'You are the colours in my rainbow, the tick to my tock....'. These expressions would express perfectly the love a couple have for each other. The words could be read out by the celebrant to the invited guests, or they could be part of a prepared reading which one of the couple has written to express their love for their partner. A wedding ceremony is a public decloration of mutual love, but it is also about two different people and their very personal story.
Each couple has a story to tell and the function of the wedding celebration ceremony should be to showcase that story, to give the personal and unique context of the commitments they are making in front of their loved ones.
Anyone looking for a legal wedding ceremony will very quickly encounter the template ceremony with its fixed rituals and inflexible inputs from the couple. The couple are only able to share the bits of their story that fit the template. The ceremony becomes a compromise that needs to be made to become legally married. Increasingly, as a result of this, more couples are now holding a second ceremony, a wedding celebration ceremony, which is about them - and one in which they do not have to compromise.
A wedding celebration ceremony, delivered by a celebrant, offers a blank canvas for the couple to create a very meaningful and unique, self portrait. If the couple write their own vows and their own expressions of love for each other they take ownership of the occasion. Making your own vows such as 'I will love you for ever', is you expressing your love - not you agreeing to how someone else believed that love should be expressed. The picture you are painting is your picture, the colours you use and the style in which you paint it should be chosen by you. You are the colours in each other's rainbow.
Readings and music are necessary in a ceremony only to the extent they help tell the couples' story. The phrase 'we need a reading' is entirely wrong, but the decision to include a particular passage from a book because it expresses perfectly what the couple feel is entirely right. A popular choice in this regard is extract from Douglas Adams
He hadn’t realised that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognised its tones, until it now said something it had never said to him before, which was,'Yes.'
Rituals as part of a wedding celebration ceremony help to create the theatre of the occasion. They can be chosen for their cultural significance or because they express what the couple want to say to each other and their loved ones. There are a large number of possible rituals that could be incorporated into the ceremony by a celebrant (exchange of rings, hand-fasting, jumping the broomstick etc.) - which ones should be included should be the couple's choice. It is their ceremony!