A reading at your wedding ceremony from a dear friend or family member can be a truly personal and lovely addition to the proceedings. But if it’s delivered by the wrong person, it can only make things… well… awkward. Luckily, there aren’t many “wrong people” out there to deliver a wedding ceremony reading, and most people can rock the task.
But for your peace of mind, here are the remaining five people who should absolutely not be giving readings at your wedding ceremony.
A reading at your wedding ceremony by your poetic teen niece could be stunning. But a reading by your four-year-old niece? Probably not the effect you’re looking for. Kids doing things are usually pretty cute (see: flower girls) but giving them a task they probably can’t complete just for cuteness factor isn’t fair to anyone. Keep readings reserved for people who can proficiently read, understand and deliver the content with feeling. Save the simpler jobs for the youngsters. Don’t feel guilty, they’ll have the opportunity to read in and be in plenty of weddings when they grow up!
Your Very Political Friend or Relative
The only place worse for talking politics than at the dinner table is during a wedding ceremony. Even if you and your spouse are very politically active people, you still don’t want anyone’s political views to become a theme of your wedding. It invariably causes tension and awkwardness in a large group—especially when no one necessarily came to talk politics and everyone’s just there to have fun and celebrate love. A politically passionate pal might weave some inflammatory remarks into their reading that could take the rest of your ceremony and even reception into a much more dissonant mood.
Anyone with Stage Fright
You should also consider this when choosing your attendants of honor and reception speakers—no one should be asked to do any sort of public performance at your wedding if they have severe anxieties about public performances. It’s just not worth it for anyone involved—they will remember your wedding day because of how stressed it made them rather than how lovely it was, and you won’t get the beautiful speech you’ve always dreamt of hearing at your wedding. (This is especially true for readings at wedding ceremonies, which should be delivered with a certain level of care and gravitas.) The bottom line is, no friend or family member should have to deal with extreme anxiety just to be a part of your wedding. These folks can participate in other, less showy, ways, and you can reserve the readings for people who genuinely enjoy public speaking and entertaining.
Anyone Who Tends to Drink Too Much
There’s only a slim chance that you know a person like this, but if you do and are considering asking them to read during your ceremony, think again. Weddings tend to bring out the… ahem… lush in all of us, so if you have a friend who’s prone to overindulging, this might be a time when they knock back a few more than they should, earlier in the day than they should—particularly if they’re nervous about their role in your big day. This could make for a rocky road of a reading, and you certainly don’t want to spend all morning worrying about whether they’ve had too much to drink or whether they’re capable of carrying out a reading.
Your Busiest Friend
When we’re planning our weddings, we tend to want to involve as many of our favorite people in as many ways as possible. It’s a reflex. And those people, because they love us, tend to say yes to whatever we ask—even if they have too much on their plates already. So whether it’s your best friend with two babies and a high-powered job, or your partner’s best man who’s already committed to being the usher and guest bartender of your wedding, think again about loading one more task upon these busy bees. First of all, readings at a wedding ceremony are a smart opportunity to involve other people in your wedding who don’t already have some of the “bigger” roles like being an attendant. Second, you and your spouse deserve a reading from someone who has enough bandwidth to plan and practice—a ceremony reading shouldn’t be someone’s afterthought.