A group reading; guest participation on a new level

Wedding ceremony in Malaga

How many of us have been to a wedding ceremony where boredom has made our eyelids so heavy, we could have done with matchsticks to prop them open? I’m sure you all have your hands up. I certainly have! There is nothing worse than being a guest at a wedding and feeling like your presence makes no difference to the ceremony whatsoever and that everything that takes place could have done so whether you were there or not.

Getting married in the presence of family and friends, in one of the most beautiful things that anyone present gets to be a part of. Sometimes, it can be a really nice gesture to not only let your friends and family witness your marriage but to be a very active part of the marital process. Engaging your nearest and dearest shows your desire for them to truly be a part of your ceremony and gives them the chance to vocalise and/or show their happiness and support of your marriage.

There are so many simple elements that can be incorporated into a ceremony so that your guests are participants as well as spectators to your special union. From the passing of the rings to friends and family vows you can easily make sure that your guests are fully engaged and involved in your ceremony, with zero chance of boredom setting in!

Wedding ceremony in Malaga

A group reading allows your guests to be engaged and to experience the emotions of your ceremony with you.

Sharing the love

One new element which I absolutely love the sound of and cannot wait to try out for myself, is the idea of having a group reading. This idea was introduced to me by Ceremony Celebrant Katie Deverell who recently shared her ideas of how she has adapted a few popular wedding readings so that all of the wedding guests could be involved and not just one reader! I cannot tell you how much I love this idea.

So Katie rather ingeniously used one version of the popular wedding reading ‘The Apache Wedding Song/blessing,’ to create a ‘call and response’ reading between the celebrant and the wedding guests. Take a look here at how it flows.

Your celebrant: Now you will feel no rain,
Your guests: For each of you will be shelter for the other.
Your celebrant: Now you will feel no cold,
Your guests: For each of you will be warmth for the other.
Celebrant: Now there will be no loneliness,
Guests: for each of you will be companion to the other.

Celebrant: We give you the blessing of air, in wind and thought.
Guests: May the winds bring you many joys.
Celebrant: We give you the blessing of fire, of warmth and passion.
Guests: May the flames of love fill both your hearts.
Celebrant: We give you the blessing of water, changing and flowing.
Guests: May the deep well of emotion be yours.
Celebrant: We give you the blessing of earth, constant and stable.
Guests: May the foundation of earth keep you at peace.
Celebrant: We give you the blessing of spirit, of the mysteries of life.
Guests: May the wisdom of the universe be yours to share.
Celebrant:We give you the blessing of the sun, bringer of life.
Guests: May his warmth and radiance fill you with joy and health.
Celebrant: We give you the blessing of the stars, distant and serene.
Guests:: May their light bring you guidance and tranquillity.

Celebrant: Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
Guests: May beauty surround you through all the years,
Celebrant: And may your days together be good and long upon the earth.

Celebrant: Brad and Angelina, Go now to your dwelling place to begin the days of your life together.
Guests: May your home be a place of happiness for all who enter it.
Celebrant: A place for growing and a place for sharing.
Guests: A place for music and a place for laughter.
Celebrant: A place of blessing and a place for peace.
Guests: May your love grow stronger with each passing day.
Celebrant: And may you live long and happily in each other’s arms.

No brainer to include in your ceremony

Do you love this or do you love this? What a wonderfully creative way to have ALL of your loved ones show their love and support of you and to actually get to voice it too. And they will enjoy getting to do it, as it will feel like being back at school again! AND even better, the logistics of it all is easy peasy. No rehearsals required, no prior knowledge needed. All you’ll need to do is to either include the wording on your order of service, if you’re having one, or simply print out the words on to card or paper (one per pair) and have them placed on the seats prior to the ceremony. Your celebrant will explain what needs to be done, right at the moment of doing it. Easy? Or easy?

Other variations

If this version of the Apache Wedding Song seems a bit too wordy or long for you, here is a variation of it, which may be more fitting and does not require too much effort on your guests’ part.

Celebrant: Now you will feel no rain
Guests: for each of you will be shelter to the other.
Celebrant: Now you will feel no cold
Guests: for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Celebrant: Now there is no loneliness for you,
Guests: for each of you will be the companion to the other.
Celebrant: Now you are two people,
Guests: but there is only one life before you.
Celebrant: Go now to your dwelling place
Guests: and enter into your days together.
Celebrant: And may your days be good
Guests: and long upon the earth.

Here is another reading that would also make a fantastic call and response, group reading.

From love by Leo Buscaglia

Celebrant: In discussing love, it would be well to consider the following premises:
Celebrant: One cannot give what he does not possess.
Guests: To give love you must possess love.
Celebrant: One cannot teach what he does not understand.
Guests: To teach love you must comprehend love.
Celebrant: One cannot know what he does not study.
Guests: To study love you must live in love.
Celebrant: One cannot appreciate what he does not recognise.
Guests: To recognise love you must be receptive to love.
Celebrant: One cannot have doubt about that which he wishes to trust.
Guests: To trust love you must be convinced of love.
Celebrant: One cannot admit what he does not yield to.
Guests: To yield to love you must be vulnerable to love.
Celebrant: One cannot live what he does not dedicate himself to.
Guests: To dedicate yourself to love you must be forever growing in love.

Just like having a group song at a wedding, there is something special about a mass reading too. Engaging, intimate, heart-warming; a wonderful way to be married by your peers. Why not got for it?

Well, I’m certainly sold, aren’t you?

About the author

Natasha Johnson

Natasha Johnson is an experienced Wedding Celebrant, blogger and writer on all things related to weddings, in particular wedding ceremonies. Her mission is life is to encourage couples to see the importance of their wedding ceremony and to get married in just the way they want to. Make sure you catch her on the Engaged and Ready Wedding Podcast, here or on iTunes and Stitcher.

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