Awesome wedding readings for bad-ass couples

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Thanks to Neil Girling for submitting this photo to the Offbeat Bride Flickr pool.

I've started my search for some offbeat readings for my wedding in October…

Have you compiled a list anywhere of readings from modern literature, songs, etc that are a little edgier and more current than the traditional?

-Buster

If you're looking for readings that have a few less thou shalts than your typical wedding material, here are a few of my very favorites, which include references to science-fiction vampires, insomnia, and red right ankles.

From "First Poems," Rainer Maria Rilke

Understand, I'll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I'll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too.

Our Union, by Hafiz From "Love Poems from God," Daniel Ladinsky (ed), c2002

Our union is like this:

You feel cold so I reach for a blanket to cover
our shivering feet.

A hunger comes into your body
so I run to my garden and start digging potatoes.

You asked for a few words of comfort and guidance and
I quickly kneel by your side offering you
a whole book as a
gift.

You ache with loneliness one night so much
you weep, and I say

here is a rope, tie it around me,
Hafiz will be your
companion
for life.

Red Right Ankle by the decemberists

this is the story of your red right ankle
and how it came to meet your leg
and how the muscle bone and sinews tangled
and how the skin was softly shaped
and how it whispered 'oh, adhere to me
for we are bound by symmetry
and whatever differences our lives have been
we together make a limb'
this is the story of your red right ankle

To Love is Not to Possess, by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one's self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one's self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one's inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon's own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child's scars
Or an adult's deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are square in your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed down from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving, to hide it, fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.

I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the moon in God's presence.

It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know, or how you came here.

I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.

Adrienne Rich, 21 Love Poems

Whenever in this city, screens flicker
with pornography, with science-fiction vampires,
victimized hirelings bending to the lash,
we also have to walk…if simply as we walk
through the rainsoaked garbage, the tabloid cruelties
of our own neighborhoods.
We need to grasp our lives inseparable
from those rancid dreams, that blurt of metal, those disgraces,
and the red begonia perilously flashing
from a tenement sill six stories high,
or the long-legged young girls playing ball
in the junior highschool playground.
No one has imagined us. We want to live like trees,
sycamores blazing through the sulfuric air,
dappled with scars, still exuberantly budding,
our animal passion rooted in the city.

From The Essential Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.

The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.

We are the mirror as well as the face in it.
We are tasting the taste this minute
of eternity. We are pain
and what cures pain, both. We are
the sweet cold water and the jar that pours.

I want to hold you close like a lute, so we can cry out with loving.

You would rather throw stones at a mirror?
I am your mirror, and here are the stones.

Love by Roy Croft

I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can't help
Spider's WebDimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.

From The Irrational Season
By Madeleine L'Engle

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take.If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

'The Book of Love' by Stephen Merritt (The Magnetic Fields)
From the album 69 Love Songs

The book of love is long and boring
No one can lift the damn thing
It's full of charts and facts and figures
and instructions for dancing

But I, I love it when you read to me
And you, you can read me anything

The book of love has music in it
In fact that's where music comes from
Some of it is just transcendental
Some of it is just really dumb

But I, I love it when you sing to me
And you you can sing me anything

The book of love is long and boring
And written very long ago
It's full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes
And things we're all too young to know

But I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings

I, I love it when you give me things
And you, you ought to give me wedding rings

…and that's just the tip of the iceberg! We've got more readings here, and I'd love to invite my readers to share their favorite modern, non-"thou shalt" readings in the comments …

  1. My two favorite bands in this post?! Ariel, you just made the OBB even more awesome.

    The Magnetic Fields have another great song along the same lines –

    It's Only Time

    Why would I stop loving you
    a hundred years from now?
    It's only time.
    It's only time.

    What could stop this beating heart
    once it's made a vow?
    It's only time.
    It's only time.

    If rain won't change your mind,
    let it fall.
    The rain won't change my heart
    at all.

    Lock this chain
    around my hand,
    throw away the key.
    It's only time.
    It's only time.

    Years falling
    like grains of sand
    mean nothing to me.
    It's only time.
    It's only time.

    If snow won't change your mind
    let it fall.
    The snow won't change my heart,
    not at all.

    (I'll walk your lands)
    I'll walk your lands
    (And swim your sea)
    And swim your sea

    Marry me.
    Marry me.

    (Then in your hands)
    Then in your hands
    (I will be free)
    I will be free

    Marry me.
    Marry me.

    Why would I stop loving you
    a hundred years from now?

    25 agree
    • Oh, this is our first dance song! And my fiance picked Book of Love for his reading which even though I love the song, I thought might not be quite appropriate. I feel a bit relieved that others have used it before us!

      5 agree
      • aww, i walked down the aisle to 'the book of love'. i am a huge stephen merritt/the magnetic fields. my ladies walked to 'nothing matters when we're dancing' and one of our "featured songs" was a cover of 'strange powers'.

        2 agree
      • i might walk down an aisle just to be able to do it to "the book of love" that would be so lovely.

        3 agree
  2. Can I add one that we're using? Feel free to take it off the comments if this is the wrong place to post, but we found it hard to find a lovely reading that relates to offbeat mountain bikers!

    Feel free to use: A Marriage Made for Two

    A successful marriage can learn a lot from bicycle riding.

    You should promise each other that you will not be fair weather riders, but venture out together in the wind and the rain. Only by braving the storms as a team will you reap the rewards when the sunshine arrives.

    Look after each other. A well oiled bike will run smoothly and change gear easily.

    Marriage is like a tandem…keep pedalling or the one at the front shouts at you!

    You should promise each other to not only enjoy new adventures and explorations, but appreciate the same old routes you know and love.

    Marriage is a promise to each other to endure the climbs so that you may chase the swoops and swerves of perfect singletrack.

    The journey may be long and may have hills ahead, but if you climb together with love and passion, you will be able to achieve everything you both desire!

    Wishing you all the best from the start line of the greatest endurance event of your lives. Good luck and may each lap be a great adventure.

    **

    Our friend is reading this for us. We actually wrote it ourselves, using some of the lovely comments guests had written with their RSVP's.

    39 agree
    • AHHH! This is perfect. We've just started planning our ceremony. We're not religious and we're having problems finding something that suits our families as well…
      Plus, we're currently restoring an old tandem bike that we're going to ride off on after the ceremony!!!

      12 agree
    • This is awesome. I am going to write something similar about snowboarding for our wedding!!

      4 agree
      • I love this! We are both mountain bikers & snowboarders did you write something similar about snowboarding in the end? I'd love to read it if you are happy to share it?! Also, can anyone recommend anything else outdoorsy, maybe linked to the beautiful mountains??!! x

        4 agree
        • I'm reading for my best friends wedding and came across this one in my search!
          "Blessing For A Marriage", by James Dillet Freeman (back to top of page)

          "May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding. May you always need one another — not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete. The valley does not make the mountain less, but more. And the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, "I love you!" and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another's presence — no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another."

          33 agree
          • this is so lovely, thanks lisa!!

            4 agree
          • this is a BEAUTIFUL blessing! thanks for posting it … my brother is officiating my ceremony & i wanted something he could say instead of the typical prayer or blessing.

            2 agree
          • This is so beautiful and I am definitely having this at my wedding. Thank you so much for posting. <3

            0 agree
    • Thanks, perfect for us as a mountain biking couple :-)

      3 agree
    • This is fantastic! May we use for our wedding?

      3 agree
    • Oh my goodness this is amazing! It would be so great to use something like this for my FFIL to read! He is a bicycle enthusiast! You are a great writer!

      0 agree
    • This is absolutely beautiful. Made me tear up! I am considering it for the wedding…

      7 agree
  3. Hey, look at me there in the blue tie getting married! Our reading was from "Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark" & was the "Green Ribbon."

    8 agree
  4. Excuse me, I just died from that Rilke poem. Rilke! He is some kind of Teutonic super-genius.

    13 agree
  5. When we started looking for wedding readings I especially had a very hard time – I'd start going through the Neruda and Rilke poems and, though they were often lovely, my eyes just glazed over and I couldn't foster any personal connection with any of them. But we finally found some GREAT things – here's what we read when we got married a few weeks ago!

    READING ONE:

    From Colin's grandmother, a Miss Manners lover, the following excerpt.

    "While exclusionary interest in one other human being, which is what we call courtship, is all very exciting in the stages of discovery, there is not enough substance in it for a lifetime, no matter how fascinating the people or passionate the romance.
    The world, on the other hand, is chock full of interesting and curious things. The point of the courtship — marriage — is to secure someone with whom you wish to go hand in hand through this source of entertainment, each making discoveries, and then sharing some and merely reporting others. Anyone who tries to compete with the entire world, demanding to be someone's sole source of interest and attention, is asking to be classified as a bore. "Why don't you ever want to talk to me?" will probably never start a satisfactory marital conversation. "Guess what?" will probably never fail."

    READING TWO:

    My Dad – the only one who actually chose his own reading – read from Da Vinci's notebooks some Notes on the Construction of Arches, interspersed with his own commentary on how this actually is all about marriage. (I don't yet have a transcript of his words, alas, which were really the best part.)

    "WHAT IS AN ARCH?

    The arch is nothing else than a force originated by two weaknesses,
    for the arch in buildings is composed of two segments of a circle, each of which being very weak in itself tends to fall; but as each opposes this tendency in the other, the two weaknesses combine to form one strength.

    OF THE KIND OF PRESSURE IN ARCHES.

