Take a page from your favorite book (or even a phrase from a special song), and share it with your wedding guests. They’re bound to be touched by the beauty and the sentiment.

From Real Love, performed by Regina Spektor, written by John Lennon

From this moment on I know
Exactly where my life will go
Seems that all I really was doing
Was waiting for love

Don’t need to be afraid
No need to be afraid

It’s real love

Thought I’d been in love before,
But in my heart I wanted more
Seems like all I really was doing
Was waiting for you (more here)

3. From This is the First Day of My Life, written and performed by Bright Eyes

This is the first day of my life
I swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain suddenly everything changed
They’re spreading blankets on the beach

Yours is the first face that I saw
I think I was blind before I met you
Now I don’t know where I am
I don’t know where I’ve been
But I know where I want to go… (more here

3. From The Sore Feet Song, written and performed by Ally Kerr

I walked ten thousand miles, ten thousand miles to see you,
And every gasp of breath I grabbed at just to find you,
I climbed up every hills to get, to you,
I wandered ancient lands to hold, just you.

And every single step of the way, of pain,
Every single night and day,
I searched for you.
Through sandstorms and hazy dawns I reached for you.

I stole ten thousand pounds, ten thousand pounds to see you,
I robbed convenient stores ’cause I thought they’d make it easier.
I lived off rats and toads, and I starved for you.
I fought off giants bears and I killed them too.

And every single step of the way, of pain,
Every single night and day,
I searched for you.
Through sandstorms and hazy dawns I reached for you.
I’m tired and I’m weak, but I’m strong for you.
I wanna go home, but my love gets me through.


From I Just Do, written and performed by Deer and the Headlights

When I look at you,
I’ve caught myself off-guard a time or two
Those funny times I realize that I’ve been staring
Way too long and you’re done talking
Not to mention I’ve stopped breathing

I’m such a mess
I’m rushing to open your car door
You lean and open mine before
I can turn the key and
Oh I just love you Oh I just love you

Calling to say hi on your break
In less than twenty words you made
My whole damn day and
Oh I just love you Oh I just love you


From Such Great Heights, written and performed by The Postal Service

I am thinking it’s a sign that the freckles
In our eyes are mirror images and when
We kiss they’re perfectly aligned
And I have to speculate that God himself
Did make us into corresponding shapes like
Puzzle pieces from the clay
True, it may seem like a stretch, but
Its thoughts like this that catch my troubled
Head when you’re away when I am missing you to death
When you are out there on the road for
Several weeks of shows and when you scan
The radio, I hope this song will guide you home

They may not be as important (or as legally binding) as that small-but-significant phrase “I do,” but the words that are read at your wedding nevertheless have a big impact. They can send spirits soaring, speak volumes about your love, and make a powerful impression on your guests — quickly eliciting a few chuckles or even a few tears. Whether it’s a poem, a short essay, or a passage from a longer work, “a reading is a great opportunity to put your stamp on your ceremony,” notes Liz Seccuro of Dolce Parties in Greenwich, Connecticut. If you find a selection that clicks, “when you look back on your day, it’s something you’ll remember,” she says.

Unfortunately, it’s also something brides and grooms often overlook. Couples tend to be so focused on other aspects of the wedding that they forget to think about this way to add meaning, as well as a moving and personal touch, to their ceremony, the pros say. Many end up choosing readings at the last minute — “often right before we go to press with the programs,” says Seccuro — or delegating the task to their planner or officiant.

That’s a shame, because while poring through stacks of books may seem daunting, the search you undertake with your fiance to find the perfect words to express your love can be as romantic as the words themselves. Don’t think you need to choose something you struggled through in literature class. In fact, if a passage seems stuffy, or if you have a hard time making sense of it, it’s probably not right for you. Instead, you might turn to a beloved childhood story, a few lines from a novel you adore, the lyrics of a favorite song — almost anything goes, as long as you follow a few guidelines.


Genesis 2:18-24

Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31

Song of Solomon 2:10-13

Colossians 3:12-17


Passages from “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran

“The Apache Wedding Prayer”

Selections from “A Return to Love” by Marianne Williamson

Passages from “The Path to Love” by Deepak Chopra

Classic Works of Poetry

Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

“How Do I Love Thee?” by Elizabeth Barrett

“Carry Your Heart With Me” by e.e. Cummings

“It’s All I Have to Bring
Today” by Emily Dickinson

Sonnet 79 by Pablo Neruda

For More Ideas, Check Out These Wedding

“Into the Garden, A Wedding Anthology: Poetry and
Prose on Love and Marriage,” edited by Robert Hass and Stephen Mitchell

“Wedding Readings: Centuries of Rituals on Love and Marriage,” edited
by Ellen Munro

“African-American Wedding Readings,” edited by Tamara Nikuradse