Your favourite non-religious readings/vows?

posted 12 months ago in Ceremony
Post # 2
745 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

We’re not writing our own vows so I can’t really help with that one, but we’re using “union” by Robert Fulham as our reading. It’s the perfect level of quiet romance for us.


Post # 3
543 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

I combined two quotes from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables into one for our reading. We’re not very religious and I’ve always been obsessed with that book so it felt right to us. We wrote our own ceremony but did our vows repeat after me style based on a few different ones we found online. Both Darling Husband and I have major public speaking anxiety so we thought that would be the least terrifying way to do it haha. Worked great for us! I think I still have the script saved somewhere…

Post # 4
2683 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

We had Shakespere sonnet 116 as our non religious reading. It is really pretty.

Post # 5
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

We went with the standard vows, and had two readings – ‘How to Love a Woman’ attributed to Bob Marley (with the pronouns tweaked a bit so the reader was addressing both of us) and ‘Blessing for a Marriage’ by James Dillet Freeman.


How to Love a Woman  (att. Bob Marley)

She’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 each other and give the most you can.

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

Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect more than he can give.

Don’t analyse.

Smile when he makes you happy, yell when she makes you mad, and miss each other when you’re not together. 

Love hard when there is love to be had.

Because perfect people don’t exist, but there’s always one person who is perfect for you.


Blessing for a Marriage  (James Dillet Freeman)

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.

May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness.

A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it.

So let it be with you and you.

May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
May you want one another, but not out of lack.
May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another.

May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces.
May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.

If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.

May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. 

May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. 

May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.


(Worth noting we had a UK civil ceremony, which does not allow anything even vaguely religious…. we checked the ‘Blessing’ reading with the registrars in advance; they said it was absolutely fine, but noted very few people use it, probably because the title makes them think they can’t!)

Post # 6
285 posts
Helper bee

I really want to use this reading, but just need to find a way to omit the ‘God’ bit as I’m sure that isn’t allowed in the UK…

On Marriage
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 the 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.

Post # 7
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

hispanicimpressions :  we really liked that one too, but our registrar vetoed it!  Definitely worth checking out sooner rather than later if you’re having a civil ceremony x

Post # 8
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

We are thinking of using this as we are both dog lovers

Post # 11
347 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2018

I really like the Fughulm and Dog readings too 🙂

And to answer the rest of OP, yeah my husband was the same… his brain just doesn’t work the same, he’s ‘big picture’ and I’m details so most of our planning was me doing the research then presenting a few options and asking him to choose/express a preference.  We settled on our readings out of a short list I put together of 5:  the others were the Prophet (which we couldn’t use anyway), the Fughulm and an excerpt from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman:  

“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.”

We picked the ones we did out of that list because they felt more appropriate for other people to be reading to us:  my bestie read the Bob Marley, and his godfather who’s been married for 40+ years read the blessing.

Post # 12
285 posts
Helper bee

sensiblesusie :  They’ve replied and said they’re fine with it, provided we omit that line. Phew. Sounds like yours were difficult!

Post # 14
1441 posts
Bumble bee

It’s considered “Fakelore”, but it’s still beautiful.

 The Apache Wedding Blessing

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, difficulties 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.

Post # 15
461 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

I wrote our vows- they were as follows:

I [name], take you [name] to be my husband/wife and partner in life.

I promise to be thoughtful and kind, to be quick to forgive, and quick to laugh.

I vow to dream with you, celebrate with you, and grow with you.

I promise to always build a bigger table, welcome all people, and above all else, love you unconditionally.

**something funny**- we both made promises here- I promised to rinse the dishes before putting in the dishwasher…

This is my pledge today, and each day forward.


We had two readings- Khalil Gibran’s “On Marriage” from The Prophet and an excerpt from the US Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage (we’re not gay, but it’s really beautifully written about marriage equality).  See below:

Excerpt from the Opinion of the Court in the Obergefell v. Hodges Litigation

From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. The lifelong union of a man and a woman always has promised nobility and dignity to all persons, without regard to their station in life. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfillment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons. Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations.

The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law.

The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

    <li style=”font-weight: 400;”>Written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, Decided on  June 26th, 2015
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