Choosing the right readings for your ceremony is a great way to add a special touch to your big day. When planning your wedding ceremony it’s a good idea to select one or two readings. The type of reading you choose is largely down to the type of ceremony you’ve opted for and your own personalities. While most religious ceremonies require you to choose religious readings, civil ceremonies offer up a whole host of opportunities to create and choose a more personalised selection of words.
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Perfect choices for your religious ceremony
One of the most popular religious readings is Corinthians 13: 4-8, which emphasises the true importance of love. The passage describes that without love, you really have nothing – a perfect sentiment for your religious ceremony.
Ephesians 5:21-33 is another great choice and emphasises your mutual love and commitment to one another and how the two of you are joining together to become one.
For a reading that sets the scene for happiness and marital bliss you may like to choose Mark 5:1-10, which includes Jesus’ teachings on how to live a life that brings true happiness.
A full list of popular religious alternatives can be found here.
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Top readings for your civil ceremony
If the two of you have opted for a ceremony and reception at one of our beautiful country house wedding venues, you may be struggling to limit your readings to just two. With a whole range of poems and excerpts to choose from, along with the option to create your own, you can pick something, or create something, that perfectly reflects your relationship.
If writing your own readings sounds a little daunting, why not check out some of our favourites?
From your childhood...
There is a huge range of beautiful readings to choose from children’s books. A. A. Milne penned a number of them in the fabulous Winnie the Pooh books. Us Two, from Now We Are Six is a popular, wedding-approved reading, ideal for the couple looking to add a fun touch to their day.
We also recommend Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney, another cute childhood gem!
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Us Two, from Now We Are Six, by A. A. Milne
Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh. There’s always Pooh and Me. Whatever I do, he wants to do. "Where are you going today?" says Pooh. "Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too. Let’s go together," says Pooh, says he. "Let’s go together," says Pooh…
"Let’s look for dragons," I said to Pooh. "Yes, let’s," said Pooh to Me. We crossed the river and found a few. "Yes, those are dragons all right," said Pooh. "As soon as I saw their beaks I knew. That’s what they are," said Pooh, said he. "That’s what they are," said Pooh.
"Let’s frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh. "That’s right," said Pooh to Me. "I’m not afraid," I said to Pooh, and I held his paw and I shouted, "Shoo! Silly old dragons!" – and off they flew.
"I wasn’t afraid," said Pooh, said he, "I’m never afraid with you."
So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh. There’s always Pooh and Me. "What would I do?" I said to Pooh, "If it wasn’t for you," and Pooh said: "True, it isn’t much fun for one, but two can stick together," says Pooh, says he. "That’s how it is," says Pooh.
If you’re looking for an epic description of your love for one another look no further than this excerpt from the novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Describing the phases of love – from that initial lust and passion to those deeper emotions and connections that develop over time, it’s a lovely way to reminisce about your relationship.
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Love is a temporary madness, 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 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.
A lighthearted touch…
If the two of you are known for your lighthearted approach to life, why not brighten up your ceremony with a witty reading? There are plenty out there to make your guests laugh and cry, one of our favourites being this one – which compares your relationship to the responsibility of owning a dog!
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 for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once, or winds around and around you until you're all wound up and can't 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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We also recommend Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss, another popular, light-hearted choice.
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Dreaming of your future together is a lovely way to start married life. The Future, by Emma Salmon, is a poem that will reflect many of your hopes and wishes and can even be adapted to reflect your own personal lives.
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The Future, by Emma Salmon
In my future I see you and me,
And a house and garden filled with trees.
I see dinner parties surrounded by friends,
And a vegetable patch we love to tend.
I see cosy nights in front of the fire,
And a four-poster bed for when we tire.
I see our kitchen which will be the heart of the home,
And a Victorian bath brimming with foam.
I see muddy wellies by the front door,
And the kids eating cookies and asking for more.
I see nights in the garden camping under the stars,
And shelves full of mismatching local jam jars.
I see family picnics outside with the dog,
And a little blue shed containing the logs.
I see us sat by the window watching the snow,
And reading the papers and learning to grow.
I see pictures of family in quirky frames,
And letters on the kids' doors spelling out their names.
I see laughter, pain, kisses and tears,
And helping each other to confront our fears.
I see you as my friend and also my lover,
Your confidant and your children’s mother.
I see a wonderful future for you and I,
And it's cloaked in love until we die.
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