Post # 1
I’m having a civil ceremony in the UK and am trying to find readings I like. The rules about civil weddings are really strict here and any readings or music has to be completely secular with no mention of God/religion/prayer etc (which suits athiest me just fine).
I’m wondering if anyone else has had readings at a secular ceremony and what you had? The registrar (officient) has a list of common readings that are pre-approved but none of them really stand out to me and they’re all used a lot (every registrar in the country recommends the same dozen or so readings) so I’d like to find something a bit different. Any suggestions would be very welcome!
Post # 2
- Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa
bazzi: We also had a secular ceremony, and we picked a quote we liked. I reccommend looking for a quote or poem which speaks to you. The one we picked was pretty lengthy, but here it is:
Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.” -Bob Marley
And here is another we had considered, but didn’t use. We aren’t huge Bob Marley fans or anything, but we liked the quotes.
“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 analyze. 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.” – Also Bob Marley
Post # 3
- Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL
We used an excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit, a poem about two trees, and another poem about relationships and love. Surprisingly, our religious relatives didn’t even seem to notice there was no mention of god in our ceremony.
Post # 4
We used “The Union” by Robert Fulghum:
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance
to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry.
From that moment of yes, to this moment of yes, indeed,
you have been making commitments in an informal way.
All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal,
or during long walks – all those conversations that began with,
“When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” –
all those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” –
and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.
All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding.
The symbolic vows that you are about to make
are a way of saying to one another,
“You know all those things that we’ve promised, and hoped, and dreamed –
well, I meant it all, every word.”
Look at one another and remember this moment in time.
Before this moment you have been many things to one another –
acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, even teacher,
for you have learned much from one another these past few years.
Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life,
and things between you will never quite be the same.
For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.
Post # 5
- Wedding: March 2014 - Chicago, IL
mrsyeti: Yes! This is the one we used for our “relationships and love” category.
The 2 trees poem is this (we left out the last few lines that get a little grim):
Two trees near to each other stood
When they were young and life was new.
Their limbs reach out and their branches entwine
And thus together they grew.
Their roots spread out down under the ground
Joining one with the other,
So, from the top in the sky to the heartIn the earth-the two were joined together.
Thru days when the sun was bright and warm
And the winds were tempermental
When a laughing breeze rustled the leave,
Or when the rain was soft and gentle.
Thru days when the clouds were dark and gray
And cold and fierce the weather
The two stood firm and faced the storms
Because they stood together.
Post # 6
I found quite a few nice readings by googling alternative wedding readings. But I really liked:
Yes I’ll marry you – Pam Ayres
How falling in love is like owning a dog – Taylor Mali
Bridled Vows – Ian Duhig (although that one is slightly more cynical)
I’d post the full poems but my phone isn’t playing ball.
Post # 7
- Wedding: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception/The Gallery
A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
AT NIGHT, THERE WAS THE FEELING THAT WE HAD COME HOME, FEELING NO LONGER ALONE, WAKING IN THE NIGHT TO FIND THE OTHER ONE THERE, AND NOT GONE AWAY; ALL OTHER THINGS WERE UNREAL. WE SLEPT WHEN WE WERE TIRED AND IF WE WOKE THE OTHER ONE WOKE TOO SO ONE WAS NOT ALONE. OFTEN A MAN WISHES TO BE ALONE AND A WOMAN WISHES TO BE ALONE TOO AND IF THEY LOVE EACH OTHER THEY ARE JEALOUS OF THAT IN EACH OTHER, BUT I CAN TRULY SAY WE NEVER FELT THAT. WE COULD FEEL ALONE WHEN WE WERE TOGETHER, ALONE AGAINST THE OTHERS. WE WERE NEVER LONELY AND NEVER AFRAID WHEN WE WERE TOGETHER.
Mark Twain “A Marriage”
A marriage makes of two fractional lives a whole;
It gives two purposeless lives a work,
And doubles the strength of each to perform it.
It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living
And something to live for.
It will give new gladness to the sunshine,
A new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth
And a new mystery to life.
And I personally love this:
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
“There are no happy endings. Endings are sad, so let’s have a happy beginning and a happy middle.”
Post # 8
My two favorites :]
From 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. 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.
Blessing of the Apaches:
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together 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 on 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 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.
Post # 9
Thank you all – I really like ‘The Union’ and it’s one I haven’t seen here before. I also like the Bob Marley Quotes and I’m not a Bob Marley fan either.
Post # 10
mrsyeti: This is what was read at my wedding with ex-H. Love this reading so much!