Wedding Readings

Thoughts on Readings

From the Book of Ruth              (Old Testament)

Do not press me to leave you

or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;

Where you lodge, I will lodge;

Your people shall be my people,

And your God my God.

Where you die, I will die -

There I will be buried.


From the New Testament:                     Corinthians 13, verses 1-7

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love,

I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge,

and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love,  I am nothing. 

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love,  I gain nothing.


Love is patient, Love is kind. 

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always endures.


The Wedding Prayer               by Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord, behold our family here assembled.

We thank you for this place in which we dwell,

for the love that unites us,

for the peace accorded us this day,

for the hope with which we expect the morrow,

for the health, the work, the food,

and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;

for our friends in all parts of the earth.



The Wedding Prayer

Heavenly Father hear us as we pray here at Thine altar on our wedding day.

Show us the path that thou would'st have us take

Help us to follow Thee and Sin forsake

In thy sight, O God, today we've come to pledge Our Love in unity.

Bless the sacred vows we take and keep us one through all eternity

Give us strength in sorrow, want or pain, always steadfast to remain

And when clouds shall fill our skies of blue, help Our Love to see us through

Oh God, until we reach life's ebbing tide

May we in perfect Love and Peace abide and

When life's sun shall set beyond the hill

May we go hand in hand together still. AMEN


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 only 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.


“Foundations Of Marriage”, by Regina Hill

"Love, trust, and forgiveness are the foundations of marriage. In marriage, many days will bring happiness, while other days may be sad. But together, two hearts can overcome everything... In marriage, all of the moments won't be exciting or romantic, and sometimes worries and anxiety will be overwhelming. But together, two hearts that accept will find comfort together. Recollections of past joys, pains, and shared feelings will be the glue that holds everything together during even the worst and most insecure moments. Reaching out to each other as a friend, and becoming the confidant and companion that the other one needs, is the true magic and beauty of any two people together. It's inspiring in each other a dream or a feeling, and having faith in each other and not giving up... even when all the odds say to quit. It's allowing each other to be vulnerable, to be himself or herself, even when the opinions or thoughts aren't in total agreement or exactly what you'd like them to be. It's getting involved and showing interest in each other, really listening and being available, the way any best friend should be. Exactly three things need to be remembered in a marriage if it is to be a mutual bond of sharing, caring, and loving throughout life: love, trust, and forgiveness."


Why Do I Love You?

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 ignoring the possibilities
Of the fool in me
And for laying firm hold
Of the possibilities for good.


Why do I love you?
I love you
For closing your eyes
To the discords-
And for adding to the music in me
By worshipful listening.


 I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
And out of the words
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.


I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
To make me happy.


You have done it
Without a word,
Without a touch,
Without a sign.
You have done it
Just by being yourself.


After all
Perhaps that is what
Love means.


Love Is The Reason

  Love is the reason why this day was chosen by you both to begin your lives together and love is the reason why you both will give with all hearts for the good of each other.

  Love is the reason that together you will become one; one in hope; one in believing in life; one in sharing the coming years.

Two Lives

Two lives, two people, so very different, yet so similar. Together we stand as one, sharing our future as it comes. The past is that, past. Buds are yet to blossom, with care and trust, the best is yet to be revealed. Honesty and kindness, are the fruits of love. Lord bless this day and always to enrich us so our love will never end.


Untitled, by Alexis Smith

Forever and ever and ever and ever
Live this beautiful life in front of you every day.
Seize your moments and embrace those you desire.
Fill your day with action and at night celebrate your successes.
Love your friends and treat them like you like to be treated.
Listen to words spoken around you, but listen more to the heart that may be silent,
that may be protecting you, that may be guiding you through the storms and the rain
through the sun and the sand that feels cool on the footsteps that

are walking you to the next memory, experience and adventure.
Hold your head high and go get what is yours
You are wise and full of life.

A Wedding Prayer

In joining your lives may God grant you both…

Love to afford each other a special quality of time together,

Joy in the accomplishments of one another,

Understanding that your interests and desires will not always be the same,

Friendship based on mutual trust,

Courage to speak of a misunderstanding and to work on a solution before the setting of the sun,

Compassion to comfort each other in pain and sorrow,

Foresight to realize rainbows follow rainy days,

Imagination to keep with you part of the child you used to be,

Mirth from your sense of humor,

Awareness to live each day with the knowledge that there is no promise of tomorrow on this earth.


