Ideas & Inspiration

Nonreligious Wedding Ceremony Readings To Include In Your Big Day

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Every wedding ceremony will feature a healthy dose of vows, ring exchanges and readings to keep the proceedings ticking along. But to maintain that high level of romance throughout, you’ll want to be sure to select readings that reflect you, your partner and the wonderful life you’ve built together.

Here we’ve put together an edit of the best and most beautiful readings – taken from books, poetry and movies – that can weave into your wedding ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “Love Sonnet 17,” by Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were the salt-rose, topaz
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are loved,
Secretly, between the shadow and the soul.

 

I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom and carries
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.

 

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I don’t know any other way of loving

 

but this, in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “Untitled,” by R.M. Drake

You will be the clouds
and i will be the sky.
you will be the ocean
and i will be the shore.
you will be the trees
and i will be the wind.

 

whatever we are, you and i
will always collide.

wedding ceremony reading instagram
wedding ceremony reading instagram

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “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 and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, 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.

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “Always,” by Lang Leav

You were you
and I was I;
we were two
before our time

 

I was yours,
before I knew
and you have always
been mine too.

wedding ceremony reading instagram
wedding ceremony reading instagram

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “When Harry Met Sally”

I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “Sex & The City”

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 was a question to be answered.
And his answer was “I do.”

wedding ceremony reading instagram
wedding ceremony reading instagram

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “From Beginning to End,” by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks—all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”—those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”—and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.

All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another—acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years.

 

Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this—is my husband, this—is my wife.

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “Every Day,” by David Levithan

This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.

Wedding Ceremony Reading | “The Portrait of a Lady,” by Henry James

This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.


BY KATIE STOW

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Editor of One Fine Day