    As the arch is a composite force it remains in equilibrium because
    the thrust is equal from both sides; and if one of the segments
    weighs more than the other the stability is lost, because the
    greater pressure will outweigh the lesser.

    ON THE STRENGTH OF THE ARCH.

    The way to give stability to the arch is to fill the spandrils with
    good masonry up to the level of its summit."

    READING THREE:

    My dear friend Katie read a selection from the Massachusetts State Supreme Court ruling on Gay Marriage, and we briefly mentioned how awe-inspiring it was that in our very city, in only two days, EVERYONE was about to get the right to marry. The cheer our guests let up was a joy to hear.

    "Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects.

    Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition. Tangible as well as intangible benefits flow from marriage. The benefits accessible only by way of a marriage license are enormous, touching nearly every aspect of life and death.

    It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a civil right."

    READING FOUR:

    Colin's sister read an excerpt from "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish," included partially because the HHGttG being a crucially formative book for me when I was a child, and partially because it is awesome:

    "They looked at each other for a moment.

    The moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from.

    For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss Cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who awakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savannah stretching grey and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

    He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with a shared surprise.

    He hadn't realized 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 recognized its tones till it now said something it had never said to him before, which was "Yes"."

    And those were our readings. =)

    21 agree
    • Hello Jess! Can you please tell me who wrote the first one" From Colin's Grandmother"? What is that from? Who is Colins Grandmother?

      4 agree
        • It says that his grandmother is a "Miss Manners lover", which a google search confirms is where that piece is from.

          2 agree
    • The excerpt from "So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish" brought me to tears! I've been looking for readings that are personal and non-traditional about honoring and obeying, and he LOVED that book. When looking for readings I had no idea where to start, THANK YOU!

      4 agree
    • Hi Jess

      I realise it was a very long time ago you posted your comment. I'm looking to do a reading for my brothers wedding and I love the one your Dad did. You mentioned that he added some of his own words, which were excellent, but you hadn't posted them yet.
      If you still have them, and are happy to share them, I'd love to read them.
      Thanks for your time
      Laura

      3 agree
    • My friends had the Da Vinci and thier wedding, and it was basically perfect for them – one is a bit of a history buff, the other an engineer, and it was just so beautiful and perfect that I couldn't even.

      1 agrees
  6. Thanks, Ariel!

    This is just what I needed. When I started looking for an offbeat-but-meaningful reading for our ceremony, I went to wikiquote and looked up "marriage." Almost every one of the results were NEGATIVE! How frustrating.

    Ok, I'm off to present the Madeleine L'Engal passage to dear fiance!

    2 agree
  7. If you're looking for something more secular that could cloak itself easily in a traditional ceremony, give Plato a once-over. My siblings-in-law used passages from Plato's "Symposium." It brought something different and unexpected to their otherwise traditional church wedding. It's the only thing I remember about the ceremony…that counts for something, right?

    13 agree
  8. I love that first one, I am going to have to hide it away for our rehearsal dinner.

    2 agree
  9. I didn't know that was L'Engle–I came across it as an option for opening words, so that is what we are using it for, although modified a little.

    I also think that we're going to use that Magnetic Fields song for either the processional or the signing.

    2 agree
  10. We used:

    Reading # 1: Wedding Ritual (adapted from StarTrek: Celebrations by Maureen McTigue)

    With fire and steel did the gods forge the man’s heart. So fiercely did it beat, so loud was the sound, that the gods cried out: “On this day we have brought forth the strongest heart in all the heavens. None can stand before it without trembling at its strength.” But then the man’s heart weakened, its steady rhythm faltered, and the gods said: “Why do you weaken so? We have made you the strongest in all of creation.” And the heart said…"I…am alone." And the gods knew that they had erred. So they went back to their forge and brought forth another heart. But the second heart beat stronger than the first, and the first was jealous of its power. Fortunately, the second heart was tempered by wisdom.

    "If we join together, no forces can stop us." And when the two hearts began to beat together, they filled the heavens with a ferocious sound–and to this very day, no one can oppose the beating of these two hearts.

    Reading #2: "A Picnic on the Earth" by Shuntaro Tanikawa

    Let’s jump rope here, you and I. Right here!
    Let’s have lunch here, you and I.
    Here I will love you.
    Your eyes will reflect the blue of the sky
    And your back will be dyed the color of mugwort.
    Let’s learn, you and I, the names of the constellations.
    Here let us dream of things distant.
    Here let’s gather shellfish.
    Let’s pick a little starfish
    From the sea of the dawning sky.
    At breakfast let’s throw it back
    And let the night recede.
    Here I’ll go on saying “I’m home!”
    While you keep saying, “Welcome back!”
    I’ll come back here again and again.
    Here let’s drink hot tea.
    Let’s sit here, you and I, and be caressed for a while
    By the cool breeze.

    4 agree
  11. My favorite quote that I have had memorized forever:

    To love very much is to love inadequately: We love- That is all. Love cannot be modified without being nullified. Love is a short word but it contains everything. Love means the body, the soul, the life, the entire being. We feel love as we feel the warmth of our blood, we breathe love as we breathe the air, we hold it in ourselves as we hold our thoughts. Nothing more exists for us. Love is not a word. It is a wordless state indicated by four letters.

    Guy De Maupassant

    17 agree
  12. Fantastic! I am madly taking notes as we speak. Now I just need to find more readers….

    1 agrees
  13. I just got married on June 21 and these are the two readings we used. Though I LOVE all the ones you posted.

    The Journey

    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice —
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    "Mend my life!"
    each voice cried.
    But you didn't stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations,
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do —
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

    ~ Mary Oliver ~

    It's not as much about love, but in a second marriage, it was very appropriate!

    Other one was:
    Crusoe by George Bilgere
    When you’ve been away from it long enough
    You begin to forget the country
    Of couples, with all its customs
    And mysterious ways. Those two
    Over there, for instance: late thirties,
    Attractive and well-dressed, reading
    At the table, drinking some complicated
    Coffee drink. They haven’t spoken
    Or even looked at each other in thirty minutes
    But the big toe of her right foot, naked
    In its sandal, sometimes grazes
    The naked ankle bone of his left foot,
    The faintest signal, a line thrown
    Between two vessels as they cruise
    Through this hour, this vacation, this life,
    Through the thick novels they’re reading,
    Her toe saying to his ankle,
    Here’s to the whole improbable story
    Of our meeting, of our life together
    And the oceanic richness
    Of our mingled narrative
    With its complex past, with its hurts
    And secret jokes, its dark closets
    And delightful sexual quirks,
    Its occasional doldrums, its vast
    Future we have already peopled
    With children. How safe we are
    Compared to that man sitting across the room,
    Marooned with his drink
    And yellow notebook, trying to write
    A way off his little island.

    6 agree
  14. The reading I love that we will use somehow at our ceremony is this one:

    Loving the wrong person

    We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us, but if you’ve been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there’s no right person, just different flavors of wrong. Why is this? Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way. But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness. It isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems – the ones that make you truly who you are – that you’re ready to find a life-long mate. You’re looking for the wrong person. But not just any wrong person: the right wrong person – someone you lovingly gaze upon and think, “This is the problem I want to have.” – Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions.

    27 agree
  15. I am planning on playing this song or reading the lyrics…

    Dreaming my Dreams
    The Cranberries

    All the things you said to me today
    Changed my perspective in every way
    These things count to mean so much to me
    Into my faith you
    and your baby

    It's out there
    If you want me
    I'll be here
    It's out there

    I'll be dreaming my dreams with you
    And there's no other place
    that I'd lay down my face
    I'll be dreaming my dreams with you

    It's out there
    If you want me, I'll be here
    I'll be dreaming my dreams with you
    And there's no other place
    that I'd lay down my face
    I'll be dreaming my dreams with you

    3 agree
  16. Other Lives and Dimensions and Finally a Love Poem, by Bill Hicok

    My left hand will live longer than my right. The rivers
    of my palms tell me so.
    Never argue with rivers. Never expect your lives to finish
    at the same time. I think

    praying, I think clapping is how hands mourn. I think
    staying up and waiting
    for paintings to sigh is science. In another dimension this
    is exactly what's happening,

    it's what they write grants about: the chromodynamics
    of mournful Whistlers,
    the audible sorrow and beta decay of "Old Battersea Bridge."
    I like the idea of different

    theres and elsewheres, an Idaho known for bluegrass,
    a Bronx where people talk
    like violets smell. Perhaps I am somewhere patient, somehow
    kind, perhaps in the nook

    of a cousin universe I've never defiled or betrayed
    anyone. Here I have
    two hands and they are vanishing, the hollow of your back
    to rest my cheek against,

    your voice and little else but my assiduous fear to cherish.
    My hands are webbed
    like the wind-torn work of a spider, like they squeezed
    something in the womb

    but couldn't hang on. One of those other worlds
    or a life I felt
    passing through mine, or the ocean inside my mother's belly
    she had to scream out.

    Here when I say "I never want to be without you,"
    somewhere else I am saying
    "I never want to be without you again." And when I touch you
    in each of the places we meet

    in all of the lives we are, it's with hands that are dying
    and resurrected.
    When I don't touch you it's a mistake in any life,
    in each place and forever.

    9 agree
  17. Whee!
    Our first dance was 'Book of Love' by the Magnetic Fields!

    3 agree
  18. We used the Roy Croft one for our wedding last month. We did it as part of our vows, though, each of us reading a line of the poem to each other and then adding our self-written vows at the end. (We hated the idea of repeating after the minister.)

