Incorporating ceremony readings into your special day can bring wisdom, humor, and a
sense of togetherness to your nuptials. The right reading can change the energy of your
ceremony dramatically, lightening the mood or creating a sense of reverence, so choosing
the right readings for weddings is an important task. Here are just a few selections...
There are many more to select from if you check on the internet under Wedding Readings for more ideas.
#1: We read in I Corinthians 13, Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have no love, I have become
as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all
knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. Love suffers
long and is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. Love rejoices in the truth. Love bears
all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
#2: We read in The Prophet, True love gives nothing but itself, and takes nothing but from itself, for love is sufficient unto
love. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself, to awake at dawn and give thanks for another day of loving, to rest at
noon and meditate love's ecstasy, to return home at eventide with gratitude, and then to sleep with a prayer for the
beloved in your heart, and a song of praise upon your lips.
#3: We read in The Prophet, 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. 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.
#4: We read in Colossians 3:12, Therefore put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-
suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ
forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the
peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful.
#5: We read in the first epistle of John, Let us love not in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we
know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than
our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.... Let us
love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does
not know God, for God is love.... He who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.
Wedding Poetry & Readings--Selections
May the Road Rise Up to Meet You
Traditional Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And the rains fall soft on your fields.
May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
May the roof above you never fall in,
And the friends gathered below never fall out.
May you never be in want,
And always have a soft pillow for your head,
May you be forty years in heaven
Before the devil knows you’re dead.
May you be poor in misfortunes, rich in blessings,
Slow to make enemies and quick to make friends,
But be you rich or poor, quick or slow,
May you know nothing but happiness from this day on.
The Apache Wedding Prayer (often used as a Blessing)
Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each will be warmth for the other
Now you will feel no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there are three lives before you:
his life, her life, and your life together.
May beauty surround you both
on the journey ahead and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion
to the place where the river meets the sun.
Go now to your dwelling
to enter into the days of your life together.
And may your days be good
And long upon the earth.
Reading from “Letters to a Young Poet”
by Rainer Maria Rilke
It is . . . good to love: because love is difficult.
For one human being to love another human being:
that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us,
the ultimate task, the final test and proof,
the work for which all other work is merely preparation. . . .
Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering,
and uniting with another person . . .
it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen,
to become something in himself,
to become world,
to become world in himself for the sake of another person;
it is a great, demanding claim on him,
something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances.
Ancient Egyptian Ode
This love is as good
as oil and honey to the throat,
as linen to the body,
as fine garments to the gods,
as incense to worshipers
when they enter in,
as the little seal-ring
to my finger.
It is like a ripe pear
in a man’s hand,
it is like the dates
we mix with wine,
it is like the seed
the baker adds to bread.
We will be together
even when old age comes.
And the days in between
will be food set before us,
dates and honey, bread and wine.
The Art of Marriage
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of 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 each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love 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 finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right partner –-
It is being the right partner.
Will You Love Me When I’m Old”
I would ask of you, my darling,
A Question soft and low,
That gives me many a heartache
As the time come and go.
Your love I know is truthful,
But the truest love grows cold;
It is this that I would ask you:
Will you love me when I’m old?
Life’s morning will soon be waning,
And its evening bells be tolled,
But my heart shall know no sadness,
If you'll love me when I’m old.
Down the stream of life together
We are sailing side by side,
Hoping some bright day to anchor
Safe beyond the surging tide.
Today our sky is cloudless,
But the night may clouds unfold;
But, though storms may gather round us,
Will you love me when I’m old?
When my hair shall shade the snowdrift,
And mine eyes shall dimmer grow,
I would lean upon some loved one,
Through the valley as I go.
I would claim of you a promise,
Worth to me a world of gold;
It is only this, my darling,
That you’ll love me when I’m old.
“The Gem” by D.H. Lawrence
And 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 of man
and when, throughout all the wild orgasms of love,
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, one-more-molten
rocks of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,
From The Prophet
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 the same cup.
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.
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being 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?
by e.e. cummings
love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger that the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is more sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher that the sky
Eskimo Love Song
You are my husband, you are my wife
My feet shall run because of you
My feet dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love, because of you.
When two people are at one
in their inmost hearts,
they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze.
And when two people understand each other
in their inmost hearts,
their words are sweet and strong,
like the fragrance of orchids.
How do I love thee? 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 an Ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
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 grief's, 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.
by Kuan Tao-Sheng
You and I
Have so much love,
That it 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 mix the pieces of water,
And mold again a figure of you,
And a figure of me.
I am in your clay.
You are in my clay.
In life we share a single quilt.
In death we will share one coffin.
I carry your heart – 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)
not 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 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)
This Marriage - Ode 2667
May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.
May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcome
as the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.
Untitled by Rumi
May these nuptials be blessed for us, may this marriage be blessed for us,
May it be ever like milk and sugar, this marriage like wine and halvah.
May this marriage be blessed with leaves and fruits like the date tree;
May this marriage be laughing forever, today, tomorrow, like the hours of paradise.
May this marriage be the sign of compassion and the approval of happiness here and hereafter;
May this marriage be fair of fame, fair of face and fair of omen as the moon in the azure sky.
I have fallen silent for words cannot describe how the spirit has mingled with this marriage.