Tuesday 15 May 2012

Talking Point: Non-Cheesy Wedding Readings

Photo by Sara Alfred

So. I'm getting married in eight sleeps. Squeep! [That's a squee combined with an eep, for those playing at home]. Being my procrastinating, overthinking self, I've left a few things to the last minute. One of these is picking the readings for our ceremony. I've been searching sporadically for months but haven't made a final decision on the one (or two) we want to use. I've trawled books, movies and the whole of the internet, but am finding it difficult because SO many readings are super cheesy and just not right for us as a couple. Throw into the mix the anxiety I've had recently and it's just not happening. But I'm not going to let that hiccup stop me from having a beautiful ceremony that represents me, and my fiance, and our relationship. So it's decidion time. Here are some of the finalists...

From Anne's House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery
"It was a happy and beautiful bride who came down the old, homespun-carpeted stairs that September noon - the first bride of Green Gables, slender and shining-eyed, in the mist of her maiden veil, with her arms full of roses. Gilbert, waiting for her in the hall below, looked up at her with adoring eyes. She was his at last, this evasive, long-sought Anne, won after years of patient waiting. It was to him she was coming in the sweet surrender of the bride. Was he worthy of her? Could he make her as happy as he hoped? If he failed her - if he could not measure up to her standard of manhood - then, as she held out her hand, their eyes met and all doubt was swept away in a glad certainty. They belonged to each other; and, no matter what life might hold for them, it could never alter that. Their happiness was in each other's keeping and both were unafraid."
Love: The representation of Gilbert's doubts/worries, and the way they disappear when he sees Anne. The last couple of lines are lovely. Plus it's from one of my all-time favourite stories about one of my all-time favourite couples.
Don't love: The reference to "maiden veil" and "sweet surrender". Also, fiance's father's name is Gilbert. Awk-ward.

From Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
"I have for the first time found what I can truly love - I have found you. You are my sympathy - my better self - my good angel; I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you - and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one."
Love: The list-like aspect, and the fact that it comes from another one of my favourite books and one of my favourite literary couples.
Don't love: "Fuses you and me in one." It's romantic, but it doesn't speak to the individuality and independence which I think are important in a relationship.

Blessing for a Marriage by James Dillet Freeman
"May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another - not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you.
May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, "I love you!" and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another's presence - no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another."
Love: That it's focused on well wishes of what a marriage should/could be and is filled with hope as well as realism.
Don't love: The length.  

The Art of Marriage by Wilferd Peterson
"Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things...
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is doing things for each other, not in the attitude
of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.
It is speaking words of appreciation
and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is not looking for perfection in each other.
It is cultivating flexibility, patience,
understanding and a sense of humour.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is establishing a relationship in which the independence is equal,
dependence is mutual and the obligation is reciprocal.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it is being the right partner.
It is discovering what marriage can be, at its best."
Love: It represents exactly what I (we) think marriage is about and is a lovely reminder of what's important.
Don't love: I don't feel a personal/sentimental attachment to it as I do to some others - though obviously that would change if it was in our ceremony! 

Why Marriage, by Dena Acolatse
"Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person with all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body... Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me, Who won't hold them against me, Who loves me when I'm unlikable, Who sees the small child in me, and Who looks for the divine potential of me... Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night with someone who thanks God for me; with someone I feel blessed to hold... Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love in friendship... Because marriage is a discipline to be added to a list of achievements... Because marriages do not fail, people fail when they enter into marriage expecting another to make them whole... Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility for my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness. I create me. I take half of the responsibility for my marriage. Together we create our marriage... Because with this understanding, the possibilities are limitless."
Love: Again, this represents really powerfully what I believe about marriages and relationships. I like the emphasis on individuality, and the way marriage is created, and how it's still hopeful and optimistic whilst being realistic. I also love the term "forever friend."
Don't love: The reference to God/the divine - we're just not religious at all and it doesn't feel right in that sense. 

I wanna Grow Old With You from The Wedding Singer
"I wanna make you smile
Whenever you’re sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I wanna do, is grow old with you
I’ll get you medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks
So, it could be so nice growing old with you,….
I’ll miss you
Kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold
Need you
Feed you
Even let you hold the remote control.
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you’ve had too much to drink
Oh I could be the man that grows old with you
I wanna grow old with you."
Love: It's funny, and sweet, and from a movie we both adore. It highlights the beauty in the mundane.
Don't love: The connection with Adam Sandler. I can't stand him (although I love this movie). 

