Awesome wedding readings for bad-ass couples

Untitled
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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. Such wonderful readings! You have awesomely creative readers! Trust I'll be poring over these for inspiration!!

    0 agree
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. “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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. cool readings! we're using a quote from the sci-fi author we love, Ursula Le Guin :)

    0 agree

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

No-drama comment policy

Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.

Biz owners & wedding bloggers

Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.