Readings are a way to bring your loved ones into the ceremony. Your choice of readings makes your wedding personal, highlighting your values and individuality. Pairing a reading with a beloved uncle, sister-in-law, nephew or friend is a way of honoring their presence in your life.
An internet search will result in dozens and dozens of readings – but a good place to start is with these popular choices --
An internet search will result in dozens and dozens of readings – but a good place to start is with these popular choices --
1 Corinthians Chapter 13 Verse 4
Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
Love does not boast,
Love is not proud.
Love does not dishonor others,
Love is not self-seeking,
Love is not easily angered,
Love keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
Love always protects,
Love always trusts,
Love always hopes,
Love always perseveres.
Love never fails.
by Robert Lewis Stevenson
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
I love you
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 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.
An excerpt from "The Master Speed"
by Robert Frost
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
"My lover spoke and said to me,
"Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come with me.
See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come.
The cooing of doves is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me."
by Kahlil Gibran
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.
An excerpt from "A Farewell to Arms"
by Ernest Hemingway
At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal.
We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too, so one was not alone.
Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too, and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that.
We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.
Let not the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments, love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come,
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom:
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
An excerpt from “Song of the Open Road”
by Walt Whitman
Afoot and lighthearted
Take the open road, healthy, free,
The world before you,
The long, brown path before you,
Leading wherever you choose.
Say only to one another:
I give you my hand!
I give you my love,
More precious than money,
I give you myself
Before preaching or law.
Will you give me yourself?
Will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other
As long as we live?
”The meaning of marriage”
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
The meaning of marriage begins in the giving of words.
We cannot join ourselves to one another without giving our word.
And this must be an unconditional giving,
for in joining ourselves to one another we join ourselves to the unknown…
You do not know the road;
You have committed your life to a way.
“Sonnet from the Portuguese"
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
“i carry your heart with me”
by e. e. cummings
i carry your heart with me ( i carry it in my heart)
i am never without it (anywhere i go you go, my dear;
and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)
i want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart( i carry it in my heart)
“The Blessing of the Four Directions”
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the East.
Communication of the heart, mind, and body
Fresh beginnings with the rising of each Sun.
The knowledge of the growth found in the sharing of silences.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the South.
Warmth of hearth and home
The heat of the heart's passion
The light created by both to illuminate the darkest of times.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the West.
The deep commitments of the lake
The swift excitement of the river
The refreshing cleansing of the rain
The all encompassing passion of the sea.
Blessed be this union with the gifts of the North
Firm foundation on which to build
Fertility of the fields to enrich your lives
A stable home to which you may always return.
“The Art of a Good Marriage”
by Wilfred Arlan Peterson
A good marriage must be created.
In marriage the "little" things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, ”I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values, and common objectives.
It is standing together and facing the world.
It is forming a circle that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation, and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right person -- it is being the right partner.
From 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 blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
by Ed Fitch
Above you are the stars, below you are the stones.
As time passes, remember...
Like a star should your love be constant,
Like the earth should your love be firm.
Possess one another, yet be understanding.
Have patience with each other,
For storms will come, and they will go quickly,
Forced to dissipate in the light of your love.
Be free in giving of affection and of warmth.
Have no fear, and let not the ways
Or words of the unenlightened give you unease.
For the Old Gods are with you,
Now and always!
by Carol Ann Duffy
I might have raised your hand to the sky
to give you the ring surrounding the moon
or looked to twin the rings of your eyes
or added a ring to the rings of a tree
by forming a handheld circle with you, thee,
or walked with you
where a ring of church-bells,
looped the fields,
or kissed a lipstick ring on your cheek,
a pressed flower,
or met with you
in the ring of an hour,
and another hour . . .
have opened your palm to the weather, turned, turned,
till your fingers were ringed in rain
or held you close,
they were playing our song,
in the ring of a slow dance
or carved our names
in the rough ring of a heart
or heard the ring of an owl’s hoot
as we headed home in the dark
or the ring, first thing,
of chorussing birds
waking the house
or given the ring of a boat, rowing the lake,
or the ring of swans, monogamous, two,
or the watery rings made by the fish
as they leaped and splashed
or the ring of the sun’s reflection there . . .
