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Help! I’ve Been Asked To Read At A Wedding!

Help! I’ve Been Asked To Read At A Wedding!

Being asked to read at a wedding. Do you love the idea, or does the thought leave you shaking in your shoes?

It is often said that speaking in public is one of our greatest fears (not something that affects me, thankfully!), so if your best friend/daughter/brother asks you to read at their wedding, it can be a nerve-wracking time….

What if you cry? What if your hands shake so you can’t hold the piece of paper? What if your voice wobbles? What if you mispronounce the words? What if you fall over walking up the aisle? What if everyone is looking at you? What if…. what if….

Choose your reading carefully. If you have the luxury of choosing a reading or poem, do lots of research

Being asked to read at someone’s wedding is a great honour – enjoy it! I’ve been used to public speaking all my working life. I trained initially with the Armed Forces (as a civil servant), then with the Civil Service college, where we had BBC radio and TV newsreaders advising us how to do it well. I then used to teach effective speaking within the Ministry of Defence, and I am now regularly invited to speak on radio for the BBC.

Over the years, I have picked up some useful tips, and here are the top 10 for when you are asked to read at a wedding.

The top 10 for when you are asked to read at a wedding.

1. Don’t panic! It will be just 3 or 4 minutes out of your life. Feeling nervous is normal. I still get butterflies every time I’m about to read, and I have been speaking in public for almost 40 years! Pre-match nerves are ok – they give you the energy to get up and perform!

2. Choose your reading carefully. If you have the luxury of choosing a reading or poem, do lots of research – there are thousands of examples out on the internet. Find something that resonates with you, whether that is something from Winnie the Pooh or Pablo Neruda – if you actually like what you are going to read, it makes it a whole heap easier.

3. Practice is essential. Practise your chosen reading a lot. The more you know the piece you are going to read, that fear of losing your place or stumbling over your words disappears.

4. Print your reading in a large, clear font. DO NOT USE CAPITAL LETTERS AS THAT IS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO READ IN LARGE CHUNKS. I suggest Arial 14 point, and use 1.5 or even double spacing.

5. If you have dyslexia, you may already know this one, but printing your reading onto pale yellow or peach paper makes the words easier to distinguish.

6. Read much more slowly than the speed at which you normally speak. It may sound agonizingly slow to you, but your audience will not have heard this reading before. Speaking too quickly to get it over with is where most people get it wrong!

7. Speak loudly, without bellowing. I always tell people to speak as if there is a batty old grandma in the very back row with a dodgy hearing aid…. It may sound odd to your ears, but I promise it will sound beautifully clear to those who are listening.

8. Before you get up to speak, have a good drink of cool water (ask the venue staff if you can have a glass of water to take into the ceremony room, or have a bottle of water with you to take a (discreet!) swig from. The act of swallowing water relaxes your vocal cords and stops that awful ‘dry mouth’ feeling.

9. Stand up straight with your head up – don’t hide away by ducking your head, or having your shoulders down, it will affect your voice! Take a deep breath before you start – a slow, gentle breath in through your nose is very calming.

10. Look at the bride and groom when you are reading, and SMILE! You aren’t facing the guillotine, and if you prepare to enjoy your 3 to 4 minutes, then your audience will too.

If you would like any tips on reading in public, or if you would like some ideas for readings, I am always happy to help! Email me on

Thanks for reading

Judy Mansfield

Judy Mansfield, an experienced wedding celebrant in our region , considers all aspects of Weddings

Banburyshire Info Wedding Editor

International Civil Celebrant at Cherish Ceremonies


tel: 01926 930393 mobile: 07713 278699

Come and join us on Social Media at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/CherishCeremoniesUK

Twitter: www.Twitter.com/Cherish4You

Linked In: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/celebrantjudym/

Regional Finalist: The Wedding Industry Awards 2015-2016

Best UK Celebrant: Guides for Brides 2016

Best UK Celebrant  Guides for Brides 2017


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Wedding service providers – that come recommended.

From honeymoon experts to photographers, cake makers to boutique caterers, you’ll find plenty of local suppliers who can bring your wedding vision to life.

Sam and Steve Photography.

For YOUR Documentary Wedding Photography.

Sam and Steve Photography. For YOUR Documentary Wedding Photography.

Ok, it may sound formal, but in fact it is anything but!

Documentary wedding photography means telling stories, documenting the wedding in the same way as a photojournalist would. Reportage, candid, observational wedding photography are other ways of describing our approach. We prefer “story telling”. However one chooses to describe our approach, the key point is this; we tell the story of your day in photographs. Who was there, what happened when, what was going on whilst that you missed in the excitement of the day. Everyone will tell you the day will go so quickly; its true.

Let us provide the memories that will last a lifetime.


We’d love to hear all about your plans….

Let us know all about your wedding plans and we will be in touch in a jiffy. If you use Hotmail, Gmail or similar, don’t forget to check your spam filter if you haven’t heard from us within a day or two.


Tel: 01869 226255

Web: www.samandstevephotography.com

Address: 101 Isis Avenue, Bicester, Oxfordshire OX 26 2GR


Vine House Studios.


