Wedding Poems and Readings

Like every other aspect of your ceremony (other than any legal bits), including poems or readings is not compulsory, but they can be a great way to –

🤍 help you express your feelings and thoughts in ways you may not feel able to

🤍 change the mood or tone of your ceremony

🤍 involve guests in your ceremony

🤍 hear another voice other than your celebrant (however lovely their voice may be!)

Choose what you feel would hold the most importance for you during your ceremony: perhaps it’s the reading; perhaps it’s the person doing the reading. Saying why you’ve chosen both the readers and the poetry or readings can add a lot to your ceremony… for yourselves, for your guests, for the readers themselves, or even for the way the whole ceremony comes together on the day. 

If you don’t have a particular text in mind, your celebrant can share a selection with you to give you some ideas, although you don’t have to choose any of them. There is so much amazing material out there. You can also ask friends and family for ideas or even consider text from novels, songs or movies. There is a great website called Drew’s Script-O-Rama which has thousands of movie scripts. So if there is a particular movie that means something to you both, read the script and see if you can find the right words for you. 

Photo credit – David Grant Simpson Photography

Some Popular Poems and Readings

Here are links to some of the most popular poems and readings right now, being recited by some of our own celebrants. Enjoy!

‘Blessing of the Hands’ by Rev. Daniel L. Harris

‘Forever’ by Ms Moem

‘Love Isn’t Always Perfect’ by an unknown author

‘Marriage Is’ by an unknown author

‘Twa Auld Weemin’ by Maggie Kinloch

‘We’re All A little Weird’ by Robert Fulghum

Photo credit – Barnaby Aldrick Wedding Photography

Some Celebrant Favourites

We also asked some of our celebrants to tell us some of their favourites, and a couple of them have links to other celebrants reciting them too. 

“I like ‘How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog’ by Taylor Mali. It’s great for dog lovers and light-hearted enough to raise a smile.” Kate Strachan

‘Once Upon A Time’ by Josh Withers is one of my faves right now.” Rona Burstow 

‘He’s Not Perfect’ by Bob Marley is great for the mother of the groom to read, and raises some smiles at the same time!” Kathleen Hood

“I love Seamus Heaney’s ‘Scaffolding‘ and sometimes use it as a final blessing. I love the metaphor of strength in a relationship.” Karen Mclaughlin

Mark Twain’s ‘These I Can Promise’ – perfect sentiments, not promising the earth but love.” Marilyn Jackson

Brian Hawkins loves: “Vow’ by Roger McGough because it’s a real poem – beautifully written and one day your toast really will land jam-side up!”; and Fiona Thomas agrees, “This is one of my favourites, perfect for the end of the ceremony.

‘All I know about Love’ by Neil Gaiman. I am asked for it a lot and always very pleased because he is very clever with words and he uses them beautifully to describe how marriage is not as much about romance and kisses as it is about having a hand to hold in the night and someone knowing the worst of you, and staying.” Ali Kerr  

‘That Still and Settled Place’ by Edward Monkton – For me, the sense of intimacy as well as the feeling of “being home”, safe, secure, accepted unconditionally and happy just with each other, is what love is. Beautifully captured in just a few words. The power of poetry.” Fiona Scougall

What About Religious Texts?

While it would clearly be disingenuous to include collective acts of religious worship such as hymns or prayers in a Humanist ceremony, it may be possible to include some readings (and music) that could be considered to have religious origins – the bible extract from Corinthians being a classic example.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 

Most couples choose a humanist ceremony because it’s non-religious, but we can often adapt poems or readings to remove religious connotations, which can work well, so it’s always best to chat through the options with your celebrant.