Sweet, serious, and non-gaggy: a few of y’all’s very favorite wedding readings about love

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Thanks to zwizh143 for submitting this to the pool.

We've featured tons of posts about beautiful, quirky, and heartfelt wedding readings.

But when we're doing our wedding profiles, we noticed some trends in nontraditional readings… readings that clearly Offbeat Brides tend to adore.

Here are a few that we've seen used that we absolutely and completely love (and can't wait to see used again!)…


Serious, sweet, wedding readings about love… sans gag-reflex

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

On Marriage
Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?”
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, 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.
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 on your lips.
Henry reading his faults
Thanks to Chibirinoa for submitting this to the pool.

Union from The Beginning to End 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, 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.
Thanks to Miss Meziere for submitting this to the pool.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being “in love” which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
From Brenda & Rob's sci-fi, eco wedding

For the sci-fi lover in all of us


You know what the first rule of flying is? … Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘verse, but you take a boat in the air you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting ‘fore she keens. Makes her a home.

More sweet and silly readings

You can get this belveteen rabbit wedding reading as a sign from Etsy

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

“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.”

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton

The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur's cage with kind words and loving thoughts.
I like this Dinosaur thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny.
He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur. She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice.
She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.

But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
He is also overly fond of things.
Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?

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

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

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

Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.
Look at them.
Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.

And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.
For the sun is warm.
And the world is a beautiful place

Cousin Arianna doing a reading
Thanks to heatherburns777 for submitting this to the pool.

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Comments on Sweet, serious, and non-gaggy: a few of y’all’s very favorite wedding readings about love

  1. I’d love a post on Offbeat Brides’ favourite poems read at ceremonies! My own wedding ceremony will be in church, so any poetry will be, as it were, by-the-Book, but I like seeing what others choose. I notice E.E. Cummings crops up quite often in profiles!

      • Nice! 🙂 I don’t think my priest would be very down with it, which is fine. I have plenty of other places in my life to put poems 🙂

      • We had “i carry your heart” too. It was at a non-secular venue with a Unitarian minister (who turned out to be the same woman who married my parents!). She had never heard of it before I had it as a reading, but I heard from her recently and it’s now on the list of readings she suggests to couples!

  2. We used the Thoughts on Marriage by Kahlil Gibran for my mother to read and we used A Wedding Day Poem by anonymous for my mother in law, they were perfect! The first excerpt was more relaxed and the poem was a tear jerker! Perfectly balanced. 🙂

    • What’s the Wedding Day poem? It sounds like you found the perfect balance between not overly soppy but still celebrating love and marriage!

  3. probably not to everyone’s taste, but here’s what we used! my brother (my man of honor) read from still life with woodpecker by tom robbins:

    “When two people meet and fall in love, there’s a rush of magic. Magic is just naturally present then. We tend to feed on that gratuitous magic without striving to make any more. One day we wake up and find that the magic is gone. We hustle to get it back, but by then it’s usually too late, we’ve used it up. What we have to do is work like hell at making additional magic right from the start. It’s hard work, especially when it seems superfluous or redundant, but if we can remember to do it, we greatly improve our chances of making love stay.”

    and my husband’s best man did a surprise reading (we didn’t know the content beforehand) from thich nhat hahn. i don’t have the exact reading, but it was very similar in content to this quotation from thich nhat hahn that i found by googling — just with a little more emphasis on how this works in relationships, if i remember right:

    “Flowers and garbage are both organic in nature. So looking deeply into the nature of a flower, you can see the presence of the compost and the garbage. The flower is also going to turn into garbage, but don’t be afraid! You are a gardener, and you have in your hands the power to transform garbage into flowers, into fruit, into vegetables. You don’t throw anything away, because you are not afraid of garbage. Your hands are capable of transforming it into flowers, or lettuce, or cucumbers. The same thing is true of your happiness and your sorrow. Sorrow, fear, and depression are all a kind of garbage. These bits of garbage are part of real life, and we must look deeply into their nature. You can practice in order to turn these bits of garbage into flowers. It is not only your love that is organic; your hate is, too. So you should not throw anything out. All you have to do is learn how to transform your garbage into flowers.”

    it ended up being completely perfect since his reading came directly before our “compost-bearer” distributed some compost at our feet and our officiant talked a bit about how we should cultivate our relationship, etc. 🙂

  4. This is beautiful! I pulled several readings and almost wrote up my entire ceremony. =) its hard to find excerpts from favorite books or movies, with there was an archive online somewhere for it! Maybe its just the writer in me who loves stuff like this..I even made up my own poem for the invitation too! it went like:
    “This love story had started on the shores of the sea
    Then grew into something only God could bless
    Till one day Matthew got on bended knee
    And Ariel had happily cried “YES!”
    So now we round our family and friends
    To join us on this special day
    Celebrating love that never ends
    In our own special way!
    Come to Alley’s Chapel in the Georgia mountains
    In a little town of Clarkesville, my dear!
    When love runneth over like nature’s fountains
    On June the Ninth of the Two-Thousand Twelve year!
    At 1 o’clock we will try to tie the knot
    If successful, we will share the cheer
    And if hunger for more of this you fought,
    A reception to follow will be quite near.
    So please join us and watch the hilarity ensue
    Share the good times and smile with us as well
    And pray for our future to be bright and new
    and add another chapter to our little tale. ”

    Its GREAT to be able to do something like this yourself and know in your heart its something personal that no one can just pull out of the air themselves and do an exact copy. I’ve learned on this website, it doesn’t even matter what readings you have, what is important is that each wedding is its own event, never can be duplicated the same way. Its such a beautiful thing. Thank you so much for posting this!

