Ceremony

Ten beautiful non-religious wedding ceremony readings you may not have thought of

Unique wedding readings for a civil ceremony or alternative blessing

Finding a beautiful, unique ceremony reading for a secular or civil wedding is no easy task.

Of course there are plenty of beautiful words out there, but after sifting through the hundreds of 'wedding ceremony readings' posts online you may have started to realise that the same passages pop up again and again.

Wonderful books such as The Velveteen Rabbit and Dr. Seuss, movies like Captain Correlli's Mandoline, poems by Sandol Stoddard and Simon Armitage and cute passages from Winnie the Pooh all make for excellent words for a wedding reading, as do lyrics from some of the world's most romantic songs.

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There is a host of good material out there to choose from, just make sure you find something that reflects your personality as a couple, whether that's fiery passionate burning love for each other, a funny cynical view of relationships (that's coupled with the acknowledgement that you'll be together forever of course) or a nice, 'let's take on the world' together vibe that fills you with promise for the future.

From the head-over-heels romantic to the whimsical pragmatist, there's something for all types of relationship in the passages we've featured below.

From the movie Frida

"I don't believe in marriage. No, I really don't. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it's a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it's a happy delusion - these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they're about to make each other. But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don't think it's conservative or delusional. I think it's radical and courageous and very romantic."

'The Vow', song by RuthAnne

"When time is up and the sun it dies
Til the rivers flood and the ocean dries
Hand in hand under the falling sky
I will love you
When I'm old so old and I lose my mind
I'll still look at you like it's the first time
So many say it and it's all a lie
But I will love you

You are the reason I make it through the day
You gimme the reason to better all my ways
The beauty goes, the money spent
And everything else fades away
You are my constant

When we've walked the earth every inch and mile
Laughed so hard until we cried
Through every triumph and every trial
I will love you

When time is up and the sun it dies
Til the rivers flood and the ocean dries

Hand in hand under the falling sky
I will love you"

'Picnics' by Jim Henson

"I really do believe that all of you are at the beginning of a wonderful journey. As you start traveling down that road of life, remember this: There are never enough comfort stops. The places you’re going to are never on the map. And once you get that map out, you won’t be able to re-fold it no matter how smart you are.

So forget the map, roll down the windows, and whenever you can pull over and have picnic."

From the movie The Wedding Singer

"I wanna make you smile whenever you're sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do is grow old with you

I'll get your medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
Oh, it could be so nice, growing old with you

I'll miss you
Kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold

Need you
Feed you
Even let you hold the remote control

So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink

Oh, I could be the man who grows old with you
I wanna grow old with you"

Bob Marley, on love

“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.”

From Dr. Zhivago

“Oh, what a love it was, utterly free, unique, like nothing else on earth! Their thoughts were like other people’s songs.

They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the ‘blaze of passion’ often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet. Perhaps their surrounding world, the strangers they met in the street, the wide expanses they saw on their walks, the rooms in which they lived or met, took more delight in their love than they themselves did.”

'I Choose You', song by Sara Bareilles

Let the bough break, let it come down crashing
Let the sun fade out to a dark sky
I can't say I'd even notice it was absent
Because I could live by the light in your eyes
I'll unfold before you
Would have strung together
The very first words of a lifelong love letter

There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me that you could not come true
Just love's illusion
But then you found me
And everything changed
And I believe in something again

My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter

We are not perfect we'll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you
I am not scared of the elements I am underprepared,
But I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose
You
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose
You"

A passage from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

"When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.

Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. 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. Because when you know the 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, 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."

'If I Should Fall Behind', song by Bruce Springsteen

"We said we'd walk together baby come what may
That come the twilight should we lose our way
If as we're walking a hand should slip free
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me

We swore we'd travel darlin' side by side
We'd help each other stay in stride
But each lover's steps fall so differently
But I'll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now everyone dreams of a love lasting and true
But you and I know what this world can do
So let's make our steps clear that the other may see
And I'll wait for you
If I should fall behind
Wait for me

Now there's a beautiful river in the valley ahead
There 'neath the oak's bough soon we will be wed
Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees
I'll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin' I'll wait for you
Should I fall behind, wait for me"

'The Art Of A Good Marriage' by Wilferd Arlan Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In 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 at no time taking the other for granted; the courtship should not end with the honeymoon, it should continue through the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow old.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal, dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner.