Poems and Readings for a Wedding Ceremony
Some fabulous poems and readings that can be incorporated into your wedding service. Ask a member of your family or a close friend to do a reading at your wedding ceremony. Here are a few examples which can be printed into our order of service books.
Poetry on Marriage
Mary Weston Fordham
The die is cast, come weal, come woe
Two lives are joined together,
For better or for worse, the link
Which naught but death can sever.
The die is cast, come grief, come joy.
Come richer, or come poorer,
If love but binds the mystic tie,
Blest is the bridal hour.
Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Geniuses of countless nations
Have told their love for generations
Till all their memorable phrases
Are common as goldenrod or daisies.
Their girls have glimmered like the moon,
Or shimmered like a summer moon,
Stood like a lily, fled like a fawn,
Now the sunset, now the dawn,
Here the princess in the tower
There the sweet forbidden flower.
Darling, when I look at you
Every aged phrase is new,
And there are moments when it seems
I’ve married one of Shakespeare’s dreams.
by David Buchanan
1 Corinthians, Chapter 13: 1-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
The Colour of My Love
David Foster and Arthur Janov
I’ll paint a sun to warm your heart
Knowing that we’ll never part.
I’ll draw the years all passing by
So much to learn, so much to try.
I’ll paint my mood in a shadow blue,
Paint my soul to be with you.
I’ll sketch your lips in shaded tones,
Draw your mouth to my own.
I’ll trace a hand to wipe your tears
And trace a look to calm your fears.
A silhouette of dark and light
To hold each other oh so tight.
I’ll paint the stars in the evening sky,
Draw the light into your eyes,
A touch of love, a touch of grace,
To softly fall on your moonlit face.
And with this ring our lives will start,
Let nothing keep our love apart.
I’ll take your hand to hold in mine,
And be together through all time.
From This Day Forward
From this day forward,
You shall not walk alone.
My heart will be your shelter,
And my arms will be your home.
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds.
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is not shaken:
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Loves’s not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom,
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Sir Edwin Arnold (1832-1904)
Somewhere there waiteth in this world of ours
for one lone soul, another lonely soul –
Each chasing each through all the weary hours,
And meeting strangely at one sudden goal;
Then blend they – like green leaves with golden flowers,
Into one beautiful and perfect whole –
And life’s long night is ended, and the way
Lies open onward to eternal day.
These I Can Promise
I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old.
But I can promise all my heart’s devotion;
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that’s ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.
Yes, I’ll Marry You
Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
And here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking
And it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch you see,
And you investigate.
Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It’s you that has to mend it,
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him.
Yes, I’ll marry you,
You’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty
You can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!
It’s you who has to work the drill
and put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so before you see the light,
I do, I do, I do!
Casserole De Marriage
Take a girl and a man, put them in a house or a flat.
Take all their love and strain carefully to remove any trace of sarcasm, bitterness or irritation.
Add two large measures of good temper, intelligence, tolerance, patience, understanding, thoughtfulness and laughter.
Then add half a measure of tidiness; and half a measure of ambition.
Add a dash of spice of discussion, and mix all ingredients together with their love and let stand.
If too much spice has been used, the mixture will curdle.
If so add another measure of understanding and tolerance, and the mixture will again become smooth.
Watch carefully – curdling must never be allowed to continue overnight. This will endanger the whole.
Moisten mixture thoroughly with large quantity of milk of human kindness, mix with equal parts of common sense and laughter. Sprinkle liberally with a sense of humour and divide evenly between two people.
Cook carefully over the fire of knowledge, and Love of God, and let stand for a long time.
From ‘The four Graces’ Anthology
You are the mother I received
The day I wed your son.
And I just want to thank you, Mum
For all the things you’ve done.
You’ve given me a gracious man
With whom I share my life.
You are his loving mother and
I his lucky wife.
You used to pat his little head,
And now I hold his hand.
You raised in love a little boy
And gave to me a man.
This Day I Married My Best Friend
This day I married my best friend
…the one I laugh with as we share life’s wonderous zest,
as we find new enjoyments and experience all that’s best.
…the one I live for because the world seems brighter
as our happy times are better and our burdens feel much lighter.
…the one I love with every fiber of my soul.
We used to feel vaguely incomplete, now together we are whole.
Today I Married My Best Friend
Rachel Elizabeth Cooper (b. 1977)
Today I married my best friend,
Our bond complete, it hath no end,
We share one soul, we share one heart,
A perfect time – a perfect start.
With these rings we share together,
Love so close to last forever,
This special day – two special hearts,
Let nothing keep this love apart.
