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Part Three: Wedding Ceremony Readings

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Outdoor Wedding Ceremony

These wedding ceremony ideas for readings are good for simple or traditional weddings. You may choose one, two or even three of the readings below, or find a reading of your own. Usually the wedding officiant offers the reading, but sometimes a family member or close friend will come forward instead.

#1: We read in I Corinthians 13, Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, but have no love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. Love suffers long and is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up. Love rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

#2: We read in The Prophet, True love gives nothing but itself, and takes nothing but from itself, for love is sufficient unto love. Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself, to awake at dawn and give thanks for another day of loving, to rest at noon and meditate love’s ecstasy, to return home at eventide with gratitude, and then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart, and a song of praise upon your lips.

#3: We read in The Prophet, Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

#4: We read in Colossians 3:12, Therefore put on tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long- suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things, put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body; and be thankful.

#5: We read in the first epistle of John, Let us love not in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God…. Let us love one another, for love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love…. He who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

#6: The poet Kabir says, “The Guest is inside you, and also inside me; you know the sprout is hidden inside the seed. The blue sky opens out farther and farther. A million suns come forward with light; I hear bells ringing no one has shaken. For inside of love there is more joy than we know of. Rain pours down, although the sky is clear of clouds; there are whole rivers of light. The universe is shot through in all parts by a single sort of love.”
#7: Today, as you join yourselves in marriage, there is a vast and unknown future stretching out before you. The possibilities and potentials of your married life are great; and now falls upon your shoulders the task of choosing your values and making real your dreams. Through your commitment to each other, you will grow and nurture a love that makes both of you better people, a love that continues to give you great joy, and also a passion for living that provides you with energy and patience to face the responsibilities of life. At some point, you two decided to get married. From that moment of “yes” to this moment of “I do,” you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car of over a meal or during long walks… all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will, you will and we will”…. all those late night talks that included “one day,” “somehow,” “if” and “maybe” …and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart… all those cherished conversations are the real beginnings of a marriage. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “you know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed – well, I meant every word.”

#8: (The Art of a Good Marriage/Wilfred Arlan 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.
#9: Commitment Reading of the Pueblo Indian
Before we met, you and I were halves unjoined except in the wide rivers of our minds. We were each other’s distant shore, the opposite wings of a bird, the other half of a seashell. We did not know the other then, did not know our determination to keep alive the cry of one riverbank to the other. We were apart, yet connected in our ignorance of each other, like two apples sharing a common tree. Remember?
I knew you existed long before you understood my desire to join my freedom to yours. Our paths collided long enough for our indecision to be swallowed up by the greater need of love. When you came to me, the sun surged towards the earth and moon escaped from darkness to bless the union of two spirits, so alike that the creator had designed them for life’s endless circle. Beloved partner, keeper of my heart’s odd secrets, clothed in summer blossoms so the icy hand of winter never touches us.
I thank your patience. Our joining is like a tree to earth, a cloud to sky and even more. We are the reason the world can laugh on its battlefields and rise from the ashes of its selfishness to hear me say, in this time, this place, this way – I loved you best of all.
#10 From the Awakened Heart by Gerald May
There is a desire within each of us,
in the deep center of ourselves that we call our heart.
We were born with it,
it is never completely satisfied,
and it never dies.
We are often unaware of it,
but it is always awake. It is the human desire for love.
Every person in this earth yearns to love,
to be loved,
to know love.
Our true identity,
our reason for being,
is to be found in this desire.
Love is the ‘why’ of life:
why we are functioning at all,
what we want to be efficient for.
I am convinced it is the fundamental energy of the human spirit,
the fuel on which we run,
the wellspring of our vitality.
And grace, which is the flowing, creative activity of love itself,
is what makes all goodness possible.
Love should come first;
it should be the beginning of and the reason for everything.

#11  Victor Hugo~ LesMiserables

“Love is the salutation of the Angels to the stars. 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.

When love has fused and mingled two beings in a sacred and angelic unity, the secret of life has been discovered so far as they are concerned; they are no longer anything more than the two boundaries of the same destiny; they are no longer anything but the two wings of the same spirit. Love, soar.”

(Optional: This is a good place for a prayer from the “Optional Additions” section, as well as a song or music, if you wish to have them included in the middle of the ceremony.)

Go to Optional Prayers  Go to VowsRings, Declaration of Marriage