10 Romantic Readings For Your Wedding Ceremony

Elopements, Engagements, Weddings

Your wedding ceremony is as personal and unique as you and as well as putting thought and care into your vows, it’s worth taking time to select your readings. If you are having a humanist wedding, you have plenty of options to choose from whether that be quotes from your favourite books or poems that you learnt as a child. It can be difficult, when planning a non-religious ceremony, finding readings that speak to your relationship, your sense of humour and offer deep reflections on love and marriage. Taking the time to choose something meaningful to you will make your ceremony that bit more special. I’ve put together a carefully curated selection of readings, from the deep and meaningful to humourous and clever, that can add that special something to your wedding ceremony.



1. The Book of Love – Stephen Merritt

The book of love is long and boring

No one can lift the damn thing

It’s full of charts and facts, some figures and instruction for dancing

But I,

I love it when you read to me.

And you,

You can read me anything.

The book of love has music in it,

In fact, that’s where music comes from.

Some of it is just transcendental,

Some of it is just really dumb.

But I,

I love it when you sing to me.

And you,

You can sing me anything.

The book of love is long and boring,

And written very long ago.

It’s full of flowers and heart-shaped boxes,

And things we’re all too young to know.

But I,

I love it when you give me things.

And you,

You ought to give me wedding rings.”

2. “Love is an Adventure” by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

“Love is an adventure and a conquest. It survives and develops like the universe itself only by perpetual discovery. The only right love is that between couples whose passion leads them both, one through the other, to a higher possession of their being. Put your faith in the spirit which dwells between the two of you. You have each offered yourself to the other as a boundless field of understanding, of enrichment, of mutually increased sensibility. You will meet above all by entering into and constantly sharing one another’s thoughts, affections, and dreams. There alone, as you know, in spirit, which is arrived through flesh, you will find no disappointments, no limits. There alone the skies are ever open for your love; there alone lies the great road ahead.”

3. Obergefell v. Hodges (the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage) – Justice Anthony Kennedy 

“From their beginning to their most recent page, the annals of human history reveal the transcendent importance of marriage. Marriage is sacred to those who live by their religions and offers unique fulfilment to those who find meaning in the secular realm. Its dynamic allows two people to find a life that could not be found alone, for a marriage becomes greater than just the two persons.

Rising from the most basic human needs, marriage is essential to our most profound hopes and aspirations. The centrality of marriage to the human condition makes it unsurprising that the institution has existed for millennia and across civilizations. Since the dawn of history, marriage has transformed strangers into relatives, binding families and societies together.

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

4. 17 Scientific Romance by Tim Pratt

If starship travel from our

Earth to some far

star and back again

at velocities approaching the speed

of light made you younger than me

due to the relativistic effects

of time dilation,

I’d show up on your doorstep hoping

you’d developed a thing for older men,

and I’d ask you to show me everything you

learned to pass the time

out there in the endless void

of night.

If we were the sole survivors

of a zombie apocalypse

and you were bitten and transformed

into a walking corpse

I wouldn’t even pick up my

assault shotgun,

I’d just let you take a bite

out of me, because I’d rather be

undead forever

with you

than alive alone

without you.

If I had a time machine, I’d go back

to the days of your youth

to see how you became the someone

I love so much today, and then

I’d return to the moment we first met

just so I could see my own face

when I saw your face

for the first time,

and okay,

I’d probably travel to the time

when we were a young couple

and try to get a three-way

going. I never understood

why more time travelers don’t do

that sort of thing.

If the alien invaders come

and hover in stern judgment

over our cities, trying to decide

whether to invite us to the Galactic

Federation of Confederated

Galaxies or if instead

a little genocide is called for,

I think our love could be a powerful

argument for the continued preservation

of humanity in general, or at least,

of you and me

in particular.

If we were captives together

in an alien zoo, I’d try to make

the best of it, cultivate a streak

of xeno-exhibitionism,

waggle my eyebrows, and make jokes

about breeding in captivity.

If I became lost in

the multiverse, exploring

infinite parallel dimensions, my

only criterion for settling

down somewhere would be

whether or not I could find you:

and once I did, I’d stay there even

if it was a world ruled by giant spider-

priests, or one where killer

robots won the Civil War, or even

a world where sandwiches

were never invented, because

you’d make it the best

of all possible worlds anyway,

and plus

we could get rich

off inventing sandwiches.

If the Singularity comes

and we upload our minds into a vast

computer simulation of near-infinite

complexity and perfect resolution,

and become capable of experiencing any

fantasy, exploring worlds bound only

by our enhanced imaginations,

I’d still spend at least 10^21 processing

cycles a month just sitting

on a virtual couch with you,

watching virtual TV,

eating virtual fajitas,

holding virtual hands,

and wishing

for the real thing.

5. All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulgham

All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned…

Share everything.

Play fair.

Don’t hit people.

Put things back where you found them.

Clean up your own mess.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours.

Say sorry when you hurt somebody.

Wash your hands before you eat.


Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.

Live a balanced life.

Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.

Take a nap every afternoon.

Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.



6. The Beatrice Letters by Lemony Snicket

“I will love you as a drawer loves a secret compartment, and as a secret compartment loves a secret, and as a secret loves to make a person gasp, and as a gasping person loves a glass of brandy to calm their nerves, and as a glass of brandy loves to shatter on the floor, and as the noise of glass shattering loves to make someone else gasp, and as someone else gasping loves a nearby desk to lean against, even if leaning against it presses a lever that loves to open a drawer and reveal a secret compartment. I will love you until all such compartments are discovered and opened, and until all the secrets have gone gasping into the world.”

7. Frida Kahlo

“I don’t believe in marriage. 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 traditional 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.”

8. Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

“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 who truly love have roots that grow toward each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.

9. “The Poetry of James Kavanaugh” by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,

To own or imprison,

Nor to lose one’s self in another.

Love is to join and separate,

To walk alone and together,

To find a laughing freedom

That lonely isolation does not permit.

It is finally to be able

To be who we really are

No longer clinging in childish dependency

Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,

It is to be perfectly one’s self

And perfectly joined in permanent commitment

To another–and to one’s inner self.

Love only endures when it moves like waves,

Receding and returning gently or passionately,

Or moving lovingly like the tide

In the moon’s own predictable harmony,

Because finally, despite a child’s scars

Or an adult’s deepest wounds,

They are openly free to be

Who they really are–and always secretly were,

In the very core of their being

Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

10. From Beginning to End by Robert Fulghum

“You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks — all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will” — those late-night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe” — and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart.

All these common things and more are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another—acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years.

Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my [husband], this is my [wife].”