Need a photographer for your wedding?

Then take a look at Vine House Studios. Ivor McCullagh & Becky Moyce are one of the leading wedding photography duo’s in the Banbury area.

Experienced and trusted wedding photography by Vine House Studios

View the reviews on Google

Address: Vine House Studios Heath Farm Swerford Chipping Norton Oxfordshire OX7 4BN


Phone numbers:
Studio – 01608 683880
Becky – 07581 784707
Ivor – 07791 763329

Web: www.vinehousestudios.co.uk


Darren Bedding Photography.


Looking for wedding photography inspiration?

Meet Darren Bedding wedding photography.

Known as the perfect gentleman who takes everything in his stride. With a fast developing reputation of delivering high quality photographs with excellent customer service. Both ensure a reassuring experience.

Capturing intimate moments enabling couples to relive their beautiful memories for a lifetime to come. This is where your family legacy begins.

View the reviews on Google

Darren mainly works throughout Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire, and the Cotswolds. Although has been contracted to work throughout the UK.

Address: Prescote Manor in Cropredy Oxfordshire.


Phone numbers:

07867 801693

01295 273108

Web: www.darrenbeddingphotography.co.uk


Travel Counsellors Lindsay Aspinall & Dawn Gascoigne.


Knowledgeable honeymoon experts.

Specialising in honeymoons, weddings abroad and tailor-made holidays. Whether it’s an exotic retreat to distant golden sands or your ultimate adventure trip, simply share your vision of the perfect wedding and honeymoon with us, and we’ll make it a reality.

Whatever your needs, Lindsay & Dawn are here to help you.

Email: /

Tel: 07818 000671 or 07824 633865

Web: www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/lindsay.aspinall / www.travelcounsellors.co.uk/dawn.gascoigne


Cherish Ceremonies.

Plage Keller, on Cap d'Antibes wih Cherish-Ceremonies

For the Wedding Ceremony of your Life …

Unique and beautiful ceremonies that you will always cherish.

Judy the Celebrant designs beautiful bespoke weddings ceremonies. Find out why more and more people are choosing Judy as their Celebrant by visiting Judy’s reviews

Judy is based in Warwickshire, but travels worldwide.


Tel: 07713 278699 or 01926 930393

Web: www.cherish-ceremonies.co.uk


Bloomin Events Florists for that independent personal touch.


Flowers for all occasions …

Offering a same day delivery service, which we have FREE delivery in Banbury and only a small delivery charge elsewhere.

Over 21yrs experience. Modern, Classic, Dramatic and Elegant Floral Designs.

We specialise in Weddings.

Offering you a home, business or venue consultation at a time that suits you. From large scale venue decoration to the smallest detailing in your bridal bouquet, we will design a package to suit tailored to your unique requirements.

Visit our website and take a look at our Weddings galleries.

Orders can be taken on our website www.bloomin-events.co.uk/

Tel: 07880 618 899



Fresh Wed.

Fancy a Beautiful Wedding Video?

Who doesn’t want a video as that special keep sake. Fresh Wed – capture your most special day with high attention to detail, quality and production value. Making your memories last forever with our bespoke video service.

Contact Fresh Wed today

Email: enquiries@fresh-wed.co.uk

Tel: 07815 311509

Web: www.fresh-wed.co.uk


Sweet Celebrations balloon decorating service.

Sweet Celebrations. YOUR balloon decorating specialists.

Sweet Celebrations. YOUR balloon decorating specialists.

On-site balloon decorating service to suit all occasions as well as supplying top quality Balloons designs for collection.

Balloons are exciting and add magic to any size of celebration, function or party. They have versatility, movement, colour and tremendous visual impact.

At Sweet Celebrations we specialise in decorating venues, weddings, parties, christenings, anniversaries proms and corpoarte events from subtle table decorations to elaborate themed decorations to transform you venue.

Sweet Celebrations only use the highest quality qualatex balloons with a wide choice of colours and designs.

Balloon clusters starting at £8.00.

Try our a renowned balloon decorating service.

For more information or a balloon quote please call us on 01295 269472 or e mail Ken and Jane on

19-20 Church Lane
OX16 5LS


Cakes by Kit.

Wedding Cakes by Cakes by Kit

Cakes and cookies for all occasions.

Traditional celebration, and wedding cakes by Kit.

Here at Cakes by Kit, I believe in making your cakes look amazing and taste amazing in equal measure!

I have been using my creativity and baking skills to make delicious cakes for over 20 years.

I can offer you beautiful and delicious cakes and cookies that are a great centerpiece for every occasion.


“If you are looking for that perfect cake for your special occasion, look no further than Cakes By Kit. They offer a 5 star service and VIP treatment for all their clients. I would highly recommend them as professional cake makers.” Source Google

See more reviews on Facebook

Contact Karen at Cakes by Kit


Tel: 07870 500919

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/CakesByKit

Web: www.cakesbykit.com


Smillies Cakes & Pops.


Looking for some inspiring wedding cake ideas?

