45 Wedding Readings That Will Give You the Perfect Words for Your Ceremony

No matter what tone you're going for, we have an array of wedding ceremony readings for your day.
The Knot
Updated Sep 10, 2020
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Many couples choose to have family members or friends perform a wedding reading during their ceremony. Typically, a wedding reading helps convey the couple's feelings for one another in a way that can be heartwarming, tender, poetic or even whimsical.

Trying to pin down the right ceremony readings can definitely be overwhelming. You're looking for just the right words to reflect both your feelings and your personalities, and your readings can set the tone for your ceremony, be it humorous or tearful. Great resources include religious texts, poetry and plays, historical literature, children's books, movie lines, song lyrics or even your own love letters. Not sure where to start? We've collected 45 passages to help you find the perfect ceremony readings.

Spiritual Wedding Readings

Marriage is a deeply spiritual experience for most as you and your partner take the leap to combine your lives and your souls for all of time. These spiritual wedding readings can help you articulate how deep your love goes.

Spiritual Readings: From The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need

The Good Life wedding reading
Krakora Studios

"Song of Songs"

"I am my Beloved's
And he is mine.
Come my beloved,
Let us go forth into the field;
And lodge in the villages.
Let us go up early to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded,
Whether the grape has opened,
And the pomegranates are in bloom;
There will I give thee my love.
The mandrakes give forth fragrance,
And at the door are all manner of precious fruits, new and old
Which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved."


Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

Click here to buy the book

Spiritual Readings: From The Art of Power

Spiritual ceremony reading from The Art of Power
Woodland Fields Photography

"The Buddha spoke about four elements that constitute true love: the capacity to be kind and offer happiness, maitri in Sanskrit, compassion, the capacity to relieve suffering, karuna; the capacity to bring joy every day, mudita; and finally, the capacity of nondiscrimination, upeksha. When there is true love, there is nondiscrimination. The pain of the other is our own pain; the happiness of the other is our own happiness...To make our love meaningful, we need to nourish our bodhicitta, our mind of boundless love and compassion...First, we learn to love one person with all our understanding and insight; then we expand that love to embrace another person, and another, until our love is truly boundless."

—Thich Nhat Hanh

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings: From Prayers for a Thousand Years

Prayers for a Thousand Years wedding reading
Rebekah J. Murray Photography

"Is this love that rushes towards the rim to meet you. A main thread in the inwardness of things? Without it would the great externality loosen and unravel? 
Is it our purpose to see and say that the world is good?
 And could we have seen this and said it, beloved, while you seemed indubitable?
 I do not know."

"I stand with hands dangling empty at my sides. 
I have no wisdom bequeathed to me by ancestors. The stars are equivocal, and around me
nature is in sorest travail, weeping."

"I love you."

"This is the only sacred word in my keeping.
 This is the last trace, the last print in our hearts' waste,
of the migration of a thousand traditions, a thousand embodiments of wisdom.
 I stand with useless hands, and out of the transparency of my poverty, I offer you this, my single gift."

—Freya Matthews

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings Bread for the Journey

Wedding reading from Bread for the Journey
Evan R. Photography

"Many human relationships are like the interlocking fingers of two hands... Human relationships are meant to be like two hands folded together. They can move away from each other while still touching with the fingertips. They can create space between themselves, a little tent, a home, a safe place to be."

"True relationships among people point to God. They are like prayers in the world. Sometimes the hands that pray are fully touching, sometimes there is distance between them. They always move to and from each other, but they never lose touch. They keep praying to the One who brought them together."

—Henri Nouwen

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings: From The Committed Marriage

The Committed Marriage wedding ceremony reading
Justin & Mary Photography

"Under the huppah (marriage canopy) we pronounce a special blessing that renders the couple loving, kind friends, always at each other's side, always encouraging each other, and when necessary, criticizing and gently showing where the other erred. God has endowed each of us with unique gifts. When our mates become our best friends, we pool our spiritual resources and strengthen each other. In such a relationship, life's trials become less threatening, and even the most formidable challenges become manageable. 'Two are better than one' is the wise teaching of King Solomon. If one falls, the other is there to pick him/her up. If one is attacked, the other is there to rescue him; if one is depressed, the other is there to buoy her spirits."

