10 Non-Cringe Wedding Readings

If you've been to a lot of weddings, you'll probably feel like you've heard every reading in existence. After all, there are only so many different ones, and people often play it safe. I thought I'd gone classy and original for my wedding readings...but since then I have photographed two weddings which also used Sonnet 116. I was like...

Regardless, I still love that reading. (And I would always recommend it!)

But I digress. The main issue I have with most wedding readings isn't necessarily that they're common, but that they're...well...a bit cringe. Perhaps I'm a bit old-fashioned, but any modern poems about leaving loo seats up, sex, or what goes into a 'recipe for love' particularly set my teeth on edge.

However, there are also plenty of readings which are non-cringe, make no mention of toilet habits, and which deserve a bit more love! Here are ten of my favourites.

1. The Bridge Across Forever - Richard Bach

A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. 

Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

2. Love - Roy Croft

I love you 

Not only for what you are, 

But for what I am 

When I am with you.

I love you, 

Not only for what 

You have made of yourself, 

But for what 

You are making of me.

I love you 

For the part of me 

That you bring out;

I love you 

For putting your hand

Into my heaped-up heart 

And passing over 

All the foolish, weak things 

That you can't help 

Dimly seeing there,

And for drawing out Into the light

All the beautiful belongings

That no one else had looked 

Quite far enough to find

I love you because you

Are helping me to make 

Of the lumber of my life 

Not a tavern 

But a temple.

Out of the works 

Of my every day 

Not a reproach 

But a song.

I love you 

Because you have done

More than any creed 

Could have done 

To make me good. 

And more than any fate 

Could have done 

To make me happy.

You have done it 

Without a touch, 

Without a word, 

Without a sign.

You have done it 

By being yourself. 

Perhaps that is what 

Being a friend means, 

After all.

3. One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII - Pablo Neruda

I don’t love you as if you were a rose of salt, topaz,    or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:    I love you as one loves certain obscure things,    secretly, between the shadow and the soul. I love you as the plant that doesn’t bloom but carries    the light of those flowers, hidden, within itself,    and thanks to your love the tight aroma that arose    from the earth lives dimly in my body. I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,    I love you directly without problems or pride: I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love, except in this form in which I am not nor are you,    so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,    so close that your eyes close with my dreams.

4. On Love - Thomas Kempis

Love is a mighty power,

a great and complete good.

Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth. It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable. Nothing is sweeter than love, Nothing stronger, Nothing higher, Nothing wider, Nothing more pleasant, Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God. Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength. Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. It is strange and effective, while those who lack love faint and fail. Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities. Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.

5. Extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis de Bernières

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.