Alternative Wedding Readings

The Velveteen Rabbit

Margery Williams
‘What is REAL?’ asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. ‘Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?’

‘Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When someone loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’

‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.

‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’

‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’

‘ It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.’

‘I suppose you are real?’ said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse only smiled.

‘Someone made me Real,’ he said. ‘That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.’

Lovely Dinosaur story

by Edward Monkton
(Replace He/She where needed)
The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.
Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur. The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.
I like this Dinosaur thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny. He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.
I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur. She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice. She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.
But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. He is also overly fond of things. Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?
But her mind skips from here to there so quickly thought the Dinosaur. She is also uncommonly keen on shopping. Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?
I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur. For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.
I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping, thought the Dinosaur. For she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.
Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old. Look at them. Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love. Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together. For the sun is warm. And the world is a beautiful place.



The Owl and the Pussycat

by Edward Lear
The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.



Near

by Carol Ann Duffy

Far, we are near, meet in the rain
which falls here; gathered by light, air;
falls there where you are, I am; lips
to those drops now on yours, nearer …

absence the space we yearn in, clouds
drift, cluster, east to west, north, south;
your breath in them; they pour, baptise;
same sun burning through to harvest
rainfall on skin, there, far; my mouth
opening to spell your near name.



Echo

by Carol Ann Duffy

I think I was searching for treasures or stones
in the clearest of pools
when your face …

when your face,
like the moon in a well
where I might wish …

might well wish
for the iced fire of your kiss;
only on water my lips, where your face …

where your face was reflected, lovely,
not really there when I turned
to look behind at the emptying air …

the emptying air.



A Walled Garden

‘Your marriage’ he said, ‘should have within it, a secret and protected place, open to you alone. Imagine it to be a walled garden, entered by a door to which you only hold the key. Within this garden you will cease to be a mother, father, employee, homemaker or any other of the roles which you fulfill in daily life. Here you are yourselves two people who love each other. Here you can concentrate on one another’s needs.’ So take my hand and let us go back to our garden. The time we spend together is not wasted but invested. Invested in our future and the nurture of our love.



Us Two

By AA Milne

Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
“Where are you going today?” says Pooh:
“Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
Let’s go together,” says Pooh, says he.
“Let’s go together,” says Pooh.

“What’s twice eleven?” I said to Pooh.
(“Twice what?” said Pooh to Me.)
“I think it ought to be twenty-two.”
“Just what I think myself,” said Pooh.
“It wasn’t an easy sum to do,
But that’s what it is,” said Pooh, said he.
“That’s what it is,” said Pooh.

“Let’s look for dragons,” I said to Pooh.
“Yes, let’s,” said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few-
“Yes, those are dragons all right,” said Pooh.
“As soon as I saw their beaks I k
That’s what they are,” said Pooh, said he.
“That’s what they are,” said Pooh.

“Let’s frighten the dragons,” I said to Pooh.
“That’s right,” said Pooh to Me.
“I’m not afraid,” I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted “Shoo!
Silly old dragons!”- and off they flew.

“I wasn’t afraid,” said Pooh, said he,
“I’m never afraid with you.”

So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
“What would I do?” I said to Pooh,
“If it wasn’t for you,” and Pooh said: “True,
It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together, says Pooh, says he. “That’s how it is,” says Pooh.



Symmetrical Companion

by May Swenson
It must be
There walks somewhere in the world
another
another namely like me

Not twin
but opposite
as my two hands are opposite

Where are you
my symmetrical companion?

Do you inhabit
the featureless fog
of the future?
Are you sprinting
from the shadows of the past
to overtake me?
Or are you camouflaged
in the colored present?
Do I graze you every day
as yet immune to your touch
unaware of your scent
inert under your gaze?