"When husband and wife are loving, kind friends, they perceive each other's feelings so totally that there is no need for explanations. Their relationship is virtually symbiotic. There is total empathy with the needs of the other."

—Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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From Graces by June Cotner

June Cotner wedding ceremony reading
onelove photography

"May your love be firm,
and may your dream of life together be a river between two shores—by day bathed in sunlight, and by night illuminated from within. May the heron
carry news of you to the heavens, and the salmon bring the sea's blue grace. May your twin thoughts spiral upward
like leafy vines, like fiddle strings in the wind, and be as noble as the Douglas fir. May you never find yourselves back to back
without love pulling you around
into each other's arms."

—James Bertolino

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings: From Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC's of Faith

Beyond Words: Daily Readings in the ABC's of Faith wedding reading
John Cain Photography

"They say they will love, comfort, honor each other to the end of their days. They say they will cherish each other and be faithful to each other always. They say they will do these things not just when they feel like it, but evenfor better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in healthwhen they don't feel like it at all. In other words, the vows they make could hardly be more extravagant. They give away their freedom. They take on themselves each other's burdens. They bind their lives together... The question is, what do they get in return?"

"They get each other in return... There will always be the other to talk to, to listen to... There is still someone to get through the night with, to wake into the new day beside. If they have children, they can give them, as well as each other, roots and wings. If they don't have children, they each become the other's child."

"They both still have their lives apart as well as a life together. They both still have their separate ways to find. But a marriage made in heaven is one where a man and a woman become more richly themselves together than the chances are either of them could ever have managed to become alone."

—Frederick Buechner

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings: From The Book of a Thousand Prayers

The Book of a Thousand Prayers wedding ceremony reading
Allan Zepeda

"O God, your Son Jesus began his ministry at a wedding celebration. May the joy that is experienced as two people begin a life together continue to grow and deepen through all that life has to offer along the way. May Jesus continue to transform the water of their every day to the wine of new vision, so what seems ordinary becomes transformed by love. May couples grow old together knowing the best wine is saved till last and that Jesus is the abiding guest and their companion on the way. We ask this in Jesus's name."

—Angela Ashwin

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings: From Mere Christianity

Mere Christianity wedding ceremony reading
K. Corea Photography

"The idea that 'being in love' is the only reason for remaining married really leaves no room for marriage as a contract or promise at all. If love is the whole thing, then the promise can add nothing; and if it adds nothing, then it should not be made. The curious thing is that lovers themselves, while they remain really in love, know this better than those who talk about love. As Chesterton pointed out, those who are in love have a natural inclination to bind themselves by promises. Love songs all over the world are full of vows of eternal constancy. The Christian law is not forcing upon the passion of love something which is foreign to that passion's own nature: It is demanding that lovers should take seriously something which their passion of itself impels them to do."

"And, of course, the promise, made when I am in love and because I am in love, to be true to the beloved as long as I live, commits me to being true even if I cease to be in love. A promise must be about things that I can do, about actions: No one can promise to go on feeling in a certain way. He might as well promise never to have a headache or always to feel hungry."

—C. S. Lewis

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings: From A Year With C.S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works

C.S. Lewis wedding ceremony reading
Apertura Photography

"If the old fairy-tale ending 'They lived happily ever after' is taken to mean 'They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,' then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second senselove as distinct from 'being in love'is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. They can retain this love even when each would easily, if they allowed themselves, be 'in love' with someone else. 'Being in love' first moved them to promise fidelity: This quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run: being in love was the explosion that started it."

—C. S. Lewis

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Spiritual Readings: A Hindu Love Poem

Hindu love poem wedding ceremony reading
Michelle Walker Photography

"Let the earth of my body be mixed with the earth
my beloved walks on.
Let the fire of my body be the brightness
in the mirror that reflects his face.
Let the water of my body join the waters
of the lotus pool he bathes in.
Let the breath of my body be air
lapping his tired limbs.
Let me be sky, and moving through me the cloud-dark Shyama, my beloved."

