Like every aspect of your ceremony other than the legal bits, including poems or readings is not compulsory. However, they can be a great way to:
- help you express your feelings and thoughts in ways you may not feel able to
- change the mood or tone of your ceremony
- involve guests in your ceremony
- hear another voice other than your celebrant (however lovely their voice may be!)
What to choose
Choose what you feel would hold the most importance for you during your ceremony. Perhaps it’s the reading, perhaps it’s the person doing the reading. Saying why you’ve chosen both the readers and the poetry or readings can add a lot to your ceremony. Not only for yourselves, but also for your guests, for the readers themselves, or even for the way the whole ceremony comes together on the day.
If you don’t have a particular text in mind, your celebrant can share a selection with you to give you some ideas. There is so much amazing material out there, including from novels, songs or movies. You can also ask friends and family for ideas.
Including religious texts
While it would clearly be disingenuous to include collective acts of religious worship such as hymns or prayers in a humanist ceremony, it may be possible to include some readings and music that could be considered to have religious origins. The bible extract from Corinthians is a classic example of this.
Most couples choose a humanist ceremony because it’s non-religious, but we can often adapt poems or readings to remove religious connotations. This can work well, so it’s always best to chat through the options with your celebrant.