Welcome to the TWE. Guide to Non-religious Wedding Ceremony Readings. Choosing the right readings can be a difficult task, there are so many out there and they need to reflect your relationship and who you are as a couple. The readings will have a huge impact on the ambiance of your ceremony so it’s important to consider this first; do you envision it being very romantic and formal or more relaxed? Once you’ve decided on the vibe of your ceremony, the readings you choose will match and either have everyone in floods of tears or roaring with laughter. Either way, those words will stick with you forever.
Who should you choose to do the readings?
Whoever you choose, whether it’s a family member or a friend, they will be hugely flattered as it’s a lovely gesture, showing them how much they mean to you both as a couple. Often couples choose people in the wedding party, a bridesmaid or usher, but it’s actually a great opportunity to show someone else how much you value their friendship – think outside the box with this. We’d suggest choosing one person from each side to keep things balanced.
How many readings?
For an average length ceremony of around 45 minutes, we’d suggest two readings.
Top tip from our editors:
Once you’ve chosen your readings, invite your “readers” over for a fun dinner party and let them practice on you both ahead of your big day. If you’re still undecided on which reading suits you best, this is a brilliant way to narrow down the options and make a final decision.
It’s also a great idea to print the readings in your order of service (rather than just including the title of the poem or reading) this avoids the person reading off a phone or forgetting the print out on the day.
For dog lovers:
“HOW FALLING IN LOVE IS LIKE OWNING A DOG” BY TAYLOR MALI
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 out for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise. It will run you around the block
and leave you panting, breathless. Pull you in different directions
at once, or wind itself around and around you
until you’re all wound up and you cannot 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.
For couples who love to laugh:
“I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU” BY LOUISE CUDDON
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 ’cause
I’m telling you, I’ll be there.
For down-to-earth couples:
A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton
The fierce Dinosaur was 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 unique 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 strange 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.
For hopelessly romantic couples:
A Vow by Wendy Cope
I cannot promise never to be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling –
It’s only at the start that love is blind.
And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure.
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.
I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I hope to pass that test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.
For loved up Les-Mis fans:
“LES MISERABLES” BY VICTOR HUGO
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 … What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great. An unworthy thought can no more germinate in it, than a nettle on a glacier.
For light-hearted yet heart-warming;
‘BUBBLES’ BY RACHEL BRIGHT
Together, you are the bubbles in one another’s champagne
The morning sun through a window
The breaking of a smile.
Together, you are the one doughnut in the bag with more jam than all the others.
That photo where everybody looks great.
The know all the words, sing out of tune chorus of your favourite song.
Together, you are the beginnings of a big idea.
The twinkly bits that hang in the sky after the firework goes bang.
The cold, thin air at the top of a mountain.
The only two people in a crowded room.
Together, you are that unforgettable day of the holiday.
An accidental adventure.
The last two pages of your favourite book.
A BBQ with friends.
The spray of the sea.
The nose of the cheese.
A hold my hand.
A decision which, looking back, will seem to be the most excellent one you’ve ever made.
Together you are bubbles.
The unburstable bubbles of the very best things in life.
The only things any of us ever really need.
― Louis de Bernières, Corelli’s Mandolin
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 promises 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.
Related Articles: The Do’s and Don’ts of Wedding Planning