Cultural Wedding Readings

Joining your lives together almost means melding your histories, traditions and culture. Adding a cultural reading to your ceremony is a great way to honor your family and heritage.

Cultural Readings: Aztec Love Song

Aztec Love Song wedding ceremony reading
James Christianson

"I know not whether thou has been absent:
I lie down with thee, I rise up with thee,
In my dreams thou art with me.
If my eardrops tremble in my ears,
I know it is thou moving within my heart."

Cultural Readings: A Navajo Chant

A Navajo Chant wedding ceremony
Mirelle Carmichael Photography

"Rising Sun! when you shall shine,
Make this house happy,
Beautify it with your beams;
Make this house happy,
God of Dawn! your white blessings spread;
Make this house happy.
Guard the doorway from all evil;
Make this house happy.
White corn! Abide herein;
Make this house happy.
Soft wealth! May this hut cover much;
Make this house happy.
Heavy Rain! Your virtues send;
Make this house happy.
Corn Pollen! Bestow content;
Make this house happy.
May peace around this family dwell;
Make this house happy."

Cultural Readings: Eskimo Love Song

Eskimo Love Song wedding ceremony reading
SNAP! Weddings

"You are my husband/wife.
My legs 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."

Cultural Readings: Shoshone Love Poem>

Shoshone Love Poem wedding ceremony reading
Nashan Photographers

"Fair is the white star of twilight, and the sky clearer at the day's end;
But she is fairer, and she is dearer,
She, my heart's friend.
Fair is the white star of twilight, and the moon roving to the sky's end;
But she is fairer, better worth loving,
She, my heart's friend."

Cultural Readings: Cherokee Prayer

A Cherokee Prayer wedding ceremony reading
Ell Dy Photography

"God in heaven above please protect the ones we love.
We honor all you created as we pledge our hearts and lives together.
We honor mother earth—and ask for our marriage to be abundant and grown stronger through the seasons;
We honor fire—and ask that our union be warm and glowing with love in our hearts;
We honor wind—and ask that we sail through life safe and calm as in our father's arms;
We honor water—to clean and soothe our relationship, that it may never thirst for love;
With all the forces of the universe you created, we pray for harmony and true happiness as we forever grow young together."

Poetry Wedding Readings

Love is the inspiration for some of the best poetry of all time. Likewise, many poets are able to express the power of love in words that are beautiful, heartfelt and authentic. If you are a romantic at heart, these poetry wedding ceremony readings are for you.

Poetry Readings: From Rumi: The Book of Love

Rumi: The Book of Love wedding ceremony reading
Choco Studio

"One Swaying Being"

"Love is not condescension, never that, nor books, nor any marking on paper, nor what people say of each other. Love is a tree with branches reaching into eternity and roots set deep in eternity, and no trunk! Have you seen it? The mind cannot. Your desiring cannot. The longing you feel for this love comes from inside you. When you become the Friend, your longing will be as the man in
the ocean who holds to a piece of wood. Eventually, wood, man, and ocean become one swaying being, Sham Tabriz, the secret of God."

—translated by Coleman Barks

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Poetry Readings: From The Divine Comedy

The Divine Comedy wedding ceremony reading
Jason + Gina Wedding Photographers

"The love of God, unutterable and perfect, flows into a pure soul the way light rushes into a transparent object. The more love we receive, the more love we shine forth; so that, as we grow clear and open, the more complete the joy of loving is. And the more souls who resonate together, the greater the intensity of their love, for, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other."

—Dante Alighieri

Poetry Readings: "My True Love Hath My Heart"

My True Love Hath My Heart wedding ceremony reading
SilverBox Photographers

"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 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."

—Sir Philip Sidney

Poetry Readings: "This Marriage"

This Marriage wedding ceremony reading
Carrie Patterson Photography

"May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.

May this marriage offer fruit and shade, like the date palm.
May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.

May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcome
as the moon in a clear blue sky.
I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage."