    Everyone loved it. So did we. It was perfect for us. :)

    2 agree
  19. We didn't have this as a reading–I actually incorporated it into my vows–but it would make a REALLY nice reading. From the book "I like you" by Sandol Stoddard:

    I like you
    And I know why
    I like you because
    You are a good person
    To like
    I like you because
    When I tell you something special
    You know it's special
    And you remember it
    A long long time
    You say
    Remember when you told me
    Something special
    And both of us remember
    When I think something is important
    You think it's important too
    When I say something funny
    You laugh
    I think I'm funny and
    You think I'm funny too
    I like you because
    You know where I'm ticklish
    And you don't tickle me there
    except
    Just a little tiny bit
    sometimes
    But if you do then I know where to tickle you too
    You know how to be silly
    That's why I like you
    Boy are you ever silly
    I never met anybody sillier than me
    till I met you
    I like you because
    You know when it's time to stop being silly
    Maybe day after tomorrow
    Maybe never
    Oops too late
    It's quarter post silly
    We fool around the same way all the time
    Sometimes we don't say a word
    We snurkle under fences
    We spy secret places
    If I am a goofus on the roofus
    Hollering my head off
    You are one too
    If I pretend I am drowning
    You pretend you are saving me
    If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag
    Then you are getting to jump
    That's because
    You really like me
    You really like me
    Don't you
    And I really like you back
    And you like me back
    And I like you back
    And that's the way we keep on going
    Every day
    If you go away
    then I go away too
    Or if I stay home
    You send me a postcard
    You don't just say
    Well see you around
    Some time
    Bye
    I like you a lot
    because of that
    If I go away
    I send you a postcard too
    And I like you because
    If we go away together
    And if we are in Grand Central Station
    And if I get lost
    then you are the one that is yelling for me
    Hey where are you
    Here I am
    And I like you because
    When I am feeling sad
    You don't always cheer me up right away
    Sometimes it is better to be sad
    You can't stand the others being so googly and gaggly
    every single minute
    You want to think about things
    It takes time
    I like you because if I am mad at you
    Then you are mad at me too
    It's awful when the other person isn't

    They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could just about
    punch them in the nose
    I like you because if I think I am going to
    throw up then you are really sorry
    You don't just pretend you are busy looking at
    the birdies and all that
    You say maybe it was something you ate
    You say same thing happened to me one time
    And the same thing did

    If you find two four-leaf clovers
    You give me one
    If I find four
    I give you two
    If we only find three
    We keep on looking
    Sometimes we have good luck
    And sometimes we don't
    If I break my arm and
    If you bread your arm too
    Then it is fun to have a broken arm
    I tell you about mine
    You tell me about yours
    We are both sorry
    We write our names and draw pictures
    We show everybody and they wish they had a broken arm too
    I like you because
    I don't know why but
    Everything that happens
    Is nicer with you
    I can't remember when I didn't like you
    It must have been lonesome then
    I like you because because
    I forget why I like you
    But I do
    So many reasons
    On the Fourth of July I like you because
    It's the Fourth of July
    On the Fifth of July
    I like you too
    If you and I had some drums
    And some horns and some horses
    If we had some hats and some
    Flags and some fire-engines
    We could be a HOLIDAY
    We could be a CELEBRATION
    We could be a WHOLE PARADE
    See what I mean?
    Even if it was the
    nine-hundred-and-ninety-ninth of July
    Even if it was August
    Even if it was way down at the bottom of November
    Even if it was no place particular in January
    I would go on choosing you
    And you would go on choosing me
    Over and over again
    That's how it would happen every time
    I don't know why

    I guess I don't know why I like you really
    Why do I like you
    I guess I just like you
    I guess I just like you
    Because I like you

    [sorry that was hella long]

    41 agree
    • Thank you so much! I saw that a while ago when I was browsing one day and couldn't find it again. I love it.

      1 agrees
    • oh my god. I HAVE to use that!! there are so many things in there that exactly relate to my relationship…. like it was written for me! lol…. okay I am a nerd but THANK SO MUCH!!!!!!

      4 agree
    • THANK YOU for introducing this to me! :) I LOVE IT! It is right up my alley! I may end up using this for my ceremony as well, and I'm definitely buying the book! It is perfect! <3

      2 agree
    • We used this as a reading! It was read by a friend with theatrical flair. Very fun.

      5 agree
    • Did you use the entire thing for your vows?? Or some? Cause I would love to use all of it ^_^ lol

      1 agrees
  20. our wedding was themed to edward monkton's lovely love story, and that was our reading.

    The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, HIS cage.

    Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

    The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur's cage with kind words and loving thoughts.

    I like this Dionsaur, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny. He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.

    I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur. She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice. She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.

    But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

    He is also overly fond of Things. Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of Things?

    But her mind skips from here to there so quickly, thought the Dinosaur. She is also uncommonly keen on Shopping. Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?

    I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for Things, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.

    I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping, thought the Dinosaur. For she fills our life with beautiful thought and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.

    Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old. Look at them.

    Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.

    And that, my frends, is how it is with love. Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.

    For the sun is warm. And the world is a beautiful place.

    12 agree
    • we are using this one as well at the end for a reading in lieu of a blessing! And instead of the more traditional opening words that make me want to puke we are opening with the Kavanaugh poem, no intro or "friends and family we are here today" stuff, just straight into the poem.

      3 agree
  21. Thanks for posting this site. My son has asked me to speak at his wedding, and there are some great resources here . . . Nothing corny, just great poems and passages.

    1 agrees
  22. With so many great ones, I thought to possibly add another.

    BTW: LOVE (!) 'I think I like you' Sounds just like me rambling on. I'm so glad to be reminded why we're having this wedding to begin with.

    OK, here's mine. It's from the song 'Love Rain Down On Me' by Jill Scott featuring Mos Def. I took Mos Def's part and changed part of it. Other than obvious he/she differences what I changed is in parentatheses.

    Love rain down on me
    X3
    I stretch my arms towards the sky like blades of tall grass
    A rhythm bounces between my shoulders like carnival jumps
    I sat still in hopes it would help my wings grow
    So then I’d really be fly
    And then she arrived
    Like daybreak inside a railway tunnel, like the new moon, like a diamond in the mines
    Like high noon to a drunkard, sudden
    She made my heart beat in a now-now time signature
    Her skinny canvas were ultraviolet brush strokes
    She was the suns painting; she was a deep cognac color
    (Straight from the sniffer of God’s brandy)
    Her (My) eyes sparkled like lights along the new city
    (Only when reflected in your beauty ocean)
    Her lips pursed as if her breath was too sweet and full for her mouth to hold
    (My lips are pursed waiting for your sweet breath to fill my mouth)
    I said, you are the beautiful distress of mathematics (that I never took the time to learn)
    I said, for you I will peel open the clouds like new fruit
    Give you lightning and thunder as (well as myself) a dowry
    I will make the sky shit (pour) all of its stars like rain
    And I will clasp the constellations across your waist (shoulders)
    (To ease your load of the world)
    (And when you return to me at night)
    And I will make the heavens your (a) quilt
    (Draped over the bed that we will share)
    And they will be pleased to cover you (as they twinkle and shine)
    They will be pleased to cover you (lover of mine)
    (They will be pleased)
    May I please, cover you
    Please, (love you)

    1 agrees
  23. don't forget depeche mode.

    I want somebody to share
    Share the rest of my life
    Share my innermost thoughts
    Know my intimate details
    Someone wholl stand by my side
    And give me support
    And in return
    Shell get my support
    She will listen to me
    When I want to speak
    About the world we live in
    And life in general
    Though my views may be wrong
    They may even be perverted
    Shell hear me out
    And wont easily be converted
    To my way of thinking
    In fact shell often disagree
    But at the end of it all
    She will understand me

    I want somebody who cares
    For me passionately
    With every thought and
    With every breath
    Someone wholl help me see things
    In a different light
    All the things I detest
    I will almost like
    I dont want to be tied
    To anyones strings
    Im carefully trying to steer clear of
    Those things
    But when Im asleep
    I want somebody
    Who will put their arms around me
    And kiss me tenderly
    Though things like this
    Make me sick
    In a case like this
    Ill get away with it

    9 agree
    • I love this song. It is part of our recessional music. I used to sing it in the bathtub when I was 8. My parents loved that I loved their music. Thanks for posting this.

      1 agrees
  24. Anyone have any ideas about a reading for a wedding ceremony from an ancient greek or roman myth? Something from Ovid or someone else in that vein? Thanks!

    2 agree
  25. i just wanted to say i had "the invitation" hanging in my house for years and when it came time to choose something to read at my cousins wedding, nothing seemed more appropriate or supportive. now that i am getting married, i am a bit unsettled that i didnt hold onto this reading for myself! these are true words that will never disappoint…

    2 agree
  26. From Marge Piercy's book, "The Art of Blessing the Day"
    ======================
    The day I forget to write
    the day I forget to feed the cats
    the day I forget to love you
    the day I forget your name
    and then my own.

    Until then I will not cease
    this spinning pattern: part weave
    of skeins of soft wool to keep
    us warm, to clothe our too open
    flesh, to decorate us —

    and part dance, through woods
    where roots trip me, a dance
    through meadows of rabbit holes
    and old ribs of plowing hidden
    under thick grass.

