Wedding Readings

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
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 candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a 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.


I love you. Author Unknown


You are my best friend.
Today I give myself to you in marriage.
I promise to encourage and inspire you,
to laugh with you, and to comfort you
in times of sorrow and struggle.
I promise to love you in good times and in bad,
when life seems easy and when it seems hard,
when our love is simple, and when it is an effort.
I promise to cherish you,
and to always hold you in highest regard.
These things I give to you today,
and all the days of our life.

To Love is Not to Possess,

by James Kavanaugh 


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.

Where There Is Love (by Helen Rice)

Where there is love the heart is light
Where there is love the day is bright
Where there is love there is a song
To help when things are going wrong
Where there is love there is a smile
To make all things seem more worthwhile
Where there is love there’s a quiet peace
A tranquil place where turmoils cease
Love changes darkness into light
And makes the heart take wingless flight
Oh, blessed are those who walk in love-
They also walk with God above.


Why Marriage? 

By, Mari Nichols-Haining

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...

Because 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.

Love is like a butterfly

By Dolly Parton

Love is like a butterfly-soft and gentle like a sigh.
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings.
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing!


The Promise

By Heather Berry

Within this blessed union of souls,
Where two hearts intertwine to become one,
There lies a promise perfectly born,
Divinely created,and intimately shared,
It is a place where the hope and majesty of beginnings reside.
Where all things are made possible by the astounding love shared by two spirits.
As you hold each others hands in this promise,
And eagerly look into the future in each others eyes,
May your unconditional love and devotion take you to placed were you’ve both only dreamed.
Where you’ll dwell for a lifetime of happiness,
Sheltered in the warmth of each others arms.


The Lords Prayer 

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy Name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those
who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.

Gift From The Sea
By Anne Morrow Lindbergh


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 be 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.

This Day (Author unknown)

May this day shine eternally in your lives.
May it add brilliance to every achievement
and cast a divine light over any misfortune.
May you care for each other in all sadness.
May you give cheer to each other.
May you give vitality to each other in all undertakings.
May all that is virtuous, beautiful and honest, remain with you always.

Loves Journey 

By Amanda Prescott 
The road to happiness is laden with twists and turns, sharp and winding. The obstacles never-ending. Each day gives us hope for a brighter tomorrow, new beginnings. The promise of things to come. Our hopes and dreams never-fading, nor will we allow it.

When the days wear long and it seems I can barely hold on, I close my eyes and think of you. And just as the warmth of the sun touches my skin, I recall how you have touched my heart.

I take a deep breath and sigh. I picture your smile, the innocence in your laughter. I think of how you have brought so much love, faith, hope and happiness into my life. Proving that true love really does exist. I think of your touch, the warmth in your embrace. I feel your strength in everything that you do. And it gives me the strength and courage to push forward. I’ve never felt so complete or so alive till I found you.

I open my eyes, smiling. Knowing nothing can bring me down. The road to happiness has been long. Sometimes taking us down a worn and beaten path. Our faith in love has pulled us through, showing us the way. And so, we shall walk side by side, eternally, through our loves journey.

If I Should Fall Behind”

by Bruce Springsteen
We said we'd walk together, baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we're walking, a hand should slip free
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me

We swore we'd travel, darling side by side
We'd help each other stay in stride
But each lover's steps fall so differently
But I'll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let's make our steps clear, so that the other may see
And I'll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There 'neath the oak's bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darling… I'll wait for you
Should I fall behind
Wait for me

France - Matthew of Rievaulx - 13th century

The winter will lose its cold,
as the snow will be without whiteness,
The night without darkness,
the heavens without stars,
the day without light,
The flower will lose its beauty,
all fountains their water,
the sea its fish,
the tree its birds,
the forest its beasts,
the earth its harvest -
All these things will pass before
anyone breaks the bonds of our love,
And before I cease caring for you in my heart.
May your days be happy in number as flakes of snow,
May your nights be peaceful,
and may you be without troubles.

On Your Wedding Day” (Anon)

Today is a day you will always remember
The greatest in anyone’s life
You’ll start off the day just two people in love
And end it as Husband and Wife

It’s a brand new beginning the start of a journey
With moments to cherish and treasure
And although there’ll be times when you both disagree
These will surely be outweighed by pleasure

You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past
When the secrets of marriage were spoken
But you know that the answers lie hidden inside
Where the bond of true love lies unbroken

So live happy forever as lovers and friends
It’s the dawn of a new life for you
As you stand there together with love in your eyes
From the moment you whisper ‘I do’

And with luck, all your hopes, and your dreams can be real
May success find it’s way to your hearts
Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys
But today is the day it all starts!


