Totally unique wedding readings that will have your guests in tears

The best thing about designing and planning your wedding is the chance to make every moment unique, and special to you. Of course, there’s some parts you can’t change – the legal bits, certain aspects of the ceremony, signing the register, but everything else is up to you, and you can be as creative, far-out and exciting as you want. The only limits are the ones you and your loved one set yourselves.

This freedom is highlighted especially brightly when it comes to the readings. 

Forget tired quotes from Shakespeare, or traditional blessings or poems. This is a chance for you to pick your favourite childhood book, the ultimate unknown section from a literary classic, a left-field poet who resonates with you, or even something from a modern writer you might not think of as a fount of romance. 

With this in mind, we’ve put together a short list, with extracts, of some of our favourite, alternative poems, extracts or readings to give you something to think about. They might not be super cheesy, and some might even be a bit real, but they will add up to a totally unique ceremony, and ensure your guests and loved ones are in floods of tears by the end…

Photographer: Tony Wodarck

This dose of beautiful, romantic realism is perfect for couples who tend more towards cynicism, and it’s pragmatism, set against the romance of what it is describing, makes it even more powerful.

I will be faithful to you, I do vow

but not until the seas have all run dry

etcetera: although I mean it now,

I’m not a prophet and I will not lie.

To be your perfect wife, I could not swear;

I’ll love, yes; honour (maybe); won’t obey,

but will co-operate if you will care

as much as you are seeming to today.

I’ll do my best to be your better half,

but I don’t have the patience of a saint;

not with you, at you I may sometimes laugh,

and snap too, though I’ll try to learn restraint.

We might work out: no blame if we do not.

With all my heart, I think it’s worth a shot.

A very cute but very poignant little poem, on friendship and how things are better with someone else.

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.

Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy might not seem ripe for romantic verse, but this extract captures the eternity of love beautifully.

I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till i find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… we’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… and when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…

Photographer: Siobhan Amy

Albert Einstein and love poetry certainly do not seem to be natural bedfellows, however the smartest man ever had quite the way with words when it came to talking about falling in love.

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.

This book is truly, heartbreakingly sad, and yet there are a few moments which shine through the otherwise unrelenting trauma that perfectly capture the beauty of true love.

There is the person you came back to: his face and body and voice and scent and touch, his way of waiting until you finish whatever you’re saying, no matter how lengthy, before he speaks, the way his smile moves so slowly across his face that it reminds you of a moonrise, how clearly he has missed you and how clearly happy he is to have you back.

One of the bestselling books of all time, and one that teaches the importance of always following your dreams.

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. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.

The beauty of this poem is the way the everyday, banal occurrences described by the narrator still perfectly capture the simplicity and joyfulness of being in love.

At lunchtime I bought a huge orange

The size of it made us all laugh.

I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—

They got quarters and I had a half.

And that orange it made me so happy,

As ordinary things often do

Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park

This is peace and contentment. It’s new.

The rest of the day was quite easy.

I did all my jobs on my list

And enjoyed them and had some time over.

I love you. I’m glad I exist.

Photographer: Sarah Linda

Weird and wonderful words, describing infatuation with an almost hallucinogenic richness.

I would like to watch you sleeping, 

which may not happen.

I would like to watch you, 

sleeping. I would like to sleep 

with you, to enter 

your sleep as its smooth dark wave 

slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent 

wavering forest of blue-green leaves 

with its watery sun & three moons 

towards the cave where you must descend, 

towards your worst fear

An ode to the importance of a well-spoken man.

If a man is only as good as his word,

then I want to marry a man with a vocabulary like yours.

The way you say dicey and delectable and octogenarian

in the same sentence— that really turns me on.

The way you describe the oranges in your backyard

using anarchistic and intimate in the same breath.

I would follow the legato and staccato of your tongue

wrapping around your diction

until listening become more like dreaming

and dreaming became more like kissing you.