Poetry Readings: "Untitled"

Goal is love wedding ceremony reading
Nicole Chan Photography

"What is the beginning? Love.
What the course. Love still.
What the goal. The goal is love.
On a happy hill.

Is there nothing then but love?
Search we sky or earth
There is nothing out of Love
Hath perpetual worth:
All things flag but only Love,
All things fail and flee;
There is nothing left but Love
Worthy you and me."

—Christina Rossetti

Poetry Readings: "Love is Enough"

Love is Enough wedding ceremony reading
Stacey Bishop Photography

"Love is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover,
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass'd over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover."

—William Morris

Poetry Readings: Sonnet CXVI

Sonnet CXVI wedding ceremony reading
Rachel Pearlman Photography

"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."

—William Shakespeare

Inspirational Wedding Readings

If you are looking for a reading that will give you the courage to offer your heart to your life partner without any reservations, these inspirational readings will do it.

Inspirational Readings: From The 22 (Non-Negotiable) Laws of Wellness

Laws of Wellness wedding ceremony reading
Alissa Saylor Photography

"The greatest pursuit is not good health, unsurpassed wisdom, economic surplus, political freedom, or even faith that can move mountains.

It is the daily practice of the greatest of the non-negotiable laws of wellness, the Law of Unconditional Loving.

Unconditional, nonjudgmental loving. This is our aim, life's single highest and most rewarding pursuit...

The highest expression of Divine Design is applied love found in loving relationships between people. Not the erotic love we see on television and in the movies but love rooted in a decision to serve. It is a dynamic state of consciousness, a giving, creative flow, and a harmony. It's an acceptance of the human condition as perfectly imperfect. And it is a choice to love without regard to any conditions; no 'ifs' are allowed in this, the greatest of laws."

—Greg Anderson

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Inspirational Readings: From Sacred Voices: Essential Women's Wisdom Through the Ages

Sacred Voices wedding ceremony reading
David & Amy Lau Photography

"A Time to Laugh"

"1. Laugh when people tell a joke. Otherwise you might make them feel bad.
2. Laugh when you look into a mirror. Otherwise you might feel bad.
3. Laugh when you make a mistake. If you don't, you're liable to forget how ultimately unimportant the whole thing really is, whatever it is.
4. Laugh with small children… They laugh at mashed bananas on their faces, mud in their hair, a dog nuzzling their ears, the sight of their bottoms as bare as silk. It renews your perspective. Clearly nothing is as bad as it could be.
5. Laugh at situations that are out of your control. When the best man comes to the altar without the wedding ring, laugh. When the dog jumps through the window screen at the dinner guests on your doorstep, sit down and laugh awhile.
6. When you find yourself in public in mismatched shoes, laugh—as loudly as you can. Why collapse in mortal agony? There's nothing you can do to change things right now. Besides, it is funny. Ask me; I've done it.
7. Laugh at anything pompous. At anything that needs to puff its way through life in robes and titles… Will Rogers laughed at all the public institutions of life. For instance, "You can't say civilization isn't advancing," he wrote. "In every war they kill you in a new way."
8. Finally, laugh when all your carefully laid plans get changed; when the plane is late and the restaurant is closed and the last day's screening of the movie of the year was yesterday. You're free now to do something else, to be spontaneous… to take a piece of life and treat it with outrageous abandon."

—Sister Joan Chittister, originally published in her book, There is a Season

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Inspirational Readings: From On Relationship

On Relationship wedding ceremony reading
Jenny Moloney Photography

"There is a desire within each of us, in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart. We were born with it, it is never completely satisfied, and it never dies. We are often unaware of it, but it is always awake. It is the human desire for love. Every person in this earth yearns to love, to be loved, to know love. Our true identity, our reason for being, is to be found in this desire..."

"...Love is the 'why' of life: why we are functioning at all, what we want to be efficient for... I am convinced [love] is the fundamental energy of the human spirit, the fuel on which we run, the wellspring of our vitality. And grace, which is the flowing, creative activity of love itself, is what makes all goodness possible."

"Love should come first; it should be the beginning of and the reason for everything."

