Wedding Vows & Ceremony Discussions

Reading Suggestions

Hi all!

My fiance and I are having some trouble finding non-religious readings we like for our wedding. Any suggestions for us?

Thanks so much! :)

Re: Reading Suggestions

  • esstee33esstee33 Pittsburgh member
    Ninth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Haha -- I just replied to someone else's thread asking almost exactly the same thing, so here's what I told her: 

    One of the readings at a close friends wedding was "A Dedication to My Wife" by T.S. Eliot, which I absolutely adore. I may or may not have ugly cried.

    Also Sonnet 17 by Pablo Neruda:

    Also also Sonnet 130 by Shakespeare:

    Simone de Beauvoir wrote a huge number of very sweet letters to both Jean Paul Sartre and Nelson Algren, also. You could look some of those up, but keep in mind that, as letters typically do, they ramble a bit. You may have to cut certain pieces out of those, rather than using the entire letter. 

  • Thank you so much for the suggestions!! I LOVE when something makes me ugly cry haha!!!
  • I did Neruda's Sonnet 17 as a reading at a friend's wedding, and I think it went over pretty well. It was a bit unexpected in the mix of things, but the wording seemed good for them. The groom shed his first tear during it. We did it in the original Spanish to include the family members in the audience who are more dominant Spanish speakers, though I'm a gringa. It was short enough that it worked even for those that don't understand Spanish, because it wasn't a long period of confusion.

    I also like The Origins of Love section from Plato's Symposium, but it definitely has homosexuality weaved right in there, so depending on your audience it may not be the best choice.
  • We used an Irish Hand Ceremony:



    Please face each other and take each others hands, so that you may see the gift that they are to you.


    These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.


    These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future.

    These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.


    These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes to you.


    These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.

    These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it, support and encouragement to pursue your dreams, and comfort through difficult times.

    These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.

    These are the hands that will give you support and encouragement to chase down your dreams.

    These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.

    These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

    These are the hands that will lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into eyes that are filled with overwhelming love for you.

    And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.


    Our Reverend read it after we exchanged rings (or you can have someone else read it). 


    Denise40[Deleted User]
  • We are using that same handfasting ceremony, but we'd also like to have some readings too. Thanks for the info!
  • jenna8984jenna8984 clam bakes & patriots member
    5000 Comments Fifth Anniversary 500 Love Its First Answer

    This was ours

    ·         An excerpt "Union" by Robert Fulghum<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

    You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to the point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that begin with “when we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” – those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed– well, I meant it all – every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another – acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner and even teacher – for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this – is my husband. This – is my wife.



  • I've always loved the excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit. 

    "What is REAL?" the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse one day. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

    "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

    "Does it hurt?" asked the Velveteen Rabbit .

    "Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

    "It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand. But once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
  • rcher912rcher912 Philadelphia member
    100 Love Its 100 Comments Name Dropper
    I actually love Kurt Vonnegut's short essay on extended families from his book Man Without a Country. It's very...Vonnegut, but it's so touching. It talks about how we all need a large support system, and how a marriage can't just be a man and a woman - that's not enough people for you to lean on.

    You should check it out!! If I were doing non-religious readings, I'd 100% include it.
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