  5. We used a reading from the marriage ceremony in Owlsight by Mercedes Lackey

    This bond, this joining, is not meant to be a fetter. A joining is a partnership, not two people becoming one. Two minds cannot fuse, two souls cannot merge, two hearts cannot keep to the same time. If two are foolish enough to try this, one must overwhelm the other, and that is no love, nor is it compassion, nor responsibility. You are two who choose to walk the same path, to bridge the differences between you with love. You must remember and respect those differences and learn to understand them, for they are part of what made you come to love in the first place.

    Love is patient, love is willing to compromise – love is willing to admit it is wrong. There will be hard times; you must face them as bound warriors do, side by side, not using the weapon of your knowledge to tear at each other.

    There will be sadness as well as joy, and you must support one another through the grief and sorrow. There will be pain – but pain shared is pain halved, as joy shared is joy doubled, and you each must sacrifice your own comfort to share the pain of the other. And yet, you must do all this and manage to keep each other from wrong actions, for a joining means that you also pledge to help another at all times.

    You must lead each other by example. Guide and be willing to be guided. Being joined does not mean that you accept what is truly wrong; being joined means that you must strive that you both remain in the light and the right.

    You must not pledge yourselves thinking that you can change each other. That is rankest folly, and disrespectful, for no one has the right to change another. You must not pledge yourselves thinking that there will be no strife between you. That is fantasy, for you are two and not one, and there will inevitably come conflict, and it will be up to you to resolve. You must not pledge yourselves thinking that all will be well from this moment on. You must come to this joining fully ready, fully committed, and fully respectful of one another.

  6. Besides the Velveteen Rabbit passage you have up there, we also had my godfather read the definition of Anam Cara, something we felt defined our relationship.

    “According to Celtic spiritual tradition, the soul shines all around the body like a luminous cloud. When you are very open ~ appreciative and trusting ~ with another person, your two souls flow together. This deeply felt bond with another person means you have found your anam cara, or “Soul Friend.” Your anam cara always beholds your light and beauty, and accepts you for who you truly are. In Celtic spirituality, the anam cara friendship awakens the fullness and mystery of your life. You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy, and definition. When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: ~HOME~”

  7. In addition to the passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres referenced above, my husband and I also used an excerpt from Frida:
    “Frida: [A]t worst, [marriage] is a hostile political act. A way for small minded men to keep their women in the house and out of the way, wrapped in the guise of conservative religious nonsense. At best, it is a happy delusion: it is two people who really love each other, who have no idea how truly miserable they are about to make each other. But! When two people know that and they decide, with eyes wide open, to face each other and get married anyway… I don’t think it’s conservative or delusional. I think it’s radical. And courageous. And very romantic.”
    It was the only reference to gender in our entire ceremony. I was bothered by not making the whole thing gender-neutral, but was willing to make an exception for that particular text.

  8. We had our officiant read the passage below, which is from an an episode of Numb3rs (the one where Charlie and Amita get married and Larry officiates).

    “Whilst you all know that the 4 fundemental forces of physics are electromagnetism, strong nuclear interaction, weak nuclear interaction and gravity.
    We’ve been talking here about the forces that bind the universe. But, what binds humans?


    Powerful in small spaces, yet with profound effect on distance. Love defies time, outliving both its source and its object. Love is faster than light; for light requires time in order to travel through space, but love reaches its object instantaneously. Love journeys forever; into infinity. And its here binding together two lives. (gets the ring) Symbolic of eternity and rendered in a beautiful element. ”

    We read this right before we exchanged rings. Wish I’d had the Firefly quote though. We would totally have used that!

  9. We used for one of our readings a poem by Mari Nichols-Haining called “Why Marriage”.
    We edited it down a little and re-wrote some of the lines to suit us a little more, but I thought I’d share it.

    Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
    With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…
    Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
    Who won’t hold them against me,
    Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
    Who sees the small child in me, and
    Who looks for the divine potential of me…
    Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
    With someone I feel blessed to hold…
    Because marriage means opportunity
    To grow in love in friendship…
    Marriages do not fail, people fail
    Knowing this,
    Together we create our marriage…
    Because of this understanding
    The possibilities are limitless.

    • We used this same reading in lieu of vows since we’d done our “legal” marriage a few months prior to our spiritual ceremony. This reading touched so many important aspects of our spiritual views (Religious Science) and said everything we feel about our marriage.

      We turned the poem into a script that we read in turns. We omitted the “people fail” lines only because this was his 2nd marriage and his 11-yr-old son (my stepson) might have thought it was a negative remark about his first marriage/son’s mom.

      Here’s our adaptation of WHY MARRIAGE? By Mari Nichols-Haining

      A: Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
      With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

      S: Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
      Who won’t hold them against me,
      Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
      Who sees the small child in me, and
      Who looks for the divine potential of me…

      A: Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
      With someone who thanks God for me,
      With someone I feel blessed to hold…

      S: Because marriage means opportunity
      To grow in love in friendship…

      A: Because marriage is a discipline
      To be added to a list of achievements…

      S: Knowing this,
      I promise to take full responsibility
      For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
      so I may take half of the responsibility for this marriage

      A: I promise to take full responsibility
      For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
      so I may take half of the responsibility for this marriage.

      BOTH: Because Together we create our marriage…
      and with this understanding the possibilities are limitless

  10. We used this reading from C.S Lewis’ Mere Christianity…not for everyone, but it echoes the sentiments in the Captain Correli’s Mandolin one…which we were going to use, except Husband’s cousin threw a surprise wedding 6 weeks before and used it and it just didn’t feel right to have the same reading…it’s really nice, and if you aren’t religious could probably be adapted. I love the last part especially

    ‘If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be ‘in love’ with someone else. ‘Being in love’ first moved them to promise fidelity: this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. it is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it’

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