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Readings for your Ceremony

Here are a few common and unusual readings that could be included in your ceremony.  There are many, many more out there.  It is likely you can find different versions of some of these.  You can use almost anything you like or write your own.  They can be read by your wedding officiant, the couple, or a guest.  A reading may be used at almost any point in a ceremony.

1) "The Secrets Of A Good Marriage"  by Ellie Kelsch
2) “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Kitty Kallen
3) "I Promise"  by Dorothy Colgan
4) PSEUDO SEUSS!!!!  “On Your Wedding Day” (Author Unknown)
5) Babylon 5: "Declaration of Principles" by G'Kar
6) Apache Wedding Ceremony (from the film "Broken Arrow")
7) "The Art of Marriage" by Wilferd A. Peterson
8) "These Hands" (Author Unknown)
9) "On Marriage" by Kahlil Gibran

10) "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" by Louis De Bernieres

11)  "How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog"  by Taylor Mali
12) "A Good Wedding Cake"  Author Unknown

--- Non-religious readings from religious sources ---


A)  7 Hindu wedding blessings

B)  "Two are Better than One" Ecclesiastes 4, 9-12 (NIV)

C)  "The Way of Love" 1 Corinthians 13, 4 - 8, 13 (ESV)

D)  From St. Francis of Assisi

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1) The Secrets Of A Good Marriage  by Ellie Kelsch


Growing up I've learnt about love,
I've been surrounded by it everyday.
I'm so glad you've both found it,
And it's why we're here today.

They say there's secrets to a good marriage,
That there are rules to obey,
But the most important rules of love,
Are what you two do everyday.

It's the ''hey babes'' in the morning,        
It's how she makes his tea,
It's the way he smiles at her,
Such a sweet thing to see.

It's never being to old to hold hands,
Or to watch movies on the couch,
It's accepting all the flaws,
Even when the other's a grouch.

It's telling him he's not going grey,
It's the ''You look fine in those jeans''
It's ignoring the mid-life crisis,
and all her little ''scenes''.

It's facing the world as one,
And it's more than love at first sight,
It's together being a family,
Each and every day and night.

It's the way he looks into her eyes,
It's the way that she looks too,
It's why they stand before us,
and it's why they said ''I do''.

And now I stand here today,
On this important moment in life,
With two people very in love,
Now husband and wife.

Growing up, I've learnt about love,
and seeing it today proves it true,
You've both taught me so much,
And I'd be lucky to be half as happy as you.
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2) “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Kitty Kallen

Send me a kiss from across the room
Say I look nice when I'm not
Touch my hair as you pass my chair
Little things mean a lot.
Give me your arm as we cross the street
Call me at six on the dot
A line a day when you're far away
Little things mean a lot.
Don't have to buy me diamonds or pearls
Champagne, sables, and such
I never cared much for diamonds and pearls
'Cause honestly, honey, they just cost money.
Give me a hand when I've lost the way
Give me your shoulder to cry on
Whether the day is bright or gray
Give me your heart to rely on.
Send me the warmth of a secret smile
To show me you haven't forgot
For now and forever, that's always and ever
Little things mean a lot
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3) "I Promise" by Dorothy Colgan

I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.

I promise to respect you as your own person and to realize that your interests, desires and needs are no less important than my own.

I promise to share with you my time and my attention and to bring joy, strength and imagination to our relationship.

I promise to keep myself open to you, to let you see through the window of my world into my innermost fears and feelings, secrets and dreams.

I promise to grow along with you, to be willing to face changes in order to keep our relationship alive and exciting.

I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how. Completely and forever.
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4)  PSEUDO SEUSS!!!!  “On Your Wedding Day” (Author Unknown)

Today is the day you will always remember
The greatest in anyone’s life
You’ll start off the day just two people in love
And end it as husband and wife.
It’s a brand new beginning, the start of a journey
With moments to cherish and treasure
And although there’ll be times when you both disagree
These will surely be outweighed by pleasure.
You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past
When the secrets of marriage were spoken
But you know that the answers lie hidden inside
Where the bond of true love lies unbroken.
So live happy forever as lovers and friends
It’s the dawn of a new life for you
As you stand there together with love in your eyes
From the moment you whisper "I do".
And with luck, all your hopes and your dreams can be real
May success find its way to your hearts
Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys
But today is the day it all starts.
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5) Babylon 5: "Declaration of Principles" by G'Kar

