate and hug onto each other and never let go!
hermitage museum and gardens wedding ceremony readings
Our wedding ceremony, and our entire wedding day for that matter, was where we had our first kiss when we were dating! After we became Husband and Wife, we joyously walked up the aisle to “Eight Days A Week” by The Beatles. I am sharing these wedding ceremony readings because I love them but also because I want brides and grooms to have options for their readings. I hope when you plan your wedding day that you make every aspect personal to you and your husband or wife. They do not have to be things that cost money, but more so to create the moments within the moments that mean the most to you. I loved being able to fully create a ceremony that reflected us so much. That helped us to be present and to appreciate all of the words spoken, the stolen glances, holding hands, and of course our first kiss. Several first kisses, in our case.
All photographs taken by our wedding photographer and friend: Erika Mills Photography