Made for couples who are all about embracing modernity in their love story, these 14 alternative and modern wedding readings are some of our all-time favourites. In this roundup, you’ll find readings perfect for feminist weddings and couples that embrace modern vows perhaps having a humanist ceremony instead of something more traditional. These wedding readings and poems also don’t romanticise everything. Instead, they look at the realistic side of love and how love can really be a decision you make and continue to fight for through your marriage. Because of this, a lot of these wedding readings are funny or deeply emotional. Either way, there'll be something for you in this roundup!

I’d Rather Rise In Love With You 

By Jana Lynne Umipig

I don’t want sweet nothings whispered in my ears

I’d rather be confronted by the savoury somethings

That truths communicated – in fullness and compassion bring

I don’t want long gazes or to get lost in your eyes

I ‘d rather have our eyes brave exploration,

Discovering every part of each other –

Every wrinkle and tint and shade

Every scar and marking that our livings have made

I don’t want to feel I knew you in another life

Or that I dreamed you in my sleep

I’d rather learn you piece by piece in reality

I’d rather you teach me how the you today

Is better than before

And I want my new self to love you more,

As I Love me more

I don’t’ want to be attached, or taken, or spoken for

I don’t want to make each other whole

I’d rather be two whole beings

Mind, Body and Soul

I don’t want to believe you do not choose who you Love

That you just know when you do

Love, to me, is a choice, you wake up every day and you choose:

What you want

What you need

Speak your truths to receive

Truths in exchange –

Past what is perceived

Past assumptions, to gain knowings

And to keep Love growing

It’s more than the showings

It’s the clarity in communication

It’s the calm and patience past frustrations

It’s the listening and the stillness –

It’s every message from body to breath

I don’t want to fall for you

Or fall in Love

Falling is falseness, it’s fleeting

I’d rather rise in love with you

In ascension

Without fear and apprehension

I don’t want to sacrifice any part of me to make it work

I want to invest in all of me and all of you

And give gratitude

That we empower one another in self worth

I don’t want to be possessed or bound by Love

I’d rather be Liberated in Loving

I’d rather be Love that is Revolutionary

Love that is Patience

And Presence

And Respect

And Pride

And Honesty, nothing to hide

And Attraction

And Joy

And Truth

In every thing we say, show and do

In Love with you is all of this to me

And there is no place I would rather be.

Let There Be Spaces In Your Togetherness

By Kahlil Gibran

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.

I Wanna Be Yours

by John Cooper Clarke

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


The Hot Priest's Speech From 'Fleabag'

By Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Love is awful. It’s awful. It’s painful. It’s frightening. It makes you doubt yourself, judge yourself, distance yourself from the other people in your life. It makes you selfish. It makes you creepy, makes you obsessed with your hair, makes you cruel, makes you say and do things you never thought you would do.

It’s all any of us want, and it’s hell when we get there. So no wonder it’s something we don’t want to do on our own. I was taught if we’re born with love then life is about choosing the right place to put it. People talk about that a lot, feeling right, when it feels right, it’s easy. But I’m not sure that’s true. It takes strength to know what’s right. And love isn’t something that weak people do. Being a romantic takes a hell of a lot of hope. I think what they mean is, when you find somebody that you love, it feels like hope.

You Are The Bubbles

By Rachel Bright

Together, you are the bubbles in one another’s champagne
The morning sun through a window
The breaking of a smile.

Together, you are the one doughnut in the bag with more jam than all the others.
That photo where everybody looks great.
The know-all-the-words, sing-out-of-tune chorus of your favourite song.

Together, you are the beginnings of a big idea.
The twinkly bits that hang in the sky after the firework goes bang.
The cold, thin air at the top of a mountain.
The only two people in a crowded room.

Together, you are that unforgettable day of the holiday.
An accidental adventure.
Chocolate chip.
The last two pages of your favourite book.
A BBQ with friends.
The spray of the sea.
The nose of the cheese.
A kiss.
A hug.
A hold-my-hand.
A decision which, looking back, will seem to be the most excellent one you’ve ever made.

Together you are bubbles.
The unburstable bubbles of the very best things in life.
The only things any of us ever really need.

Time Travellers

By Terah Cox

May you take on the world together with all your hopes and dreams, 

may you be each other’s anchor in smooth or rocky seas.