—Gerald May

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Inspirational Readings: From The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti

The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti wedding ceremony reading
Jason + Gina Wedding Photographers

"Love, I Assure You, Is Passion"

"You cannot be sensitive if you are not passionate. Do not be afraid of that word passion. Most religious books, most gurus, swamis, leaders, and all the rest of them say, 'Don't have passion.' But if you have no passion, how can you be sensitive to the ugly, to the beautiful, to the whispering leaves, to the sunset, to a smile, to a cry? Sirs, please listen to me, and do not ask how to acquire passion… I am talking of something entirely differenta passion that loves. Love is a state in which there is no 'me'… And how can one love if one is not passionate? Without passion, how can one be sensitive? To be sensitive is to feel your neighbor sitting next to you; it is to see the ugliness of the town with its squalor, its filth, its poverty, and to see the beauty of the river, the sea, the sky. If you are not passionate, how can you be sensitive to all that? How can you feel a smile, a tear? Love, I assure you, is passion."

—J. Krishnamurti

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Inspirational Readings: From The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti

The Book of Life: Daily Meditations with Krishnamurti wedding ceremony reading
217 Photography

"When There Is Love, Self Is Not"

"A man rich with worldly riches, or a man rich in knowledge and belief, will never know anything but darkness, and will be the center of all mischief and misery. But if you and I, as individuals, can see this whole working of the self, then we shall know what love is. I assure you that is the only reformation which can possibly change the world. Love is not the self. Self cannot recognize love. You say, 'I love,' but then, in the very saying of it, in the very experiencing of it, love is not. But, when you know love, self is not. When there is love, self is not."

—J. Krishnamurti

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Inspirational Readings: From Taking Our Places: The Buddhist Path to Truly Growing Up

Taking Our Places Buddhist wedding ceremony reading
217 Photography

"Conversation is the culmination of listening. It includes everything... self-confidence, receptivity, give-and-take, even disagreement and conflict. Conversation is dialogue, real communication and communion through our words and our presence. Founded on deep listening, deep speech, and an honest self-awareness without too much fear or judgment, conversation is a way to connect with ourselves and with each other, to enter each other's lives and help each other heal."

—Norman Fischer

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne
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Inspirational Readings: From The Invitation

The Invitation wedding ceremony reading
Amy Arrington Photography

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring with your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, 'Yes!'
It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up, after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand alone in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back...."


Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Inspirational Readings: From We: Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love

Understanding the Psychology of Romantic Love wedding ceremony reading
Mi Belle Inc.

"Historia de un amor"

"Always you were the reason for my existence; To adore you for me was religion..."

"It is the story of a love like unto which there is no equal, which made me understand all that is good, all that is bad; that gave light to my life, extinguishing it afterwards... Oh! What a darkened life! Without your love I will not live."

—Carlos Almaran

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Inspirational Readings: From The Chocolate Cake Sutra: Ingredients for a Sweet Life

The Chocolate Cake Sutra wedding ceremony reading
Autumn Burke Photography

"This is what should be done
. By one who is skilled in goodness, and who knows the path of peace: Let them be able and upright, straightforward and gentle in speech. Humble and not conceited,contented and easily satisfied. Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways. Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful, 
not proud and demanding in nature. Let them not do the slightest thing 
that the wise would later reprove. Wishing: in gladness and in safety, 
may all beings be at ease!
 Whatever living beings there may be; whether they are weak or strong, omitting none, 
the great or the mighty, medium, short, or small. The seen and the unseen, those living near and far away,
those born and to-be-born
may all beings be at ease! 
Let none deceive another, or despise any being in any state, 
let none through anger or ill will 
wish harm upon another. Even as a mother protects with her life her child, her only child, so with a boundless heart
should one cherish all living beings; radiating kindness over the entire world: 
Spreading upwards to the skies, and downwards to the depths; outward and unbounded, freed from hatred and ill will, whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
free from drowsiness, one should sustain this recollection."

—Graham M. Schweig

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Movie Wedding Readings

Sometimes a character in a movie will say just the right thing in just the right way so that it will echo a truth to all viewers. These movie quotes are sure to hit home, and, as a bonus, many of your guests will probably recognize them.

