Wedding readings can personalise your ceremony, add meaning and give your loved ones a special role in the day. Here, we help you choose the perfect religious ceremony readings for your big day.
Most religious ceremonies feature readings, one of which must be chosen from religious wedding readings. Any additional readings don’t usually then need to be religious too, although of course they can be.
Whatever you choose, you will often need to have your readings approved beforehand. It’s also worth bearing in mind who will give the readings, ensuring shorter, simpler passages are given to children or nervous speakers. Here, we share six of our favourite ideas – three religious wedding readings and three non-religious – to help you choose your own.
First Reading – Religious Wedding Readings
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.
Song of Solomon
My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle dove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.’
Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.
Colossians 3: 12-17
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Second Reading: Non-Religious Wedding Readings
A GOOD WEDDING CAKE
4Lb of love
1/2Lb of sweet temper
1Lb of butter of youth
1Lb of blindness of faults
1Lb of pounded wit
1Lb of good humour
2Lbs of sweet argument
1 Pint of rippling laughter
1 Wine glass of common sense
A dash of modesty
Put the love, good looks and a sweet temper into a well-furnished house. Beat the butter of youth into 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. Work the whole together until everything is well mixed and bake gently for ever.
Winnie the Pooh by A.A Milne
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”
“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
Even longer,’ Pooh answered.”
“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
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.
Looking for more inspiration for your wedding readings, or help on who should give them? Our modern wedding readings guide is here to help – check it out today.