An excerpt from The Prophet by Kihlil Gibran
 
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 the 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.



Irish blessings/poems:

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.

May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls
of your home.

May the joy of living for one another trip a smile
from your lips, A twinkle from your eye.

And when eternity beckons,
at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you
with the arms that have nurtured you
the whole length of your joy-filled days.
May the gracious God hold you both
in the palm of His hands.

And, today, may the Spirit of Love
find a dwelling place in your hearts.    .

Irish Wedding Blessing short version:

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace. May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase. May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.

Irish Wedding Blessing option 3 long version:

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
And your hearts joined forever in love.
Your lives are very special,
God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you
And fill all your coming days.

Irish wedding Blessing option 4.

May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love. Your lives are very special, God has touched you in many ways. May his blessings rest upon you and fill all your coming days.

Irish Wedding Blessing option 5.

May you always have enough happiness to keep you sweet, trials to keep you strong, success to make you eager, friends to give you comfort, wealth to meet your needs, enthusiasm to look for tomorrow, and a growing love to make each day better than the day before.

What Greater Thing
(George Eliot)

What greater thing is there for two human souls,
than to feel that they are joined for life-
to strengthen each other in all labor,
to rest on each other in all sorrow,
to minister to each other in all pain,
to be one with each other
in silent unspeakable memories.


Apache Prayer

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead
and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion,
and your days together be good and long upon the earth.


The Day
(Author unknown)


May this be the start of a happy new life
That’s full of special moments to share
May this be the first of your dreams come true
And of hope that will always be there…
May this be the start of a lifetime of trust
And of caring that’s just now begun…
May today be a day that you’ll always remember
the day when your hearts become one


That's Wonderful Love
By Ravi Sathasivam


How wonderful to win your heart with a smile
How wonderful to kiss your lips with hopeful
How wonderful to get your heart with love
How wonderful to see your soul in me
How wonderful to laugh with your sweet words
How wonderful to hold you tight and kiss gently
How wonderful to fly with you to the dream land
How wonderful to drive you through the mountain valleys
How wonderful to be with you within four walls
How wonderful to give you what you look for
How wonderful to hug you and keep you in my arms
How wonderful to wear our wedding rings on our wedding day
How wonderful to bind your love to last forever.


Reading by Mark Twain: 


This will be the mightiest day in the history of our lives, the holiest, and the most generous toward us both -- for it makes of two fractional lives a whole;
It gives to two purposeless lives a work,
And doubles the strength of each whereby to perform it;
It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living,
And something to live for;
It will give a new gladness to the sunshine,
A new fragrance to the flowers,
A new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life;
And it will give a new revelation to love,
And a new depth to sorrow, a new impulse to worship.
On this day the scales will fall from our eyes and we shall look upon a new world.


1 Corinthians. 13:4-13

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
And now faith, hope, and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.

Another version:
1 Corinthians13: V.1-7 & 13


If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not 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 have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude.  Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love


What If All We Ever Wanted

By Tyler Knott Gregson

What if all we have ever wanted isn't hiding in some secret and far away dream,
But inside of us now as we breathe one another and find home in the way our arms seem to fit perfectly around the spaces between us?
What if we are the answer and love was the question?
What if all this time it was us you were supposed to find?
I am filled with wonderings, questions, and doubt.
But one of these things I am certain:
It will always be you that gives flight to the butterflies inside me,
Calm to the sea I have become,
And hope to the darkness all around us.
It is you and it has always been you.... you.
You that soothes and excites and spreads joy like rainfall on the already damp earth;
You that pulled me from the longest sleep and kissed my eyelids awake. 
If life is a question mark, then you, my love, are the proud and bold period that is typed with certainty.


The Bridge Across Forever (by Richard Bach)

A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.


Time and Love (Author unknown)
 
Time is the essence of everyone’s life,
Take time with your loved ones
Have the time of your life.
For nobody knows what tomorrow may bring,
Be it luck, be it love,
Can be most anything.
But one thing I do know I’ll forever
Love you still,
My heart keeps on beating and my
Dreams fulfill.
Every minute, everyday, that you pass my way,
I’ll love you forever, tomorrow and today.


I Carry Your Heart

By E. E. Cummings 

*This reading can be beautiful for the couple to read to each other, each taking a paragraph

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) 



Victor Hugo, Les Misérables 

You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. 
The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. 
We pardon to the extent that we love. 
Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. 
And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. 
Loved for ourselves.
And even loved in spite of ourselves.”