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. 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
  2. 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
  3. thank you so much!!! I have been looking for a great reading for weeks and i found one here!

    0 agree
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. I love this! I've never heard it before and I love it! Thank you!

    2 agree
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. I love the Magnetic Fields' version of Book of Love but it's originally by Peter Gabriel.

    0 agree
  13. 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
  14. someone did a thing about zombies at their wedding. i NEED to find this

    1 agrees
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. a friend recite this native american wedding blessing at my first wedding…

    Now you feel no rain
    for each of you will be shelter to the other.
    Now you will feel no cold
    for each of you will be warmth to the other.
    Now there will be no loneliness for you.

    Now you are two persons,
    but there is only one life before you.
    Go now to your dwelling place,
    to enter into the days of your togetherness.
    And may your days be good and long together.

    3 agree
  21. so relieved i found this passage, and don't have to resort to something worn out and tired. for me this says it all.

    on love, khalil gibran
    When love beckons to you, follow him, Though his ways are hard and steep. And when his wings enfold you yield to him, Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you. And when he speaks to you believe in him, Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

    For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning. Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun, So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself. He threshes you to make you naked. He sifts you to free you from your husks. He grinds you to whiteness. He kneads you until you are pliant; And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

    All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

    But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure, Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor, Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

    Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself. Love possesses not nor would it be possessed; For love is sufficient unto love.

    When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God." And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

    Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself. But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:

    To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.

    To know the pain of too much tenderness.

    To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
    And to bleed willingly and joyfully.

    To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;

    To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;

    To return home at eventide with gratitude;

    And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

    i also chose this passage from the book of ruth 1:16-17

    But Ruth said, "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

    "Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me."

    0 agree
  22. some lovely ideas! book of love is originally Peter Gabriel's song by the by…the magnetic fields rendition is fab too.

    0 agree
  23. This one may be a bit macabre for some, but I've always loved poems that possess a certain darkness and beauty at the same time. This one is one of my favorites.

    I Want to Die While You Love Me
    by Georgia Douglas Johnson

    I want to die while you love me,
    While yet you hold me fair,
    While laughter lies upon my lips
    And lights are in my hair.

    I want to die while you love me,
    And bear to that still bed,
    Your kisses turbulent, unspent
    To warm me when I'm dead.

    I want to die while you love me
    Oh, who would care to live
    Till love has nothing more to ask
    And nothing more to give?

    I want to die while you love me
    And never, never see
    The glory of this perfect day
    Grow dim or cease to be!

    0 agree
  24. There's a lovely poem from the book 'Julie of the Wolves' and within the book it's referred to as the Eskimo Love Song:

    My feet shall run because of you
    My feet dance because of you
    My heart shall beat because of you
    My eyes see because of you
    My mind thinks because of you
    And I shall love because of you

    1 agrees
  25. I really want to use this from the anime Bleach:

    There were a lot of things I wanted to do. I wanted to become a teacher, and an astronaut,
    and a baker. I wanted to go to a bunch of different donut shops and ask for one of everything! And I wanted to tell the ice-cream man to give me one of everything, too! I wish I could have five lives! Then I could have been born in five different towns, and eaten five lifetimes worth of food, and had five different careers, and fallen in love with the same person, five times.

    3 agree
  26. I was looking for poems, offbeat or otherwise, and I found this one.

    The Love-Hat Relationship
    by Aaron Belz

    I have been thinking about the love-hat relationship.
    It is the relationship based on love of one another's hats.
    The problem with the love-hat relationship is that it is superficial.
    You don't necessarily even know the other person.
    Also it is too dependent on whether the other person
    is even wearing the favored hat. We all enjoy hats,
    but they're not something to build an entire relationship on.
    My advice to young people is to like hats but not love them.
    Try having like-hat relationships with one another.
    See if you can find something interesting about
    the personality of the person whose hat you like.

    3 agree
  27. Angus and julia Stone, the wedding song is soooo lovely. listen:

    4 agree
  28. This is going to be our first dance, my fiancé played it for me the night he proprosed:) We only recently found out it's supposed to be about having kids.

    0 agree
  29. Thank heavens for this site… I was tired of reading Shakespeare! We're using one traditional (but very short) Bible passage, one serious but secular piece, and one humorous piece. We want our guests to celebrate our love and lives, not cry from boredom!

    1 agrees
  30. Hi there, I was really excited to find your site! Thank you for compiling all of these wonderful words.
    I'm not complaining but I have to tell you that the version of The Invitation that you have listed is incorrect. It is one of the most passed poems on the internet and I own the book that the author wrote about this poem. She comments about all the changes that are made especially to the line about being 'faithLESS'. It is an amazing poem and I can get you a copy of the actual poem (I didn't think that this was the right place to post that information), if you'd like. If you like the version you have listed, I can't do anything to alter that. I know that I'd like to know if something was changed and it's so easy to do that with the internet.
    Again, thank you for posting all of these to help people and I hope I've helped you back. Thank you…

    3 agree
  31. I've been thinking about this one. I really love it, but my betrothed is not so sure:

    The Fable of the Porcupine

    It was the coldest winter in anyone's memory, and one animal after another perished in the icy weather. The porcupines saw this and decided the only way they would survive is if they grouped together to share their warmth. Only trouble was, the quills of one porcupine wounded the one next to it, and that one hurt the one next to it, and so on and so on. They stayed warm, all right, but the pain they suffered was just too great. After awhile they edged away to shiver alone. But one by one, they froze to death.

    Even porcupines could see that was never going to do. The only way to keep from disappearing from the earth was to move back together and put up with their neighbors' painful quills. And that's what they did.

