Ideas for Wedding Readings & Alternative Blessings

Here are some ideas for wedding day readings. Choose a quotation, piece of poetry or prose, or even lyrics from your favourite song to personalise your special day even more.

As long as it has special meaning to you or resonates with this amazing day, it will be a gorgeous addition.

A family member, friend or celebrant could recite this for you, or feel free to read something yourself. Here are just a few ideas for you:


Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog Taylor Mali

First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don’t you ever do that again!

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

Mirrors Justin Timberlake

Aren’t you somethin’ to admire?
‘Cause your shine is somethin’ like a mirror
And I can’t help but notice
You reflect in this heart of mine

If you ever feel alone and
The glare makes me hard to find
Just know that I’m always Parallel on the other side ‘

Cause with your hand in my hand
and a pocket full of soul
I can tell you there’s no place we couldn’t go
Just put your hand on the glass
I’ll be tryin’ to pull you through

I’m lookin’ right at the other half of me
The vacancy that sat in my heart
Is a space that now you hold
It’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me
I couldn’t get any bigger
With anyone else beside of me
And now it’s clear as this promise
That we’re making two reflections into one

Yesterday is history
Tomorrow’s a mystery
I can see you lookin’ back at me
Keep your eyes on me
‘Cause it’s like you’re my mirror
My mirror staring back at me, staring back at me
Girl you’re my reflection, all I see is you
My reflection, in everything I do
You are, you are the love of my life

What Is Love

Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies.
We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives.
For love is the creator of our favourite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams.
Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places.
And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all – one known only by those who love.

Sonnet 116
William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments.
Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown,
although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

The Velveteen Rabbit Margery Williams

“What is REAL?” the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse one day.
“Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.
“It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit .

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
“When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.
“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.
But once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

Union 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 promises and agreements in an informal way.

All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- 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 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, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years.

Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.

On Your Wedding Day

Today is a day you will always remember
The greatest in anyone’s life
You’ll start off the day just two people in love
And end it as Husband and Wife
It’s a brand new beginning the start of a journey
With moments to cherish and treasure
And although there’ll be time when you both disagree
These will surely be outweighed by pleasure
You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past
When the secrets of marriage were spoken
But you know that the answers lie hidden inside
Where the bond of true love lies unbroken
So live happy forever as lovers and friends
It’s the dawn of a new life for you
As you stand there together with love in your eyes
From the moment you whisper ‘I do’
And with luck, all your hopes, and your dreams can be real
May success find its way to your hearts
Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys
But today is the day it all starts.

Prayer for the Couple

‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’, before you take your vows we want to wish you the richest blessings that marriage can bring. So let us ask for the blessing on this marriage. Let us pray.

We are grateful for all that is important and precious in life. In particular, we are glad that ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ have decided to commit themselves to one another within the context of the marriage relationship.

Love is of the essence of life, and marriage provides a secure basis for love to develop and grow. We pray that the love ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ have for each other will never die, but deepen and increase as time goes by.

May their love and care for each other last a lifetime. May this act of marriage start them on a lifelong task of honest sharing and open communication. May their example of love show us meaning of loving acceptance and self-giving.


Today I will marry my friend
The one I laugh with and cry with
The one I have learned from and shared with
The one I have chosen to support
encourage and give myself to
through all the days given us to share.
Today I marry the one I love.

A Good Wedding Cake

4 lb. of love.
1 lb. butter of youth.
1/2 lb. of good looks.
l lb. sweet temper.
1 lb. of blindness for faults.
1 lb. of self forgetfulness.
l lb. of pounded wit.
l lb. of good humour.
2 tablespoons of sweet argument.
1 pint of rippling laughter.
1 wine glass of common sense.
1 oz. modesty.

Put the love, good looks and sweet temper into a well furnished house.
Beat the butter of youth to 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.

A Beautiful Life Together

Let love be your shelter,
For at times the world is a noisy and confusing place.
So make a home that is a haven, a peaceful place where you can
Listen to your hearts and savor the comfortable closeness you share.
No matter how busy your days may be, make time for yourselves.
Hold hands. Unwind. Surprise each other.

Find little chances every day to show you’re grateful
To be partners, to be friends, to be married.
Life is not perfect.
You will make mistakes.
But each time you meet life’s challenges together,
You will grow wiser, stronger and surer of your love.
Cherish your yesterday.
They are irreplaceable souvenirs of your journey through life.
Make memories that will bring smiles and sighs
Whenever you look back.

