Another Twenty Readings and Poems for Weddings

When I am helping couples to plan their wedding in Central Park, one of the first things we start to work on is the ceremony wording.  Once we have decided where and when the ceremony will be, we start to think about what the couple will say to each other.  What I usually do is start off by sending them a list of basic questions; how they met, about their relationship to date, plans for the future, their loved ones, and so on.  Then I use their answers to create a first draft of wording for the couple to check over.  Sometimes the couple are happy with the first draft and make changes at all, and sometimes there’s some discussion and we make lots of changes to get the ceremony just how the couple want it.

Lots of couples choose to have a poem or reading in the introduction to their wedding ceremony.  They might ask a guest to do it, or the officiant might do it for them.  I am often asked for suggestions, a while back I made a first list of twenty readings and poems that my couples have used in the past, and some of my favorites.  It was very popular and couples seemed to find it useful, so later on I wrote a second list of recommended wedding readings and poems.  This is my third list.  I hope to bring some useful inspiration to many with the three lists! 

Carrie’s Poem from Sex and the City
His hello was the end of her endings.
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle.
His hand would be hers to hold forever.
His forever was as simple as her smile.
He said she was what was missing.
She said instantly she knew.
She was a question to be answered.
And his answer was “I do”.

Maybe by Anon.
Maybe we are supposed to meet the wrong people before we meet the right one so when they finally arrive we are truly grateful for the gift we have been given.
Maybe it’s true that we don’t know what we have lost until we lose it but it is also true that we don’t know what we’re missing until it arrives.
Maybe the happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, but make the best of everything that comes their way.
Maybe the best kind of love is the kind where you sit on the sofa together, not saying a word, and walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you ever had.
Maybe once in a lifetime, you find someone who not only touches your heart but also your soul, someone who loves you for who you are and not what you could be.
Maybe the art of true love is not about finding the perfect person, but about seeing an imperfect person perfectly.

Symposium by Plato
Our original human nature was not like it is now. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men, one made of two women, and a third made of a man and a woman. Due to the power of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them. So Zeus hurled down his lightning bolts and divided the humans in half.
But the Gods—worried that the humans, now alone and losing the will to live, might not survive or multiply—decided on a few repairs.
Instead of heads facing backwards or out, they would rotate our heads back forward. They pulled our skin taut and knotted it at the belly button. And most important they left us with a memory, a longing for our original other half.
Separated, we are but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. And when one of us meets our other half, we pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one. One person instead of two. And so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

The Second Time Around: Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van
Love is lovelier the second time around
Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground
It’s that second time you hear your love song sung
Makes you think perhaps that love, like youth, is wasted on the young
Love’s more comfortable the second time you fall
Like a friendly home the second time you call
Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found?
There are those who’ll bet love comes but once, and yet
I’m oh, so glad we met the second time around
Who can say what brought us to this miracle we’ve found?
There are those who’ll bet love comes but once, and yet
I’m oh, so glad we met the second time around


On Marriage, by Kahlil Gibran
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 the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, 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.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the couple who’ll decide where to go.
All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
All of what 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 sandpile at Sunday School. These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
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.
Flush.
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 into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
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 like that…
And it is still true, no matter how old you are—when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.


An Excerpt from Ecclesiastes.

Two are better than one, since they have good reward for their toil.
For if they fall, one will lift up his friend, but woe to the one who falls and has no second one to lift him up.
Moreover, if two lie down, they will have warmth, but how will one have warmth?
And if a man prevails against the one, the two will stand against him, and a three- stranded cord will not quickly be broken.

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton
They’re both not wholly perfect
But who are we to judge
He can be pig headed
Whereas she won’t even budge!
All that said and done
They love the time they spent together
And I hope as I’m sure you do
That this fine day will last forever.
He’ll be more than just her husband
He’ll also be her friend
And she’ll be more than just his wife
She’s be his soul mate – till the end.

Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics.

I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.
And I will not be afraid
of your scars.
I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.
A portion of a letter that Ludwig Van Beethoven wrote to his secret love.

My thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved.
I can live only wholly with you, or not at all.
Be calm, my life, my all.
Only by calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together.
Oh, continue to love me, never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
Ever thine.
Ever mine.
Ever ours.

From Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this 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 began 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.


Colossians 3:12 – 17
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

For Now by Tracey Emin

Hurry, but do not rush me
Push, but do not push me
Hold, but do not crush me
Love, but do not change me
let us be the way we are.
Devour, but do not consume me
Thrill, but do not frighten me
Excite, but do not scare me
Teach, but do not change me
Let us learn from the way we are.
Kiss, but do not smother me
Fuck, but do not break me
Adore, but do not suffocate me
Love, let me love you
Just the way you are.

The Beauty of Love by Anon.
The question is asked: “Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?” And the answer is given: “Yes, there is a more beautiful thing.
“It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled but still clasped; their faces are seamed but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired but still strong with love and devotion. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old love.”


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


I Choose You by Sara Bereilles
Let the bough break, let it come down crashing. Let the sun fade out to a dark sky. I can’t say I’d even notice it was absent. ‘Cause I could live by the light in your eyes
I’ll unfold before you, What I have strung together. The very first words of a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you I will become yours and you will become mine…
There was a time when I would have believed them, If they told me that you could not come true. Just love’s illusion But then you found me And everything changed And I believe in something again.
My whole heart. Will be yours forever. This is a beautiful start, To a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you. I will become yours and you will become mine…
We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes, And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you. I am not scared of the elements I am underprepared, But I am willing. And even better I get to be the other half of you.


Absolute Beginners by David Bowie
I’ve nothing much to offer
There’s nothing much to take
I’m an absolute beginner
But I’m absolutely sane
As long as we’re together
The rest can go to hell
I absolutely love you
But we’re absolute beginners
With eyes completely open
But nervous all the same
If our love song
Could fly over mountains
Could laugh at the ocean
Just like the films
There’s no reason
To feel all the hard times
To lay down the hard lines
It’s absolutely true
Nothing much could happen
Nothing we can’t shake
Oh, we’re absolute beginners
With nothing much at stake
As long as you’re still smiling
There’s nothing more I need
I absolutely love you
But we’re absolute beginners
But if my love is your love
We’re certain to succeed


I’ll Be There For You, by Louise Cuddon
I’ll be there, my darling, through thick and through thin
When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.
When life is just threatening to drive you insane
When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page
When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age
When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm
When the forecast said, “Fine,” but you’re out in a storm
When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum
And your holiday photos show only your thumb
When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay
And return to discover you’ve been towed away
When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste
Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist
When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes
When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes
So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…
When you break a rule, when you act the fool
When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew
When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue
’cause I’m telling you, I’ll be there.


Baz Luhrmann Lyrics – Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.
Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.
Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing everyday that scares you
Sing
Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.
Floss
Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.
Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.
Stretch
Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.
Get plenty of calcium.
Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary
what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.
Enjoy your body, use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.
Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.
Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.
Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.
Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.
Travel.
Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.
Respect your elders.
Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.
Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.
Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.
Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than
it’s worth.
But trust me on the sunscreen.


I would love to hear any other suggestions for readings, poems or prayers for a wedding. If you are considering a Central Park wedding, visit our website, or “like” us on Facebookfollow us on Instagram and follow us on Pinterest.  Check out the first list I made of wedding readings and poems for more ideas.  Please comment below if you have any suggestions of your own, or let me know what reading(s) you had at your own wedding.

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