The universe speaks in many languages but only one voice.
The language is not White or Black or Yellow or Brown or Red, Gay or Straight or Trans.
It speaks in the language of hope.
It speaks in the language of trust.
It speaks in the language of strength and the language of compassion.
It is the language of the heart and the language of the soul.
But always it is the same voice.
It is the voice of our ancestors speaking through us. And the voice of our inheritors waiting to be born.
It is the small, still voice that says: "We are one." No matter the blood.
No matter the skin, No matter the world, No matter the star. We are one. No matter the pain, No matter the darkness, No matter the loss,
No matter the fear. We are one.
Here, gathered together in common cause, we agree to recognize this singular truth and this singular rule:
That we must be kind to one another.
Because each voice enriches us and ennobles us,
and each voice lost, diminishes us.
We are the voice of the universe, the soul of creation, the fire that will light the way to a better future.
We are one.
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6) Apache Wedding Ceremony (from the film "Broken Arrow")

Now for you there is no rain,
For one is shelter to the other.
Now for you there is no darkness,
For one is counsel to the other.
Now for you there is no pain,
For one is comfort to the other.
Now for you there is no night,
For one is light to the other.
Now for you there is no cold,
For one is warmth to the other.
Now for you the snow has ended always,
Your fears, your wants, your needs at rest.
It is that way- today, tomorrow, forever.
Now it is good and there is always shelter,
And now there is always warmth
And now there is always comfort.
Now there is no loneliness.
Now, forever, forever, you are as one.
There are two bodies but now there is but one heart in both of them and you are the same person.
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7) "The Art of Marriage" by Wilferd A. Peterson

The little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, "I love you" at least once a day.

It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other,
not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice,
but in the spirit of joy.

It is speaking words of appreciation,
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not expecting the husband to wear a halo
or the wife to have the wings of an angel.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humor.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere
in which each can grow.

It is finding room for the things of the Spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which
the independence is equal, dependence is mutual,
and the obligation is reciprocal.

It is not only marrying the right partner,
it is BEING the right partner.
This is "The Art of Marriage".
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8) "These Hands" (Author Unknown)

(Bride's Name), please hold (Groom's Name)’s hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you.
These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.
These are the hands that will work along side yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams.
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 comfort you in illness, and hold you when fear or grief engulfs your heart.
These are the hands that when wrinkles and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes; eyes that filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.

Now (Groom's Name), I would like for you to look at your hands right now, really look and them and remember this moment, because I truly hope that you realize that this will be the very last time you will ever have the upper hand! (Laughter …)

(Groom's Name), please hold (Bride's Name)’s hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you.
These are the hands of your best friend, smooth, young and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she promises to passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.
These are the hands that will massage tension from your neck and back in the evenings after you’ve both had a long hard day.
These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.
These are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick, or console you when you are grieving.
These are the hands that when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
These are the hands that will give you support as she encourage you to chase down your dreams. Together as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.

Revere these hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another. Give them the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their wondrous love.  Use these hands to continue building a relationship rich in caring, and devoted in reaching for your perfection. (Groom's Name) and (Bride's Name) see your four hands as healers, protectors, shelter and guides.
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9) "On Marriage" by Kahlil Gibran

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 others 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 others 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 others shadow.
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.

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10) "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" by Louis De Bernieres


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 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.

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11)  "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.
Sometimes 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.

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12) "A Good Wedding Cake"  Author Unknown

4lb of love
½ of good looks
1 lb of sweet temper
1 lb of butter youth
1 lb of blindness of faults
1 lb of pounded wit
1 lb of good humour
2 tablespoons of sweet argument
1 pint of rippling laughter
1 wine glass of common sense
Dash of modesty

Put the love, good looks and sweet temper
Into a well‐furnished house. Beat the butter
of youth to a cream, and mix well together
with the blindness of faults. Stir the
pounded wit and good humour into the
sweet argument, then add the rippling
laughter and common sense. Add a dash
of modesty and work the whole together
until everything is well mixed. Bake gently
for ever.

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A)  7 Hindu wedding blessings


1. May this couple be blessed with an abundance of resources and comforts, and be helpful to one another in all ways.
2. May this couple be strong and complement one another.
3. May this couple be blessed with prosperity and riches on all levels.
4. May this couple be eternally happy.
5. May this couple be blessed with a happy family life.
6. May this couple live in perfect harmony… true to their personal values and their joint promises.
7. May this couple always be the best of friends.

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B) "Two are Better than One" Ecclesiastes 4, 9-12 (NIV)

9 Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
10 If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone,

    two will withstand him.
Two are better than one.

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C) "The Way of Love" 1 Corinthians 13, 4 - 8, 13 (ESV)

Love is patient and kind;

love does not envy or boast;

it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,

but rejoices with the truth. 

Love bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things. 

Love never ends.

As for prophecies, they will pass away;

as for tongues, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will pass away. 

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

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D) From St. Francis of Assisi


In your marriage endeavor to be instruments of peace.
Where there is hatred, instead sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, trust;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;
Strive that you may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.

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And if that's not enough, the good folks over at buzzfeed have a collection from popular books:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/jennaguillaume/beautiful-and-unique-wedding-readings-from-books





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