Readings & Poems

 

There are some beautiful options for the readings in the ceremony and we have found some gems.  The readings in the first section are taken from Catholic Wedding Ceremonies and if you scroll down further you will see a selection of readings taken from the Church of Ireland Ceremony and finally the Civil Ceremony.  Many of the readings from the different sections can be used in any of the Ceremonies but ensure that you discuss your reading choices with your priest, rector or officiant for confirmation of their suitability.


Catholic Wedding Ceremony Readings

If your wedding does not fall on a Sunday or a Holy day, you may choose your wedding readings. The Liturgy of the Word includes a reading from the Old Testament (the first reading), a responsorial psalm, a reading from the New Testament (the second reading), and finally the Gospel. Just as most churches do not allow secular music, many will not allow anything other than Catholic wedding readings. Keep in mind that a Catholic wedding is a liturgy, or a prayer. Thus, all music or readings used in the liturgy must be identified as a prayer.

 

Old Testament Readings

A Reading from the Book of Sirach, Chapter 26, verse 1-4.

A loving partner is a safe shelter, whoever finds one has found a rare treasure. A loving partner is something beyond price, there is no measuring their worth. A loving partner is a life-saving remedy, and those who respect their Lord find true love. For as a person is, so is their loved one.

 A Reading from the Book of Ruth

Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live, I will live. Your people shall be my people and your God will be my God too. Wherever you die, I will die and there will I be buried beside you. We shall be together forever and our love will be the gift of God. 

 A Reading from the Song of Songs, Chapter 2, verses 10-14, 16.

My beloved speaks to me: "Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. Let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face comely. My beloved is mine and I am his. He said to me: "set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offfered for love, all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned." My beloved is mine and I am his.

A Reading from the Book of Tobit, Chapter 8: verses 4-8. Grant that we may grow old together.

On the evening of their marriage Tobias said to Sarah, " Let us pray and implore our Lord that He grant us mercy and safety." Tobias began by saying, " Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors, and blessed is your name in all generations forever. Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you forever. You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the human race has sprung. You said, " It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself." I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together." And they both said, "Amen, Amen".

Genesis 1:26-28, 31 Male and female he created them.

Then God said: “Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl upon the earth.” God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them. God blessed them, saying to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and conquer it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all living animals on the earth.” God saw all he had made, and indeed it was very good.

 

New Testament Readings

A Reading from the first letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.

If I am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Be ambitious for the higher gifts. And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them. If I have all the eloquence of men or of angels, but speak without love, I am simply a gong booming or a cymbal clashing. If I have the gift of prophecy, understanding all the mysteries there are, and knowing everything, and if I have faith in all it's fullness, to move mountains, but without love, then I am nothing at all. If I give away all that I posess, piece by piece, and if I even let them take my body to burn it, but am without love, it will do me no good whatever. Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous; love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offence, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end.

A Reading from the First Letter of St Paul to the Romans

Let your love be genuine and sincerely prefer good to evil. Love one another with affection and have a profound respect for each other. If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Do not give up if difficulties come and keep on praying. Think of the needs of others. Seek to be compassionate and kind, humble and patient. Be tolerant with one another and be ready to forgive when one of you has a complaint about the other. The Lord forgives you so you must do the same. Do not be overcome with evil but overcome evil with good.

A Reading from the letter of St. Paul to the Colossians.

You are God's chosen race, his saints, he loves you, and you should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another; forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you; now you must do the same. Over all these clothes, to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful. Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.

 

Gospel Readings

A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John

Jesus said to his disciples: 'As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my own joy may be in you and your joy be complete. This is my commandment: love one another, as I loved you.'

John 15:12-16

Jesus said to his disciples: “This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”

John 3: 18-24 God is love. A reading from the first letter of John.

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only-begotten Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


Church of Ireland Readings

A Reading from First Letter of St Paul to the Corinthians 13:1-7

I may speak in tongues of men or of angels, but if I am without love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, and know every hidden truth; I may have faith strong enough to move mountains; but if I have no love, I am nothing. I may dole out all I possess, or even give my body to be burnt, but if I have no love, I am none the better. Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offence. Love keeps no score of wrongs; does not gloat over men's sins, but delights in the truth. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, it's hope and it's endurance.

From the Book of Ruth

Where you go, I shall go. Wherever you live, so shall I live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Whenever you die, I shall die, and there I will be buried. There we shall be together forever and our love will be the gift of life.

Ecclesiastes 3 - A Time for Everything.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to refrain, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Romans 12:9-12

Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. Love one another warmly as Christian brothers and sisters, and be eager to show respect for one another. Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.

Colossians 3:12-17

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might keep prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.

A Creed to Live By

Do not undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special. Do not set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you. Do not take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Do not be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to one another. Don't be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

The quickest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings. Do not run through life so fast that you forget not only where you have been but also where you are going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way.

A Reading from Proverbs 3, verse 1-12

Psalm 121

I life up my eyes to the hills; from where is my help to come? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth. He will not suffer your foot to stumble; He who watches over you will not sleep. Behold, He who keeps watch over  Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord Himself watches over you; the Lord is your shade at your right hand, so that the sun shall not strike you by day neither the moon by night.  The Lord shall keep you from all evil; it is He who shall keep your soul. The Lord shall keep watch over your going out and your coming in, from this time on for evermore. Amen. .