The Art of Marriage

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.

A good marriage must be created.

In the art of 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 all 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 in 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 expecting the husband to wear a halo or the wife to have wings of an angel.               

It is not looking for perfection in each other.      

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding and a sense of humor.                       
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.     

It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.                     
It is finding room for the things of the spirit
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.                


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.


Touched by an Angel         By: Maya Angelou

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.


Love arrives,

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.



It is often said that it is love that makes the world go round. However, without doubt, it is friendship which keeps our spinning existence on an even keel.


True friendship provides so many of the essentials for a happy life - it is the foundation on which to build an enduring relationship, it is the mortar which bonds us together in harmony, and it is the calm, warm protection we sometimes need when the world outside seems cold and chaotic.


True friendship holds a mirror to our foibles and failings, without destroying our sense of worthiness. True friendship nurtures our hopes, supports us in our disappointments, and encourages us to grow to our best potential.


Bride and Groom came together as friends. Today, they pledge to each other not only their love, but also the strength, warmth and, most importantly, the fun of true friendship.


The Prayer of St. Francis and the Sign of Peace

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope'

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console;

To be understood as to understand;

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive,

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and

It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.


Will everyone please greet each other as the sign of peace...


From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls are destined to find one another, their two streams of light flow together and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.

[Written by the Baal ShemTov, a famous Rabbi ]


Wedding Readings for Vow Renewal Ceremonies


Here are some wedding readings that are a nice fit for a vow renewal ceremony. They celebrate the seasoned marriage and the idea of long lasting love.

No need to wait until a Silver anniversary to renew your vows. You can do it any time.


I am not the author of any of these readings or poems. Some are classic, and some are modern and I tried to leave the punctuation as it was written. The author’s name appears below the reading as well as a link to their works or more information. It’s hard to find out more about Edmund O’Neil, although he is widely quoted and reprinted in the world of wedding readings.

On The True, Seasoned Marriage

When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of the tide of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide of life and resist in terrors it’s ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life, as in love, is growth... is fluidity... is freedom.

-Ann Morrow Lindbergh, from Gift from the Sea


Marriage Needs Time to Ripen

It takes years to marry completely two hearts, even the most loving and well assorted. A happy wedlock is a falling in love. Young persons think love belongs to the brow-haired and crimson cheeked. So it does for its beginning. But the golden marriage is part of love which the bridal day knows nothing of.... Such a large and sweet fruit is marriage that is needs a long summer to ripen, and then a long winter to mellow and season it.

Theodore Parker

Marriage Joins Two People

Marriage offers opportunities for sharing growth
that no other human relationship can equal.
It is an emotional and physical joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Within the circle of love,
marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships.
A wife and husband are each other’s best friend,
confidant, lover, teacher, listener and critic.
Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life.
Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher;
even anger is felt more intensely, and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives,
the mistakes that life is unavoidable to avoid.
It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences
and new ways of expressing your love through the seasons.
When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage,
they create a spirit unique to themselves,
which binds them closer than any spoken or written words.
Marriage is a promise and potential,
made in the hearts of two people who are in love,
that takes a lifetime to fulfill.

                                                        — Edmund O’Neil

I Carry Your Heart With Me

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 the 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

Prayer for a Marriage
When we are old one night,
and the moon arcs over the house
like an antique china saucer,
and the tea cup sun
follows somewhere far behind
I hope the stars deepen to a shine
So bright you could read by it, If you liked,
and the sadness we will have known will go away for a while,
in this hour or two before sleep,
and that we kiss, standing in the kitchen,
not fighting gravity so much as embodying its sweet force,
And I hope we kiss, Like we do today,
Knowing so much good is said in the primitive tongue —
From the wild first surprising ones,
To the lower dizzy ten thousand infinitely slower ones -
And I hope while we stand there in the kitchen,
Making tea and kissing,
The whistle of the teapot wakes the neighbors.

                                                                      —Steve Scafidi

The Place Poem
I could open the doors and the windows
to great winds
Let everything be scattered,
like loose sheets of paper
Let tumbling take sense and proportion
from what we have put in order.
That suits us,
but it would not change anything.
You have come in,
and your entrance has been final.
You do not leave me,
nor do I leave you, beloved.
We have made this house our place,
And our shelter.
When we go out,
we will go out together.

                                                      —Ted Enslin

Click this button to download a printer-friendly version of this document.