Come to me
Whisper your name
I will know you instantly
by a passport
decipherable to ourselves alone

We shall walk uniformed
in our secret
We shall be a single reversible cloak
lined with light within
furred with dark without

Nothing shall be forbidden us
All bars shall fall before us
Even the past shall be lit behind us
and seen to have led
like two predestined corridors
to the vestibule of our meeting

We shall be two daring acrobats
above the staring faces
framed in wheels of light
visible to millions
yet revelead only to each other
in the tiny circular mirrors
of our pupils

We shall climb together
up the frail ladders
balancing on slender
but steel-strong thongs of faith
When you leap
my hands will be surely there
at the arc’s limit
We shall synchronize
each step of the dance upon the wire
We shall not fall
as long as our gaze is not severed

Where are you
my symmetrical companion?

Until I find you
my mouth is locked
my heart is numb
my mind unlit
my limbs unointed

I am a marionette
doubled up in a dark trunk
a dancer frozen
in catatonic sleep
a statue locked
in the stone

a Lazarus wrapped
in the swaddling strips
not of death
but of unborn life

a melody bound
in the strings of the viol
a torrent imprisoned
in ice
a flame buried
in the coal
a jewel hidden in a block of lava

Come release me
Without you I do not yet exist


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 is no more loneliness
Now you are two persons but there is only one life before you
Go now to your dwelling to enter into your life together
And may your days be good and long upon the earth


Partnership is more…

(Submitted by Nuala Geary, Celebrant)
Partnership is more than standing here side by side,
Exchanging looks full of love, full of pride.
It’s more than the ceremony, which lasts just a while,
It’s a promise that’s shared, it’s an intimate smile.
It’s a personal bond that you know will not end,
The knowledge that someone your love will defend.
It’s a vow of commitment, special and true,
It’s a hope and a dream of love endless for you.It’s a personal bond that you know will not end,
The knowledge that someone your love will defend.
It’s a vow of commitment, special and true,
It’s a hope and a dream of love endless for you.I will be here
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.


The One

by Cheryl Barclay
(Submitted by Phil Martin, Celebrant at Dignity Services)

When the one whose hand you’re holding
Is the one who holds your heart,
When the one whose eyes you gaze into
Gives your hopes and dreams their start,
When the one you think of first and last
Is the one who holds you tight
And the things you plan together
Make the whole world seem just right,
When the one whom you believe in
Puts their faith and trust in you,
You’ve found the one and only love
You’ll share your whole life through
C. J Barclay



Love is a Temporary Madness

From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.

Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.




On Marriage

by Kahlil Gibran

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 you be alone,
Even as the strings of a 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.


I Will Be There

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
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.



The Art of a Good Marriage

by Wilfred Arian Peterson

Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens.
A good marriage must be created. In 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 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 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 old. 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.



Sonnet 65

by Wlliam Shakespeare…
Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
But sad mortality o’er-sways their power,
How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea,
Whose action is no stronger than a flower?
O, how shall summer’s honey breath hold out
Against the wrackful siege of batt’ring days,
When rocks impregnable are not so stout,
Nor gates of steel so strong, but time decays?
O fearful meditation! where, alack,
Shall time’s best jewel from time’s chest lie hid?
Or what strong hand can hold his swift foot back?
Or who his spoil of beauty can forbid?
O, none, unless this miracle have might,
That in black ink my love may still shine bright.



Love

by Guy De Maupassant
Love is a short word, but it contains all,
it means the body, the soul, the life, the entire being.
We feel it as we feel the warmth of the blood,
we breathe it as we breathe the air, we carry it in ourselves as we carry our thoughts. Nothing more exists for us. It is not a word, it is an inexpressible state indicated by four letters.



Friendship

by Elizabeth Jennings
Such love I cannot analyse, it does not rest in lips or eyes.
Neither in kisses or caress, partly I know it’s gentleness.
And understanding in one word, or in brief letters.
It’s preserved by trust and by respect and awe.
These are the words I’m feeling for.
Two people, yes, two lasting friends, the giving comes the taking ends
There is no measure for such things, for this all nature slows and sings
I cannot promise you an easy pathway,
that leads away from change or growing old.
But I can promise a love that’s ever true and ever growing,
and a hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.
I cannot promise you a life of sunshine,
I cannot promise riches, wealth or gold.
But I can promise all my hearts devotion
and a smile to chase away your tears of sorrow.