Look forward, too.
Dream together.
Plan together.
Make promises to keep.
Believe in your tomorrows,
Because tomorrows are what forever is made of.

To make love last, put each other first
That is the way to make a beautiful life together,
The kind of life you both deserve so very much.

A Lovely Love Story Edward Monkton

The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.

Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.

“I like this Dinosaur,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. “Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny. He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.”

“I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur,” thought the Dinosaur. “She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice. She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.”

“But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. “He is also overly fond of things. Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?”

“But her mind skips from here to there so quickly,” thought the Dinosaur. “She is also uncommonly keen on shopping. Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?”

“I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur, “for they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.”
“I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping,” thought the Dinosaur, “for she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.”
Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old. Look at them. Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love.

Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together. For the sun is warm. And the world is a beautiful place.

Letter to Fanny Brawne John Keats

For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days—three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.


Extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin Louis de Bernieres

Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have 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 eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. 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.

Thinking Out Loud Ed Sheeran

When your legs don’t work like they used to before
And I can’t sweep you off of your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love?
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks?
And, darling, I will be loving you ‘til we’re 70

And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23
And I’m thinking ‘bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways
Maybe just the touch of a hand
Well, me, I fall in love with you every single day
And I just wanna tell you I am

So honey, now
Take me into your loving arms
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars
Place your head on my beating heart
I’m thinking out loud
That maybe we found love right where we are

The Art of Marriage

A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things:
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say ‘I love you’ at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.


The Man with the Dancing Eyes Sophie Dahl

Sadly I can’t find my copy of this gorgeous tale of true love, but when I do I will post an extract.

In the meantime, try and find it yourself, it’s worth it!


A Blessing is another opportunity for a lovely reading or words of wisdom of your choice, following the Ring Ceremony and leading to the conclusion of your marriage ceremony.

Please choose a family member or friend to recite, or your Celebrant can do it for you. If you decide on one of the additional ceremonies following, they can be adapted for your children, if you have any, to take part in.

Native American Apache Blessing

Now you will feel no storms, 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 loneliness, for each of you is companion to the other,
You are two persons, but there is one life before you, and one home.
Turn together to look at the road you traveled, to reach this
– the hour of your happiness.
It stretches behind you into the past. Look to the future that lies ahead.
A long and winding, adventure-filled road,
whose every turn means discovery, new hopes, new joys, new laughter,
and a few shared tears. May happiness be your companion,
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead;
And through all the years to come.
Go this day to your dwelling place and enter into your days together.
May your days be good and long upon the earth.
Your adventure has just begun!

The Blessing of the Hands

Maid of Honor reads:

‘Bride’, please face ‘Groom’, and hold his hands, palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you. (Bride and groom should be facing each other, the groom’s upturned hands resting in the brides’.)

These are the hands, young and strong and vibrant with love, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life.

These are the hands you will place with expectant joy against your stomach, until he too, feels his child stir within your womb. These are the hands that look so large and clumsy, yet will be so gentle as he holds your baby for the first time. These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorrow and tears of joy. These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes: eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.

Best Man reads:

‘Groom’, please hold ‘Bride’s’ hands, palms up, where you may see the gift that they are to you. (Bride should now place her upturned hands in the Groom’s hands.)

These are the hands, smooth, young, and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she pledges her love and commitment to you all the days of her life.

These are the hands that will hold each child in tender love, soothing them through illness and hurts, supporting and encouraging them along the way, and knowing when it’s time to let go.

These are the hands that will massage tension from your neck and back in the evenings, after you’ve both had a long hard day. These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times. They are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick or console you when you are grieving.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness. These are the hands that will hold you in joy and excitement and hope, each time she tells you that you are to have another child; that together you have created a new life. Perhaps these are the hands that will comfort you when you are told you cannot have a child, and will convince you that together you will create new life in other ways.

These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to chase down your dreams. Together, as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.

Celebrant reads:

Bless the hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another.

Give them the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and the dark of disillusionment. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their love.

Help these hands to continue building a relationship founded in your grace, rich in caring, and devoted to reaching for your perfection. May ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ see their four hands as healer, protector, shelter, and guide.

