The types of readings that can be read in a secular ceremony
are vast, so you want to give careful consideration to who will
perform a reading, and what will actually be read.
What to Read
The first consideration is what will be read. This may be a
anything that is an extract of literary text, poetry, prose,
song lyrics, even religious extracts are acceptable.
Readings should be poignant, thought provoking, and even event
defining. There is an almost infinite library of literary works
and extracts available, so you should be able to find something
that can be used.
When to Read it
Traditionally, readings are performed before the exchange of
vows (and exchange of ring) ceremony, and after the welcome
(or optional monitum) by the Celebrant.
Whilst there is no strict tradition with regard to the placement
of readings, performing the readings early in the ceremony is
not only the more popular preference, but arguably contributes
to the enhancement, intensity, and suspense of the main ceremonial
Who Should Read
The decision of whom should perform a reading is bi-fold, meaning
that couples may select a family or friend to do a reading,
or someone the couple knows may ask (or offer) to perform a
reading. Often, the person (or persons), performing the reading
will be an integral part of the couple's life or be someone
that is of great importance (such as a sibling or spouse).
How Long to Read
Readings that are shorter in length, tend to be better received
than those that drag-on for longer periods. This is possibly
because texts are often selected for a singular message or symbolic
metaphor, making longer texts excessively 'fluffy' (or long
winded), and smaller texts more punchy.