The written word has a way of evoking intense feelings and setting the right mood. Many people consider a ceremony incomplete without a wedding reading. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to choose the right text to read. Many couples spend hours scouring different websites and reading different books to find the perfect passage.
This list contains a few recommendations for wedding readings. You can browse the options listed here and decide if any of them fit your requirements. You can then read the entire chapter or poem the passage originates from to get a sense of the context and pick the part of the passage that suits you best.
Modern wedding readings
Modern wedding readings usually don’t have any religious connotations and the quotes are taken from contemporary novels and other such sources. These quotes can be just as meaningful and important as those taken from religious texts. Here are some options for you to consider:
- The Notebook – The Notebook is one of the most romantic novels in contemporary literature. There are several lines and scenes in this book that would work well for a wedding reading. The book was written by Nicolas Sparks and was turned into a movie recently.
The movie has become Valentine’s Day ritual for many couples. The most popular quote is, “I’m nothing special; just a common man…”. This quote is simple yet meaningful and highlights the importance of loving your partner with all your heart and soul.
- The Bridge Across Forever – What could be more uplifting and suitable for a modern wedding reading than a novel based on a true love story? The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach was published in 1984 and was on the New York Times Best Seller List for a long time. It’s considered a timeless classic and is a great read even if you don’t want to quote it at your wedding ceremony.
The most popular quote from this book is, “A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks.” The paragraph that follows this line is very popular in modern readings and will set a wonderful mood.
- The Alchemist –The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho isn’t a romance novel but don’t let classifications stop you from finding passages to read at your wedding. This book was published in 1988 and is a story of a young boy’s quest to find treasure. It’s the author’s most well-known book and has been translated from the original Portuguese into 69 languages.
One of the most romantic and relevant passages in this book follows this quote, “When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.” Quotes from this book would be an excellent addition to your wedding.
- The Princess Bride –This fantasy romance novel is fun to read, and quotes from this book are an excellent addition to any wedding. The Princess Bride was first published in 1973 by William Goldman and combines comedy with romance, fantasy, and adventure. Quotes from this novel can add a lighthearted feel to your wedding.
One of the best quotes to read from this book is, “Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches…” This passage is bound to make everyone smile or laugh but it also showcases the depth of love and what people are willing to do for their loved ones.
- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – This is another novel that was adapted and turned into a movie. It’s a historical romance novel set during a time of war, which lends some seriousness and gravity to the story.
The relationship between Antonio Corelli and Pelagia is interesting and intense with lines such as, “Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision.” The entire passage explores the deeper and more practical aspect of love. Love is not always about romance, flowers, and adventure. It’s also about growth and learning to become a single unit.
- Wild Awake–Wild Awake is a story about a teenager’s journey during a summer without her parents. It’s a contemporary young adult novel that teaches several lessons and contains many quotes you can read at your wedding.
One of the most popular passages to read from this novel is, “People are like cities: we all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time, all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square…” This and the lines that follow are perfect for wedding readings as they contain wisdom and explain how people relate to one another.
Wedding readings from classical literature
Classical literature is full of quotes and passages that will work well with all types of modern weddings. In fact, you’ll find some of the most romantic and meaningful quotes on weddings, relationships, and romance in classic literature. Here are some of the most popular novels to read and source quotes from:
- Les Misérables–Victor Hugo’s eloquent work is a popular source of quotes and inspiration for brides and grooms. Les Misérables is a potent book with powerful stories. The book takes a deeper look at the nature of love and relationships and should be on everyone’s reading list.
This quote is just one of the many you could pick from, “The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.” You can find something unique that suits your relationship in this book.
- Adam Bede–This was the first novel published under the pseudonym George Eliot in 1859. The story is set in the late 1790s and is told from George’s perspective.
While the story itself is a grim reading, there are some memorable quotes you can include in your wedding such as, “What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life…” This line and the passage that follows is a perfect match for a wedding filled with joy.
- Jane Eyre –Jane Eyre is a classic romance novel that almost everyone has read at some point in their life. The Bronte sisters were known for their gritty and realistic tales, which were a marked contrast to the relatively light-hearted works of Jane Austen.
Jane Eyre has several inspiring quotes such as this example, “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.”
- Letters to a Young Poet – This book contains a series of ten letters written by the Bohemian-Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke to a 19-year old officer cadet Franz Xaver Kappus. The poems are wonderful reads, offering much wisdom.
Quotes like, “For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation,” are perfectly suited for weddings.
- A Farewell to Arms – This novel was written by Ernest Hemingway in 1929 and is set during the First World War. It tells the story of Frederic Henry, a Lieutenant in the Italian army’s ambulance corps and his love affair with Catherine Barkley. There are several themes to explore in this novel and many quotes that can give you a unique look at wartime romance.
But one quote captures the magic of the wedding day and marriage perfectly, “That night, there was a feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal.”
- Mark Twain’s Letters – Mark Twain is one of the most well-known and recognised authors in classical literature. His books are filled to the brim with quotes and comments that can apply to any social situation and circumstance. However, what he wrote in his letters is equally interesting.
This quote from a compilation of his letters is perfect for any wedding reading, “This will be the mightiest day in the history of our lives, the holiest, & the most generous toward us both — for it makes of two fractional lives a whole.”
Funny readings for weddings
Some people don’t want a serious and solemn atmosphere at their wedding. They want the event to be full of joy, laughter, and humour. What better way to achieve this result than to add some funny quotes and readings to the event?
- Albert Einstein – Einstein was a genius but he didn’t have much to say about love. What he did say can add a very light-hearted touch to a wedding.
“Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” Who hasn’t experienced this in their life? This reading will make everyone at your wedding smile.
- Seuss – The Dr. Seuss series is well-known for imparting pearls of wisdom in a playful manner. When you read these tales as an adult, you notice subtleties and lessons that weren’t clear to you as a child.
Readings from these stories are always a charming addition to any wedding. For example, you can read, “Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away!” and the entire page that follows injects playful meaning to the ceremony. This quote describes a new journey with new challenges, which is exactly what a marriage is.
If you want a traditional wedding and wish to incorporate a softer and more romantic element to it, you can read a poem. Unlike quotes, poems are inherently romantic and have a beautiful rhythm. There are many romantic poems you can choose; but the ones mentioned below are the most popular.
- Sonnet 116 – William Shakespeare was a masterful playwright and his words still have the ability to move people. Shakespeare’s sonnets are in a league of their own and convey deep meaning about love and relationships.
Sonnet 116 is popular because it’s true. It’s the best possible description of what love and marriage should be, “Let me not to the marriage of true minds, admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds or bends with the remover to remove: o no; it is an ever-fixed mark…” Whether you have a traditional wedding or a modern one, Sonnet 116 will never be out of place.
- Hope is a thing with feathers – Emily Dickenson captures the hope and happiness that a marriage can bring with this poem.
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all…” This poem captures brides and grooms feel on their wedding day.
The right reading will set the mood for your wedding. Readings can move people to tears of happiness or bring some light-hearted relief. Let these examples inspire you to find a reading that suits your wedding.