    Until then I will whirl
    through my ragged days.
    Like a spindle, like a dreydl
    I will turn in the center
    of my intricate weave

    spelling your name in my dance
    in my weaving, in my work,
    your hidden name which
    is simply, finally,
    love.
    ===============
    This poem is called "All lovers have secret names"

    4 agree
  27. Our wedding isn't for six months (from today, actually!), but we've already written our ceremony. We chose a range of readings, but my favorite is from the movie 'Serenity' when two of our favorite Joss Whedon characters are talking:

    Capt. Malcolm Reynolds- It ain't all buttons and charts, little albatross. You know what the first rule of flying is? Well I suppose you do, since you already know what I'm about to say.

    River Tam- I do. But I like to hear you say it.

    Capt. Malcolm Reynolds- Love. You can know all the math in the 'Verse, but take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the world. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells ya she's hurtin' 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

    20 agree
  28. There are so many beautiful readings here.

    One that seems very obvious to me is The Cure's Lovesong:

    Whenever i'm alone with you
    You make me feel like i am home again
    Whenever i'm alone with you
    You make me feel like i am whole again

    Whenever i'm alone with you
    You make me feel like i am young again
    Whenever i'm alone with you
    You make me feel like i am fun again

    How ever far away, i will always love you
    How ever long i stay, i will always love you
    Whatever words i say, i will always love you
    I will always love you

    Quietly into the night…

    Whenever i'm alone with you
    You make me feel like i am free again
    Whenever i'm alone with you
    You make me feel like i am clean again

    However far away,i will always love you
    How ever long i stay, i will always love you
    What ever words i say, i will always love you
    I will always love you

    2 agree
  29. We are definitely thinking of having The Cure's Lovesong.

    We are also having a bit more of a funny reading. The lyrics from The Two Of Us by The Mr T Experience:

    Now there are two of us, instead of only one,
    two times as many things get left half undone.
    We're twice as half-asleep when the new day has begun
    and maybe twice as on the run,
    'cause some of them will still be making fun of us.
    They'll say the two of you will never be one of us.
    But even if that's true,
    they'll have twice as much to do
    when there are two of us,
    and one of them is you.
    They'll find the two of us much harder to restrain,
    outsmarted by our impressive double brain
    If one of us runs dry, still another will remain,
    and it's twice as hard to pull the chain
    of two of us, against a ton of them:
    but two of us outnumber every single one of them.
    Two lives are semi-rough
    with half the rent and twice the stuff.
    There are two of us, and that should be enough.
    Look at everybody.
    Everybody's always
    falling apart or breaking up.
    But the two of us never will be one of those,
    and I should know– I have had a run of those
    Our love's not guaranteed,
    but it's growing like a weed.
    There are two of us,
    I think that's all we need.

    6 agree
    • That's awesome! I just got my partner to read it aloud (without telling him what it was or why) and he found it hard not to laugh. I think we may have found at least one of our readings :)

      0 agree
  30. We went for "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News… :D

    5 agree
    • if you weren't already married, i think i would propose to you…

      6 agree
  31. Sometimes I think I've been planning my readings my whole life the way other folks plan the tulle, funky reception ideas or number of kids (I mean, depending on the person). Anyhow, here's one I love.

    Tony Kushner, from “An Epithalamion”

    2.
    Encircled by this breathing world
    within this close sphere of warm summer night
    ringed by this congress of friends here assembled
    we make declaration of our love and our union
    in public declaring what’s privately ours.
    From this crowd of hearts, shared heat and blood.

    3.
    I am yours, who I love, not a dream by life, not fantasy,
    immortality, eternity, but the present moment and all-too-
    mortal flesh; to what is hardest; love is hardest; hard and
    simple and what is best in life.

    Love care honor growth—fine simple things and I make a
    vow of them to you.

    I too vow these to you who I also love and also to the
    careful protecting and preserving of dreams. Circle within
    circle, concentrically guarded, in the pliable element of
    the innermost heart, a garden blossoms in a golden ring;
    the dream of dawn in paradise shines there. Love is
    imagination’s spur and food.

    I promise you a future, impossible things, Justice and freedom
    and life without loss,

    a practical pillow, a home, in fact, a sheltering and withstanding
    spirit and always a room for your dreaming.

    4.
    Light is the Wedding of Matter and Spirit,
    wave and particle, it is neither and both,
    and is in itself the blood of creation.
    It floods across galaxies and has no end,
    it describes and transforms with a single motion.

    May our love be as light.

    VI. And Then…

    Together, old and content,
    the day is warm and nearly over, the first breeze of
    evening
    plays in your hair. The sun sinks behind us,
    silhouetting the city.
    An old hand is ringing down the curtain.
    We cross the bridge that goes east
    into night.

    2 agree
  32. I love the ancient Greek story about soulmates. Basically, the gods created humans to have two heads, four arms, and four legs, but one heart. All people were truly happy, and the gods became jealous, so they split every human so that they only had one head, two arms, two legs, and half a heart. We are destined to find our other half, or soulmate, to become complete again.

    The actual wording of the myth is beautiful (I butchered it just now).

    Another myth I particularily love is Eros and Psyche. Basically, Eros represents the physical, and Psyche the mind. For true love to exist, there needs to be both.

    I love the statue of eros and psyche with his wings all flung out, and her in his arms <3 !!!

    2 agree
    • I love the first myth, too! If anyone is looking for a set out "script" for the myth, Aristophanes explains it in his speech in Plato's Symposium, and I think "The Origin of Love" song in Hedwig and the Angy Inch is absolutely beautiful.

      I haven't heard the second myth, but that sounds gorgeous.

      5 agree
    • there's a song about the first myth actually, its called The Origin of Love from the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch

      3 agree
  33. If you are looking for particularily unique love poems, you might also try a metaphysical poet. They have this amazing way of comparing things so obscurely, but making it sound SO RIGHT.

    Eg- in "Valediction of Forbidden Mourning," John Donne compares his love to the foot of a compass (drawing tool), and himself to the wandering end. No mater how far he goes (the poem is about him leaving on a long journey), her foot brings him in a full circle, and make him end where he began.

    LOVE IT!

    2 agree
  34. We had the Sandol Stoddard one at our wedding. It was awesome. My friend is an actor and he read it brilliantly.

    We also had these:

    "All I Ever Really Needed to Know
    I Learned in Kindergarten"
    Robert Fulgham
    "All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
    These are the things I learned..
    Share everything.
    Play fair.
    Don't hit people.
    Put things back where you found them.
    Clean up your own mess.
    Don't take things that aren't yours.
    Say sorry when you hurt somebody.
    Wash your hands before you eat.
    Flush.
    Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.
    Live a balanced life.
    Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.
    Take a nap every afternoon.

    Be aware of wonder.
    Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

    Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.

    And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together."

    and this:

    “When we find someone
    Whose weirdness
    Is compatible with ours
    We join up with them
    And fall into
    Mutually satisfying weirdness
    That is called
    True love”

    We also had this printed on the first page of our orders of service:

    “This guy is walking down the street, when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out.

    A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up,
    'Hey, you, can you help me out? I'm in a hole here'.
    The doctor writes out a prescription, throws it into the hole and moves on.

    A priest walks past. The guy calls out,
    'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?'.
    The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

    Then a friend walks by. The guy shouts up,
    'Hey, it's me, can you help me out?'
    The friend jumps into the hole.

    Our guy says,
    'Are you stupid, now we're both down here?'
    The friend says,
    'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out'.”
    Leo McGarry – The West Wing

    6 agree
  35. Writer Dan Savage explaining marriage to his 6-year-old son:

    (From act II of the This American Life Episode “A Little Bit of Knowledge” — It's a great story about how Dan and his boyfriend explain marriage and gay marriage to their son.)

    "There's something in your heart that makes you go out into the world and find someone new, someone you've met before, and that's the person you fall in love with."
    “Why?”
    “Because that's how new families are made and someday you'll meet the person you want to make a new family with and that's the person you're supposed to marry.”
    “Why?”
    “Because marriage is a promise that you make to that other person, a promise to stay in love with them forever, to be related forever, and that you'll always be together.”

    I'm not sure if/how I'll use this for my wedding, but it's my favorite definition of marriage so far.

    2 agree
  36. One of my favorite readings is a hilarious and sentimental poem by Ogden Nash, "Tin Wedding Whistle". I first heard it at one of the first weddings I photographed — a Scottish groom and a Jewish bride under a chuppah made of cornstalks on the family farm. Very OBB long before OBB existed…I'm sure she would have fit right in here! Anyway, it is as follows:

    Tin Wedding Whistle
    Ogden Nash

    Though you know it anyhow
    Listen to me, darling, now,

    Proving what I need not prove
    How I know I love you, love.

    Near and far, near and far,
    I am happy where you are;

    Likewise I have never larnt
    How to be it where you aren't.

    Far and wide, far and wide,
    I can walk with you beside;

    Furthermore, I tell you what,
    I sit and sulk where you are not.

    Visitors remark my frown
    Where you're upstairs and I am down,

    Yes, and I'm afraid I pout
    When I'm indoors and you are out;

    But how contentedly I view
    Any room containing you.

    In fact I care not where you be,
    Just as long as it's with me.

    In all your absences I glimpse
    Fire and flood and trolls and imps.

    Is your train a minute slothful?
    I goad the stationmaster wrothful.

    When with friends to bridge you drive
    I never know if you're alive,

    And when you linger late in shops
    I long to telephone the cops.

    Yet how worth the waiting for,
    To see you coming through the door.

    Somehow, I can be complacent
    Never but with you adjacent.

    Near and far, near and far,
    I am happy where you are;

    Likewise I have never larnt
    How to be it where you aren't.

