Say It Because You Mean It.

We often receive emails from Rock My Wedding readers suggesting topics for posts – particularly if there is a specific W-day matter that is more than a little troublesome.

One subject that is high on the “giving you grief” agenda and frequently requested as a discussion point is ceremony readings. Now I’m no expert – really I’m not, so it was a welcome drop into my inbox when Rachel Dimond ( who’s gorgeous Big Day you can all see here) appeared with some words of wisdom and some simply BEAUTIFUL pieces…..all made “RMW Pretty” by the genius that is our Adam.

As well as being one of the first brides to feature in our Real Wedding section, Rachel is also the author of the very lovely Flowers And Stripes blog which is full to the brim with fabulous thoughts and quotes. If anyone can pick an amazing spot of wordage folks she can – truly.

Over to you Mrs Dimond…..

What makes a wedding different to a wonderful party celebrating a couple’s love for each other? the ceremony. For some choosing the passages to express their love is easy. For many, and include me here. Where to start? There are so, so many great poems and passages spanning centuries, decades, continents. How to find the ones which reflect you both as a couple? Which compliment your ceremony? Which reflect your journey to standing in front of each other this day saying ‘I do’?

In true RMW style – whatever ceremony you’re having it’s important to make this your ceremony. Passages that firstly speak to you and secondly gently give a glimpse of your love for each other to your guests.

Love has always existed. How better to show the longevity of love than with a passage from the 13th century?

On Love: Thomas à Kempis

There are many other great poems and passages from the 18th and 19th century. One thought though. Are they specifically a man speaking to a woman like this poem? If so then perhaps could your second passage be a woman to a man?

If thou must Iove me: 
Elizabeth Barrett Browing (1806-1861)

Moving into the twentieth century. I haven’t read this book but found this and stored it away. If you like this passage maybe read the book to confirm that you love where it comes from. When deciding on our passages I did read the whole of a George Eliot novel to only then decide not to use the passage. It felt important to know the context the passage was coming from.

From Gift From The Sea: Anne Morrow Lindbergh (b.1906)

And if poetry rocks your boat, and also my favourite….

I Do Not Love You: Pablo Neruda

I love the idea of everyone sitting up straight and really listening when they hear the opening lines ‘I do not love you’. I love the jewels. I love the flowers. Lastly, I love the day to day reality of falling asleep together.
So, a few petals of word confetti amidst a flurry of poems and passages which could be used.

The idea behind this post was to get you sharing the passages you are thinking of using (or used) to support each other in making your ceremony reflect who you are and let every guest, be it two or two hundred, know the love you share.

So please, share away.

A million thanks to Rachel for the inspiration – the last one was my favourite too.

Rachel made a very good point at the end of her email to me actually and that was that these tokens of love needn’t be restricted to just W-day. Would be equally as lovely in a card, little note or perhaps blown up onto a canvas for your wall.

Let us know if any of these examples took your fancy or what other pieces you have found for the Big Day, we would love to know.

Big Saying It Because I Mean It Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

63 thoughts on “Say It Because You Mean It.

  1. We had “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton (he of quirky greetings card fame) which was about romantically involved dinosaurs. The vicar loved our choice and even one year on (anniversary this weekend in fact!!) as we are planning my grandmother’s funeral at the same church, she is still talking about that ‘strange but lovely’ reading! I don’t do obvious schmush, so it was perfect for us.

  2. Well this post has thrown in a spanner in the works. We had decided on Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Maybe as our readings.

    I am loving the 1st and 3rd readings you have shown so it may be bye bye to Captain Corelli!!! I will be sticking with Maybe though as it is so beautiful x x

    Great post x

  3. We wanted something quirky and that a 9 year old could read so we are thinking about Adam Sandlers I wana grow old with you.

    what do you think? Cheesy tack or fun and quirky?

