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, namely wedding readings on love. 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’ by Thomas à Kempis
Love is a mighty power,
a great and complete good.
Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.
It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders
all bitterness sweet and acceptable.
Nothing is sweeter than love,
Nothing more pleasant,
Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God.
Love flies, runs and leaps for joy.
It is free and unrestrained.
Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.
Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil,
Attempts things beyond its strength.
Love sees nothing as impossible,
For it feels able to achieve all things.
It is strange and effective,
While those who lack love faint and fail.
Love is not fickle and sentimental,
Nor is it intent on vanities.
Like a living flame and a burning torch,
It surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.
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 Love Me’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browing (1806-1861)
If thou must love me, let it be for naught
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,
‘I love her for her smile – her look – her way
Of speaking gently, for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day’ –
For these things in themselves, beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee – and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry:
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.
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.
‘Gift From The Sea’ (An Excerpt) by Anne Morrow Lindbergh (b.1906)
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. 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 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.
And if poetry rocks your boat, and also my favourite….
‘I Do Not Love You’ by Pablo Neruda
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, no you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
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