    Then grudge me not my fond endeavor,
    To hold you in my sight forever;

    Let none, not even you, disparage
    Such a valid reason for a marriage.

    8 agree
    • LOVE this poem! I'm also a fan of Ogden Nash's "To My Valentine":

      More than a catbird hates a cat,
      Or a criminal hates a clue,
      Or the Axis hates the United States,
      That's how much I love you.

      I love you more than a duck can swim,
      And more than a grapefruit squirts,
      I love you more than a gin rummy is a bore,
      And more than a toothache hurts.

      As a shipwrecked sailor hates the sea,
      Or a juggler hates a shove,
      As a hostess detests unexpected guests,
      That's how much you I love.

      I love you more than a wasp can sting,
      And more than the subway jerks,
      I love you as much as a beggar needs a crutch,
      And more than a hangnail irks.

      I swear to you by the stars above,
      And below, if such there be,
      As the High Court loathes perjurious oaths,
      That's how you're love by me.

      0 agree
  37. There are some really beautiful readings on here, so many I'd love to use but feel slightly hypocritical as this is my partner's second marriage so all the 'marriage is forever' stuff doesn't really ring true.

    Anyone got any ideas?

    2 agree
  38. BLESSING FOR A MARRIAGE
    ~ James Dillet Freeman ~

    May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
    May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.
    May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
    May you want one another, but not out of lack.
    May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
    May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.
    May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.
    May you look for things to praise, often say, "I love you!" and take no notice of small faults.
    If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
    May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another's presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
    May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy.
    May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

    4 agree
  39. This one is from the Velveteen Rabbit

    a link to the full online text http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/williams/rabbit/rabbit.html

    I think we edited it down a bit from this though it seems really long now that I look at it again, and my whole ceremony was 15 minutes. No need to make people sit quietly in chairs for hours when really they want to hang out and have fun.

    ——-

    For a long time he lived in the toy cupboard or on the nursery floor, and no one thought very much about him. He was naturally shy, and being only made of velveteen, some of the more expensive toys quite snubbed him. The mechanical toys were very superior, and looked down upon every one else; they were full of modern ideas, and pretended they were real. The model boat, who had lived through two seasons and lost most of his paint, caught the tone from them and never missed an opportunity of referring to his rigging in technical terms. The Rabbit could not claim to be a model of anything, for he didn't know that real rabbits existed; he thought they were all stuffed with sawdust like himself, and he understood that sawdust was quite out-of-date and should never be mentioned in modern circles. Even Timothy, the jointed wooden lion, who was made by the disabled soldiers, and should have had broader views, put on airs and pretended he was connected with Government. Between them all the poor little Rabbit was made to feel himself very insignificant and commonplace, and the only person who was kind to him at all was the Skin Horse.

    The Skin Horse had lived longer in the nursery than any of the others. He was so old that his brown coat was bald in patches and showed the seams underneath, and most of the hairs in his tail had been pulled out to string bead necklaces. He was wise, for he had seen a long succession of mechanical toys arrive to boast and swagger, and by-and-by break their mainsprings and pass away, and he knew that they were only toys, and would never turn into anything else. For nursery magic is very strange and wonderful, and only those playthings that are old and wise and experienced like the Skin Horse understand all about it.

    "What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

    "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

    "Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

    "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

    "Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

    "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

    11 agree
  40. Oh and some family members who are definitely off beat did a reading of the Owl and the Pussy Cat by Edward Lear. A lot of the vernacular from this childrens poem has changed meaning over time, making it a "safe" yet utterly envelope pushing depending on HOW it is read.

    http://www.nonsenselit.org/Lear/ns/pussy.html

    3 agree
  41. Love the MTX song. I'm not sure how we're going to use it but The Groovie Ghoulies will be part of our wedding for sure. My boy sang this song to me when we first got together and I was down about him going back to base.

    Till Death Do Us Party:
    Here's how it is, I know the score, don't count on anything for sure.
    Leave no regrets, and waste no time.
    What's mine is yours and yours is mine.
    'Til death do us party, let us make a pact.

    No one will come between us, no one will turn us back.
    No one will get in our way, no one will bring us down.
    No one will make us feel like we're not worthy of the crown.
    I look at things surrounding me, and I like everything I see.
    If it was gone, I wouldn't care, when I look over you're right there.
    'Til death do us party.
    1-2-3-5 No one here gets out alive!
    6-7-9-10 Re-incarnate, do it again!

    1 agrees
  42. And hand in hand,
    by the edge of the sand,
    they danced by the light of the moon,
    the moon,
    they danced by the light of the moon

    Amen. I love The Owl and the Pussycat and was wondering how to incoorporate it into the wedding. I made us a picture book once where I was the pusscat and he was the owl (his totem animal). I really want to repeat the theme.

    0 agree
  43. ZOMG!!! I was looking for a reading for our wedding and have to thank Jess for posting the one taken from the Massachusetts Supreme Court. My partner and I have decided to get married in Mass even though our license won't be valid in our home state of Florida. This makes it bittersweet for us, but just the thought that for the short time we are there, we will have the same rights as our friends, family, neighbors and coworkers have is too much for us to refuse the opportunity. :-)

    4 agree
  44. How appropriate for the kindergarten teacher krowd…or, conversely, the Wall Street set just itching to shed their stodgy shell and fingerpaint for a living:

    The Gorilla Song, by Raffi

    One, two,
    A one two kazoo

    If I were a gorilla,
    la la la la la
    I'd eat me a banana.
    na na na na na
    I'd live in a treehouse
    And swing on a vine,
    But one thing is sure:
    I would love ya,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    And if I were a tuba,
    ba ba ba ba ba
    All I'd do is oompah.
    pah pah pah pah pah
    I would take a big breath,
    And I would march in a band,
    But one thing is sure:
    I would love ya,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    'Cause it don't matter to me-
    Whatever you happen to be;
    An eagle,
    An onion,
    A pig or a grape,
    As long as you're you,
    I will love ya.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    And if I were a space ship,
    ip ip ip ip ip
    I would take a long trip.
    rip rip rip rip rip
    I would circle the planets
    And head for the stars,
    And then I'd come home,
    'Cause I love ya.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    And if I were a daisy,
    sy sy sy sy sy
    Would you still be my baby?
    by by by by by
    I would pull all my petals out,
    One at a time,
    And always come up with
    I love ya
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    'Cause it don't matter to me-
    Whatever you happen to be;
    A beagle,
    A grunion,
    A fig or an ape,
    As long as you're you,
    I'll still love ya.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
    Ba-bum-bump.

    2 agree
  45. This September I'm getting married and the first song will probablt be "If it's the Beaches" by the Avett Brothers. Here is an excerpt from it.

    "If it's the beaches
    If it's the beaches' sands you want
    Then you will have them
    If it's the mountains' bending rivers
    Then you will have them
    If it's the wish to run away
    Then I will grant it
    Take whatever what you think of
    While I go gas up the truck
    Pack the old love letters up
    We will read them when we forget why we left here"

    1 agrees
  46. I did a reading at a friend's wedding recently – Us Two, by A.A. Milne. I thought it was a gorgeous choice, though I did get a wee bit teary!

    Us Two

    Wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
    There's always Pooh and Me.
    Whatever I do, he wants to do,
    "Where are you going today?" says Pooh:
    "Well, that's very odd 'cos I was too.
    Let's go together," says Pooh, says he.
    "Let's go together," says Pooh.

    "What's twice eleven?" I said to Pooh.
    ("Twice what?" said Pooh to Me.)
    "I think it ought to be twenty-two."
    "Just what I think myself," said Pooh.
    "It wasn't an easy sum to do,
    But that's what it is," said Pooh, said he.
    "That's what it is," said Pooh.

    "Let's look for dragons," I said to Pooh.
    "Yes, let's," said Pooh to Me.
    We crossed the river and found a few-
    "Yes, those are dragons all right," said Pooh.
    "As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
    That's what they are," said Pooh, said he.
    "That's what they are," said Pooh.

    "Let's frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh.
    "That's right," said Pooh to Me.
    "I'm not afraid," I said to Pooh,
    And I held his paw and I shouted "Shoo!
    Silly old dragons!"- and off they flew.

    "I wasn't afraid," said Pooh, said he,
    "I'm never afraid with you."

    So wherever I am, there's always Pooh,
    There's always Pooh and Me.
    "What would I do?" I said to Pooh,
    "If it wasn't for you," and Pooh said: "True,
    It isn't much fun for One, but Two,
    Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. "That's how it is," says Pooh.

    1 agrees
  47. This may sound a little silly, but can anyone think of a Harry Potter reading?

    1 agrees
    • there is one on indiebride.com…it is the description of the preparations for Fleur and Bill's wedding and it's darling

      2 agree
  48. We'll use these lines somewhere in our ceremony in three months (probably somewhere in our vows, and then printed in the program as well):

    "i would not wish
    Any companion in the world but you."

    -Shakespeare, "The Tempest"

    Perfect, simple, lovely.

    3 agree
  49. After much searching, we finally found a sweet, non-pretentious and child-like reading for our personalized wedding. Perfect for all dog-lovers. p.s. an epithalamion is a poem written for a bride on her wedding day.

    Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog
    An Epithalamion by Taylor Mali

    First of all, it's a big responsibility,
    especially in a city like Washington, DC.
    So think long and hard before deciding on love.
    On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
    when you're walking down the street late at night
    and you have a leash on love
    ain't no one gonna mess with you.

