Are you desperately searching for the perfect wedding reading?

Then I’ll let you into a little secret…there isn’t one. ‘What?’, I hear you cry. Alas, it is true.

On wedding web-sites all over the internet we are being given lists of ‘Top 10 Wedding Readings’, but you have to ask yourselves whose top 10 is that?

To find something that’s both unique and personal to you as individuals, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and work a bit harder with your search.


So, here’s some useful tips on selecting wedding readings?

Firstly, think about yourselves, (well, it is your Big Day, after-all).

If you’re not the kind of couple who would usually lie around reciting Shakespeare together, then maybe a sonnet from the great man himself, isn’t the best choice. If, however, iambic pentameters are your thing – and believe me, you’ll know whether they are, or not – then you may like ‘Sonnet 116’.

If you’re true romantics, then pass round the silk hankies in advance, and use the beautiful poem ‘Invitation to Love’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar, which is bound to stir a few tears.


It doesn’t have to be a poem!

You guys probably have a favourite love-song, right? Well, assuming it’s not Michael Bolton’s, ‘I said I Love You…But I Lied’; why not use some of the lyrics from a best-loved ballad?

Maybe you’re both Trekkers or Trekkies? Then as long as it’s not spoken in Klingon, (which could confuse some of your guests), why not look for a passage from your favourite Star Trek movie. Here’s one to get you started.

Perhaps you’re secret Disney-fans, or maybe you want a reading that the youngest guests will appreciate, then choose something that resonates with the child in us all, and use something like Ne-Yo’s song, ‘Never Knew I Needed’, from ‘The Princess & The Frog’.


Get creative…

It can of course, be something you have penned yourself. The idea of writing something can bring people out in a cold sweat, but your Celebrant, will be on hand to offer support, so do give it a go.

An easy win is to adapt an existing text and make it personal.


Ask other people…

If you have a budding writer in the family, see if they can help. It can be a real honour, to be asked to write something for a friend or family member’s special day, so don’t be afraid to ask. As the old adage goes, ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.


Light and shade…

The perfect wedding ceremony, is all about creating the perfect balance between romanticism and realism, humour and integrity, professionalism and relaxedness.

So, if the majority of your ceremony is quite straight and serious, why not throw in a lighthearted reading mid-way through. Conversely, if it’s all fun and frivolity, find a moment of sincerity, with something more classic, and weighty.


Be authentic…

The most important advice I can give is to be authentic in your decisions. Don’t feel pressured to choose something because you or your partner’s parents have been mentioning a passage they’d like to hear. It’s your day, and the readings that form part of the wedding ceremony, will be something you remember forever.

Choose something you’re sure would still feel relevant to you both in a year, or 20 years time.

If the reading speaks of two crazy adventurers who fell in love chasing wild dreams all over the world, though you’re the stay-at-home kind, who fell for one another over Soduko and sleep Sundays in bed, this should be in someone else’s Top 10, rather than yours.

Find something that is truly ‘you’.


Handing over the reigns…

If you’ve asked someone to give a reading on your wedding day, chances are they’re special people. Well, how about letting them select the reading they’ll give? Depending on your appetite for risk you could either ask them to come up with a shortlist of 3 from which you get to choose something ahead of time, or, you could just wait for them to step forward on the day and enjoy the surprise.


Still scratching your heads?!

Well, I did call this blog the Top 10 Wedding Readings so here’s ten of my favourites, to help fuel those fires of inspiration.


  1. ‘Blessing for a Marriage’ – by 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 to 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 embrace one another, but not encircle 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.



  1. ‘I Wanna Be Yours’, by John Cooper Clarke

I wanna be your vacuum cleaner,

Breathing in your dust,
I wanna be your Ford Cortina,
I will never rust,

If you like your coffee hot,

Let me be your coffee pot,

You call the shots,
I wanna be yours.


I wanna be your raincoat,
For those frequent rainy days,

I wanna be your dreamboat,

When you want to sail away,

Let me be your teddy bear,

Take me with you anywhere,

I don’t care,
I wanna be yours.


I wanna be your electric meter,

I will not run out,
I wanna be the electric heater,

You’ll get cold without,

I wanna be your setting lotion,

Hold your hair in deep devotion,

Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean

That’s how deep is my devotion.


  1. From ‘Letters to a Young Poet’, by Rainer Maria Rilke

For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation. Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person — it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen, to become something in himself, to become world, to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distance…

Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distance exists, 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 seeing each other as a whole before an immense sky.


  1. From ‘Winnie the Pooh’, by A.A. 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. ‘Yes, Piglet?’

‘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 you.’


  1. From ‘The Amber Spyglass’by Phillip Pullman

I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again…I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you…we’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams…and when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.”


  1. ‘I Like You’, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg

I like you and I know why,
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special,
And you remember it a long, long time,
You say, remember when you told me something special,
and both of us remember.

When I think, something is important you think it’s important too,
We have good ideas.
When I say something funny, you laugh,
I think I’m funny and you think I’m funny too,

I like you because you know where I’m ticklish,
And you don’t tickle me there except just a little tiny bit sometimes,
But if you do, then I know where to tickle you too.
You know how to be silly — that’s why I like you,
If I am getting ready to pop a paper bag,
Then you are getting ready to jump,

I like you because when I am feeling sad,
You don’t always cheer me up right away,
Sometimes it is better to be sad.
You can’t stand the others being so googly and gaggly every single minute,
You want to think about things,
It takes time.

I like you because if I am mad at you,
then you are mad at me too.
It’s awful when the other person isn’t,
they are so nice and oooh you could just about punch them on the nose.

I can’t remember when I didn’t like you,
It must have been lonesome then,
Even if it was the 999th of July,
Even if it was August.
Even if it was way down at the bottom of November,
I would go on choosing you,
And you would go on choosing me,
Over and over again,
And that’s how it would happen every time.


  1. ‘Love’, by Roy Croft

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am,
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.


  1. ‘How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog’, by Taylor Mali

First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York*.
So, think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Somethimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!

Sometimes love just wants to go out for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise. It will run you around the block
and leave you panting, breathless. Pull you in different directions
at once, or wind itself around and around you
until you’re all wound up and you cannot move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.


  1. ‘Have You Got a Biro I Can Borrow?’, by Clive James

Have you got a biro I can borrow?
I’d like to write your name
On the palm of my hand, on the walls of the hall
The roof of the house, right across the land
So when the sun comes up tomorrow
It’ll look to this side of the hard-bitten planet
Like a big yellow button with your name written on it

Have you got a biro I can borrow?
I’d like to write some lines
In praise of your knee, and the back of your neck
And the double-decker bus that brings you to me
So when the sun comes up tomorrow
It’ll shine on a world made richer by a sonnet
And a half-dozen epics as long as the Aeneid

Oh give me a pen and some paper
Give me a chisel or a camera
A piano and a box of rubber bands
I need room for choreography
And a darkroom for photography
Tie the brush into my hands

Have you got a biro I can borrow?
I’d like to write your name
From the belt of Orion to the share of the Plough
The snout of the Bear to the belly of the Lion
So when the sun goes down tomorrow
There’ll never be a minute
Not a moment of the night that hasn’t got you in it.


  1. ‘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 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 with this understanding,
The possibilities are limitless.




Hannah Osmond, Celebrant


As an Independent Celebrant I love all things associated with ceremony, ritual and celebration. Whether it be a wedding, a renewal of vows, a milestone birthday or a funeral, there is nothing more powerful than a coming together of friends and family to mark a particular occassion. It's a real privilege to be involved in these special moments in peoples' lives. Life is so short. Let's celebrate more!



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