    I wana make you smile
    whenever you are sad
    carry you around when your arthirtus is bad
    all i wana do is grow old with you
    ill get you medicine when your tummy aches
    build you a fire if the furnace breaks
    Oh it could be so nice
    Growin old with you
    ill miss you, kiss you
    give you my coat when your cold
    need you, feed you
    even let you hold the remote control
    so let me do the dishes in the kitchen sink
    put you to bed when youve had too much to drink
    oh i could be the man to grow old with you
    i wana grow old with you

  4. This is a great idea for a post!! love theses readings,especially the last. I agree with Rachel about reading the book if selecting a passage, to see the context thats a good idea. We’ve chosen a passage from the book Tuesdays with Morrie and Yeats’ tread softly poem. I also loved the excerpt from Beethoven’s (I think) letter that Carrie reads to Big in the first sex and the city film, that would make a lovely reading. Found it really hard to choose.

  5. We are having the passage from Captain Corelli – it gets me all teary eyed every time…we are one tree! We are also having passages from the Song of Solomon. I adore Ed Monktons Lovely Love Story but our minister is quite traditional when it comes to marriage ceremonies so it might have been too much for her! xxx

  6. LOVE this post! Mine has to be Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 – as soon as I heard it when I studied english I knew I wanted it at my wedding! xx

  7. Another Captain Corelli’s Bride right here… A perfect example of the Cheese Cake/Sweetie Table/Photo Booth point. As long as it’s special to you and you give it meaning, you’re the first people to do it.
    We had planned to have A Lovely Love Story, but both I and my brother-in-law forgot to bring a copy! So we had a gorgeous reading called ‘Love Is’ that our registrar carried around with her because it was her favourite reading… And we loved it!

    I don’t want to work today, I want to curl up in front of the fire with a stack of books and a cuppa… Sigh.

    X

  8. I’d never come across “A Lovely Love story” before – I love it!!

    Jules, our CofE vicar has approved this one as a religious reading if it’s any help to you?

    Celtic Wedding Blessing
    May God go with you and bless you,
    May you see your children`s children,
    May you be poor in misfortune and rich in blessings,
    May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

    May joy and peace surround you both,
    Contentment latch your door,
    And happiness be with you now And God Bless you Evermore.
    May you live you life with trust, And nurture lifelong affection,
    May your lifelong dreams come true for you, Move ever that direction.

    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back,
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    The rains fall soft upon your fields.
    May the light of friendship guide your paths together,
    May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
    May the joy of living for each
    other trip a smile from your lips, a twinkle from your eye.
    And when eternity beckons,
    at the end of the life heaped high with love,
    May the good Lord embrace you
    with the arms that have nurtured you
    the whole length of your joy-filled days.
    May the gracious God hold you both
    in the palm of His hands.
    And, today, may the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts.

  9. Lovely post.

    Interesting because I work as a wedding coordinator and my brides that are the MOST into everything about their wedding, when I ask what they’re doing for their ceremonies they just shrug and say they’re having no readings and they don’t care as long as its quick. It’s so sad. I put so much effort into my ceremony to make it special to us.

  10. This couldn’t have come at a better time – I’ll never, ever be grateful enough to RMW for this guidance at the right time!

    I’m having four ( don’t want it to be over too quickly!) starting with simply

    Carrie’s Poem

    His hello was the end of her endings
    Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
    His hand would be hers to hold forever
    His forever was as simple as her smile
    He said she was what was missing
    She said instantly she knew
    She had a question to be answered
    And his answer was I do

    Then some Westlife lyrics (shoot me, I’m not cool, but hey, it’s all about doing what you want isn’t it?!) adapted from their song “I do”, then an adapted version of Adam Sandler and then the Lovely Dinosaur! As you can see, three girlies here all having that, so great minds think alike 🙂

    I was worried it wasn’t ‘serious’ enough. But for anyone who knows me and Mr S, we couldn’t pull off elegant and sophisticated without looking like wannabees. So we’re going for fun, fun, fun.

    I’ve changed the words on a couple to make it more meaningful and personal to us. I would never meddle with gorgeous literature, but I think you can get away with it on song lyrics.

    SO much choice out there, it’s just about picking what suits you! xx

  11. We are having a poem from a piece of artwork that we have now bought – we looked high and low for a reading, from the AA Milne poem “Us Two” to Captain Corelli’s but it was Mr that picked this one. His words were “that’s the one, that describes us” (at which point I cried!)