May you bend to the world’s winds and brave stalls and storms,

may you find common ground in all its changing forms.


May you cross stubborn boundaries and turn many a stone,

may you find haven for your souls, may you have heart and home.


And if some days are grey and some nights are long and cold, 

may you be each other’s sun and moon as your destinies unfold.


And should you lose sight of each other and start to drift apart,

may you circle back by following the compass of your hearts.

The Beauty of Union

By George The Poet

There’s an indescribable beauty in union

In two beings forming one new being

Entering each other’s world

Surrendering each other’s selves

Accepting the invitation to be everything to someone else

There’s an unparallelled bravery in union

In telling the one you love:

“The only way that we can truly win

Is if I think of you in everything I do

And honour every decision you faithfully include me in.”

Love gives union true meaning

It illuminates the path

It wants us to compromise, communicate and laugh

It wants us to elevate, appreciate without pride

Love is oblivious to the outside

Even with an audience of millions

Even when that love bears immortal significance

All of this is met with cordial indifference 

By the two people at the heart of it

Two individuals when they started it

Becoming two halves of one partnership

Such is the beauty of union

Such is the beauty of union

I Promise You

by Myriah

I can’t promise you

That dark clouds

Will never hover

Over our lives Or that the future

Will bring us many rainbows.

I can’t promise you that

Tomorrow will be perfect

Or that our lives will be easy.

I can promise you my everlasting

Devotion, my loyalty, my respect,

And my unconditional love for a lifetime.

I can promise you that

I’ll always be here for you,

To listen and to hold your hand,

And I’ll do my best to make you happy,

And make you feel loved.

I can promise you that

I can see you through a crisis

And pray with you,

Dream with you,

Build with you,

And always cheer you on

And encourage you.

I can promise you that

I’ll willingly be your protector,

Your adviser, your counsellor,

Your friend, your family,

Your everything.

I promise you.

Extract from Gift of the Sea

By Anne Morrow Lindbergh

When you love someone; you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity — in freedom, in the sense that the 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 it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits — islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.

Blessing for a Marriage

By James Billet 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.

The Story

By Brandi Carlile

All of these lines across my face

Tell you the story of who I am

So many stories of where I’ve been

And how I got to where I am

But these stories don’t mean anything

When you’ve got no one to tell them to

It’s true… I was made for you

I climbed across the mountain tops

Swam all across the ocean blue

I crossed all the lines and I broke all the rules

But baby I broke them all for you

Because even when I was flat broke

You made me feel like a million bucks

You do and I was made for you

You see the smile that’s on my mouth

It’s hiding the words that don’t come out

And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed

They don’t know my head is a mess

No, they don’t know who I really am

And they don’t know what I’ve been through like you do

And I was made for you

All of these lines across my face

Tell you the story of who I am

So many stories of where I’ve been

And how I got to where I am

But these stories don’t mean anything

When you’ve got no one to tell them to

It’s true… I was made for you

Oh yeah, well it’s true

that I was made for you.


By Amahla 

In strength I can say that you saved me

Because I've become, what you’ve made me

Within your arms there’s safety

You make me believe

That I’m ready to give you more

If I may be so Bold


I can’t deny I’m unsteady

Taking my own advice

I will adhere to my convictions

And put emotions ahead of pride


Make me feel things I never

Thought I'd feel in my whole damn lifе

You are what I’ve been missing

Our moment has arrived


In strength I can say that you saved me

Because I've become what you’ve made me

Within your arms there’s safety

You make me believe


That I’m ready to give you more

If I may be so Bold

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.

Time In a Bottle

By Jim Croce

If I could save time in a bottle

The first thing that I'd like to do

Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away

Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever

If words could make wishes come true

I'd save every day like a treasure, and then

Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do once you find them

I've looked around enough to know

That you're the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes

And dreams that had never come true

The box would be empty

Except for the memory of how they were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do once you find them

I've looked around enough to know

That you're the one I want to go through time with

You can also download and save these modern wedding readings from our Pinterest board. With over 200+ wedding readings and poems, our Pinterest is the ultimate place for inspiration. As we mentioned, these modern and alternative readings are perfect for couples who are opting to have personalised wedding vows or a humanist wedding ceremony

Leah Blundell

Written by Leah Blundell

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