Non-religious and Romantic Readings For A Wedding Ceremony

When it comes to romantic readings for your wedding ceremony, you want them to be meaningful to you and non-religious for civil services or humanist weddings.

You also want them to reflect your personalities and resonate with your guests. It’s not always easy to find the right words. That’s why we’ve collected some of our favourites for wedding readings or short passages that can be included with speeches.

  1. “Everything I Know About Love” – Dolly Alderton

Writer Dolly Alderton sums up modern love in her memoir of the same name. This short excerpt is raw and honest and a Bridesmaids favourite for good reason. An expanded version can be found here.

I know that love happens under the splendour of moon and stars and fireworks and sunsets but it also happens when you’re lying on blow-up airbeds in a childhood bedroom, sitting in A&E or in the queue for a passport, or in a traffic jam.

Love is a quiet, reassuring, relaxing, pottering, pedantic, harmonious hum of a thing; something you can easily forget is there, even though its palms are outstretched beneath you in case you fall.

  1. “Plato’s Symposium” – Plato

For the philosophers among us, Plato’s Symposium was written almost 400 years BC by the Athenian known for his intelligence in classical Greece. Often cited as a founder of spirituality, the modern translation remains a favourite for romantic lovers.

“When one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.”

  1. “The Notebook” – Nicolas Sparks

This extract from the popular romance novel (and film) The Notebook celebrates true love and the happiness it brings despite differences. It’s popular for couples who come from different cultural or religious backgrounds.

“Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it was like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt if you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory.”

  1. “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” by Louis De Berniere

Another well-loved reading from a novel/film is this extract from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The powerful reading is an honest description of raw love is a great option for couples looking to document their commitment to each other.

“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, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. 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.”

  1. “Hamlet” – William Shakespeare

The master Bard is considered a romantic wordsmith and this short passage could be a wonderful punchy filler to end a speech or reading.

“Doubt thou the stars are fire;

Doubt that the sun doth move;

Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt I love.”

  1. “Buried Light” by Beau Taplin

This simple poem is a great opening line for a speech, it talks passionately of finding that missing piece in life that we seek not knowing where to look.

“Home is not where you are from

it is where you belong.

Some of us travel the whole world to find it.

Others, find it in a person.”

  1. “The Promise” – Heather Berry

This is a delightful poem for a wedding reading directed at newly weds who are beginning their married life together.

“Within this blessed union of souls, where two hearts intertwine to become one, there lies a promise. Perfectly born, divinely created, and intimately shared, it is a place where the hope and majesty of beginnings reside. Where all things are made possible by the astounding love shared by two spirits. As you hold each other’s hands in this promise, and eagerly look into the future in each other’s eyes, may your unconditional love and devotion take you to places where you’ve both only dreamed. Where you’ll dwell for a lifetime of happiness, sheltered in the warmth of each other’s arms.”

  1. Adapted Traditional Irish Blessing – Alison Oakwood

Ireland has produced some fine writers over the centuries, and there are many traditional blessings which are great for those of Irish heritage.

This non-religious adaption and intertwining of classics celebrates love and the promise of a future life and is just heart-warming.

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And every storm be followed by a rainbow

 

May you be poor in misfortune,

And rich in blessings,

May your days be many and your troubles be few

May health be yours whatever you do

 

May the light of friendship guide your paths together,

May the laughter of children grace the rooms of your home.

May you have a love that never ends,

Lots of laughter, family and friends.

 

May you have warm words on a cold evening,

A full moon on a dark night,

And the road running downhill

All the way to your door

 

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

  1. “A Vow” – Wendy Cope

This Poem is a good choice for a bride or groom speech, as it’s an honest pledge and commitment.

“I cannot promise never to be angry;

I cannot promise always to be kind.

You know what you are taking on, my darling –

It’s only at the start that love is blind.

And yet I’m still the one you want to be with

And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure.

You are my closest friend, my favourite person,

The lover and the home I’ve waited for.

I cannot promise that I will deserve you

From this day on. I hope to pass that test.

I love you and I want to make you happy.

I promise I will do my very best.”

  1. “We’re All A Little Weird” – Dr Seuss

Not every couple fits the status quo in their love or the perception of normality. This is a great alternative romantic reading, that celebrates who we are as individuals.

“We are all a little weird

and life’s a little weird,

and when we find someone whose

weirdness is compatible with

ours, we join up with them and

fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.”

  1. The One” – Cheryl Barclay

This popular choice of wedding poem is a lovely reading to the happy couple.

WHEN THE ONE WHOSE HAND YOU’RE HOLDING,
IS THE ONE WHO HOLDS YOUR HEART.

WHEN THE ONE WHOSE EYES YOU GAZE INTO,
GIVES YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS THEIR START.

WHEN THE ONE YOU THINK OF FIRST AND LAST,
IS THE ONE WHO HOLDS YOU TIGHT.

AND THE THINGS YOU PLAN TOGETHER,
MAKE THE WHOLE WORLD SEEM JUST RIGHT.

WHEN THE ONE WHOM YOU BELIEVE IN,
PUTS THEIR FAITH AND TRUST IN YOU.

YOU’VE FOUND THE ONE AND ONLY LOVE,
YOU’LL SHARE YOUR WHOLE LIFE THROUGH.

How do you introduce readings at a wedding?
The wedding officiant can introduce the reader to the altar. Another option is to have the musicians play short interludes to let the reader approach the altar.
Who picks the reading at a wedding?
Your best man and chief bridesmaid will likely have speeches in the reception so ask someone else from the wedding party or one of your other close friends to deliver the reading.
Do you give gifts to readers at your wedding?
It is not necessary to give them a gift but it is a nice gesture to thank them for taking part in the wedding day program.
Why choose romantic readings for your wedding ceremony?
Your wedding is a chance for you to share your definition of love with your friends and family. Love and romance will be at the heart of your wedding day so a romantic reading will reflect that. You can get find a few lines from a romantic novel or poem. You can even pick song lyrics that have a special meaning for you and your partner.

About Author /

Emma is the editorial director and has been with the brand since 2021. She is is a writer and editor with over 5 years of experience covering Weddings, Fashion and beauty.

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