    Love doesn't like being left alone for long.
    But come home and love is always happy to see you.
    It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
    but you can never be mad at love for long.

    Is love good all the time? No! No!
    Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

    Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
    It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
    It pulls you in several different directions at once,
    or winds around and around you
    until you're all wound up and can't move.

    But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
    People who have nothing in common but love
    stop and talk to each other on the street.

    Throw things away and love will bring them back
    again, and again, and again.
    But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
    And in return, love loves you and never stops.

    7 agree
  50. I really like a lot of the passages that everyone posted, although for the most part I'm not really feelin them for ceremony readings – instead, I'm going to use the ones I like in a book of poetry that I've been wanting to make as a gift for my fiance for a while now. Thanks for the great ideas everyone!

    0 agree
  51. My favorite is a piece of slam poetry by Taylor Mali. It's called "Falling in love is like owning a dog."

    First of all, it's a big responsibility,
    especially in a city like New York.
    So think long and hard before deciding on love.
    On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
    when you're walking down the street late at night
    and you have a leash on love
    ain't no one going to mess with you.
    Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
    Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

    On cold winter nights, love is warm.
    It lies between you and lives and breathes
    and makes funny noises.
    Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
    It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

    Love doesn't like being left alone for long.
    But come home and love is always happy to see you.
    It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
    but you can never be mad at love for long.

    Is love good all the time? No! No!
    Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

    Love makes messes.
    Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
    Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
    Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
    Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
    and swat love on the nose,
    not so much to cause pain,
    just to let love know Don't you ever do that again!

    Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
    Because love loves exercise.
    It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
    It pulls you in several different directions at once,
    or winds around and around you
    until you're all wound up and can't move.

    But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
    People who have nothing in common but love
    stop and talk to each other on the street.

    Throw things away and love will bring them back,
    again, and again, and again.
    But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
    And in return, love loves you and never stops.

    3 agree
  52. I fell in love with this poem working on a play of Wendell Berry poems. I nearly cried everytime the actors rehearsed it. It totally describes where we hope our future takes us.
    We plan to have 2 people read it together, alternating sentences.

    The Blue Robe
    by Wendell Berry

    How joyful to be together, alone
    as when we first were joined
    in our little house by the river
    long ago, except that now we know
    each other, as we did not then;
    and now instead of two stories fumbling
    to meet, we belong to one story
    that the two, joining, made. And now
    we touch each other with the tenderness
    of mortals, who know themselves:
    how joyful to feel the heart quake
    at the sight of a grandmother,
    old friend in the morning light,
    beautiful in her blue robe!

    3 agree
  53. I love the song "Anniversary" by Voltaire. Almost want it as a first song but afraid of it making me cry — it has done that before. :P

    Do I look the same to you? 'Cause I don't feel so.
    You know everything must change as time goes by.
    Though it feels like yesterday when we first met.
    I feel I'm sinking deeper.
    Do you look the same to me? Well, I don't think so.
    You know everything must change as time goes by.
    Like the flowers that dry, locking inside
    forever their beauty.

    And they said this feeling fades,
    it gets stronger everyday.
    And they said that beauty fades.
    You're more beautiful than ever.
    They said we'd drift away,
    we're still standing here.
    And it feels like everyday is our anniversary.

    Well, I stumble through the dark and light a candle
    and the path the wax will take, no one can know.
    And you said it looked like snow or maybe clouds,
    and I think it looks like heaven.
    So we make it into a ring and make a mold.
    And we welt above the flames the whitest gold.
    When hot and cold collide what's left in place
    is forever and ever.
    Some say things worth having take some time.
    As they get older they get better

    6 agree
  54. We used this for our wedding…

    Cat Heaven, by Jets to Brazil

    In the dream that awakened me,
    you had come and taken me to a sea of stars.
    The cat stood in the flowers, two ears above.
    And the ground that was under me
    was holding me so wonderfully on a bed of leaves
    and you were there with me and we were free.
    Everything we saw was beautiful and strong
    and I knew we belonged.
    Then the birds came and carried us to the sky
    and married us on a bed of stars
    where I was always yours and you were mine.
    And in the long black eternity
    I loved you so perfectly in the words of clouds,
    like a bird sings to his flowers
    and I was heard.
    Everything I saw was everything I'd want
    and this world had just begun to live.

    2 agree
  55. Long time fan of John Cooper Clarke so ours is:

    I Wanna Be Yours…

    I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
    breathing in your dust
    I wanna be your Ford Cortina
    I will never rust
    If you like your coffee hot
    let me be your coffee pot
    You call the shots
    I wanna be yours

    I wanna be your raincoat
    for those frequent rainy days
    I wanna be your dreamboat
    when you want to sail away
    Let me be your teddy bear
    take me with you anywhere
    I don’t care
    I wanna be yours

    I wanna be your electric meter
    I will not run out
    I wanna be the electric heater
    you’ll get cold without
    I wanna be your setting lotion
    hold your hair in deep devotion
    Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
    that’s how deep is my devotion

    2 agree
  56. My favorite is Shel Silverstein's "The Missing Piece Meets the Big O".

    Some excerpts:

    "It was missing a piece
    And it was not happy
    So it set off in search
    of its missing piece"

    ""Hi!" It said.
    "Hi!" said the piece
    "Are you anybody else's missing piece?"
    "Not that I know of."
    "Well, maybe you want to be your own piece?"
    "I can be someone's and still be my own."
    "Well, Maybe you don't want to be mine."
    "Maybe I do!"
    "Maybe we won't fit…"
    "Well…"

    "Hummmmm?"
    "Ummmmmm?"

    It fit
    It fit perfectly
    At last! At last!"

    5 agree
  57. I plan to use this as one of our readings, and still looking for a second.

    “Union” by Robert Fulghum
    You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will" – those late night talks that included "someday and somehow and maybe"- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.

    36 agree
  58. Here is a poem I intend to use at our upcoming wedding:

    A Marriage by Michael Blumenthal (for Margie Smigel and Jon Dopkeen)
    You are holding up a ceiling
    with both arms. It is very heavy,
    but you must hold it up, or else
    it will fall down on you. Your arms
    are tired, terribly tired,
    and, as the day goes on, it feels
    as if either your arms or the ceiling
    will soon collapse.

    But then,
    unexpectedly,
    something wonderful happens:
    Someone,
    a man or a woman,
    walks into the room
    and holds their arms up
    to the ceiling beside you.

    So you finally get
    to take down your arms.
    You feel the relief of respite,
    the blood flowing back
    to your fingers and arms.
    And when your partner’s arms tire,
    you hold up your own
    to relieve him again.

    And it can go one like this
    for many years
    without the house failing.

    5 agree
  59. I'm lovin the idea of someone doing a reading with Dr. Seuss. I just wish I knew people who would do it. lol

    1 agrees
  60. Such wonderful readings! You have awesomely creative readers! Trust I'll be poring over these for inspiration!!

    0 agree
  61. A Serenity Quote, Where the sidewalk ends and a request for Harry Potter. Now I am home. Thank you all so much for the lovely ideas, and congrats to all the new offbeat brides out there!

    2 agree
  62. Jeffrey mcdaniel never fails to be simultaneously witty & tremendously talented…this is a poem he wrote for some friends upon their engagement, beautiful stuff:

    The Archipelago of Kisses

    We live in a modern society. Husbands and wives don't
    grow on trees, like in the old days. So where
    does one find love? When you're sixteen it's easy,
    like being unleashed with a credit card
    in a department store of kisses. There's the first kiss.
    The sloppy kiss. The peck.
    The sympathy kiss. The backseat smooch. The we
    shouldn't be doing this kiss. The but your lips
    taste so good kiss. The bury me in an avalanche of tingles kiss.
    The I wish you'd quit smoking kiss.
    The I accept your apology, but you make me really mad
    sometimes kiss. The I know
    your tongue like the back of my hand kiss. As you get
    older, kisses become scarce. You'll be driving
    home and see a damaged kiss on the side of the road,
    with its purple thumb out. If you
    were younger, you'd pull over, slide open the mouth's
    red door just to see how it fits. Oh where
    does one find love? If you rub two glances, you get a smile.
    Rub two smiles, you get a warm feeling.
    Rub two warm feelings and presto-you have a kiss.
    Now what? Don't invite the kiss over
    and answer the door in your underwear. It'll get suspicious
    and stare at your toes. Don't water the kiss with whiskey.
    It'll turn bright pink and explode into a thousand luscious splinters,
    but in the morning it'll be ashamed and sneak out of
    your body without saying good-bye,
    and you'll remember that kiss forever by all the little cuts it left
    on the inside of your mouth. You must
    nurture the kiss. Turn out the lights. Notice how it
    illuminates the room. Hold it to your chest
    and wonder if the sand inside hourglasses comes from a
    special beach. Place it on the tongue's pillow,
    then look up the first recorded kiss in an encyclopedia: beneath
    a Babylonian olive tree in 1200 B.C.
    But one kiss levitates above all the others. The
    intersection of function and desire. The I do kiss.
    The I'll love you through a brick wall kiss.
    Even when I'm dead, I'll swim through the Earth,
    like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.

    1 agrees
  63. Here's a great one:

    Facets of Marriage by Derek Rumpf

    Marriage is like a diamond, many facets both dark and light
    One thing to balance another, as the day does for the night.

    The union of a couple is indeed a wonderful thing,
    Yet remember the sweet and salt, whatever life may bring.

    The perfume of the rose, brings to you an olfactory treat,
    But the dishes left undone, can they not smell just as sweet?