    This is What Love is – By Coulson Macleod

    What is love? To solve that riddle with just one answer is beyond me, for love is many different and contradictory things. In the early stages love is excitement and breathlessness, it is the ache of separation and the comfort of togetherness, and it builds inexorably to that moment when ‘I’ becomes ‘we’. Later, if blessed, love becomes a stronger, less transitory thing. A foundation for two lives lived as one. It is all around us, there for the taking, yet to seek it out is futile. It cannot be bought or stolen or given. It cannot be avoided or denied. Love is the beautiful, wonderful, mysterious mortar that binds two souls together and I first heard its voice on the day I met you. It has been with me every moment since. This is what love is.

    For our religious reading we are having Colossians 3 v12-17

  12. We had Captain Corelli and Song of Solomon (snap Tea!), and they were perfect for us. They meant so much and it was so wonderful hearing them read by the special people we chose as readers x

  13. Love the last reading….beautiful words.

    We pondered over many a reading for our big day and finally went with this one by Louise Cuddon.

    Sums up what real life is all about! x

    I’ll be there my darling, through thick and through thin
    When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
    When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.
    When life is just threatening to drive you insane
    When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page
    When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age
    When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm
    When the forecast said “Fine”, but you’re out in a storm
    When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum
    And your holiday photos show only your thumb
    When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay
    And return to discover you’ve been towed away
    When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste
    Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist
    When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes
    When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes
    So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…
    When you break a rule, when you act the fool
    When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew
    When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue
    ’cause I’m telling you, I’ll be there for you.

  14. This is lovely, thank you Rachel 🙂

    I had Corinthians (Love is patient… etc) and The Art of Marriage by Wilferd Arlan Peterson.

    I got a right bee in my bonnet about having a religious reading as it’s Pete who is religious not me and I did Eng Lit right to A-level so I didn’t want something meaningless (to me) when I could thing of so many others that were perfect.

    The only one I liked and came back to again and again was Corinthians but I was blowed if I was going to have it when EVERY other person does. Eventually our Vicar said that it didn’t matter how many times he heard it, each time it was as beautiful and meaningful and I thought, he’s so right.

    We ended up getting around the issue of a trad vicar with including readings in our order of service – We had Carrie’s poem (above) in the front, and an Apache blessing at the back.

    Totally agree with Anon above. The ceremony to me was the most amazing part of the day. It was beautiful and moving and completely sacred and everything else pales into insignificance now…

    xoxo

    PS – LOVE the Adam Sandler reading – thats brilliant!

  15. We bought a lovely book called ‘Into the Garden, a Wedding Anthology’ Its full of peoms and readings on love and marriage. Its got loads of sweet and quirky poems. We had an untitled poem.

    Now touch the air softly,
    Step gently. One, two…
    I’ll love you till roses
    are robin’s egg blue;
    I’ll love you till gravel
    Is eaten for bread,
    And lemons are orange,
    And lavender’s red.

    Now touch the air softly,
    Swing gently the broom.
    I’ll love you till windows
    Are all of a room;
    And the table is laid,
    And the table is bare;
    And the ceiling reposes
    On bottomless air.

    I’ll love you till Heaven
    Rips the stars from his coat,
    And the Moon rows away in
    A glass-bottomed boat;
    And Orion steps down
    Like a diver below,
    And Earth is ablaze,
    And the Ocean aglow.

    So touch the air softly,
    And swing the broom high.
    We will dust the gray mountains,
    And sweep the blue sky;
    And I’ll love you as long
    As the furrow the plow
    As However is Ever,
    And Ever is Now.

    I love the Adam Sandler one, so sweet.

  16. Loving this post! I really enjoyed picking the readings for our wedding and we ended up with three. They ended up being such an emotional part of our ceremony and on the dvd you can see my either grinning like a loon or trying really hard not to cry when they are being read!

