Do you wish to kick tradition aside, and add some creative flair to your wedding ceremony?
Adding more personal touches has become a popular trend amongst modern couples today. From bespoke wedding vows to more intimate wedding speeches, but there’s also the opportunity for friends/family to share some words on your big day.
Traditionally, ceremony readings were taken from the bible, but what if the couple saying ‘I do’ would prefer a non-religious ceremony. This is such a poignant moment in your life, you want the words spoken just before your vows to be that of love, positivity and emotion.
We have put together a compilation of just some of our favourite non-religious wedding readings, that should leave you inspired, and remind you what your wedding day is all about.
I Will Be Here
If in the morning when you wake, if the sun does not appear, I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love, hold my hand and have no fear, I will be here.
I will be here, when you feel like being quiet, when you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together, and I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake, if the future is unclear, I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change, our lifetimes were made for years, I will be here.
I will be here, and you can cry on my shoulder, when the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty, and tell you all the things you are to me.
We’ll be together and I will be here. I will be true to the promises I’ve made, to you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here.
– Steven Curtis Chapman
‘This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.’
– David Levithan
‘His hello was the end of her endings,
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew,
She was a question to be answered, and his answer was ‘I do!’
– Sex and the City
“Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…
Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…
Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…
Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love, in friendship…
Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…
Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.’
– Dena Acolatse
“I love that after I spend a day with you,
I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.
And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.
And it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve.
I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody,
You want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
– When Harry Met Sally
The Fault in Our Stars
‘I am,’ he said. He was staring at me, and I could see the corners of his eyes crinkling. ‘I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.’
– John Green
He’s Not Perfect
‘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.’
– Bob Marley
‘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.
– Victor Hugo
I Carry Your Heart
‘I carry your heart with me (i carry it in my heart) I am never without it (anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) I want no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you
Here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).’
– E.E. Cummings
Love Sonnet 17
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.
– Pablo Neruda
All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school. These are the things I learned…
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.
Live a balanced life.
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.
Take a nap every afternoon.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
– Robert Fulgham
‘Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it was like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt if you planned on falling in love with me.
But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created.
For me, love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory.’
– Nicholas Sparks
‘Today’s the day my life begins. All my life I’ve been just me. Just a smart mouth kid. Today I become a man. Today I become a husband. Today I become accountable to someone other than myself. Today I become accountable to you. To our future. To all the possibilities that a marriage has to offer. Together, no matter what happens, I’ll be ready. For anything. For everything. To take on life, to take on love. To take on possibility and responsibility. Today Izzie Stevens, our life together begins. And I for one can’t wait.’
– Alex Karev
‘Falling In Love Is Like Owning A Dog’
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.
– Taylor Mali
Yes, I’ll Marry You
Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
And here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking
And it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch, you see,
And you investigate.
Yes I’ll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It’s you that has to mend it,
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him.
Yes, I’ll marry you,
You’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty
You can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!
It’s you who has to work the drill
and put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so before you see the light,
I do, I do, I do!
– Pam Ayres
Truth and Beauty
Two souls there are in nature and in life –
The soul of Beauty and the soul of Truth;
Towards which we yearn and strain with restless strife,
Along paths fraught with malice or with ruth; –
In the red face of ridicule and scorn,
Men sought, and still must seek these – or within,
(In spite of all earth’s sorrow and her sin),
The soul is to search and manner born.
And still, in looking Beauty in the face,
With strong Prophetic joy we recognise
Something of what we may be, as we trace
Our own dim shadow in her lustrous eyes;
Nor may we part such with a dull harsh rule –
Beauty is true and Truth is Beautiful!
– John Hogben
A Walled Garden
‘Your marriage’, he said, ‘Should have within it a secret protected place, open to you alone. Imagine it to be a walled garden. Entered by a door to which only you have the key. Within this garden you will cease to be a mother, father, employee, homemaker or any other role which you fulfil in daily life. Here you are yourselves, two people who love each other. Here you can concentrate on one another’s needs. So take my hand and let us go back to our garden. The time we spend together is not wasted but invested. Invested in our future and the nurture of our love.’
