Modern wedding readings can include everything from quotes from songs and movies to non-religious wedding readings that are alternative and funny. Be inspired by the most popular modern wedding readings for 2019…

book with rose in middle TheBest Modern Wedding Readings

The Most Popular Modern Wedding Readings

Modern wedding readings are all popular with good reason – whatever the style of your ceremony, you’ll feel that you’re creating a thoughtful but loving mood when the most serious part of your wedding is taking place.

Even if you’re having a religious ceremony, you don’t have to include religious readings – you can opt for modern wedding readings or alternative love poems.

These thought-provoking lines from Kahil Gibran are often heard at weddings, because they seem to say all the right things when you are embarking on a life together…

Thoughts on Marriage by Kahlil Gibran

Continue reading below…

“You were born together, and together you shall be forever more.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Yes, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of heaven 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 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 in 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 Cyprus grow not in each other’s shadows”

Extract From Carrie’s Poem, 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.'”

Letter From Johnny Cash to June Carter

“We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others’ minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit.

Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realise how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met.”

Love Quote From How I Met Your Mother  

“When you love someone you just…don’t stop. Ever. Even when people roll their eyes or call you crazy. Even then. Especially then.

You just…you don’t give up… If I could just, you know, take the whole world’s advice and move on and find someone else, that wouldn’t be love.

That would be…some other disposable thing that is not worth fighting for. But that is not what this is.”

Quote from Sleepless In Seattle

“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it.

I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known…

I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.”

READ MORE: Disney Quotes for Your Wedding Speech 

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.”

The Notebook The Most Popular Modern Wedding Readings

Extract From The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

“Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it was like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt if you planned on falling in love with me.

But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created.

For me, love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory.”

He’s not Perfect by Bob Marley

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect.

But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can.

He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break.

Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyse. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there.

Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”

Extract From Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness.

We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again.

And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves.”


Modern Wedding Readings for a Civil Ceremony

“Registry office ceremonies and civil weddings, which are often less formal than the traditional Church ceremony, lend themselves well to ‘lighter’ readings,” says Lawrence Bernstein, from Great Speech Writing. “These are often more fun, certainly more light-hearted and provoke laughter from the guests.”

Some popular modern wedding readings to consider include these two romantic passages below. The first is especially wonderful if you’ve been together for a while already, talking when the first passions of love subside making way for a deeper emotion; the second is about the two of you joining together as a couple, and never being lonely again…

From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become 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 of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two.”

Commonly recited at weddings in the United States, this poem is on modern non-native origin, written in 1947 by Elliott Arnold.

Apache Wedding Prayer

“Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.”


Modern Wedding Readings Guide

Think outside the box and make your ceremony personal to you and your husband-to-be. Modern civil ceremonies allow you to quote song lyrics, a scene from your favourite movie, or even write a passage yourself.

Choose a reading that doesn’t need further explanation or background knowledge to understand it. It may be incorporating Disney quotes into your wedding speech, but it needs to make sense to people who haven’t heard it before.

Carrie Big Love Poem Sex and The City Modern Wedding Readings

Choose modern wedding readings that mean something to you as a couple, or reflect your relationship. These will hold more meaning and have a bigger impact on your guests.

Always check with your officiant before setting your heart on a particular reading. Civil ceremonies, in particular, will not allow any readings or passages with any religious connotations.

Will your wedding readings fit in with the rest of your ceremony? How does it sit with the other wedding readings you’ve chosen? Ask your officiant about the running order and what readings will work best on the day.

Is the modern wedding reading you’ve chosen the right length? Short or softly-read wedding readings may get drowned out by coughing or outdoor noise. But if it’s too long then your guests will start to get bored! Ideally each reading should last about two minutes.

Wedding Readings Wedding Reading Ideas for Every Kind of Ceremony  rose petals in book

If you want to make your modern wedding readings memorable, these wedding reading ideas and speech tips will help for your speakers prepare and make sure your ceremony is truly special…

  1. Don’t discount wedding readings as a tired tradition – wedding readings are as good as you make them. Look for words that sum you both up rather than those that sound old fashioned and you’ll already be on the right track. Wedding readings make your ceremony last that bit longer and are a chance to make it more personal. Trust us, you’ll be grateful for both of these things when the big moment arrives!

2. There are few set rules when it comes to your readings. Pretty much anyone can stand up and say a few words, so it falls to you to find the right people for the job. More and more, we see our real couples choosing people who miss out on conventional roles to give a reading – it’s a great way to involve those closest to you but outside of the bridal party in your ceremony.

3. Down to you – again! Wedding readings take place during the ceremony, but beyond that the choice is usually yours. If your wedding ceremony is religious, you may be advised on when readings should happen, but in general they can be both before and after your vows. You could have your readings run from one to the next if they follow a similar tone, but we think spacing them out is better. This way they won’t feel too long and can be read at the most relevant point in your ceremony.

4. Modern wedding readings are inspired by modern life, so if you haven’t been near a library in years, you don’t need to start now. Why not look to other cultural and contemporary sources that you’ve already come across? Think song lyrics, poems, and quotes from films that you love, as well as excerpts from novels. All of these contain heartfelt sentiments that can be shared in your ceremony.

5. And here the rules return. Religious ceremonies will usually require at least one religious reading (makes sense!), but if you introduce any others they won’t usually need to be too. On the other hand, civil ceremonies require readings that steer clear not only of religious texts themselves, but of readings with religious themes, topics and terminology, too.

6. For this very reason, it’s worth finalising your wedding readings as early as possible, even if you haven’t settled on the speakers yet. You’ll usually need to have them approved by your registrar or officiant beforehand, so get them in the bag early just in case you need to make any changes.

7. Help out your speakers so that they can sleep and speak easy. Let them know the running order of the ceremony and who will go first if you have more than one. Practise with them a few times and have the readings printed for them to hold onto. And only ask someone who has the confidence to carry it off comfortably – you should all enjoy the experience. Having a reserve reader on hand is also recommended – you don’t want your ceremony compromised because of illness or absence. If you’ll be choosing a child to give one, these reading ideas will help you to get it just right.

8. Short readings might be popular with speakers because they take the pressure off, but approach with caution. Choose a reading too short and it could be over in seconds, especially if the reader’s nerves mean they speak faster than usual. You’ve chosen the words with care; they mean something to you, so make them long enough to make a meaningful impression, too.

9. If you want modern wedding readings that are full of romantic quotes, The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks, Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton and EE Cumming’s I Carry Your Heart, are good starting points.

10. And for contemporary but funny wedding readings that will make your guests laugh, He Never Leaves The Seat Up, A Word to Husbands by Ogden Nash and Pam Ayres’ Yes I’ll Marry You My Dear are all popular options.

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Jennifer Read-Dominguez is the Digital Editor of Wedding Ideas magazine, heading up the website and covering all things lifestyle and beauty – from the best hen weekend destinations and luxury honeymoon hotspots, to the perfect hair extensions for your wedding day. When not on her soapbox about her home renovations and commuting troubles, she's known around the office for her love of Millwall FC and MasterChef. Despite telling the world she was about to get engaged underneath a spectacular show of the Northern Lights in Finland last year, Jennifer is still waiting for her boyfriend Ashton to propose...