Movie Readings: From A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind wedding ceremony reading
Jade + Matthew Take Pictures

"I've always believed in numbers and the equations and logics that lead to reason. But after a lifetime of such pursuits, I ask: 'What truly is logic?' 'Who decides reason?' My quest has taken me through the physical, the metaphysical, the delusionaland back. And I have made the most important discovery of my career, the most important discovery of my life: It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found."

Movie Readings: From Broken Arrow (1950)

Broken Arrow wedding ceremony reading
Harrison Studio

"Now you will feel no rain,
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 you,
now there is no more loneliness.

Now you are two bodies,
but there is only one life before you.

Go now to your dwelling place,
and enter in your days together.

And may your days be good and long upon the earth."

Movie Readings: From Shall We Dance

Shall We Dance wedding ceremony reading
Matt Lien

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness."

Movie Readings: From The Notebook

The Notebook wedding ceremony reading
Woodland Fields Photography

"Well, that's what we do. We fight. You tell me when I am being an arrogant son of a bitch and I tell you when you are being a pain in the asswhich you are, 99 percent of the time. I'm not afraid to hurt your feelings. You have like a two second rebound rate, and you're back doing the next pain-in-the-ass thing... So it's not gonna be easy. It's gonna be really hard. We're gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day."

Books and Literature Wedding Readings

Leave it to the wordsmiths to help you define your love for your partner and the beauty of the journey you will take together.

Books and Literature Readings: From The Alchemist

The Alchemist wedding ceremony reading
Jodi Miller Photography

"When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spokethe language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met, as had theirs here at the well. She smiled, and that was certainly an omenthe omen he had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life. The omen he had sought to find with his sheep and in his books, in the crystals and in the silence of the desert."

"It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it's easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it's in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one's dreams would have no meaning."

—Paulo Coelho

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

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Books and Literature Readings: From Les Miserables

Le Miserables wedding ceremony reading
Paul Johnson Photography

"The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite."Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven."

"Oh Love! Adorations! Voluptuousness of two minds which understand each other, of two hearts which exchange with each other, of two glances which penetrate each other! You will come to me, will you not, bliss! Strolls by twos in the solitudes! Blessed and radiant days! I have sometimes dreamed that from time to time hours detached themselves from the lives of the angels and came here below to traverse the destinies of men."

"God can add nothing to the happiness of those who love, except to give them endless duration. After a life of love, an eternity of love is, in fact, an augmentation; but to increase in intensity even the ineffable felicity which love bestows on the soul even in this world, is impossible, even to God. God is the plenitude of heaven; love is the plenitude of man. 'You look at a star for two reasons, because it is luminous, and because it is impenetrable. You have beside you a sweeter radiance and a greater mystery, woman.'"

"All of us, whoever we may be, have our respirable beings. We lack air and we stifle. Then we die. To die for lack of love is horrible. Suffocation of the soul."

"When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar."

"On the day when a woman as she passes before you emits light as she walks, you are lost, you love. But one thing remains for you to do: to think of her so intently that she is constrained to think of you."

"What love commences can be finished by God alone."

"True love is in despair and is enchanted over a glove lost or a handkerchief found, and eternity is required for its devotion and its hopes. It is composed both of the infinitely great and the infinitely little."

"If you are a stone, be adamant; if you are a plant, be the sensitive plant; if you are a man, be love."

"Nothing suffices for love. We have happiness, we desire paradise; we possess paradise, we desire heaven."

"Oh ye who love each other, all this is contained in love. Understand how to find it there. Love has contemplation as well as heaven, and more than heaven, it has voluptuousness."

Victor Hugo

Books and Literature Readings: From The Legacy of Luna

Legacy of Luna wedding ceremony reading
Verite Photography

"The trees in the storm don't try to stand up straight and tall and erect. They allow themselves to bend and be blown with the wind. They understand the power of letting go… Those trees and those branches that try too hard to stand up strong and straight are the ones that break. Now is not the time for you to be strong… or you, too, will break. Learn the power of the trees. Let it flow. Let it go. That is the way you are going to make it through this storm. And that is the way to make it through the storms of life."

