From lighthearted to romantic and maybe even serious, choose from our favourite wedding readings that reflect your type of ceremony and who you are as a couple.

bride and groom exchanging vows Thoughtful Wedding Readings For Your Big Day

Thoughtful Wedding Readings for Your big day

Depending on if you’re having a religious or civil ceremony, your choice of readings can differ slightly. If you’re having a civil ceremony then any readings you choose will need to be non-religious. But don’t worry, that leaves you plenty of scope for finding something different and unique.

‘My True Love’ was written by Elizabethan poet Sir Phillip Sydney over 400 years ago. It may be old, but the words still ring true today, and it’s a lovely piece if you want to have something traditional and classical.

‘My True Love’ by Sir Phillip Sydney

My true love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given,
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven,
My true love hath my heart and I have his. 

His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides,
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

We like this next poem because it explains just how a marriage should work. It’s more modern than ‘My True Love’, but it says it all perfectly.

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 author of ‘Dove Poem’ is unknown, but these words create a wonderful image of two birds joined together for the rest of their lives in peace and harmony. If you’re planning on releasing doves during your ceremony then this reading will be very appropriate.

‘Dove Poem’ by unknown author

Two doves meeting in the sky,
Two loves hand in hand eye to eye,
Two parts of a loving whole,
Two hearts and a single soul.

Two stars shining big and bright,
Two fires bringing warmth and light,
Two songs played in perfect tune,
Two flowers growing into bloom.

Two Doves gliding in the air,
Two loves free without a care,
Two parts of a loving whole,
Two hearts and a single soul.

Wedding guest performing reading Thoughtful Wedding Readings for Your big Day
Credit: Ian Whitington

The words below are supposed to have been part of a blessing at a North American Apache tribe marriage ceremony. We love the idea that the two of you are a shelter for one another during life’s storms.

An Apache marriage reading

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be the shelter for each other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be the warmth for the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before. Go now to your dwelling place to enter into the days of your life together. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives – remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Wedding guest gives reading in church Thoughtful Wedding Readings for Your big Day
Credit: Emma Lucy Photography

These wise words from writer and poet Kahlil Gibran cover why you should retain your own personalities through marriage. After all, isn’t that what first attracted you to one another in the first place?

‘On Marriage’ by Kahlil Gibran

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 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.

1 Corinthians 13 reading Thoughtful Wedding Readings for Your big Day

If you’re having a religious ceremony then The Gift of Love from 1 Corinthians 13 is the perfect reading for your big day. This reading talks about the patience and kindness of love, it also speaks volumes about the sanctity of marriage. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular wedding readings that couples pick for their church weddings.

The Gift of Love – 1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

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  1. We are using a slightly different version of the ‘apache marriage reading’ you have in the article for our 2nd reading. For the 1st,my hubby to be has written a poem-doesn’t get any more personal than that!


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