The Wedding Vine's Top Ten Wedding Readings


The Wedding Vine's Top Ten Wedding Readings

It is not only the vows that are the important words in your wedding, the readings that you choose can reflect your relationship, your love story, and your hopes for the future.

There are hundreds of poems, verses and prose out there talking of love, commitment and marriage. After careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that they cannot be narrowed down to a top ten.

So, rather than a ‘top ten’ list of readings, here are a selection of wedding readings, in no particular order, as each one is as beautiful as the last:

Pablo Neruda – Your Feet

‘But I loved your feet

Only because they walked

Upon the earth and upon

The wind and upon the waters,

Until they found me.’


Penned as "the greatest poet of the 20th century in any language" by novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s verse touches on the intimacy between lovers using the most simple of things. ‘Your Feet’ captures the essence of searching for and finding a soulmate.

W.B.Yeats – He Wishes for The Cloths of Heaven

‘Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night, and the light, and the half – light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet.

But I, being poor, have only my dreams,

I have spread my dreams under your feet,

Tread softly, tread softly,

Because you tread on my dreams.’

Irish poet W.B.Yeats captures a lover’s promise to share their dreams with their beloved. A beautifully tender poem capturing ardent devotion.

ee cummings – I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

A popular choice at weddings, this ee cummings poem expressed the inextricable link between lovers, two hearts as one, or rather one heart carrying another.

Jalal ad - Din Rumi – Love Story

‘The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you,
Not knowing how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.’

13th Century Persian poet, Rumi is famous for his religious texts. However, those of any religion can identify with the beauty of this poem. Short and sweet, it captures the internal love and hope within each of us to find our soulmate.

Alfred Lord Tennyson – Marriage Morning

Light, so low upon earth,

You send a flash to the sun.

Here is the golden close of love,

All my wooing is done.

Oh, all the woods and the meadows,

Woods, where we hid from the wet,

Stiles where we stayed to be kind,

Meadows in which we met!

Light, so low in the vale

You flash and lighten afar,

For this is the golden morning of love,

And you are his morning star.

Flash, I am coming, I come,

By meadow and stile and wood,

Oh, lighten into my eyes and my heart,

Into my heart and my blood!

Heart, are you great enough

For a love that never tires?

O heart, are you great enough for love?

I have heard of thorns and briers.

Over the thorns and briers,

Over the meadows and stiles,

Over the world to the end of it

Flash of a million miles.

Here, Tennyson captures the comfort of finding ‘the one’ and the excitement of the wedding day as well as the commitment to a life together.


Lemn Sissay – Love Poem

‘You remind me

Define me

Incline me

If you died,


A brief outpouring of strong emotions and love, stating simply their independence on one another.

Jane Eyre – 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, solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my centre and spring of life, wraps my existence about you and kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one.’

Although not a traditional poem, this extract from the novel, Jane Eyre perfectly encapsulates the effect your other half can have on you and once again emphasises the coming together of two people, two bodies, two lives.

Mark Twain, from a letter to his wife:

‘I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;

I cannot promise you riches, wealth or gold;

I cannot promise you an easy pathway

That leads away from change or growing old.

But I can promise all my heart’s devotion;

A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;

A love that’s true and ever growing;

A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.’

Most famous for his Huckleberry Finn adventure novel, Twain’s softer side emerged through his letters to his wife. Here he promises devotion and support through life’s struggles. It is a lovely reading to give a view of the future in the wedding day.

Richard Bach – The Bridge Across Forever

‘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.’

This extract from Bach’s novel perfectly sums up what a soulmate is and means.

Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

"The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite. Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven."

In his epic novel about the French Revolution, Hugo manages to write about the power and strength of love, describing it as ‘immortal and infinite.’

Union – 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 commitments in an informal way. All of those conversations that were held in a car, or over a meal, or during long walks – all those conversations that began with, “When we’re married”, and continued with “I will” and “you will” and “we will” – all 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 that 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, even teacher, for you have learned much from one another these past few years. Shortly you shall say a few words that will take you across a threshold of life, and things between you will never quite be the same.

For after today you shall say to the world –
This is my husband. This is my wife.’

A beautiful reading encapsulating all that it means to be a husband or a wife. Surely to get some tears flowing!


These are just several suggestions from hundreds of possible readings. Why not start collecting quotes from novels or poetry that you read? Or pen your own poetry; as the great poet, William Wordsworth said, ‘all poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.’ What better occasion to let those feelings overflow!

By Lucy Jones


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