Julia Butterfly Hill

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

Click here to buy the book

Religious Wedding Readings

For many brides and grooms, their belief plays a major role in their lives and is at the heart of their wedding ceremony. If you want to take a moment during your ceremony to express your faith, try one of these religious wedding ceremony readings.

Religious Readings: From Bhagavad Gita

The Bhagavad Gita wedding ceremony reading
A Day of Bliss Photography

"The Beloved Lord's Secret Love Song"

"Hear still further the greatest secret of all, my supreme message: 'You are so much loved by me!' Therefore I shall speak for your well-being."

"Be mindful of me with love offered to me; sacrificing for me, act out of reverence for me. Truly you shall come to me—this I promise you for you are dearly loved by me."

Completely relinquishing all forms of dharma, come to me as your only shelter. I shall grant you freedom from all misfortune—do not despair!"

translated by Graham M. Schweig

Reprinted with permission from HarperOne

Click here to buy the book

Religious Readings: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Ecclesiastes wedding ceremony reading
Lauren Gabrielle Photography

"Two are better than one: They get a good wage for their labor. If the one falls, the other will lift up his companion. Woe to the solitary man! For if he should fall, he has no one to lift him up. So also, if two sleep together, they keep each other warm. How can one alone keep warm? Where a lone man may be overcome, two together can resist. A three-ply cord is not easily broken."

Religious Readings: Corinthians 13:1-8;13

Corinthians wedding ceremony reading
Tanja Lippert Photography

"If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing."

"Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated. Love is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered; it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

Religious Readings: A Buddhist Marriage Homily

A Buddhist Marriage Homily wedding ceremony reading
Jennifer McMenamin Photography, LLC

"Nothing happens without a cause. The union of this man and woman has not come about accidentally but is the foreordained result of many past lives. This tie can therefore not be broken or resolved."

"In the future, happy occasions will come as surely as the morning. Difficult times will come as surely as night. When things go joyously, meditate according to the Buddhist tradition. When things go badly, meditate. Meditation in the manner of the Compassionate Buddha will guide your life."

"To say the words love and compassion is easy. But to accept that love and compassion are built upon patience and perseverance is not easy. Your marriage will be firm and lasting if you remember this."

Court Ruling Wedding Readings

The visuals of a judge, jury or Supreme Court don't exactly fit with the usual wedding motif, but the U.S. court system has been instrumental in expanding marriage rights over the course of our history. If you want to recognize that progress, take a look at these court-related quotes.

Court Ruling Readings: From Goodridge versus Department of Public Health

Department of Public Health wedding ceremony reading
Natalie Franke Photography

"Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations. The question before us is whether, consistent with the Massachusetts Constitution, the Commonwealth may deny the protections, benefits and obligations conferred by civil marriage to two individuals of the same sex who wish to marry. We conclude that it may not. The Massachusetts Constitution affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals. It forbids the creation of second-class citizens."Barred access to the protections, benefits and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions. That exclusion is incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law."

"Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity and family. 'It is an association that promotes a way of life, not causes; a harmony in living, not political faiths; a bilateral loyalty, not commercial or social projects.'"Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life's momentous acts of self-definition."

C.J. Marshall

Wedding Readings About Love

Love is the reason you're planning on walking down the aisle and saying, "I do," right? So, how about choosing a wedding reading all about love.

Readings About Love: Love Me Tender, by Elvis Presley

Love me tender, love me sweet
Never let me go
You have made my life complete
And I love you so
Love me tender, love me true
All my dreams fulfill
For my darling I love you
And I always will
Love me tender, love me long
Take me to your heart
For it's there that I belong
And will never part
Love me tender, love me true
All my dreams fulfill
For my darling I love you
And I always will
Love me tender, love me dear
Tell me you are mine
I'll be yours through all the years
'Til the end of time
Love me tender, love me true
All my dreams fulfill
For my darling I love you
And I always will

Elvis Presley, Vera Matson

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