    We had song lyrics as our first reading, The Proclaimers Let’s Get Married, and our last reading was this;

    “I like you and I know why
    I like you because
    You are a good person to like

    I like you because
    When I tell you something special
    You know it’s special
    And you remember it
    For a long, long time

    When I think something is important
    You think it’s important too
    When I say something funny
    You laugh
    I think I’m funny and
    You think I’m funny too

    I like you because if I am mad at you
    Then you are mad at me too
    It’s awful when the other person isn’t
    They are so nice you could just about
    Punch them in the nose

    I like you because you know where I’m ticklish
    And you don’t tickle me there except
    Just a little tiny bit sometimes
    But if you do then I know where to tickle you too

    You know how to be silly
    That’s why I like you
    I like you because
    You know when it’s time to stop being silly
    That’s because
    You really like me
    Don’t you?
    And I really like you back

    I like you because
    Everything that happens
    Is nicer with you
    I can’t remember when I didn’t like you
    It must have been lonesome then

    Even if it was way down at the bottom of Winter
    Even if it was the last day of forever
    I would go on choosing you
    And you would go on choosing me
    Over and over again
    That’s how it would happen every time
    Because I Like You

    Sorry for the massive post but I love the reading and wanted to share with all you lovely RMW ladies 😀

  17. Fankoo Rebecca, wise words indeed about everything else pailing into insigificance and I’m sure we all need to keep hold of that thought when the minor details are taking over our lives! Every reading here sounds beautiful and fitting to each bride and groom. Fun readings can be delivered in an authentic and heartfelt way, religious regions can be unique, and the swoony swoony classic literature, will never ever fail to move you. Love it that there are so many different ways to do it, but that ultimately they’ll all have the same effect. xxx

  18. We’re having a civil ceremony and I really don’t want it to be 5 minutes of going through the motions. Our wedding is a year away and I’m already keeping an eye out for readings, so this post is really interesting!

    Still have no idea what to pick though…

  19. Ditto on the whole loving the ceremony – it was definitely our favourite part of the day.

    We had three readings, partly because one of them was so short:

    “If I Could Write Words” by Spike Milligan
    If I could write words
    Like leaves on an autumn forest floor,
    What a bonfire my letters would make.

    If I could speak words of water,
    You would drown when I said
    ‘I love you.’

    Then we had “i carry your heart with me” by E.E. Cummings

    And then our final reading was an excerpt from Everything is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer. It’s one of my favourite books, and very quirky, but very us, and it went down a storm – even the oldies were saying how much they loved it. The only thing we had to omit from it as it was a civil ceremony was the mention of “Shalom” and “Amen” at the end. You can see it here: https://www.peoniesandpolaroids.com/2009/09/my-favourite-wedding-reading.html

    It took us a long long time to come up with these – but they were well worth it.

  20. We also had Corinthians for our religious reading (ditto all of Rebecca’s comments), but our vicar was happy for us to have a second, non-religious reading and we chose ‘Us Two’ by AA Milne, which my 10 yr old brother read beautifully:

    Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
    There’s always Pooh and Me.
    Whatever I do, he wants to do,
    “Where are you going today?” says Pooh:
    “Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
    Let’s go together,” says Pooh, says he.
    “Let’s go together,” says Pooh.

    “What’s twice eleven?” I said to Pooh.
    (“Twice what?” said Pooh to Me.)
    “I think it ought to be twenty-two.”
    “Just what I think myself,” said Pooh.
    “It wasn’t an easy sum to do,
    But that’s what it is,” said Pooh, said he.
    “That’s what it is,” said Pooh.

    “Let’s look for dragons,” I said to Pooh.
    “Yes, let’s,” said Pooh to Me.
    We crossed the river and found a few-
    “Yes, those are dragons all right,” said Pooh.
    “As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
    That’s what they are,” said Pooh, said he.
    “That’s what they are,” said Pooh.

    “Let’s frighten the dragons,” I said to Pooh.
    “That’s right,” said Pooh to Me.
    “I’m not afraid,” I said to Pooh,
    And I held his paw and I shouted “Shoo!
    Silly old dragons!”- and off they flew.

