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Wedding Readings – Ideas For Your Civil Ceremony

Choosing the wedding readings for your ceremony is one of the nicest jobs of wedding planning – whatever type of ceremony you are having, there is usually room for a personal reading or two. Often it’s something that you’ll work on with your fiancé, choosing meaningful literary extracts or poems that really relate to your relationship. And alongside the vows, it’s often the part of the wedding ceremony that brings tears of joy to my eyes. The world is full of beautiful writing on love – from passionate and intense Bronte novels to light-hearted poems by Edward Monkton, there’s something for everyone out there.

Our lovely couples often mention which wedding readings they’ve chosen for their big day so we’ve selected some of our favourites to share with you this afternoon. Some of the choices I think would make excellent wedding readings for little ones to read, but if you go down this route, make sure you have a backup plan in case of stage fright!

If you’re after more inspiration, check out these posts from our archives which contain even more ideas – Say it like you mean it & Speak to me of love. And as always, if you have any wedding readings you absolutely love, please do share them in the comments box below the post, we love finding new treasures we’ve never seen before.

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Wedding Readings


By Robert Fulghum

Union by Robert Fulghum - Wedding Readings


By Margery Williams

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams - Wedding Readings


By Unknown

Maybe by Unknown - Wedding Readings


By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If Thou Must Love Me by Elizabeth Barrett Browning - Wedding Readings


By John Cooper Clarke

I Wanna Be Yours by John Cooper Clarke


By Jim Reeves

I love you because by jim reeves - Wedding Readings


By Pablo Neruda

I Do Not Love You by Pablo Neruda - Wedding Readings


By Anne Morrow Lindbergh

I love you because by jim reeves - Wedding Readings


By Sam Mc Bratney

Guess how much i love you - Wedding Readings


By Sam Mc Bratney

Guess how much i love you - Wedding Readings




By Louis de Bernières

Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis Bernieres - Wedding Readings


From Sex & The City

Carrie's Poem from Sex and the City - Wedding Readings


By Magnetic Fields



By EE Cummings

I Carry Your Heart by EE Cummings - Wedding Readings


By Taylor Mali



By Taylor Mali

Being in love is like owning a dog pt2


By Victor Hugo

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo


1 Corinthians 13

The Gift of Love - 1 Corinthians 13


By James Kavanaugh

To Love is Not to Possess by James Kavanaugh


By William Shakespeare

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare


By AA Milne

Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne


By Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman


By Edward Monkton

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton



By Edward Monkton

That Still and Settled Place by Edward Monkton



By Thomas å Kempis

On Love by Thomas a Kempis



By Philip Pullman

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman



By Stephen Curtis Chapman

I Will Be Here by Stephen Curtis Chapman




By Tracey Emin

For Me by Tracy Emin - Wedding Readings



Did This Help You Choose Your Wedding Readings?

Which is your favourite? ‘I Will Be Here’ really resonates with me, I love the words and that they are just such a simple promise. I’m also a big fan of ‘That Still & Settled Place’ – this would be a really sweet one for a little one to read.

And if that’s not enough for you, we have also recorded an entire Rock My Wedding Podcast episode about Wedding Readings here. Enjoy!

Have we included any of your chosen readings? Who will be reading during your ceremony? Tell us all about it! x

RELATED: Wedding Reading Ideas For Your Non Religious Ceremony
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Author: Fern Godfrey
Fern spends most of her time dreaming about weddings and trying to convince her long-suffering boyfriend to propose. Lucky enough to live in sunny Cornwall, if you need her – you’ll find her at beach.

