5 Great Wedding Readings

5 Great Wedding Readings chosen by Wedding Celebrant Jess May

Welcome! I thought it would be helpful to share 5 Great Wedding Readings from the many ceremonies I have created over the years.

Brighton Wedding Celebrant Jess May is reading one of the 5 Great Wedding Readings jess stands in the middle. a tall man with a beard is on the right of the picture a bride is on the left. he is wearing a grey suit. she is wearing an off the shoulder white gown and a veil
Spiritual but not Religious, Interfaith Wedding Reading by Khalil Gibran https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/kahlil-gibran

Wedding Reading 1: Spiritual Wedding Reading

Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
      And he answered saying:
      You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
      You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
      Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
      But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
      And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

     Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
      Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
      Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
      Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
      Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of your be alone,
      Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

     Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
      For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
      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.

From The Prophet (Knopf, 1923). This poem is in the public domain.

I am not a Humanist Celebrant, this is partly because I spent about a decade preparing to become a Priest in the Church of England and studied Theology and Religion at University, specialising in Contemporary Spirituality in Britain. I tend to be Spiritual but not Religious and that means that if you want spiritual content you shall! Click here to see if we are kindred spirits https://jessmaysspecialdays.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2623&action=edit

Wedding Reading 2 A Classic Reading for literature lovers

2 brides smiling in white dresses. one with a colourful bouquet. Out of the picture Jess May Brighton Wedding Celebrant is reading out one of the 5 Great Wedding Readings
Familiar Wedding Readings can be meaningful for everyone

A traditional poem for true romantics

My heart is like a singing bird

My heart is like a singing bird

Whose nest is in a watered shoot;

My heart is like an apple tree

Whose boughs are bent with thickset fruit;

My heart is like a rainbow shell

That paddles in a purple sea;

My heart is gladder than all these

Because my love is come to me.

Raise me a dais of purple and gold;

Hang it with vair and purple dyes;

Carve it in doves and pomegranates,

And peacocks with a hundred eyes;

Work it in gold and silver grapes,

In leaves and silver fleur-de-lys;

Because the birthday of my life

Is come, my love, is come to me.

Christina Rossetti https://poets.org/poet/christina-rossetti

Are you romantics? If so, Christina Rossetti always delivers romantic poems for people like you! She is popular with all kinds of different couples. I am always surprised by the breadth and variety of her reach.

Wedding Reading 3 A lighthearted fun poem

Jess is standing in between a bride and groom. She is reading out one of the 5 Great Wedding Readings. She wears a black and turquoise and green peacock design dress. Her hair is orange. as you look at the photo a bride in ivory with an off the shoulder sleeve is holding a lilac and cream bouquet. her hair is lilac and she wears a coronet. The groom is laughing and wears a grey suit and a pale blue tie. The back drop is a Tudor building.
Lighthearted couples deserve fun readings

Dr Zeuss is always ideal for a lighthearted reading


Today is your day. 

You’re off to Great Places! 

You’re off and away! 

You have love in your heart 

You have feet in your shoes. 

You can walk together 

any direction you choose. 

You’re on an adventure. 

And you know what you know. 

And YOU are the pair who’ll decide where to go. 

You’ll look up and down paths. Look ’em over with care. 

About some you will say, “we don’t choose to go there.” 

With your hearts full of love and four shoes full of feet, 

you’re too smart to go down any not-so-good street. 

And you may not find any 

you’ll want to go down. 

In that case, of course, 

you’ll head straight out of town. 

It’s opener there 

in the wide open air. 

Out there things can happen 

and frequently do 

to people as lovely 

and footsy as you. 

And when things start to happen, 

don’t worry. Don’t stew. 

Just go right along. 

You’ll start happening too. 



Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. 

Wherever you go, you will top all the rest. 

Except when you don’t. 

Because, sometimes, you won’t. 

I’m sorry to say so 

but, sadly, it’s true 

that Bang-ups 

and Hang-ups 

can happen to you two. 

And when you’re in a Slump, 

you’re not in for much fun. 

Un-slumping each other is not easily done. 

But together you’ll escape 

all that waiting and staying 

You’ll find the bright places 

where Steel Pans are playing. 

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! 

Travelling and children, your marriage begun. 

Yet even together, there’s a very good chance 

you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. 

There are some, down the road between hither and yon, 

that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on. 

But on you will hike 

And I know you’ll hike far 

and face up to your problems 

whatever they are. 