Go As One

Let us take a moment of silence as we think of the love that ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ have for each other, and to remember that we all receive love and have love to give.
‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’, you have committed yourselves to one another in love, joy and tenderness. You stand on the threshold of a relationship experience that touches the richest meanings and deepest mysteries of human life.
We have all shared this moment with you and trust that you continue to grow in faith, hope and love.
‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’, go as one. May your unity last through all your life together, through trials and triumphs that lie ahead.
Go in love – our love goes with you.

Closer to Heaven

Dear God/Higher Power, please bless this couple.
May their love be nurtured by you, always and forever.
May this marriage be held in caring hands and ministered unto by your angels.
We dedicate this love to you.
May this man grow strong in the arms of this woman.
May this woman grow glorious in the love of this man.
May the earth be brought closer to heaven through this love.
May all the world be blessed hereby.

Wondrous Days

Family and friends, I would ask you now to join with me in asking for the blessings of happiness, peace, love and joy to surround ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ for all their wondrous days.
May they always look at each other with the love we witness today.

Inuit Wedding Blessing

You are my husband, you are my wife
My feet shall run because of you
My feet dance because of you
My heart shall beat because of you
My eyes see because of you
My mind thinks because of you
And I shall love, because of you.

Give Thanks

Let us give thanks for the joy of this occasion, for the wonderful bond between these two people, for the sincerity of their vows and the strength of their spirits.
Let us give thanks for the ways in which love comes into our lives and for all the joys, the possibilities and challenges of marriage (and parenthood).
Let us give thanks for the homes from which ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ have come, and for the development of their unique personalities.
Let us wish ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ the grace to fulfil their Vows and intentions expressed today in lifelong, steadfast affection and ever-deepening love.
May the love and beauty of this marriage refresh the lives of all who have gathered here today, and may the vows made by ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ remind us of our love for others.
May the fondness we have for them grow in depth and meaning in the years to come.
‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ go in love, our love goes with you.

All Your Days Together

May the future fulfil the promise of today.
May the richness of your love grow and be shared forever.
As your wedding brings you happiness today, so may your marriage bring you continued love, fun and adventure through all your days together.

Irish Wedding Prayer

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children’s children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you.


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.

John Lennon’s Dream

Before I pronounce you marriage partners,
I have just one more thing I want you to do.
Your wedding day is one that seems to fly.
It’s a day filled with emotion friends, rings and dances.

Many people remember how fleeting their own wedding day was.
So I want you to take a few seconds to look into each others eyes.
Think about the happiness that you’re feeling in this place, in this moment.
Really let that feeling register in your heart and mind.
Now, I want you to think about your life together in twenty years.

Where are you? What are you doing?.
We all know that your visions of the future are not identical, but always complementary.

John Lennon once said “a dream you dream alone is only a dream,
a dream you dream together, that is reality”.

Native American Blessing

Above you are the stars,
below you are the stones.
As time does pass, remember;
Like a star should your love be constant.
Like a stone should your love be firm.
Be close, yet not too close.
Possess one another, yet be understanding.
Have patience with the other;
For storms will come, but they will pass quickly.
Be free in giving of affection and warmth.
Have no fear,
For the Great Spirit is with you, now and always.

Blessing of the Hands

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you,
that are holding yours on your wedding day,
as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.

These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes;
tears of sorrow, and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

Your Journey

Bless this marriage, as ‘Bride’ and ’Groom’ begin their journey down the road of life together.
May they respect each others likes and dislikes, opinions and beliefs,
hopes and dreams, and fears even though they may not always understand each other.
May they rest in the knowledge that no matter what happens by holding on to each other things will work out for the best.
Most of all, help them to keep the torch of love burning with the fire that they now share in their hearts.

Grow Together

Thank you for this joyous day.
Thank you for the Light that has entered ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’s’ life.
Thank you for all the miracles and blessings.
Please bless this union.
Help ‘Bride’ and ‘Groom’ find the perfect place in this world for their love to flourish.
Let the radiant light of their love shine on all those around them.
May all their future creations be blessed.
Bless them with the inner gifts of trust, compassion, forgiveness and truth that they may live and grow together in love and peace.

Sweet Music

May you be blessed with Hope enough to keep sunshine in your love, and Fear enough to keep you holding hands in the dark;
May you be blessed with Unity enough to keep your roots entwined, and Separation enough to keep you reaching for each other;
May you be blessed with Harmony enough to keep romance in your song, and Discord enough to keep you tuning your love so it becomes sweet music to all who may hear it.

Kimberly Sanders Marriage Celebrant, Auckland
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