    “I wasn’t afraid,” said Pooh, said he,
    “I’m never afraid with you.”

    So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
    There’s always Pooh and Me.
    “What would I do?” I said to Pooh,
    “If it wasn’t for you,” and Pooh said: “True,
    It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,
    Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. “That’s how it is,” says Pooh.

  21. This is an amazing post – really making me think about things. I wonder whether my 18 year old brother would appreciate being asked to read the Pooh excerpt – probably not – probably wouldn’t be as cute either!

  22. Not really a wedding reading (or is it? Hmm…) but the lovely Adam read John Cooper Clarke’s poem ‘I Wanna Be Yours’ as part of a best man’s speech for a wedding last year. For me, it’s the perfect of not being too soppy and it’s got some cool points, too.

    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

  23. For those that are after a fun reading, I heard this at the last wedding I went to and it went down a storm…

    LOVE ME (anon)

    Love me when I’m old and shocking
    Peel off my elastic stockings
    Swing me from the chandeliers
    Let’s be randy bad old dears.

    Push around my chromed Bath Chair
    Let me tease your white chest hair
    Scaring children, swapping dentures
    Let us have some great adventures

    Take me to the Dogs and Bingo
    Teach me how to speak the lingo
    Bone my eels and bring me tea
    Show me how it’s meant to be

    Take me to your special places
    Watching all the puzzled faces
    You in shorts and socks and sandals
    Me with warts and huge love-handles

    As the need for love enthrals
    Wrestle with my damp proof smalls
    Make me laugh without constraint
    Buy me chocolate body paint

    Hold me safe throughout the night
    When my hair has turned to white
    Believe me when I say it’s true
    I’ve waited all my life for you

    1. Love this,so relaxed and funny.Just not sure what my bride and groom will think if i choose this to read.Guaranteed laughs of that i am sure.

  24. Loving this post! Goodness, have tears in my eyes at work after reading that last “Love Me” reading above. We’re getting married in a RC church so have been bound by the old religious guidelines but I have got ‘Carries’s Poem’ into the Order of Service 😉 Our readings include “Song of Songs” from the Old Testament:

    I hear my Beloved.
    See how he comes
    leaping on the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
    My Beloved is like a gazelle,
    like a young stag.
    See where he stands
    behind our wall.
    He looks in at the window,
    he peers through the lattice.
    My Beloved lifts up his voice,
    he says to me,
    “Come then, my love,
    my lovely one, come.
    My dove, hiding in the clefts of the rock.
    In the coverts of the cliff,
    show me your face,
    let me hear your voice;
    for your voice is sweet
    and your face is beautiful.”
    My Beloved is mine and I am his.
    Set me like a seal on your heart,
    like a seal on your arm.
    For love is strong as Death,
    jealousy relentless as Sheol.
    The flash of it is a flash of fire,
    a flame of the Lord himself.
    Love no flood can quench,
    no torrents drown.

    Kinda suits my drama queen tendancies 🙂 and h2B rather fancies himself as a young stag I think! and yes we’re also having “Corinthians” (WE like it so WE’RE happy we’re having it!) Gosh, am now thinking about our ceremony and remembering what it’s all about and not infernal to-do lists and favours.

  25. Gah. My Boy is Catholic and pretty much insisted that we get married in a Catholic Church and so we have to have our readings from the Bible… It mattered for more to him that we did, then it mattered to me that we didn’t – so we are! I SO wanted Carrie’s Poem but with a mandatory 2 readings from the Bible and a psalm plus the bidding prayers and nuptial blessings and a gospel reading making the ceremony last 40 mins at least, I think I need to give any more readings a miss!

    But Rebecca, not for the first time I am stealing an idea of yours and will be including Carrie’s poem in to my OOS! Hurrah!

