Hear my soul speak:
The very instant that I saw you, did
My heart fly to your service.
– The Tempest, William Shakespeare
The search for wedding readings is one of the fun parts of planning your ceremony. These carefully selected words are a chance to show a little of how you feel about each other, and to involve your closest friends and family. We’ve seen many different styles over the years of printing order of service cards, from romantic or funny, to personal and passionate. For modern weddings, there are no right or wrong choices, it’s all about finding something that feels right to you.
What makes a good wedding reading?
The answer to this question depends on you, the type of ceremony you’re having, and how you like to communicate as a couple. If you both love making people laugh, a humorous wedding reading could be ideal. Or, if you want to take the opportunity to share your deepest feelings, go for something more intimate. It may also depend on the person you have chosen to do the reading, and whether they’ll be more confident with something serious, or with a piece that’s more lighthearted.
There are a few simple things to consider when choosing your wedding readings. Keep them relatively short – around three minutes is a standard guide. Read them carefully in advance to ensure the words are relevant to you both and avoid anything that doesn’t complement your story. Ultimately though, the choice is yours, and the most important thing is that each reading is meaningful to you as a couple.
Where should I look for wedding readings?
Everywhere! Keep an eye out while watching films, listening to music, and reading books. Ideas can come from all sorts of places, and your inspiration may be somewhere you were least expecting it. Finding something that feels personal to you can take time, but it’s worth the effort.
We’ve shared some of our favourite wedding readings at the end of this blog post to help get you started.
Should I print the wedding readings in my order of service cards?
This depends on the style of the order of service cards and the length of the readings. Many people include the title, author, and name of the person who will do the reading. If it is short enough to fit, you could also include the full wedding reading. Alternatively, you can choose a favourite line to include – perhaps one that introduces the tone of your ceremony. For bilingual weddings, you may also wish to print the full wedding readings in both languages.
Types of Wedding Readings
Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare
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 never 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 lov’d.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) by E.E. 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)
Quote by Celine from the Film ‘Before Sunrise’, directed by Richard Linklater
When people talked about how a couple would begin to hate each other by anticipating their reactions or getting tired of their mannerisms – she thought it would be the opposite for her. She thought she truly would be in love when she knew everything about him – the way he’s going to part his hair, which shirt he’s going to wear that day, knowing the exact story he’d tell in a given situation.
She’s was sure that’s when she’d know she was really in love. If there’s any kind of magic in this world, it must be in the attempt of understanding somebody completely, of sharing everything. It might be almost impossible to succeed… but who cares, really? The answer must be in the attempt.
Yes, I’ll Marry You, by Pam Ayres
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!
Winnie the Pooh, by AA Milne
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet. Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always
remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than
you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with
The Promise, by Eileen Rafter
The sun danced on the snow with a sparkling smile,
As two lovers sat quietly, alone for a while.
Then he turned and said, with a casual air
(Though he blushed from his chin to the tips of his hair),
“I think I might like to get married to you”
“Well then, she said, “Well there’s a thought,
But what if we can’t promise to be all that we ought,
If I’m late yet again, when we plan to go out.
For I know I can’t promise, I’ll learn to ignore
Dirty socks and damp towels strewn all over the floor.
So if we can’t vow to be all that we should
I’m not sure what to do, though the idea’s quite good”.
But he gently smiled and tilted his head
Till his lips met her ear and softly he said
“I promise, to weave my dreams into your own,
That wherever you breathe will be my hearts home.
I promise, that whether with rags or with gold I am blessed
Your smile is the jewel I will treasure the best.
Do you think then, my love, we should marry – do you?”
“Yes” she said smiling “I do”.
An Extract from Captain Correlli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernières
Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion.That is just being in love, which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
If there’s empty spaces in your heart, by Ernest Hemingway
If there’s empty spaces in your heart,
They’ll make you think it’s wrong,
Like having empty spaces,
Means you never can be strong,
But I’ve learned that all these spaces,
Means there’s room enough to grow,
And the people that once filled them,
Were always meant to be let go,
And all these empty spaces,
Create a strange sort of pull,
That attract so many people,
You wouldn’t meet if they were full,
So if you’re made of empty spaces,
Don’t ever think it’s wrong,
Because maybe they’re just empty,
Until the right person comes along.
Short and (very) Sweet
Wild Awake, by Hilary T. Smith
People are like cities: 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 is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. 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.
He’s not perfect, by Bob Marley
He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect. But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can. He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break. Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyze. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there. Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.
Khaleesi and Khal Drogo’s Wedding Vows, from Game of Thrones
“As you are the Moon of his life, he shall be your Sun and Stars. Your love shall be as ever present as those two celestial bodies…even though they are sometimes hidden from one another’s sight. Your love will be the guiding force that charts the course of your tomorrows, holds your world together in difficult times, and will make life itself shine bolder and brighter than we human beings have a right to dream of.”
Thank You, by Led Zeppelin
If the sun refused to shine
I would still be loving you,
When mountains crumble to the sea
There would still be you and me.
Kind woman, I give you my all,
Kind woman, nothing more.
Little drops of rain
Whisper of the pain
Tears of loves lost in the days gone by.
Our love is strong,
With you there is no wrong,
Together we shall go until we die. My, my, my.
Inspiration’s what you are to me,
Inspiration, look and see.
And so today, my world it smiles
Your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done
For you to me are the only one.
Happiness, no more be sad
Happiness…. I’m glad
We’re all a little weird, from Dr Seuss
We are all a little weird
and life’s a little weird,
and when we find someone whose
weirdness is compatible with
ours, we join up with them and
fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.
These are just a few examples of wedding readings – there are countless more out there that could work well for you. If you have any questions about writing your order of service or any other element of your on-the-day stationery, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
Such great quality service and product. We received so many compliments for the premiumness of the invites and all other stationery. I’ll be ordering my thank you card from Wendy and the team as well! – Lisa Morgan