We Two Boys Together Clinging

by Walt Whitman
We two boys together clinging,
One the other never leaving,
Up and down the roads going—North and South excursions making,
Power enjoying—elbows stretching—fingers clutching,
Arm’d and fearless—eating, drinking, sleeping, loving, 5
No law less than ourselves owning—sailing, soldiering, thieving, threatening,
Misers, menials, priests alarming—air breathing, water drinking, on the turf or the sea-beach dancing,
Cities wrenching, ease scorning, statutes mocking, feebleness chasing,
Fulfilling our foray.



I love you

by Dylan Thomas
I love you, it’s almost too wonderful to me to say: but I want to say it and
I am saying it – I love you.
And we’ll always keep each other alive. We can never do nothing at all now, but that both of us know all about it.
You can do anything and be anything, so long as it’s with me.



Always

By Wilfred Paterson

This isn’t sometime
This is always
This isn’t maybe
This is always
The real beginning of forever
This isn’t just midsummer madness
A passing glow, a moment’s gladness
This is love.

I knew it on the night we met
You tied a string around my heart
So how could I forget you?
With every kiss I know that this
Is Always

A good marriage must be created.
It is having 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 speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
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 spirit
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful
It is not only marrying the right partner
It is being the right partner.



My true-love hath my heart

Song from ‘Arcadia’ by Sir Philip Sidney
My true-love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a bargain better driven.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart for once it was his own;
I cherish his because in me it bides.
His heart his wound receivèd from my sight;
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still methought in me his hurt did smart:
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.



If Thou Must Love Me

by Elizabeth Barrett-Browning

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love’s sake only. Do not say
I love her for her smile .. her look .. her way
of speaking gently … for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day –
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee – and love, so wrought
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity’s wiping my cheeks dry –
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and loose thy love thereby!
But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou may’st love on, through love’s eternity.



O Tell Me The Truth About Love

By W H Auden

Some say love’s a little boy,
And some say it’s a bird,
Some say it makes the world go around,
Some say that’s absurd,
And when I asked the man next-door,
Who looked as if he knew,
His wife got very cross indeed,
And said it wouldn’t do.

Does it look like a pair of pyjamas,
Or the ham in a temperance hotel?
Does its odour remind one of llamas,
Or has it a comforting smell?
Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
O tell me the truth about love.

Our history books refer to it
In cryptic little notes,
It’s quite a common topic on
The Transatlantic boats;
I’ve found the subject mentioned in
Accounts of suicides,
And even seen it scribbled on
The backs of railway guides.

Does it howl like a hungry Alsatian,
Or boom like a military band?
Could one give a first-rate imitation
On a saw or a Steinway Grand?
Is its singing at parties a riot?
Does it only like Classical stuff?
Will it stop when one wants to be quiet?
O tell me the truth about love.

I looked inside the summer-house;
It wasn’t over there;
I tried the Thames at Maidenhead,
And Brighton’s bracing air.
I don’t know what the blackbird sang,
Or what the tulip said;
But it wasn’t in the chicken-run,
Or underneath the bed.

Can it pull extraordinary faces?
Is it usually sick on a swing?
Does it spend all its time at the races,
or fiddling with pieces of string?
Has it views of its own about money?
Does it think Patriotism enough?
Are its stories vulgar but funny?
O tell me the truth about love.

When it comes, will it come without warning
Just as I’m picking my nose?
Will it knock on my door in the morning,
Or tread in the bus on my toes?
Will it come like a change in the weather?
Will its greeting be courteous or rough?
Will it alter my life altogether?
O tell me the truth about love.

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