    The letter left handwritten, such nostalgia and romance,
    The text message comes through, “Can you pick up milk by chance?”

    Shouting love over the rooftops, for all the world to hear,
    The seat was left straight up, “Who used it last my dear?”

    The flower petals on the floor, set a scene with romantic air,
    But forget them not those socks and pants strewn about with equal flair.

    A gourmet meal before you, what a scrumptious, wondrous feast,
    Yet mac and cheese with hotdogs, this still feeds a hungry beast.

    One time spending money, on a wonderful, fanciful thing,
    Another time scraping by, to escape the mortgage sting.

    At home and trading stories of the goings-on of the day,
    It’s time to do some house chores, “Must we get to that today?”

    There you stand fit-as-a-fiddle, my what a handsome pair,
    Now stand you soft-in-the-middle, breathless at the stair.

    Vacationing in a far off place, with palm trees all around,
    Working hard for most of the year, with no time to be found.

    Yes, the union of a couple, is indeed a wonderful thing,
    Yet remember the sweet and salt, whatever life may bring.

    Whether perfect or disorderly, fair skies or fowl, harsh weather,
    It’s all part of the program, you just have to do it together.

    2 agree
  64. My favorite is this, as it speaks to the work involved in a marriage:

    Scaffolding
    Seamus Heaney

    Masons, when they start upon a building,
    Are careful to test out the scaffolding;

    Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
    Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

    And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
    Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

    So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
    Old bridges breaking between you and me

    Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
    Confident that we have built our wall.

    6 agree
  65. The Challenge

    This marriage is a determination, to be sustained by love.
    This marriage is an aspiration, to be upheld by love.
    This marriage is an intention, to invite love.
    This marriage is a quest, to appreciate love.
    This marriage is a question, answered by love.
    This marriage is a statement, to honour love.
    This marriage is a request, to be grateful for love.

    This love is this marriage.
    It is humble, it is most noble.
    It is most delicate and it is mighty.
    By its strength may we be tempered.
    By its gentleness may we learn,
    And by love may we prove true.

    0 agree
  66. “I love you,
    Not only for what you are,
    But for what I am
    When I am with you.

    I love you,
    Not only for what
    You have made of yourself,
    But for what
    You are making of me.
    I love you
    For the part of me
    That you bring out;
    I love you
    For putting your hand
    Into my heaped-up heart
    And passing over
    All the foolish, weak things
    That you can’t help
    Dimly seeing there,
    And for drawing out
    Into the light
    All the beautiful belongings
    That no one else had looked
    Quite far enough to find.

    I love you because you
    Are helping me to make
    Of the lumber of my life
    Not a tavern
    But a temple;
    Out of the works
    Of my every day
    Not a reproach
    But a song.

    I love you
    Because you have done
    More than any creed
    Could have done
    To make me good
    And more than any fate
    Could have done
    To make me happy.
    You have done it
    Without a touch,
    Without a word,
    Without a sign.
    You have done it
    By being yourself.
    Perhaps that is what
    Being a friend means,
    After all.”

    4 agree
  67. Oh the Places You’ll Go – Dr Seuss

    Congratulations! Today is your day.
    You’re off to Great Places!
    You’re off and away!
    You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes.
    You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
    You’re on your own.
    And you know what you know.
    And YOU are the couple who’ll decide where to go.
    You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
    About some you will say,
    “We don’t choose to go there.”
    With your heads full of brains
    and your shoes full of feet,
    you’re too smart to go down,
    any not-so-good street.
    And you may not find any
    you’ll want to go down.
    In that case, of course,
    you’ll head straight out of town.
    It’s opener there
    in the wide open air,
    Out there things can happen
    and frequently do
    to people as brainy
    and footsy as you.
    And when things start to happen,
    don’t worry. Don’t stew.
    Just go right along.
    You’ll start happening too.
    OH! THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!
    You’ll be on your way up!
    You’ll be seeing great sights!
    You’ll join the high fliers
    who soar to great heights!
    You won’t lag behind,
    because you’ll have all the speed.
    You’ll pass the whole gang,
    and you’ll soon take the lead.
    Wherever you fly
    you’ll be best of the best.
    Wherever you go,
    you will top all the rest.
    Except when you don’t.
    Because sometimes, you won’t.
    You’ll get mixed up of course,
    as you already know.
    You’ll get mixed up with so many strange birds as you go.
    So be sure when you step.
    Step with great care and great tact
    and remember that Life’s
    a Great Balancing Act.
    Just never forget
    to be dexterous and deft.
    And never mix up your right foot with your left.
    And will you succeed?
    Yes! You will indeed!
    (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
    KIDS, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!
    So, be your name Buxbaum or Dowrie
    or Bassor Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to great places!Today is your day!
    Your mountain is waiting.
    So … get on your way!"

    1 agrees
  68. I found this for ours & it still brings tears to my eyes in its simple truth:

    The Beauty of Love (Anonymous)
    The question is asked: “Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?” And the answer is given: “Yes, there is a more beautiful thing. It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled but still clasped; their faces are seamed but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired but still strong with love and devotion. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old Love.”

    Also- Don Williams' song- You're My Best Friend
    You placed gold on my finger
    You brought love like I've never known
    You'll give life to our children
    And to me, a reason to go on.

    When I need hope and inspiration
    You're always strong when I'm tired and weak
    I could search this whole world over
    You'd still be everything that I need.

    You're my bread when I'm hungry
    You're my shelter from troubled winds
    You're my anchor in life's ocean
    But most of all, you're my best friend

    4 agree
  69. This is a reading for the secular, science-y folk. It's adapted from on of my favorite books, "Woman: An Intimate Geography" by Natalie Angier.

    The circuitries of love and attachment are everywhere within us. No sense is left unseized. Babies play on this by being pleasing to the eye—by being almost too cute, literally, to bear. Human babies arrive pre-fattened, and the reason for this is unclear; gorilla babies are born with almost no fat on them, and the extra bulk of a human baby makes birth harder for the mother.
    Perhaps babies are fat simply to make them look adorable. The visual seductions of a baby, a chubby, soft, rounded baby with its fleshy arms and thighs, may magnify the baby’s power to win the warmth and the touch of its mother.
    Rounded too is the sound of love, the rising and falling voice with which we coo at babies and a mate. As adults, we co-opt the warmth of baby talk to win a lover’s affections. We step ontogenically backward, offering coos, swoops, and warm nicknames of our own invention.
    Touch also conveys warmth. We stroke and dance with our lovers, we stroke and rock our infants—just the thought of rocking our babies fills us with warmth and joy. We instinctively know the right way to stroke someone—too fast, that’s irritating, too slow, that’s dull. Other mammals lick their pups or kittens, and babies nuzzle into it—this is as lovely as life will be.
    Smell too is a subcognitive minister, preaching bonds we are at a loss to describe or understand. We know the way our lover smells. A person who is anosmic—who has no sense of smell—can feel lust, but has difficulty forming attachments. A scent can trigger a memory, an image, or an emotion, whether it is the smell of our lover’s perfume or our grandmother’s pumpkin pie.
    We humans can maintain with just our minds the neuronal state of attachment. We have photographs. We have friends who mention the loved one. We walk the same streets and eat in the same restaurants where we once strolled and dined with the loved one. Again and again, the circuitries of love are reignited, and our minds protect the pathways of attachment. We don’t understand all of the endocrinology, the neuroanatomy, or the biochemistry of love. But we know it when we feel it. And we feel it here today.

    3 agree
  70. Friendship By Elizabeth Jennings

    Such love I cannot analyse;
    It does not rest in lips or eyes,
    Neither in kisses nor caress.
    Partly, I know, it’s gentleness

    And understanding in one word
    Or in brief letters. It’s preserved
    By trust and by respect and awe.
    These are the words I’m feeling for.

    Two people, yes, two lasting friends.
    The giving comes, the taking ends
    There is no measure for such things.
    For this all Nature slows and sings.

    Friendship By Elizabeth Jennings

    Such love I cannot analyse;
    It does not rest in lips or eyes,
    Neither in kisses nor caress.
    Partly, I know, it’s gentleness

    And understanding in one word
    Or in brief letters. It’s preserved
    By trust and by respect and awe.
    These are the words I’m feeling for.

    Two people, yes, two lasting friends.
    The giving comes, the taking ends
    There is no measure for such things.
    For this all Nature slows and sings.

    That First Day By Christina Rossetti

    I wish I could remember, that first day,
    First hour, first moment of your meeting me,
    If bright or dim the season, it might be
    Summer or Winter for aught I can say;
    So unrecorded did it slip away,
    So blind was I to see and to foresee,
    So dull to mark the budding of my tree
    That would not blossom yet for many a May.
    If only I could recollect it, such
    A day of days! I let it come and go
    As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow;
    It seemed to mean so little, meant so much;
    If only now I could recall that touch,
    First touch of hand in hand – Did one but know!

    http://www.weddingreads.com/wedding_readings/ helped me alot :-)

    0 agree
  71. cool readings! we're using a quote from the sci-fi author we love, Ursula Le Guin :)

    0 agree
  72. By Dorothy Day:

    We confess to being fools and wish that we were more so. In the face of the approaching atom bomb test (and discussion of widespread radioactivity is giving people more and more of an excuse to get away from the philosophy of personalism and the doctrine of free will); in the face of an approaching maritime strike; in the face of bread shortages and housing shortages; in the face of the passing of the draft extension, teenagers included, we face the situation that there is nothing we can do for people except to love them. If the maritime strike goes on there will be no shipping of food or medicine or clothes to Europe or the Far East, so there is nothing to do again but to love. We continue in our 14th year of feeding our brothers and sisters, clothing them and sheltering them, and the more we do it, the more we realize that the most important thing is to love. There are several families with us, destitute families, destitute to an unbelievable extent, and there, too, is nothing to do but to love. What I mean is that there is no chance of rehabilitation, no chance, so far as we see, of changing them; certainly no chance of adjusting them to this abominable world about them, — and who wants them adjusted, anyway?
    What we would like to do is change the world-make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And to a certain extent, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, and the poor, of the destitute-the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words-we can to a certain extent change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever-widening circle will reach around the world.