One Tree Hill
‘Remember tonight, for it is the beginning of always. A promise. Like a reward for persisting through life so long alone. A belief in each other and the possibility of love. A decision to ignore, simply rise above the pain of the past. A covenant, which at once binds two souls and yet severs prior ties. A celebration of the chance taken and the challenge that lies ahead. For two will always be stronger than one, like a team braced against the tempest civil world. And love will always be the guiding force in our lives. For tonight is a mere formality. Only an announcement to the world of feelings long held. Promises made long ago. In the sacred spaces of our hearts.’
– Dante Alighieri
Marriage is Madness
Marriage is about giving and taking,
And forgiving and forsaking,
Kissing and loving,
Pushing and shoving,
Caring and sharing,
Screaming and swearing.
About being together whatever the weather,
About being driven to the end of your tether,
About sweetness and kindness,
And wisdom and blindness.
It’s about being strong when you’re feeling weak,
It’s about saying nothing when you’re dying to speak,
It’s about being wrong when you know you’re right,
It’s about giving in before there’s a fight.
It’s about you two living as cheaply as one,
(You can give us a call if you know how that’s done!)
Never heeding advice that was always well meant,
Never counting the cost until it’s all spent.
And for you two today it’s about to begin,
And for all that the two of you had to put in,
Some days filled with joy,
And some days with sadness,
Too late you’ll discover that marriage is madness!
‘I wanna marry you because you’re the first person I wanna look at when I wake up in the morning,
And the only one I wanna kiss goodnight.
Because the first time I saw those hands,
I couldn’t imagine not being able to hold them.’
– Ryan Reynolds
Time Traveller’s Wife
‘I want to tell you, again, I love you. Our love has been the thread through the labyrinth, the net under the high-wire walker, the only real thing in this strange life of mine that I could ever trust. Tonight I feel that my love for you has more density in this world than I do, myself: as though it could linger on after me and surround you, keep you, hold you’
– Audrey Niffnegger
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
The Poetry of James Kavanaugh
To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.
– James Kavanaugh
Letters To A Young Poet
‘Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person … Once the realisation is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distance exists, a marvellous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of seeing each other as a whole before an immense sky.’
– Maria Rilke
The Hundred Secret Senses
‘Love is tricky. It is never mundane or daily. You can never get used to it. You have to walk with it, then let it walk with you. You can never balk. It moves you like the tide. It takes you out to sea, then lays you on the beach again. Today’s struggling pain is the foundation for a certain stride through the heavens. You can run from it but you can never say no.’
– Amy Tan
‘You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn’t true. I know a lot about love. I’ve seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate it made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves you could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional.’
The Apache Wedding Prayer
‘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 more loneliness, For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies, But there is one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, To enter into the days of your togetherness. And may your days be good and long upon the earth.’
Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms
Believe me, if all those endearing young charms,
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day,
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms,
Live fairy-gifts fading away,
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art,
Let thy loveliness fade as it will,
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart
Would entwine itself verdantly still.
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own,
And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear,
That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known,
To which time will but make thee more dear!
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets,
But as truly loves on to the close,
As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets
The same look which she turned when he rose!
– Thomas Moore
Blessing for a Marriage
“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 that 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.”
– James Dillet Freeman
I’ll Be There For You
I’ll be there my darling, through thick and through thin
When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.
When life is just threatening to drive you insane
When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page
When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age
When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm
When the forecast said “Fine”, but you’re out in a storm
When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum
And your holiday photos show only your thumb
When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay
And return to discover you’ve been towed away
When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste
Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist
When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes
When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes
So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…
When you break a rule, when you act the fool
When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew
When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue because
I’m telling you, I’ll be there.
– Louise Cuddon
Touched By An Angel
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls.
We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.
– Maya Angelou
I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times…
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
You become an image of what is remembered forever.
You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers, shared in the same
Shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell-
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.
Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man’s days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours –
And the songs of every poet past and forever.
– Rabindranath Tagore
Traditional Irish Blessing
“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.”