27 thoughts on “Wedding Readings – Ideas For Your Civil Ceremony

  1. I had planned on having Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It’s not too soppy and is such a nice reading. However that quote from The Amber Spyglass is gorgeous. I’ve read that series of books so many times it would be nice to have something like that in our wedding. Choices! I also want to have a Bob Marley quote that goes something like: ‘you’re not perfect and he’s not perfect either’. It’s a lovely short reading that’s non cheesy and will hopefully fit our laid back wedding. My fiance hates anthing with too much cheese, but I think he’ll have to deal with a little, haha. It’s a whole day about love!
    Amy xx

    1. I love the series of books too Amy, such a lovely one to include! Is this the Bob Marley quote you mean?

      “He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyse. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”

      I LOVE this one too 🙂

      There’s a fine line between romantic and cheese fest but I think the ones you’ve shortlisted are great! x

  2. We’re currently in discussion about ours, and we too want a bits of sentiment but not too cheesy! My partner’s sister had ‘Union’ at her wedding last year, and I love it, so we thought it would be a nice touch if she reads it at ours!
    Then our second one is just a short poem by Larry S Chengges:

    Always Love Each Other

    If you can always be as close
    And as happy as today,
    Yet be secure enough to grow
    And change along the way.

    If you can keep for you alone
    Your love as man and wife,
    Yet find the time to share your joy
    With others in your life.

    If you can be as one
    And walk through marriage hand in hand,
    Yet still support the goals and dreams
    That each of you have planned.

    If you can dare to always go
    Your separate ways together,
    Then all the wonder of today
    Will stay with you forever.

    I love the balance of going through life together and yet celebrating having some independence x

    1. That’s a good one Siân, totally agree on the sentiment, it’s nice to have one
      that recognises independence!

      And it’ll be so meaningful for your sister-in-law to read Union at your ceremony, what a lovely idea.


  3. Loved reading these! I love the Velveteen Rabbit and really wanted it for our wedding, but I was over-ruled, and my husband felt it was too soppy. Union is lovely too – haven’t come across that one before.

    We had two readings at our wedding. One was words from a birthday card that my husband had made for me some years previous – very personal & special. The other was read (and chosen) by my brother. He had wanted to read something that was ‘from him to us’ and he chose ‘Sunscreen’ by Mary Schmich. It’s too long to copy and paste, but google it, and come to your own conclusion about how quirky my brother is!

    1. Weirdly the Baz Luhrmann version of Sunscreen always makes me cry, so I can kind of understand why your Brother chose it!

      What is it with the boys not wanting to overdo the soppiness? It’s a wedding for goodness sake!

      And not that my younger sister is anywhere near to getting married, but The Velveteen Rabbit was one of her favourite childhood books, so I’d love to read it at her wedding (one day) x

      1. I know – surely a degree of soppiness is required at a wedding!

        Sunscreen was indeed brilliantly perfect – albeit non-traditional…

  4. So cute. Quite like the Edward Monkton one too 🙂

    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.

  5. I love all your examples. We had this one which my sisters (age 12 & 13 at the time) chose and read- definitely made me need the tissues!
    Love You More by James Carter
    Do I love you
    to the moon and back?
    No I love you
    more than that
    I love you to the desert sands
    the mountains, stars
    the planets and
    I love you to the deepest sea
    and deeper still
    through history
    Before beyond I love you then
    I love you now
    I’ll love you when
    The sun’s gone out
    the moon’s gone home
    and all the stars are fully grown
    When I no longer say these words
    I’ll give them to the wind, the birds
    so that they will still be heard
    I love you

  6. Has to be amber spyglass. Me and my other half listened to the audio book whilst travelling and I had forgotten this beautiful extract.

  7. I’m so glad other people agree on the amber spyglass! It’s one of my absolute favourites and a reading we both love but have worried if it was really wedding appropriate. Thanks for putting my mind at rest!

  8. Hi, we got married last month and are both in our fifties. We really struggled to find a Reading that we liked. One evening I wrote my own! My fiancee liked it too so we used it. Here it is. Feel free to publish or just delete if you don’t like it. But it resonated with us and with our friends…