    So the porcupines learned to live with the little wounds caused by close relationships between companions. Even more important, they learned the gift of lifegiving heat that comes from being together.

    The moral of the story: The best relationship is not the one that brings perfect people together. It is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities.

    1 agrees
  32. I found this reading, and it fits completely with the non-soppy thing. Love it.

    From 'Daily Afflictions' by Andrew Boyd

    We're all seeking that special person who is right for us. But if you have been through enough relationships, you begin to suspect there is no right person, just different flavours of wrong.
    Why is this?
    Because you yourself are wrong in some way, and you seek out partners that are wrong in some complimenatry way.
    But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your wrongness. It isn't until you run up against your deepest demons, your unsolvable problems – the ones that make you who you are – that you are ready to find your life long mate.
    Only then will you finally know what you are looking for.
    You are looking for the wrong person.
    Not just any wrong person. The right wrong person – someone you lovingly gaze upon and think "this is the problem I want to have"

    3 agree
  33. Richard Bach (author/philosopher)

    A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we're pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we're safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

    1 agrees
  34. Question about readings–Do any of you feel odd having a friend read a first person poem about love? Would you avoid it? We love Neruda's "Sonnet LXIX" but while lines like "I am because you are" just make our hearts go pitter-patter…someone else will say them. (We won't have any printed materials to put it on, so that's out.)

    Maybe I don't care who says it and just want it. Maybe I do care. Do you? Would you?

    0 agree
    • Ya I do feel a little odd having say, my maid of honor or my brother read something that is in first person. But i figure if I decide to go ahead with it because I like that particular reading that much, then I figure the guests won't even give it a second thought. They obviously know my MOH is not marrying my fiance.

      0 agree
    • As a Wedding Minister, I love reading first person poems. I often bastardize them and insert the couple's names at the appropriate lines as though they were actually speaking to one another and I was their voice.

      Other times I will write something into the ceremony like, "If I may speak on your behalf." or "Partner one might describe love (or marriage or whatever we're talking about) using the words of blah blah blah writer" and then I read a passage that reflects her.

      Then I'll say, "Partner 2 would describe his thoughts on love (or whatever) like this…" and then I put in a different first person poem or reading that reflects his point of view. The other thing you can do with first person readings is to have two people read them interactively. That way you also get the feel of having two people conversing with each other.

      Of course you don't want to pick a reading or even a line of a reading that you would be uncomfortable reading, or your reader would be uncomfortable saying. It's fine to omit the line.

      0 agree
  35. This is a thank you note. I've been enjoying all the fun, sweet ideas for readings that I've read on other sites too.

    But when I saw The Book of Love, I suddenly burst into happy tears. My fiance introduced me to the song by singing me to sleep with it over the past year, when I've been too troubled to rest.

    It's definitely happening, a capella, at the ceremony. This is one of the few times in my planning that something instantly felt right. Thank you.

    0 agree
  36. OMG! This is fan-freakin-tastic! SERIOUSLY! I'm just disappointed I didn't find this site when I started wedding planning in January! I typed in "readings for wedding" and the first site that caught my eye was "Awesome Wedding Readings for Bad Ass Couples" and I couldn't help myself. I can't quit looking around your site. Amazing…simply amazing!

    4 agree
  37. Some great readings here. My wife just wrote this lovely thing for a friend's wedding, and I thought I'd share it:

    A Slippery Weasel

    "Sometime you might ask one another, 'Why do you love me?' You'll take turns listing each other's attributes, but you won't be able to come up with any reasons. Really, it's a 'You're prettier.' 'No, you're prettier,' sort of argument. You might get to the end of this conversation feeling a little bit frustrated, because although you're now full of compliments about how wonderful you are, you won't have actually gotten to the bottom of it.

    You could try and address the question analytically, and decide that a number of socio-economic factors determined your location in the world and that your proximity to one another and your relative positions within your social circle led to your inevitable coupling. But the coincidences leading to your meeting and realising your attraction won't get you to the bottom of the question either.

    Love is a slippery little weasel, isn't it? It can't be listed, it can't be held, it can't be unpacked. It's often mistaken for that simpering wee ogre, the cupid. Whatever you do, never forget that love can't be boiled down to an orderly quality. You can't break up each other's features into a stack of elements which add up to a reason.

    You might say 'I love you because you are part of my soul,' but you know fine well that a soul is an analogy, and that although this statement is true it can only slide off the surface of real meaning like water off a weasel's fur.

    The most honest answer to 'Why do you love me?' is 'I don't know.'

    Don't worry, and don't wobble; it doesn't mean you're uncertain. On the contrary, you know that you don't know, and this is fantastic bravery of the highest order.

    Nor does it mean that the question is redundant and that you should stop asking each other. Always ask, 'Why do you love me?' It will remind you that you love each other, and besides, this conversation never loses its exasperating shine. It is what marriage is made of."

    Ariadne Cass-Maran

    (If anyone uses this shares this can they please include the link? It's not an advertise-y thing, it's just nice for her to know if anyone uses it! http://www.ariadnecassmaran.com/a-slippery-weasel/)

    0 agree
  38. We used the Roy Croft poem, and I loved it– it was sweet and not "the greatest of these is love…" but as I was trying to blend the offbeat and the traditional to appease our varied audience (without sacrificing our own hopes for the day), I think this was a great addition to our ceremony. A++, would read again ;)

    0 agree
  39. The Book of Love was actually originally done by The Monotones in the 50's. My fiance and I are dancing to this song at our wedding next spring :)

    0 agree
    • That's an awesome song! But the Magnetic Field's Book of Love and the Monotone's Book of Love are two different songs that just happen to include a very iconic title.

      1 agrees

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