Non-Traditional Wedding Readings
“Love is patient, love is kind.” If you’ve been to a wedding, especially a church wedding, you’ve probably heard this more than once. It’s a classic, beautiful sentiment of love and a great passage to read when celebrating the start of a marriage. There’s a reason you hear it a lot! But if you’re looking for something a little less well known to include in your wedding, or would prefer to avoid Bible verses, this post is for you!
We have seen a lot of fun, sweet, and non-traditional readings and quotes included in ceremonies over the years, and we’ve been meaning to share some of our favorites. So here’s a start- a compilation of non-traditional quotes and readings to include in your wedding ceremony. We’ll add more (or create a follow up post) as we continue to hear new ideas from our fantastic couples!
Lord of the Rings
“As Bilbo Baggins said to Frodo, “It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” Love is much the same, it’s dangerous to fall in love with someone, you never know where it may take you.” –From a ceremony script by Kathie McCutcheon, Sanctuary Interfaith Spiritual Care
“I would rather share one lifetime with you, than face all the ages of this world alone.”
“Two rings to rule them both, two rings to find them, two rings to bring them both and in this marriage bind them.” – From another (different) ceremony script by Kathie McCutcheon, Sanctuary Interfaith Spiritual Care
“Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure.” – Albus Dumbledore
“Always” – Snape
Just before your vows, “Are you ready to make the unbreakable vow”?
Parks & Rec
“I love you and I like you” -Leslie Knope
Touched by An Angel, by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
People are Like Cities, by Hilary T. Smith
We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout
between the sidewalk cracks,
but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a
Love lets you find those hidden places in another person,
even the ones they didn’t know were there,
even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.
Coming Home, by Mary Oliver
When we are driving in the dark,
on the long road to Provincetown,
when we are weary,
when the buildings and the scrub pines lose their familiar look,
I imagine us rising from the speeding car.
I imagine us seeing everything from another place–
the top of one of the pale dunes, or the deep and nameless
fields of the sea.
And what we see is a world that cannot cherish us,
but which we cherish.
And what we see is our life moving like that
along the dark edges of everything,
headlights sweeping the blackness,
believing in a thousand fragile and unprovable things.
Looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me.
Re-Statement of Romance, by Wallace Stevens
The night knows nothing of the chants of night.
It is what it is as I am what I am:
And in perceiving this I best perceive myself
And you. Only we two may interchange
Each in the other what each has to give.
Only we two are one, not you and night,
Nor night and I, but you and I, alone,
So much alone, so deeply by ourselves,
So far beyond the casual solitudes,
That night is only the background of our selves,
Supremely true each to its separate self,
In the pale light that each upon the other throws.
On Friendship, by Kahlil Gibran
Your friend is your needs answered.
He is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.
And he is your board and your fireside.
For you come to him with your hunger, and you seek him for peace.
And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour 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.
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote this poem for his wife:
Lo! Young we are and yet have stood
like planted hearts in the great Sun
of Love so long (as two fair trees
in woodland or in open dale
stand utterly entwined and breathe
the airs and suck the very light
together) that we have become
as one, deep rooted in the soil
of Life and tangled in the sweet growth.
Everything I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten, by Robert Fulghum
All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in
kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in
the sand pile at school.
These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing
and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go
down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam
cup – they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the
biggest word of all – LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and
basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to
hold hands and stick together.
Us Two, by A.A. Milne
Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
“Where are you going today?” says Pooh:
“Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
Let’s go together,” says Pooh, says he.
“Let’s go together,” says Pooh.
“What’s twice eleven?” I said to Pooh.
(“Twice what?” said Pooh to Me.)
“I think it ought to be twenty-two.”
“Just what I think myself,” said Pooh.
“It wasn’t an easy sum to do,
But that’s what it is,” said Pooh, said he.
“That’s what it is,” said Pooh.
“Let’s look for dragons,” I said to Pooh.
“Yes, let’s,” said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few-
“Yes, those are dragons all right,” said Pooh.
“As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
That’s what they are,” said Pooh, said he.
“That’s what they are,” said Pooh.
“Let’s frighten the dragons,” I said to Pooh.
“That’s right,” said Pooh to Me.
“I’m not afraid,” I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted “Shoo!
Silly old dragons!”- and off they flew.
“I wasn’t afraid,” said Pooh, said he,
“I’m never afraid with you.”
So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
“What would I do?” I said to Pooh,
“If it wasn’t for you,” and Pooh said: “True,
It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. “That’s how it is,” says Pooh.
Tuesdays With Morrie, by Mitch Albom
There are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble.
If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble.
If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble.
And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike. And the biggest one of those values? Your belief in the importance of your marriage.
Love each other or perish.
Photo Credit, from top to bottom:
Rose Trail Images (1st four images), Story Photographers, Stephen Thrift Photography, Tall & Small, Three Region Photography, L’amour Foto, Tall & Small, Sweet Air Photography, Richard Barlow Photography, Ashley Steffens Photography, Randy Berger Photography, Sweet Air Photography, Kivus & Camera, L’amour Foto, Three Region Photography, Kivus & Camera