    As ever, RMW ladies you’ve saved the day!

    x

  26. Fleur, snap! We’ve chosen those exact readings too! My Boy could not be more laid back and steady so the

    “leaping on the mountains,
    bounding over the hills”

    made me laugh so much we had to have it! That and his (and soon to be mine) surname is Dove so again I just knew it was the right reading!

    x

  27. Holly Pockett,

    Are you sure you have to have two bible readings? Have you tried speaking with the priest who is marrying you? We were married in a Catholic Church and found the priest was really far more understanding and accepting than we were expecting. I am the Catholic one and my husband is not baptised. It was the priest himself who suggested that we should just have the marriage service rather than the full nuptial mass as the mass part just wouldn’t mean anything to my husband and it was supposed to be about the two of us.

    For readings we actually had exactly the same as Rebecca – Corinthians ‘Love is patient and kind…’ and Wilferd Arlan Peterson ‘The Art of Marriage’. Obviously only one of these is a bible reading but the priest was absolutely fine about it. We didn’t have a psalm but we did have bidding prayers.

    On the back of our order of service we were going to have:

    What greater thing is there for two human souls
    than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
    each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
    to share with each other in all gladness,
    to be one with each other in the
    silent unspoken memories?
    George Eliot (1819 – 1880)

    But in the end went for:

    Grow old with me; the best is yet to be.
    Robert Browning

    Short and sweet.

    I loved our service – it really was the most wonderful part of the day. x

  28. What beautiful readings! I’ve been a real soppy mess in my office, hurrah for colleagues not being able to see me!

    We’re having a C of E service and currently considering our options. The super Rev Kev has said we can include non-religious readings too so we’d ove to include the following which are actually song lyrics. It’s the bit about growing old that gets me every time.

    I will be here – Steven Curtis Chapman

    Tomorrow morning if you wake up
    and the sun does not appear
    I will be here
    If in the dark, we lose sight of love
    Hold my hand, and have no fear
    ‘Cause I will be here

    I will be here
    When you feel like being quiet
    When you need to speak your mind
    I will listen
    And I will be here
    When the laughter turns to crying
    Through the winning, losing and trying
    We’ll be together
    I will be here

    Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
    And the future is unclear
    I will be here
    Just as sure as seasons were made for change
    Our lifetimes were made for these years
    So I will be here

    I will be here
    And you can cry on my shoulder
    When the mirror tells us we’re older
    I will hold you
    And I will be here
    To watch you grow in beauty
    And tell you all the things you are to me
    I will be here

    I will be true to the promise I have made
    To you and to the One who gave you to me

    Tomorrow morning, if you wake up
    And the sun does not appear
    I will be here
    Oh, I will be here.

    – Ah, that’s set me off again! Inspired post, ladies, love it!

    x

  29. Hello all,
    Have been reading this blog quietly for the last few months and am getting married summer 2011. We still haven’t set a date but am getting all swept up in the little details. We’re having a civil ceremony are thinking of having ‘Maybe’ and this one entitled ‘Loving the Wrong Person’ by Andrew Boyd which I love because it sounds ostensibly like an unromantic sentiment but is actually really poignant and beautiful.

    We’re all seeking that special person who is right for us.
    But if you’ve been through enough relationships,
    you begin to suspect there’s no right person,
    just different flavors of wrong.
    Why is this?
    Because you yourself are wrong in some way,
    and you seek out partners who are wrong in some complementary way.
    But it takes a lot of living to grow fully into your own wrongness.

    It isn’t until you finally run up against your deepest demons,
    your unsolvable problems – the ones that make you truly who you are –
    that you’re ready to find a life-long mate.
    Only then do you finally know what you’re looking for.

    You’re looking for the wrong person.
    But not just any wrong person:
    the right wrong person – someone you lovingly gaze upon and think,
    “This is the problem I want to have.”

  30. This post is so, so, so helpful (and all the comments!)!! Loving reading through them all. We’re thinking of have the reading from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin as well – it’s just lovely.

    We’re also going to have the Owl and the Pussycat – which is maybe a bit of an odd choice. But when I was younger my grandfather (who passed away several years ago, but was sort of like a father to me) helped me to memorise it and it has always since been my favourite poem. Add in the fact me and the boy just moved to the UK from NZ and are having our wedding in London (the owl and the pussycat sail away for a year and a day to get married – 25 hours on a plane is sort of comparable!) and I thought it fitted quite well!

