One of the challenges we had in planning our wedding was figuring out what to do regarding that whole “having people do a reading” thing.
We didn’t want to have someone read the same old standard Bible verses that show up at every wedding. Not because our faith isn’t important to us…Christianity is absolutely central to our lives and to our relationship. But we wanted our wedding to demonstrate that in a way that mattered to us.
I searched the Internet high and low for funny readings, offbeat readings and even sappy readings. Nothing seemed to fit. Then two things happened.
One, I ran across a Mr Rogers quote from a song called “It’s You I Like.” Now Mr W grew up in Pittsburgh and our farm is only about 40 minutes south of the city, so Mr Rogers carries a special place in the heart of this region. Add that to the fact that I’m a huge Mr Rogers fan and it seemed like the perfect cross between funny and sappy.
So we asked Mr W’s sister to read the lyrics as our first reading…just to set the stage of the innocent, child-like love and connection our whole family felt as Mr W, the kids and I came together.
It’s You I Like – Mr Rogers
It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair–
But it’s you I like.
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys–
They’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like–
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.
Second, I found myself explaining “our story” to people again and again. We only dated for a bit over three months before getting engaged, so for a lot of our friends and family, this whole wedding thing came out of left field. We knew we’d be fielding tons of “how did you meet” questions at the wedding and reception…why not address them during the reading?
So the two of us sat down and wrote out a “he said/she said” script of how we met, courted, fell in love and got engaged. Then we asked dear friends of ours if they’d each read the appropriate part during the ceremony.
It took about 5 minutes and it generated some of the best laughs (and great photos) of our ceremony.
Her: Once upon a time…
Him: In a galaxy far, far, aw
Her: [interrupting] Shhhh!
Him: In a castle on a hi….
Her: [interrupting] Shhh!! Wait no, that castle part is good.
Him: There was a man
Her: And a woman
Him: Looking for love.
Her: But not just any love.
Him: A Godly kind of love…and a love with someone who would love their kids as their own.
Her: So they both signed up for Eharmony
Him: And he looked through his matches and he saw a girl named Jennifer…and he was drawn to her and something said “you’ve GOT to talk to her.” So he sent her a request to connect.
Her: And she saw he was from Pennsylvania and she went to click delete…but something about him stopped her. So she looked up Bentleyville and saw it was only two hours away, and she responded.
Him: And by the next day he asked to call her…
Her: And she said yes. And they talked for seven hours that first day.
Him: And he asked if he could drive up the next day to take her on a date.
Her: And she said yes.
Him: And so he did. And they had a wonderful time and they talked…and talked and talked some more…and twelve hours later, it was time to drive home.
Her: And as they said goodbye, she wondered if he’d call…until he said…
Him: “would you mind if i called you on the drive home?”
Her: So they talked for two more hours that night. And he STILL called the next day.
Him: But he was stuck working in Virginia Beach for the next month.
Her: And so she teased him about flying up to take her on another date.
Him: Of course the next weekend…he flew up from Virginia Beach to take her on another date.
Her: And when he went back, she overnighted homemade carrot cake to his hotel.
Him: And he asked her to come to Bentleyville to meet his friends and his sister.
Her: And her friends couldn’t stop asking about him. And the more they heard, the more they said things like “We’re gonna have to call him Mr Wonderful.”
Him: And the more she came to Bentleyville, the more his friends said things like “Where did you find her…?”
Her: And they talked about their faith and pretty soon they started to pray together each night.
Him: And they talked about what mattered to them…their kids, their dreams, what they wanted out of life.
Her: And pretty soon…her friends started asking if she thought he might propose.
Him: And he was giving it serious thought…
Her: And she said…”it’s only been two months…don’t be crazy!” so she told him…you better not propose before Valentine’s Day…that’s just too soon.”
Him: Soon it was Valentine’s Day and he whisked her off to Florida where he took her to see the World of Harry Potter and to visit the wonderful world of Seuss.
Her: And where she took him to meet Lions and Tigers and for a walk through the trees.
Him: And on the way home he said…”you’re fair game now.”
Her: And she laughed and said “you better get my parent’s permission.”
Him: And so it went for another month…and as she talked with his sister, his sister said “it’s like God made you to be exactly what he needs.”
Her: And when he called her dad, he was told “I’ve never seen her so happy before.”
Him: So he set up a trail of clues one Friday as she was driving to see him. And he hid in the basement while she searched.
Her: And she, being “Jen” threw a wrench in it by stumbling upon his hiding spot while searching. So they laughed as he sent her on her way.
Him: Until she came to the last clue and read “Jennifer Laycock I love you and your family and want to make them mine.”
Her: And OBVIOUSLY she said yes!
Him: So they set a date.
Her: And they counted down the days till she and the kids could move.
Him: And his son said things like “Miss Jen, i love you!”
Her: And her kids said things like “Mr Matt, we can’t wait for you to marry our mommy!”
Him: And a few moments from now…
Her: They’ll both say:
Together: “I Do!”
We had many people tell us afterwards that this was one of their favorite parts of the wedding. It made it personal, it made it real and it completely kept pace with the laid back, informal tone of the whole day.
Honestly, this is one of those things I’d love to see more couples do at their weddings. I love to hear people’s stories and I think a wedding is the perfect place to tell it.
What did you do during your reception to make the ceremony more person to you and to your story? I’m always curious about what other people come up with for their own ceremonies.