Couples don’t usually like to dwell on each other’s previous relationships, but for many well-read adults, their first love was books. Sharing a passion for reading brings couples closer together. Maybe you swap eBook libraries like other couples share a bowl of popcorn.
Maybe you hunch over during vacation travel so you can both listen to audiobooks on the same pair of earbuds. Maybe you just love snuggling up with a few battered paperbacks before bed and reading choice passages aloud to each other. If books are a part of your love story, it’s only right to choose a wedding location that includes them on your important day.
Choose a Meaningful Location
One of the many perks that libraries offer as wedding locations is their unusual beauty. Libraries come in many sizes, shapes, and atmospheres. They can boast sweeping staircases, antique chandeliers, and arched ceilings, or they can be small, cozy, and intimate. Some libraries have extensive children’s reading areas with interactive sculptures, displays, and reading nooks. Look for a library that embodies the aspects that are most appealing to you.
Be Ready to Compromise
You may be picturing a room full of bookshelves reaching to the ceiling. But saying your vows under the watchful eyes of Shakespeare and Dickens is not always possible. Many libraries, especially those that house rare books, are rightly concerned about protecting their collections. That means that cocktail hour amidst the classics is out. Your number of guests may be limited, too.
Ask about saying your vows in a bookshelf-lined room, then retiring to a reception room when it’s time to serve food and drink. If the library staff feels especially protective of their book areas, but you have your heart set on your favorite reading room, it’s time to compromise even more.
Ask the library management whether you can hold your engagement photo shoot there instead. With only you, your spouse, and one photographer, you’ll have a better chance of gaining admittance after-hours.
Ask for Help
Unless your library is large enough to host special events on a regular basis, you may be faced with a perplexed staff. After all, planning weddings is not a library’s usual business! Be ready to tackle a wide range of DIY projects. Keep a well-organized spreadsheet and be meticulous with your budget and calendar. Otherwise, you probably want to hire a professional wedding planner to make sure all of the details happen in the right order to get you the day you want.
Become a Good Library Citizen
You’ll have the best chance of scoring a library as a wedding venue if you have an existing connection to that library. Check out the school libraries at your alma mater. In this electronic age, it’s easy to forget that libraries are physical locations, too. Go to your local library and soak up the atmosphere. Get to know the people behind the reference desk. Ask about opportunities to volunteer.
When you request rental space for your wedding, go in armed with the specific details you love about the place. You’ll find the staff is a lot more flexible when they know you have a personal relationship with the building.
More Than a Location
It’s not enough to hold your wedding in a library building. Fully embrace your literary lifestyle by crafting an all-encompassing library theme. Appeal to your guests’ nostalgia by arranging the seating cards in an old card catalog drawer. Send out invitations and Save the Dates on the same type of withdrawal cards that come in the front of borrowed books. (Don’t forget to stamp the important “arrive by” date!)
If you can’t use the actual shelving rooms as your reception area, bring the library theme with you in the details. Use old books as centerpieces.
Hire a poet with a typewriter to give your guests custom-created wedding favors on demand. Silk bookmarks also make beautiful favors. Have your guests sign the margins of your favorite large-format novel as a one-of-a-kind guestbook. Use old or damaged books to make origami decorations from your favorite passages. Decorate tables with freestanding globes, reading lamps, or stacks of the largest dictionaries you can find.
If you both really love books, there’s no better place to affirm your love of each other than in a library. For anyone who considers books to be good friends, you can’t have a wedding without extending them an invitation! After all, the greatest love stories of our time can be found within the walls of a library. Why not have yours take place in one, too?
Lisa is a special needs teacher and a hugger. She always makes time for everyone and lightens up everybody’s lives with her presence. When she is not chasing her students around the yard, she finds time to write about what she truly loves, and you guessed it, its people and relationships.