I might have tied
a blade of grass,
a green ring for your finger,
or told you the ring of a sonnet by heart
or brought you a lichen ring,
found on a warm wall,
or given a ring of ice in winter
or in the snow
sung with you the five gold rings of a carol
or stolen a ring of your hair
or whispered the word in your ear
that brought us here,
where nothing and no one is wrong,
and therefore I give you this ring.
Mr. Fred Rogers
When we love a person, we accept him or her exactly as is: the lovely with the unlovely, the strong along with the fearful, the true mixed in with the facade. And of course the only way we can do it is by accepting ourselves that way. ... It’s what’s inside us that matters most. You can really love someone else when you really love yourself. ... As human beings our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has or ever will have. Something inside which is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression. ... Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now, and to go on caring, even through times that may bring us pain.
From Jane Eyre
by Charlotte Brontë
I have for the first time found what I can truly love–I have found you. You are my sympathy–my better self–my good angel–I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wrap my existence about you–and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.
From A Gift From the Sea
by Anne Morrow Lindburgh
When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. The only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom, in the sense that dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern. The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. One must accept the security of the winged life, of ebb and flow, of intermittency.
Native American Blessing
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before.
Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
Now you will 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 is no loneliness. You are two bodies, but there is one life before you, and one home. You will take each others hand and you’ll turn together to look at the road you traveled to reach this---the hour of your happiness.
It stretches behind you and the future lies ahead.
A long and winding road, whose every turn means discovery,
old hopes, new laughter and shared tears.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years,
May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth.
The adventure has just begun!
Song of Solomon 8:6-7
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
Baal Shem Tov
From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together and a single, brighter light goes forth from their united being.
“It’s all I have to bring today”
by Emily Dickinson
It’s all I have to bring today--
This, and my heart beside--
This, and my heart, and all the fields--
And all the meadows wide--
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell--
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
by Kuan Tao-Sheng
You and I
Have so much love
Burns like a fire
In which we bake a lump of clay
Molded into a figure of you
And a figure of me.
Then we take both of them
And break them into pieces
And mix the pieces with water
And mold again a figure of you
And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
by Ogden Nash
Geniuses of countless nations
Have told their love for generations
Till all their memorable phrases
Are common as goldenrod or daisies.
Their girls have glimmered like the moon,
Or shimmered like a summer moon,
Stood like a lily, fled like a fawn,
Now the sunset, now the dawn,
Here the princess in the tower
There the sweet forbidden flower.
Darling, when I look at you
Every aged phrase is new,
And there are moments when it seems
I've married one of Shakespeare's dreams.
by 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 this all comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seems to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
From "Instructions For Life In The New Millennium"
by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama
Take into account that great love
and great achievements involve great risk.
And that a loving atmosphere in your home
is the foundation for your life.
Be gentle with the earth, be gentle with one another.
When disagreements come remember always
to protect the spirit of your union.
When you realize you've made a mistake,
take immediate steps to correct it.
Remember that the best relationship is one
in which your love for each other
exceeds your need for each other.
So love yourselves, love one another,
love all that is your life together and all else will follow.
by D.H. Lawrence
Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.
Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae,
older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.
And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks
of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,
a man's heart and a woman's,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.
The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.
by Rabindranath Tagore
Love adorns itself; it seeks to prove inward joy by outward beauty.
Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom.
Love is an endless mystery, for it has nothing else to explain it.
Love's gift cannot be given, it waits to be accepted.
Advice to Lovers
In generosity and helping others, be like a river.
In compassion and grace, be like the sun.
In concealing other’s faults, be like the night.
In modesty and humility, be like the earth.
In tolerance, be like the sea.
Appear as you are, or be as you appear.
From Plato’s Symposium
When a person meets the half that is his very own, something wonderful happens: the two are struck from the senses by love, by a sense of belonging to one another, and by a desire, and they don't want to be separated from one another, not even for a moment. These are the people who finish out their lives together and still cannot say what it is they want from one another. Is it your hearts desire then, to become parts of the same whole? Then the two of you would share one life, as long as you lived, because you would be one being, and by the same token, when you died, you would die a single death. Look at your love, and see if this is what you desire: wouldn't this be all the good fortune you could want? Love is the name for our pursuit of wholeness, for our desire to be complete.
“Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog”
by Taylor Mali
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.
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.