Non-traditional wedding ceremony reading ideas

Steff Green • July 04, 2013
Non-traditional wedding ceremony reading ideas - WeddingWise Articles

Many couples like to incorporate readings in their ceremonies – passages and quotes that articulate their own views on love and marriage and commitment. There are many beautiful readings available, and many couples choose popular passages such as 1 Corinthians 13 – “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast …”. This is a beautiful reading that expresses the perfect nature of love.

But what if you’re looking for something a little different? What if you want ceremony readings that express different concepts of love and marriage and commitment? Here are some alternative and non-traditional wedding ceremony readings you could try:

From “First Poems”, by Rainer Maria Rilke

Understand, I’ll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I’ll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,

With only this one dream:
You come too.


“I Rely on You,” by Hovis Presley

I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter

I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve

I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers

I rely on you.

To Love is Not to Possess, by
James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

By Albert Einstein

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.

“Foxtrot From a Play,” by W H Auden

The soldier loves his rifle,
The scholar loves his books,
The farmer loves his horses,
The film star loves her looks.
There’s love the whole world over
Wherever you may be;
Some lose their rest for gay Mae West,
But you’re my cup of tea.

Some talk of Alexander
And some of Fred Astaire,
Some like their heroes hairy
Some like them debonair,
Some prefer a curate
And some an A.D.C.,
Some like a tough to treat’em rough,
But you’re my cup of tea.

Some are mad on Airedales
And some on Pekinese,
On tabby cats or parrots
Or guinea pigs or geese.
There are patients in asylums
Who think that they’re a tree;
I had an ant who loved a plant,
But you’re my cup of tea.

Some have sagging waistlines
And some a bulbous nose
And some a floating kidney
And some have hammer toes,
Some have tennis elbow
And some have housemaid’s knee,
And some I know have got B.O.,
But you’re my cup of tea.

The blackbird loves the earthworm,
The adder loves the sun,
The polar bear an iceberg,
The elephant a bun,
The trout enjoys the river,
The whale enjoys the sea,
And dogs love most an old lamp-post,
But you’re my cup of tea.

Your Personal Penguin, by Sandra Boynton

I like you a lot.
You’re funny and kind.
So let me explain
What I have in mind.
I want to be your personal penguin.
I want to walk right by your side.
I want to be your personal penguin.
I want to travel with you far and wide.

Love’s Philosophy, by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the rivers
And the rivers with the oceans,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by 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 is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?

“One day I wrote her name upon the strand”, by Edmund Spenser

One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
Vain man, said she, that dost in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize”
For I myself shall like to this decay.
And eke my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name:
Where, whenas Death shall all the world subdue,
Our love shall live, and later life renew.

Fragment, by Sappho

Love holds me captive again
and I tremble with bittersweet longing

As a gale on the mountainside bends the oak tree
I am rocked by my love

i carry your heart, by ee 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)

i fear no 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)

What wedding ceremony readings are you going to have at your ceremony? We’d love you to share your ideas in the comments!

 

Steff Green
Steff Green
WeddingWise Blogger

Steff Green is a freelance writer, blogger and alternative wedding celebrant based in Auckland. Check out her celebrant services and blog for fun, weird and unique weddings at GothicWeddingPlanner.com. And keep an eye out for her gothic wedding book, Till Death Do Us Part, coming out soon.

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