 

Gospel Readings

A Reading from Mark, Chapter 10, Verse  6-9 & 13-16

"But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female'. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rubuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

A Reading from John, Chapter 15, Verse 9-12

As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

A Reading from John, Chapter 2, Verse 1-11

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.


Civil Ceremony Readings & Poems

The Art of Marriage.  - Author Unknown.

A good marriage must be created, In the 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 having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together and facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is not only marrying the right person - It is being the right partner.

 This Day I Married My Best Friend - Author Unknown.

This day I married my best friend ...the one I laugh with as we share life's wondrous zest, as we find new enjoyments and experience all that's best. ...the one I live for because the world seems brighter as our happy times are better and our burdens feel much lighter. ...the one I love with every fiber of my soul. 

 To Be One With Each Other - George Eliot.

What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness, to be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?

 How do I love thee? - Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of everyday's Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise. I love thee with a passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.

To My Dear and Loving Husband - Anne Bradstreet.

If ever two were one, then surely we. If ever man were lov'd by wife, then thee. If ever wife was happy in a man, Compare with me, ye women, if you can. I prize thy love more than whole Mines of gold Or all the riches that the East doth hold. My love is such that Rivers cannot quench, Nor ought but love from thee give recompetence. Thy love is such I can no way repay. The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray. Then while we live, in love let's so persever That when we live no more, we may live ever.

Love Is A Great Thing - Thomas À Kempis.

 Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good By itself it makes that is heavy light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven. It carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all wordly affections, and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity, or by any adversity subdued. Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down. Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all. Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent and manly.

Marriage is...Author Unknown

 Marriage is a dynamic process of discovery. Marriage is a journey, not an arrival. In marriage, being the right person is as important as finding the right person Marriage is starting to love, over and over again. Marriage is a life's work. Marriage is an art... and like any creative process, it requires active thought and effort We have to learn how to share on many different levels. We need to practice talking from the heart, and understanding attitudes as well as words. Giving generously and receiving graciously are talents that are available to anyone. But all these skills need to be developed, if the marriage picture that we paint is to be anything approaching the masterpiece intended.

Indian Wedding Blessing.

Now we feel no rain, for each of us will be a shelter to the other. Now we feel no cold, for each of us will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of us will be a companion to the other. We are two bodies, but there is one life before us and one home. When evening falls, I'll look up and there you will be. I'll take your hand; you'll take mine and we'll turn together to look at the road we travelled to reach this: the hour of our happiness. It stretches behind us, even as the future lies ahead. A long and winding road, whose every turning means discovery. Old hopes, new laughter, shared fears. The adventure has just begun.

Mayan Wedding Poem.

I know not if the voice of man can reach to the sky, I know not if the god's will hear if I pray, I know not if the gifts I have will all be granted, I know not what will come to pass in future days, But I hope only good will come from my love to you.

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. 

 Reading by Walter Pinder.

 Everyday you live, learn how to receive love with as much understanding as you give it. Find things within yourself, then you can share them with each other. Do not fear this love. Have an open heart and a sincere mind. Be sincerely interested in each other's happiness. Be constant and consistent in your love. From this comes security and strength. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us on this day of your marriage. Try to commit yourselves fully and freely to each other.

What is Love?

Love is just not looking at each other and saying "You're wonderful". There are times when we are anything but wonderful. Love is looking out in the same direction. It is linking our strength to pull a common load. It is pushing together towards the far horizons, hand in hand. Love is knowing that when our strength falters, we can borrow the strength of someone who cares. Love is a strange awareness that our sorrows will be shared and made lighter by sharing; that joys will be enriched and multiplied by the joy of another. Love is knowing someone else cares that we are not alone in life.

Love's Coming by John Shaw Neilson

Love's Coming. Quietly as rosebuds Talk to the thin air, Love came so lightly, I knew not he was there. Quietly as lovers Creep at the middle moon, Softly as players tremble in the tears of a tune; Quietly as lilies Their faint vows declare Came the shy pilgrim: I knew not he was there. Quietly as tears fall On a warm sin, Softly as griefs call In a violin; Without hail or tempest, Blue sword of flame. Love came so lightly I knew not that he came.

"My Best Friend"

 Today... I look into the eyes of my best friend The one with whom I can share anything with My deepest hopes and heart-filled dreams Inner fears and sheltered insecurities My most warming joys and overwhelming triumphs All future journeys that I have left to encounter This and more I know I can share with you

Today... I take pride in my best friend With admiration I look upon you and smile For all that you are and all that you do that makes me so proud Every part of you that I have come to adore And for all those parts I have not yet learned I will live each day from now on cherishing you with honor

Today... I share my soul to my best friend My most prized possession which no other has been given I give it with great confidence and trust Because with you I am at peace and I know with you it is safe You give to me a warmth that I keep with me always And what else can I give to someone who has given me so much For you have opened my eyes to see a love, which before you I was blind to

Today... I am marrying my best friend For I know now God put you here to be my partner Knowing even before I, that you were the one I would live to love Guiding me to this aisle, He knew your hand would be waiting here for me to hold Graciously leading me here to you and allowing us to share this moment together So I could begin the rest of my journeys through life, happily ever after with you ... My Best Friend"

 

For a further selection of readings and poems, please visit:

www.plan-your-wedding-ceremony.com

www.weddingservices4u.co.uk

www.bridalwave.tv

 

 

A Friend's Love says: "If you ever need anything, I'll be there."
True Love says: "You'll never need anything; I'll be there."

-- Jimi Hollemans


 

 



 


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