So be sure when you step. 

Step with care and great tact 

and remember that marriage 

Is a Great Balancing Act. 

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. 

And never mix up your right foot with your left. 

And will you succeed? 

Yes! You will indeed! 

101% guaranteed. 

Because the love in your hearts no one can deny And over sugarloaf mountain you surely will fly.

Dr Zeuss https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/5237527-congratulations-today-is-your-day-you-re-off-to-great-places

Wedding Reading 4 A Contemporary poem for TV addicts

A couple chose this for an Urban Chic Summer Wedding and it made me go and binge watch the series!

Jess laughing while holding a folder with a jungle pattern and wearing a Frida Khalo dress, she has orange hair and a red flower and is standing in a hot house. She is reading one of the 5 Great Wedding Readings.
Happy Wedding Ceremony vibes, Fun readings prevent boring guests

I know that love can be loud and jubilant…It can be dancing in the swampy mud and the pouring rain at a festival and shouting “YOU ARE AMAZING” over the band. It’s introducing them to your colleagues at a work event and basking in pride as they make people laugh and make you look lovable just by dint of being loved by them.

It’s laughing until you wheeze.

It’s waking up in a country neither of you have been in before.

It’s skinny-dipping at dawn. It’s walking along the street together on a Saturday night and feeling an entire city is yours.

It’s a big, beautiful, ebullient force of nature.

I also know that love is a pretty quiet thing.

It’s lying on the sofa together drinking coffee, talking about where you’re going to go that morning to drink more coffee. It’s folding down pages of books you think they’d find interesting.

It’s hanging up their laundry when they leave the house having moronically forgotten to take it out of the washing machine.

It’s saying ‘You’re safer here than in a car’ as they hyperventilate on an EasyJet flight to Dublin.

It’s the texts: ‘Hope your day goes well’, ‘How did today go?’, ‘Thinking of you today’ and ‘Picked up loo roll’.

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.

Everything I know about Love by Dolly Alderton https://www.lovemydress.net/blog/wedding-readings/everything-i-know-about-love-by-dolly-alderton

I love this image of Chloe signing for her Mum at her wedding ceremony. Wedding Celebrants involve family members in readings.

A young woman in a sea green sleeveless dress signs a song in British Sign Language. She is singing on of the 5 Great Wedding Readings
Wedding Readings can be read by members of your family in their own language

A Wedding Reading 5 A poem for culture vultures

This rich poem has a wonderful message and it is lyrical and cultural. Are you a couple who love to spend an afternoon lost in a book shop? Can’t get your head out of your favourite novels? This wedding reading might be for you!

To love is not to Possess James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess

To own or imprison,

Nor to lose one’s self in another.

Love is to join and separate,

To walk alone and together,

To find a laughing freedom

That lonely isolation does not permit.

It is finally to be able

To be who we really are

No longer clinging in childish dependency

Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,

It is to be perfectly one’s self

And perfectly joined in permanent commitment

To another–and to one’s inner self.

Love only endures when it moves like waves,

Receding and returning gently or passionately,

Or moving lovingly like the tide

In the moon’s own predictable harmony,

Because finally, despite a child’s scars

Or an adult’s deepest wounds,

They are openly free to be

Who they really are–and always secretly were,

In the very core of their being

Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

Jess stands in the centre of a circular backdrop with pampas grass. She is reading one of the 5 Great Wedding Readings. The light is magical and it falls on her bright orange hair. The couple are in the foreground. On the left is a bride with full floaty sleeves on a white dress to the right is the groom in a blue suit
Jess reading a poem for a wedding couple
To love is not to Possess James Kavanaugh https://www.rockmywedding.co.uk/to-love-is-not-to-possess

Do you have concerns about the concept of ‘possession’ in marriage?

People continue to be concerned about ‘belonging’ and there are many ways that you can re-interpret the concept. Understandably some couples are concerned to address that in their ceremonies. Although the traditional notion of wives becoming the possession of their husbands still exists, it is no longer normal to think of marriage in this way. This poem is a good example of a poem that refle

Written by James Kavanaugh, an ex-Catholic Priest, who like me became disenchanted by the Church, it does not surprise me to learn that he had grappled with and struggled with a complex relationship with organised religion.

Would you like to find out if we are a good fit? If so find out by clicking here to see if we are kindred Spirits https://jessmaysspecialdays.com/my-kindred-spirits/

Thank you!