    Be careful with love.
    Be careful – don’t try too hard to find love, but remain open enough that it may find you.
    Be careful not to mistake momentary passion for love, but conversely…
    Be careful not to mistake a close, but ultimately unromantic friendship for love.
    Be careful too not to mistake security and companionship for love. Both have their merits but confusing them with love may not lead to fulfilment.
    Be careful to let your love flow and be transparent when it has found you. For suppressing it for fear of getting hurt is at best, wasteful and at worst you may miss the chance of true happiness.
    Be careful of those who tell you that you’ve found love, or tell you that you are close enough as makes no difference. It’s not their life.
    Be careful of demanding that they tell you they love you. An empty pledge will hurt much longer than the moment you think it true.
    Be careful not to rush love or to rush the reciprocity of your love by another. Be patient, for when you feel your love returned your joyous heart will more than reward your anxious wait.
    Be careful not to expect love to remain the same. Embrace its evolution, whilst never taking it for granted.
    Be careful to take a moment, to hold their hand, to look into their eyes, to tell them how you feel. Not every day, lest it become routine. But when you stop rushing around, when you can take a deep breath and remind yourself of what truly matters.
    Be careful not to be shy about letting love shine from your face and if you see disdain in the eyes of a few, just smile and know that it is probably just envy and, yes, it’s OK to feel smug!
    Be careful not to lose love. That is not the same as being afraid to lose it, don’t be afraid, just embrace it at the time, enjoy it, nurture it, feel it for what it is and, you should never lose it.
    Be careful with love.

    1. This is beautiful and so true!
      As someone who has been married for almost 28 years, (although went out for 10 years before making the decision; we wanted to be sure and don’t like to rush into things!) all of this rang so true, particularly when looking back at our own journey of evolution. It’s a wonderful reflective piece that I am going to use in our next anniversary card. Thankyou!
      William, you deserve a wonderful married life together. Be happy and evolve!
      What a great website too!

  9. This is such a useful website and there are so many other really useful comments and gorgeous examples of readings. I am trying to find a reading for my sister-in-law’s wedding and there are so many wonderful ideas here, I need look no further! Thank you!

  10. I found a reading ago and I now can’t find it anywhere after days of searching the Internet.
    It was for our children to read and had lines in which were funny like, you have to promise to buy us sweet/take us on day trips and things like that. And ended with something like but all that matters is that you love me/us.
    Can anyone please help…?
    From a very stressed out B2B x

  11. I am trying to find a suitable reading for our daughter to read she is being her dads honorary best man (girl).

  12. What about this? If our son was older I’d have loved him to read it our up coming wedding..

    Getting married means you’ll have
    Someone’s hand to hold,
    Even when you’re feeling sick,
    Even when you’re old.

    It means when you sit down to eat,
    Someone will be there,
    So you won’t have to tell your day
    To an empty chair.

    It means that you can have some kids
    Just like a mom and dad,
    And play with them all afternoon,
    Except when they are bad.

    It means that when you need some help,
    Someone will help out,
    Someone always near to you
    So you won’t have to shout.

    But best of all is when it’s time
    To turn out all the lights:
    You won’t have to be alone
    Those long and scary nights.

    So even though you don’t have toys,
    You don’t have to care:
    Once you’re married you can be
    Each other’s teddy bear!

  13. I really like the classical 1 Corinthians verse. but i was surprised to read that civil ceremonies in UK must not contain any reading from any religious text. Is this reading actually acceptable at a UK civil ceremony?

  14. I loved seeing such lovely poems and extracts. This was the words we chose for our wedding 29 years ago.
    Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
    And he answered saying:
    You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore,
    You shall be together when the 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 heavens dance between you

    Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
    Let it 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 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
    Kahlil Gibran {from The Prophet}

  15. Hi, I am looking for a reading from Mother of the Bride – she wants something under the title of My Little Lady as that is what I call her. Looked at some readings (non-religious) but can’t find anything to match or adapt and she wants something upbeat and fun to match my personality – really need some help and was told this was the website to visit.

  16. Hi all. I hope you can come up with some suggestions for me. I’m looking for a reading for a mother of the groom to do. They’re not a religious couple though. The wedding will also be abroad but I’m running out of time and starting to panic. The mother of the bride has written her own poem but I’m not gifted in that way. All ideas welcome. Thank you in advance.

    1. Hi, I was asked to do a reading at my sons wedding, I chose ” everything you ever needed to know you learnt at kindergarten” by Robert Fulgrem. It summed up everything I wanted to say to my boy and his new wife, I got many lovely comments as well after the ceremony. Hope you find your perfect reading.

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