    We repeat, there is nothing that we can do but love, and dear God-please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as well as our friend.

    0 agree
  73. at my sister's wedding i read this by Pam Ayres ( I got quite a few laughs even though I was so nervous!) her friends also did a performance recital of the lovely love story (dinosaur story) by edward monkton with big laminated pages from the book held up,

    Yes, I'll Marry You
    Pam Ayres

    Yes, I'll marry you, my dear,
    And here's the reason why;
    So I can push you out of bed
    When the baby starts to cry,
    And if we hear a knocking
    And it's creepy and it's late,
    I hand you the torch you see,
    And you investigate.

    Yes I'll marry you, my dear,
    You may not apprehend it,
    But when the tumble-drier goes
    It's you that has to mend it,
    You have to face the neighbour
    Should our labrador attack him,
    And if a drunkard fondles me
    It's you that has to whack him.

    Yes, I'll marry you,
    You're virile and you're lean,
    My house is like a pigsty
    You can help to keep it clean.
    That sexy little dinner
    Which you served by candlelight,
    As I do chipolatas,
    You can cook it every night!

    It's you who has to work the drill
    and put up curtain track,
    And when I've got PMT it's you who gets the flak,
    I do see great advantages,
    But none of them for you,
    And so before you see the light,
    I do, I do, I do!

    3 agree
    • Hahaha perfect! Except that I'm the one who has to go to the basement to do laundry with him at night because he's afraid of being attacked by zombies…. ;)

      6 agree
  74. thank you so much!!! I have been looking for a great reading for weeks and i found one here!

    0 agree
  75. I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan and he wrote this poem for a friend's wedding and I think it's great and plan to use it at my wedding.

    This for you, for both of you, a small poem of happiness filled with small glories and little triumphs a fragile, short cheerful song filled with hope and all sorts of futures Because at weddings we imagine the future Because it's all about "what happened next?" all the work and negotiation and building and talk that makes even the tiniest happily ever after something to be proud of for a wee forever This is a small thought for both of you like a feather or a prayer, a wish of trust and love and hope and fine brave hearts and true. Like a tower, or a house made all of bones and dreams and tomorrows and tomorrows and tomorrows

    BTW-I love this website and i'm so addicted to it.

    1 agrees
  76. I'm not so much for the outright mushiness, but I have always adored this little poem- perhaps for the order of service :)

    Sharing one umbrella,
    We have to hold each other,
    Round the waist to keep together,
    You ask me why I'm smiling-
    It's because I'm thinking,
    I want it to rain forever.

    —-Vicki Feaver

    6 agree
  77. These are great. I love Bill Bryson and am getting married in the woods. Anybody figured out a way to incorporate his writing into a cermony reading?

    0 agree
    • In his book "Notes from a Small Island," Bryson tells the story of how he met his wife, and praises his in-laws relentlessly, in case you want to have a moment to acknowledge yours, in or out of the ceremony. Of all his other books, you're most likely to find something wedding-appropriate in A Short History of Nearly Everything, as he remarks several times on unlikely successes or unexpected events. He also talks about how deeply Darwin loved his wife. I'd say your second best bet is In a Sunburned Country, because he talks a lot about thriving in hardship in that one, and beauty in the midst of inhospitable circumstances. A Walk in the Woods mostly focuses on him being miserable or terrified, so that one's up to you ;)

      Sorry I can't be more specific, but please post whatever you find — I've loved Bryson since I was 14, and one of the major things my fiancé and I bonded over was how much he loved Bryson once I introduced him to his books.

      1 agrees
  78. I'm so glad I looked through this post again. I've found a couple of readings that might just work for our wedding!

    And just to let you know: It seems the Kvetch section of Indiebride.com is down right now. I tried to access it on the weekend and got an error page, and when I tried to go to Kvetch directly (bookmarked), I got a blank page. So I'm not sure if they're doing work on it or not.

    0 agree
  79. I love this! I've never heard it before and I love it! Thank you!

    2 agree
  80. Another idea: Kahlil Gibran! I wish I had gotten to know him in the era he lived in, he must have been one hell of a guy :)
    I love what he writes about marriage (amongst other things):

    On Marriage
    Kahlil Gibran

    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
    Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

    Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

    http://www.katsandogz.com/onmarriage.html

    2 agree
  81. Here are a bunch from a great collection of poetry by Robert Priest called "Reading the Bible Backwards"

    I LOVE A METAZOAN

    Mitochondrial poetry
    Mother-mediated matter
    Multiply made and scattered
    Like data in transition
    In packets from node to node
    Tracking the human
    Diaspora
    Genome by genome

    And so I love a metazoan
    She got her structure from bacteria
    Her cells are full of manic replications
    I am prone to doting on her gestures
    Apparently encoded
    To act this way through the honeycomb
    Inside honeycomb inside
    Hive after hive
    Of genome
    In the genome
    Yes I love her
    Like the last Russian doll
    Like the last colour at the heart of a ~blackball
    She exudes chemicals
    Catalysts, her scripts finish mine
    Scratching the graffiti
    Inside our skins
    To hypertext
    Till they connect
    Mind to mind
    To take us both somewhere
    Inescapable
    Fast

    And so we are as the codes command
    I am the father of a trillion typewriters
    And she is the mother of all hands

    4 agree
  82. Here's a poem that I LOVE. It's from a really old computer game series called King's Quest which was developed by Sierra back in the early to late 90s. This poem has suck with me since I was 8, and I really love it.

    What was it when I looked at you?
    What power has chained me through and through?
    And binds my heart with links so tight,
    I can not live without the sight of you?

    What nameless thing has captured me?
    And made me powerless to flee?
    What thing is it without a name,
    That brings my mind ever back the same to thee?

    The name of 'love' cannot apply,
    Its commonness does not descry,
    The haunted, hunted, painful cry that my heart makes for you,
    That ever my soul eternal makes for you.

    2 agree
  83. I love the Magnetic Fields' version of Book of Love but it's originally by Peter Gabriel.

    0 agree
  84. An alternative to the Corinthians 1:13 reading.

    love is more thicker than forget, by ee cummings

    love is more thicker than forget
    more thinner than recall
    more seldom than a wave is wet
    more frequent than to fail

    it is most mad and moonly
    and less it shall unbe
    than all the sea which only
    is deeper than the sea

    love is less always than to win
    less never than alive
    less bigger than the least begin
    less littler than forgive

    it is most sane and sunly
    and more it cannot die
    than all the sky which only
    is higher than the sky

    2 agree
  85. someone did a thing about zombies at their wedding. i NEED to find this

    1 agrees
  86. The Indiebride list has moved, I was just looking at it here:

    http://kvetch.indiebride.com/kvetch/index.php?t=msg&goto=40800

    Thanks, all, for the lovely poems!

    Here's my favorite so far

    You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.

    From Union by Robert Fulghum

    1 agrees
  87. These are fantastic and beautiful. And thank you to everyone above who added their own. We are hoping to use poems by Rumi and Pablo Neruda- both of whom are definitely worth a look over for anyone who is stumped.

    For the forum of suggestions for indiebride, the link seems to be old. I'm going to go searching for it, but if anyone else finds it first, please repost?

    0 agree
  88. We used this at our wedding, it real sums up for me how wonderful and how scary marriage can be.

    Habitation
    by Margaret Atwood

    Marriage is not
    a house or even a tent
    it is before that, and colder:
    the edge of the forest, the edge
    of the desert
    the unpainted stairs
    at the back where we squat
    outside, eating popcorn
    the edge of the receding glacier
    where painfully and with wonder
    at having survived even this far
    we are learning to make fire

    6 agree
  89. A bit late, but I thought I'd throw in another possibility. Jonathan Coulton sings a beautiful song about "How terrible it is to be a parent (but not really)" called You Ruined Everything. It can easily also be about a relationship. Here's the video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-8hrKb8SAQ
    and the words:
    I was fine
    I pulled myself together
    Just in time
    To throw myself away
    Once my perfect world was gone I knew
    You ruined everything
    In the nicest way

    You should know
    How great things were before you
    Even so
    They're better still today
    I can't think of who I was before
    You ruined everything
    In the nicest way

    Bumps in the road remind us
    The worst of the best behind us
    Only good things will find us
    Me and you

    Days will be clear and sunny
    We're gonna need more money
    Baby you know it's funny
    All those stories

    Coming true
    Despite my better efforts
    It's all for you
    The worst kind of cliche
    I'll be with you till the day you leave
    You ruined everything
    In the nicest way

    1 agrees
  90. I didn't see this one mentioned yet. My soon-to-be husband wanted to keep the ceremony as short as possible so we agreed to have only one reading. We choose "Union" by Robert Fulghum:

    You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” – and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.

    The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed – well, I meant it all, every word.”

    Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

    For after today you shall say to the world –
    This is my husband. This is my wife.

    3 agree

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