Better Together by Jack Johnson
"There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart
Our dreams, they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepiatone loving
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing it's always better when we're together
With only two, Just me and you
Not so many things we got to do
Or places we got to be
We'll sit beneath the mango tree now
I believe in memories
They look so pretty when I sleep
Hey now, and when I wake up,
You look so pretty sleeping next to me
But there is not enough time,
And there is no, no song I could sing
And there is no, combination of words I could say
But I will still tell you one thing
We're better together."
Love: The idea that things are better together. That love is the answer. That "you look so pretty sleeping next to me." Plus we're both Jack Johnson fans.
Don't love: OK, I do kind of love the reference to questions like "why are we here" etc and the way love is the answer, especially because those lyrics spoke to me at a time when I was in a pretty bad place, but at the same time I worry that it will trigger my anxiety when I'll already be in an emotional state.

From The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach
"A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we're pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we're safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life."
Love: The reference to the way you can be completely yourself - and loved for yourself - with the right person. The idea that you move forward - up - together.
Don't love: It's terribly unromantic, but I'm not sure I believe in "soul mates" - however the definition of soul mate here is one that I can get behind.

I will be here by Steven Curtis Chapman
"If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.
I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen.
Through the winning, losing, and trying we'll be together,
And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change,
Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.
I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we're older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty,
And tell you all the things you are to me.
We'll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I've made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me.
I will be here."
Love: It's a beautiful sentiment and represents a lot of what's been going on in my life/relationship in the past couple of years, while containing hope for the future.
Don't love: It's reference to darker times is part of what draws me to it - but again, I'm afraid of triggering my anxiety during the ceremony.

So! There you have it. Just a bit indecisive. I might be a bit nit-picky, but hey, it's my one and only wedding ceremony - I want to get it right! It doesn't help that I've searched wedding readings so many times and I've seen the same ones over and over again so they all start to seem boring and repetitive. So, believe it or not, I'm still open to suggestions - hit me with them, if you've got any!


  1. I like The Art of Marriage, we thought about it for our wedding last year. In the end we went with something from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which is one of my favourite books. It's about love in long term relationships being more than just passion, which was fitting as we had been together for 8 years when we got married!

    1. How nice! Yes, Fiance and I have been together 11! Crazy!

  2. Haha like Sam, we had something from Captain Corelli's Mandolin, which was picked by my husband as he really loves the book (I haven't read it yet). I chose another one which wasn't from a book, but a song.

    Best of luck for a beautiful, special day Belle! x

    1. I haven't read it yet either! I think the fact that it was a Nicholas Cage movie put me off haha.
      Thanks Bree :)

  3. Could you maybe leave out the words/bits you don't like/relate to?
    So in the "Why Marriage" by Dena Acolatse, "Who looks for the divine potential of me" would just become "Who looks for the potential of me".
    I like the Jack Johnson one. Lyrics are good for reading aloud because they have the built-in rhythym to them.
    I was just thinking, if it is a song that has the potential to trigger off your anxiety, would it help to listen to it a few times in the next couple of days in a non-emotional context, to begin to build some different associations, or do you think it would still be too much of a trigger-risk? I know that after I was mugged last year I was encouraged to walk through the spot where it had happened and it took a while - at first it was incredibly hard, incredibly emotional - but it did help, I did get to the point where I was fine to walk through there.
    But you probably don't want extra stuff to be thinking about, eight days out from the day!
    I hope it's an absolutely perfect one. :-)

    1. Alexandra, thanks so much for this lovely advice. "Who looks for the potential in me" - such a simple change, but it makes it perfect for us!
      Sorry to hear that you were mugged, but I'm glad you were able to recover. I think I might try your suggestion and see how I go. Thanks so much!

  4. Yay for eight sleeps! Honestly, whatever you choose, you'll be utterly delighted--I grinned like a fool my entire wedding night! (Though I say Anne all the way!)

    1. Thanks Steph - I'm so glad you had a great night :D

  5. I can't decide.

    We read a Native American (Apache) blessing: "Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years. May happiness be your companion and your days together be good and long upon the earth."

    1. That's such a lovely blessing! Thanks for sharing.

    2. For others who might find this post, keep in mind that it isn't *really* Native American... It was from the movie "Broken Arrow". It's still nice. Just not as old-school as some might otherwise think ;)

  6. Oh man, I got goosebumps during the Anne of Green Gables reading!

  7. First, here's a SQUEEP from me! :)

    These are such great quotes. Can you believe I still haven't read any of Anne of Green Gables? My personal favorite is Jane Eyre. Hellooooo, Rochester! But really, you can't go wrong with any of those options.

    Congratulations on your wedding, Belle! And may your first child be a masculine child. -Luca Brasi ;)

    1. Thank you! Have you seen the AOGG movie(s)? They're pretty great adaptations.

  8. I LOVE the Jane Eyre Quote! Btw How Exciting about your wedding!!! I am getting married in less then a month (but not with a ceremony or anything)

    1. Oh, congratulations, Kelsey! Good luck :)

  9. Wow. Awesome compilation. I absolutely love the one from Jane Eyre.

  10. I am in exactly the same situation!! What did you end up going with?

    1. Hi Camille,
      You can see what I used in this post

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