Every bride-to-be wants a wedding cakes that looks as good as it tastes, and with Cakes by Smillies Cakes & Pops you can be sure to get the best of both worlds.

All products are made to order and use only quality ingredients including locally sourced free range eggs and our homemade jam in our filled cakes. Wherever possible Cakes are made within 24 hours of delivery to ensure freshness and allowing you to enjoy them for longer.

We can offer products to cater for specific dietary requirements such as diabetic, wheat intolerance and dairy free.

Plus; we offer, Sweetie Treats, Vintage Cart & 3ft Ferris Wheel, popcorn carts, cheese carts, 4ft LOVE, venue decoration including chair covers and much more.

Tel: 07969 728751

Web: www.smilliescnp.co.uk

Facebook Page: Smillies Cakes Pops

Address: 2 Maple Close Woodford Halse, Daventry, Northamptonshire NN11 3ND


Wedding Catering Services by First We Eat.

First We Eat cakes. Photo by John Harrison

Whether you are looking for handmade chocolates as favours, a cake with a difference or to feed all your guests, we can help you make your event special.

We use only fresh ingredients – with as many as possible sourced locally. Special dietary needs are not a problem and we are happy to talk gluten, dairy and nut free menus. We have some example menus but all menus are tailored to your needs and budget.

We have catered for most things from corporate lunches through to weddings with over 120 guests – but also birthday parties, marriage blessings, christenings and engagement parties!

Why not give First We Eat a call on 0753 034 2312 or email .

Website: www.firstweeatuk.co.uk


Sharon Priscilla Bridal and Occasion Wear.


Have your dream wedding dress designed and crafted just for YOU!

At Sharon Priscilla everything is made to the highest quality standards for what we see as possibly the most important clothing purchase you will ever make.

Sharon Priscilla is a family run business based in the heart of Oxfordshire. Creating bespoke wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, occasion wear, veils, tiaras, bridal sash belts and jewellery.

Booking an appointment is essential;


Tel: Sharon 07866 742349 or Louise 07834 599865

Web: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SharonPriscilla

Address: Crouch Street Banbury OX16 9PP

Everything to do at Sharon Priscilla is woven around the individual needs to create a truly unique item of clothing.


Indulgence Boutique Catering.


Award winning boutique caterers specialising in the creation of sensational menus. Experts in weddings.

Heavenly food presented with impeccable service.

Your dedicated Indulgence wedding expert will ensure your day is utter bliss, from the first sip of Champagne to the last crumb of cake.

A wedding is probably the most important day of two peoples’ lives. There are no rehearsals. Indulgence’s professional and talented team combined with their entirely bespoke wedding catering service, will ensure that whether your needs are simple or sumptuous, classic or contemporary, every culinary desire you have for your wedding day will be delivered with passion and meticulous attention to detail.

For enquiries, please contact us:


Tel: 01295 690888

Web: www.indulging.co.uk

Address: Main Street, Farnborough Banbury OX17 1DZ


Kevin Merry Horse Draw Carriages.


Why not make your wedding magical?

A horse-drawn carriage is the perfect way to arrive at your wedding in style.

Our original Victorian carriage is drawn by two stunning black Fresian horses and can be decorated to complement your chosen flowers or colour scheme. The carriage can be used open or fully closed, ensuring your occasion is a success, regardless of the weather. This carriage can carry four people.

We have other horses and carriages, so your entourage can also travel in style – we can tailor our carriages to suit your personal needs.

Based in Oxfordshire, we offer our services throughout the south of England.

“The carriage, horses and of course yourself and staff really carried off the elegant and dignified start to our married life we were looking for…” Chris and Emma

“Thank you so much for being part of our special day. It was a dream come true to have such a beautiful horse and carriage, I felt like a princess!” Jess and Daniel

For more information about viewings, prices and availability, please do not hesitate to contact Kevin Merry, he will be more than happy to discuss your individual requirements.


Tel: 07976 219830

Web: www.kevinmerry.co.uk


Cherwell Edge Wedding Venue.

Cherwell Edge Wedding Venue

Your Wedding day is one of the most important days in your life.

Here at Cherwell Edge we will play our part in ensuring that it will be one you remember for years to come.

We have a range of packages however, should you have any specific requests we would be very pleased to try and accommodate you.

Our Head Chef has put together some wonderful menus for you to choose from.

Please feel free to discuss these and any other dietary requirements with the Wedding Co-ordinator

Address: Cherwell Edge Golf Club, Appletree Road, Chacombe, Banbury, Oxford, OX17 2EN, UK

Phone: 01295 711591


Web: www.cherwelledge-weddingvenue.co.uk




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Whether you live, work or just love the Banbury area known as Banburyshire, this website is for you. You’ll find the site crammed full of useful and essential information such as travel times, news, jobs, events, articles, food, local businesses and so much more.

Rolls Royce's outside St Marys in Banbury


Banburyshire Info provides a comprehensive resource for residents, businesses, and visitors to the Banburyshire area.

The site crammed full of useful and essential information such as travel times, news from the area, events and business pages.

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