  31. Ahhhh, the “Us two” reading. So jealousof that. I found it hard to decide between that and the dinosaurs reading for our non-religious reading (couldn’t have three… we’d have been there for hours).

    Only thing was, one member of the wedding party (that shall remain nameless) couldn’t stop giggling at the word “Pooh” being said in church. Pesky boys! 🙂

    That broke my heart as I love Pooh Bear and Piglet!! Loved the dinos as well though, so not too sad!

  32. I just cried at my desk reading AA Milne’s Us Two, I’m not sure why, but out of all of the above, that’s the one that actually made me sob. I would like it on my wedding day, but I’ll need very very waterproof make up!

    My W-day isn’t for 2 years so we haven’t had the readings talk, but my fiance isn’t religious and we are having a Church ceremony for me, so I am hoping we can have a non-religious reading for his sake. Our vicar is extremely lovely and knows Mr G is an atheist so I’m hoping she will be flexible about what we have.

    I was concerned about a similar problem with hymns, not because Mr G has objected but because I was worried they would mean nothing to him as he has no religious background. Luckily however, he’s half Welsh and so he’s happy to have Bread of Heaven, which is a hymn to me and a Welsh anthem to him, so it means something to us both. 🙂

  33. Lovely readings ladies xx

    Rebecca, I’m totally with you on that – I did a degree in English Lit so had everyone saying “ooh, bet your readings are going to be amazing” and I didn’t have a bloomin’ clue! Literally trawled the entire literary canon to find something but nothing felt quite right.

    In the end, we’ve chosen two readings that were under our noses the whole time. The first is a poem by the German poet Rilke, which Mr Laura translated himself for me and posted to me, old-fashioned love letter stylee, when we first started dating – it ends with the phrase “and we are no longer timid, our journey will not be a burden, but a long path away from the preceding day”.

    And the second reading is a French poem which I sent to Mr Laura in return (he’s one of those annoying tri-lingual types), which ends with:
    “We live in a world of motion and distance.
    The heart flies from tree to bird,
    from bird to distant star,
    from star to love; and love grows
    in the quiet house, turning and working,
    servant of thought, a lamp held in one hand.”

    Which I just love. We’re having them both read in the original language and the translation by German and French friends of ours. Not traditional, not overly smoochy, but just right for us, which is all that matters. Goosebumps just thinking about it!

  34. I also sob everytime I read “Us Two” but the Mr said there was no way he could trust his friends to sit through a whole poem that repeats the word “Pooh”. Children the lot of them even at 30!

  35. Actual tears… in the office. Oh cripes. As a hopeless romantic all these lovely words have pushed me over the edge! I want to run home to Mr H, recite “Us Two” and say “I love you” a million times. Ahem. Gorgeous stuff ladies!

  36. We had Corinthians as I read it at my sister’s wedding 18 years ago as a seven yr old and now it was my sister’s turn to read it for us. She is still happily married!

    We had Carrie’s poem in the order of service.

    But the most special reading for us was Ruth 1:16- 18. I have lived 250 miles from ‘home’ for the last 7 yrs and it just summed up how I feel with the words ‘Where you go I will go’ because that is exactly how I feel about him. When I heard it in church I actually started crying!

    This is not the version I had but it is all I could find online.

    But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me.” 18 When Naomi realized that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.

  37. So so pleased this post worked. Thank you Charlotte and Adam for all your hard work. I shall make a note of all your wonderful passages.
    We had Song of Songs and Phillipians 4 and spent forever trying to think of a third non religious Bible reading. In the end we put a different quote on each menu to encorporate that in.
    Eleanor – it was for that quote that I read Adam Bede…
    The service truly was the best part of our day too.

  38. it was a total nightmare trying to find readings for our wedding as we were having a non religious ceremony and you can’t have anything that mentions anything to do with religion. We ended up having the poem

    The Promise

    The sun danced on the snow with a sparkling smile,
    As two lovers sat quietly, alone for a while,
    Then he turned and said with a casual air
    (Though he blushed from his chin to the tips of his hair),
    “I think I might like to get married to you”

    “Well then,” she said “Well these’s a thought.
    But with if we can’t promise to be all that we ought,
    If I’m late yet again, when we plan to go out.
    For I know I can’t promise, I’ll learn to ignore
    Dirty socks and damp towels strewn all over the floor.

