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Alternative Wedding Ceremony Readings

Consult this list of alternative – even humorous – ceremony readings inspired by modern literature, songs, and poetry that pack a slightly edgier punch than traditional wedding readings. 

Traditional ceremony readings peppered with “thou shalts” and “whilst ye’s” aren’t for everybody. If you cannot bear another rendition of “love is patient, love is kind…” at your wedding ceremony, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some non-traditional wedding ceremony readings for unconventional couples…

Humorous Wedding Ceremony Readings

To Keep Your Marriage Brimming – Ogden Nash

To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong admit it;
Whenever you’re right shut up.

Tin Wedding Whistle – Ogden Nash

Though you know it anyhow
Listen to me, darling, now,
Proving what I need not prove
How I know I love you, love.
Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;
Likewise I have never larnt
How to be it where you aren’t.
Far and wide, far and wide,
I can walk with you beside;
Furthermore, I tell you what,
I sit and sulk where you are not.
Visitors remark my frown
Where you’re upstairs and I am down,
Yes, and I’m afraid I pout
When I’m indoors and you are out;
But how contentedly I view
Any room containing you.
In fact I care not where you be,
Just as long as it’s with me.
In all your absences I glimpse
Fire and flood and trolls and imps.
Is your train a minute slothful?
I goad the stationmaster wrothful.
When with friends to bridge you drive
I never know if you’re alive,
And when you linger late in shops
I long to telephone the cops.
Yet how worth the waiting for,
To see you coming through the door.
Somehow, I can be complacent
Never but with you adjacent.
Near and far, near and far,
I am happy where you are;
Likewise I have never larnt
How to be it where you aren’t.
Then grudge me not my fond endeavor,
To hold you in my sight forever;
Let none, not even you, disparage
Such a valid reason for a marriage.

Yes I’ll Marry You – Pam Ayres

Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
And here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry
And I hear a knocking
And it’s creepy and it’s late
I hand you the torch you see
And you investigate
Yes I’ll marry you my dear
And you may not apprehend it
But when the tumble dryer goes
It’s you that has to mend it
You have to face the neighbour
Should our roggie cat attack him
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him
Yes I’ll marry you
You’re virile and you’re lean
Your house is like a pigsty
I’ll help you keep it clean
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candle night
As I do the chappatis you can cook it every night
It’s you who has to work the drill
And put up curtain track
And when I’ve got a migraine its you who gets the flack
I do see great advantages
But none of them for you
And so before you see the light
I do I do I do I do

Oh the Place You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You’re off to great places!
You’re off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the couple who’ll decide where to go.
You’ll look up and down streets. Look ‘em over with care.
About some you will say, “We don’t choose to go there.”
With your heads full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you’re too smart to go down, any not-so-good street.
And you may not find any
you’ll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you’ll head straight out of town.
It’s opener there
in the wide open air,
Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to great heights!
You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have all the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang, and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly you’ll be best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because sometimes, you won’t.
You’ll get mixed up of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with so many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with great care and great tact
and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.
And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
So, be your name Buxbaum or Dowrie or Bass
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So … get on your way!

Wedding Ceremony Readings From the Movies

From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – by Louis 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 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 that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.

From Fools Rush In

You’re the one! You are everything I never knew I always wanted. I’m not even sure what that means exactly but I think it has something to so with the rest of my life! And I think we should get married! Right now!

Wedding Ceremony Readings From Literature

From The Invitation – Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking a fool for love,
for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are square in your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed down from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving, to hide it, fade it, or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true yourself;
if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the moon in God’s presence.
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know, or how you came here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.

From The Irrational Season – Madeleine L’Engle

But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take. If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

Wedding Ceremony Readings From Poetry

From A House of Stone – by Carmen Bugan

In the village where I was born, we wish
A house of stone to shelter the heart of the marriage
So here too, I wish you
Obstinate, strong love, unyielding and unending.
May you be in reach of each other when all seems lost,
May your tears and your smiles happen always face to face.
When you imagine that you have shared everything
May you know that you still have the rest of your lives
To do all of it again and again.
But now listen to the hurry of bells and
Look how petals of roses about the vineyard
Bring you the words husband and wife:
First words in your house of stone.

Wedding Ceremony Readings From Songs

From Lovesong - by The Cure

Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am home again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am whole again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am young again
Whenever I’m alone with you
You make me feel like I am fun again
How ever far away, I will always love you
How ever long I stay, I will always love you
Whatever words I say, I will always love you
I will always love you

Wedding Ceremony Readings – from court documents

From “Goodridge Vs. Department of Health” – Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall

Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” ... Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family…. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.