At My Daughter’s Side
Tomorrow was a lifetime away, now suddenly it’s here.
How did it happen so quickly? This wedding drawing near.
How can I act so happy? How can I act so gay?
When in such a very short time, I’ll give my daughter away.
I wish I could grasp a moment, and make the clock stand still
So I could let my heart catch up, but I know it never will.
All the worries of being a parent, all the battles won,
No one ever warned me about the day the job is done.
Yet, there is another side, where my heart is not as sad.
When I look in my daughter’s eyes, I can’t help but be joyful and glad.
This day she has dreamt about, for just about all her life.
She’s going to be such a beautiful bride and a loving, caring wife.
I’ll stand with the congregation as my daughter walks down the aisle
And even though there are tears in my eyes, my face wll bear a smile.
For I know that I was very blessed when God lent this child to me.
To love and care for and nurture, so she would grow up to be
This lovely, bright young woman, who tomorrow will be a bride
And as always I’ll be there, with love at my daughter’s side.
Dorothy R. Colgan
I promise to give you the best of myself
and to ask of you no more than you can give.
I promise to respect you as your own person
and to realize that your interests, desires and needs
are no less important than my own.
I promise to share with you my time and my attention
and to bring joy, strength and imagination to our relationship.
I promise to keep myself open to you,
to let you see through the window of my world into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams.
I promise to grow along with you,
to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting.
I promise to love you in good times and bad,
with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how. Completely and forever.
Jane Wells (1886)
Let your love be stronger than your hate and anger. Learn the wisdom of compromise,
for it is better to bend a little than to break. Believe the best rather than the worst.
People have a way of living up or down to your opinion of them.
Remember that true friendship is the basis for any lasting relationship.
The person you choose to marry is deserving of the courtesies and kindnesses you bestow on your friends.
Please hand this down to your children and your children’s children.
Never Marry But For Love
William Penn (1644-1718)
Never marry but for love; but see that thou lovest what is lovely. He that minds a body and not a soul has not the better part of that relationship, and will consequently lack the noblest comfort of a married life.
Between a man and his wife nothing ought rule but love. As love ought to bring them together, so it is the best way to keep them well together.
A husband and wife that love one another show their children that they should do so too. Others visibly lose their authority in their families by their contempt of one another, and teach their children to be unnatural by their own examples.
Let not enjoyment lessen, but augment, affection; it being the basest of passions to like when we have not, what we slight when we possess.
Here it is we ought to search out our pleasure, where the field is large and full of variety, and of an enduring nature; sickness, poverty or disgrace being not able to shake it because it is not under the moving influences of worldly contingencies.
Nothing can be more entire and without reserve; nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented than such a couple, nor greater temporal felicity than to be one of them.
The Art Of A Good Marriage
Wilferd Arlan Peterson
Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In 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 a day.
It is never going to sleep angry. It is at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years. 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 the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other. It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal. It is not only marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner.
A Good Wedding Cake
4 lb. of love.
1 lb. butter of youth.
1/2 lb. of good looks.
l lb. sweet temper.
1 lb. of blindness for faults.
1 lb. of self forgetfulness.
l lb. of pounded wit.
l lb. of good humour.
2 tablespoons of sweet argument.
1 pint of rippling laughter.
1 wine glass of common sense.
1 oz. modesty.
Put the love, good looks and sweet temper into a well furnished house. Beat the butter of youth to a cream, and mix well together with the blindness of faults. Stir the pounded wit and good humour into the sweet argument, then add the rippling
laughter and common sense. Work the whole together until everything is well mixed, and bake gently for ever.
The Blessing Of The Apaches
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more lonliness for you,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
May the sun bring you new energy by day,
May the moon softly restore you by night,
May the rain wash away your worries
And the breeze blow new strength into your being,
And all the days of your life may you walk
Gently through the world and know its beauty.
Eskimo Love Song
You are my husband (wife)
My feet shall run because of you
My feet shall 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.
Marriage Joins Two People In The Circle Of Its Love
Edmund O’Neill (b. 1929)
Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships. A wife and a husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener, and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent or child.
Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly, and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences, new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life.
When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.
Our family is a circle of love and strength.
With every birth and every union, the circle grows.
Every joy shared adds more love.
Every obstacle faced together makes the circle stronger.
Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…
Becasue I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me, I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…
Because of this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)
Then Almitra spoke again and said, “And what of Marriage, master?” And he answered saying: You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when 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 winds of the heavens dance between you. 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 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 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.
Blessing For A Marriage
James Dillet Freeman
May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another!
To Be One With Each Other
George Eliot (1819-1880)
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labour, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?