    So if we can’t vow to be all that we should
    I’m not sure what to do though the ideas quite good”
    But he gently smiled and tilted his head
    Till his lips met her ear and softly he said

    “I promise, to weave my dreams into your own,
    That wherever you breathe will be my hearts home.
    I promise, that whether with rags or with gold I am blessed,
    Your smile is the jewel I will treasure the best.

    Do you think then my love, we should marry – do you?”
    “Yes” she said smiling “I do”.

    my sister read this for us and it made everyone laugh and cry.

    we then had the “I will be here” as mentioned by Sarah B.
    I’m glad we did have the readings as without them the ceremony would have been very short and they did have meaning to us. Great post xx

  39. Thank you Mrs J,

    I have had a change of plan and I’m going to use this poem from the ‘Into the Garden book’ at my wedding next weekend. It’s beautiful thanks for posting it.

  40. Kerri, your rading from Ruth might be a good one for me as, me and Jp spent the 2nd year of our relationship apart with me in England and him in Scotland! I will be checking it out!
    I think i might need the two religious readings as our ceramony is catholic.

  41. Fab post ladies and gent!

    First reading was Captain Corelli’s (that whole novel never fails to make me weep), then second reading was pretty unusual. I also cut it short so it ended at the best bit:

    The Invitation

    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 heart’s longing.

    It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
    I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
    for love
    for your dream
    for the adventure of being alive.

    It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
    I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
    if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
    or have become shrivelled and closed
    from fear of further pain.

    I want to know if you can sit with pain
    mine or your own
    without moving to hide it
    or 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 the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
    without cautioning us
    to be careful
    to be realistic
    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 to yourself.
    If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
    and not betray your own soul.
    If you can be faithless
    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 own life
    from its presence.

    I want to know if you can live with failure
    yours and mine
    and still stand at the edge of the lake
    and shout to the silver of the full moon,
    “Yes.”

    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 the night of grief and despair
    weary and bruised to the bone
    and do what needs to be done
    to feed the children.

    It doesn’t interest me who you know
    or how you came to be here.
    I want to know if you will stand
    in the centre of the fire
    with me
    and not shrink back.

  42. They are lovely. We had 3 readings as I love things like that and simply could not choose!! Ours were:

    1. Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116
    Let me not to 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 wandering 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.

    2. Love’s Philosophy by Percy Shelley
    The fountains mingle with the river
    And the rivers with the ocean,
    The winds of Heaven mix for ever
    With a sweet emotion;
    Nothing in the world is single,
    All things by a law divine
    In one spirit meet and mingle –
    Why not I with thine?

    See the mountains kiss high Heaven
    And the waves clasp one another;
    No sister-flower would be forgiven
    If it disdained its brother;
    And the sunlight clasps the earth,
    And the moonbeams kiss the sea –
    What are all these kissings worth
    If thou kiss not me?

    3. The well known reading from I Corinthians 13.

    The readings were without a doubt my favourite parts of the ceremony.

  43. Thank you so much!

    This is really helpful and there are some lovely poems and readings shown here.

    I too have been travelling down the ‘I can’t have Corinthians beacuse it has been done a million times’ road
    I’ve now realised that we can have it, who cares if it has been read a million times? It is still lovely

  44. I’m love, love, loving this post. Just wish I’d found it a bit earlier, I’m a bit late to the party 🙁

    Want to say a big thank you to NYE Bride for talking about our What Is Love? print. It’s a super special print for me. The Coulson half of Coulson Macleod wrote it for me (I’m the Macleod half). We met, fell instantly head over heels in love and started Coulson Macleod. It really is a business built on love.

  45. Lovely choices ladies 🙂 Could I gently suggest that if people are reading contemporary poems they buy the book the poem is from? Don’t forget our favourite poets don’t get paid for their labours otherwise.

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