Not everyone can be in the wedding party, but loved ones can still be included in the wedding ceremony by asking them to do a reading.The following readings are only suggestions, but this initial labeling can help in finding an appropriate wedding poem.
The first line of each wedding reading is listed, and then if you click on the link, it brings you further down the page to where the whole poem is written out. Each poem shows a summary, plus a picture that describes the poem.
Father of the Bride wedding reading
" Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made"
Speaks of creating love
Mother of the Bride wedding reading
" Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence"
About kindness, nurturing, and peace
Best Man wedding reading
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments"
The most famous of the Shakespeare sonnets
Maid of Honor wedding reading
"Love is enough"
Theme: When you're in love, it doesn't matter how dark the night gets
Father of the Groom wedding reading
" Irish Wedding Blessing"
Mother of the Groom wedding reading
"Marriage, in many ways, is a simplification of life"
Love is not giving things up, but living side by side
Other Relative of the Bride or
Groom wedding reading
From the middle of the poem: "But then, unexpectedly, something wonderful happens"
Images of the couple working together
Spiritual wedding reading
"On Marriage", by Kahlil Gibran
Like the strings of a guitar, be together, but give each other space
Religious wedding reading (not from the
"Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love"
Poetic wedding reading
"The fountains mingle with the rivers, and the rivers with the oceans,"
African American wedding reading (Maya
" 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."
Native American wedding reading
"Now you will feel no rain, For each of you will be shelter to the other"
Catholic wedding reading
"Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good."
Love is like a flame, overcoming any obstacle
Hispanic wedding reading
Famous Hispanic poet, Pablo Neruda, on loving wholeheartedly
From "The Irrational Season"
Ultimately there comes a time when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created. To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling.
Bold, loving advice to the couple
Speaks of creating love
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
This wedding poem is a declaration of what is essential to one's life and how to live peacefully, such as kindness, nurturing, and peace
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.
Love'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.
A classic - Sonnet 116 - the most famous sonnet
from the most famous writer in the English language. Very classy - the Best Man can't go wrong with this poem
Shakespeare compares unchanging love
to charting a course on a boat via
the unchanging north star
Love Is Enough
Love is enough: though the World be a-waning, And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass'd over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter
These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.
Irish Wedding Blessing
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 your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you; May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on, May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.
Letters Rainer Maria Rilke
Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two young people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before. Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness, - a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both. The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust. A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.
...For the more we are, the richer everything we experience is. And those who want to have a deep love in their lives must collect and save for it, and gather honey.
By Michael Blumenthal
You are holding up a ceiling
with both arms. It is very heavy,
but you must hold it up, or else
it will fall down on you. Your arms
are tired, terribly tired,
and, as the day goes on, it feels
as if either your arms or the ceiling
will soon collapse.
something wonderful happens:
a man or a woman,
walks into the room
and holds their arms up
to the ceiling beside you.
So you finally get
to take down your arms.
You feel the relief of respite,
the blood flowing back
to your fingers and arms.
And when your partner's arms tire,
you hold up your own
to relieve him again.
And it can go on like this
for many years
without the house falling.
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 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.
The PrayerSt. Francis of Assisi
Love's Philosophy 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 a 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?
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.
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 loneliness 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.
Brother Thomas a Kempis
Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good. Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.
It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable.
Nothing is sweeter than love, Nothing stronger,
Nothing higher, Nothing wider,
Nothing more pleasant,
Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God.
Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained.
Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.
Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil,
attempts things beyond its strength.
Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things.
It is strange and effective,
while those who lack love faint and fail.
Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities.
Like a living flame and a burning torch,
it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.
Excerpt From 100 Love Sonnets
I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz, or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off. I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers; thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance, risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; so I love you because I know no other way than this: Where "I " does not exist, nor nor "You", so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.