Readings

Contemporary Ceremony

Contemporary Wedding, Bar 473 Tulsa – Jordan Taylor Photography

Every Day by David Levithan

“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”

Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

“Now, I’m not going to deny that I was aware of your beauty. But the point is, this has nothing to do with your beauty. As I got to know you, I began to realise that beauty was the least of your qualities. I became fascinated by your goodness. I was drawn in by it. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life. I knew it was hopeless, but that didn’t matter to me. And it’s not that I want to have you. All I want is to deserve you. Tell me what to do. Show me how to behave. I’ll do anything you say.”

Extract from The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman

Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defences, you build up a whole suit of armour, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life … You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you.

“Always” by Lang Leav

You were you
and I was I;
we were two
before our time

I was yours,
before I knew
and you have always
been mine too.

“Untitled [Do you still remember: falling stars]” by Rainer Maria Rilke

Do you still remember: falling stars,

how they leapt slantwise through the sky

like horses over suddenly held-out hurdles

of our wishes—did we have so many?—

for stars, innumerable, leapt everywhere;

almost every gaze upward became

wedded to the swift hazard of their play,

and our heart felt like a single thing

and was whole, as if it would survive them! 

Extract from the Good Morrow by John Donne

I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

“If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen

We said we’d walk together, baby, come what may

That come the twilight should we lose our way

If as we’re walking a hand should slip free

I’ll wait for you, should I fall behind, wait for me.

We swore we’d travel, darlin’, side by side

We’d help each other stay in stride

But each lover’s steps fall so differently

But I’ll wait for you, and if I should fall behind, wait for me.

Now everyone dreams of love lasting and true

Oh but you and I know what this world can do

So let’s make our steps clear that the other may see

And I’ll wait for you, and if I should fall behind, wait for me.

Now there’s a beautiful river in the valley ahead

There ‘neath the oak’s bough soon we will be wed

Should we lose each other in the shadow of the evening trees

I’ll wait for you, should I fall behind, wait for me

Darlin’ I’ll wait for you, and should I fall behind, wait for me

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered.

“Yes, Piglet?”

“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.”

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet.

“Even longer,” Pooh answered. “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

“Have You Got a Biro I Can Borrow?” by Clive James

I’d like to write your name

From the belt of Orion to the share of the Plough

The snout of the Bear to the belly of the Lion

So when the sun goes down tomorrow

There’ll never be a minute

Not a moment of the night that hasn’t got you in it

“The Book and the Brotherhood” by Iris Murdoch

I hereby give myself. I love you. You are the only being whom I can love absolutely with my complete self, with all my flesh and mind and heart. You are my mate, my perfect partner, and I am yours. You must feel this now, as I do. It was a marvel that we ever met. It is some kind of divine luck that we are together now. We must never, never part again. We are, here in this, necessary beings, like gods. As we look at each other we verify, we know, the perfection of our love, we recognize each other. Here is my life, here if need be, is my death.

All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum

“All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.
These are the things I learned…

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.
Live a balanced life.
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.
Take a nap every afternoon.
Be aware of wonder.
Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.
And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.”

Extract from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

At night, there was the 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. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.

Extract from Plato’s Symposium

Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. There were three sexes then: one comprised of two men called the children of the Sun, one made of two women called the children of the Earth, and a third made of a man and a woman, called the children of the Moon. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. Those whose original nature lies with the children of the Sun are men who are drawn to other men, those from the children of the Earth are women who love other women, and those from the children of the Moon are men and women drawn to one another. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.’

“Wedding” by Alice Oswald

From time to time our love is like a sail
and when the sail begins to alternate
from tack to tack, it’s like a swallowtail
and when the swallow flies it’s like a coat;
and if the coat is yours, it has a tear
like a wide mouth and when the mouth begins
to draw the wind, it’s like a trumpeter
and when the trumpet blows, it blows like millions….
and this, my love, when millions come and go
beyond the need of us, is like a trick;
and when the trick begins, it’s like a toe
tip-toeing on a rope, which is like luck;
and when the luck begins, it’s like a wedding,
which is like love, which is like everything.

“The Forerunner” by Khalil Ghibran

You are your own forerunner, and the towers you have builded are but the foundation of your giant-self. And that self too shall be a foundation.

And I too am my own forerunner, for the long shadow stretching before me at sunrise shall gather under my feet at the noon hour. Yet another sunrise shall lay another shadow before me, and that also shall be gathered at another noon.

Always have we been our own forerunners, and always shall we be. And all that we have gathered and shall gather shall be but seeds for fields yet unploughed. We are the fields and the ploughmen, the gatherers and the gathered.

When you were a wandering desire in the mist, I too was there, a wandering desire. Then we sought one another, and out of our eagerness dreams were born. And dreams were time limitless, and dreams were space without measure.

And when you were a silent word upon life’s quivering lips, I too was there, another silent word. Then life uttered us and we came down the years throbbing with memories of yesterday and with longing for tomorrow, for yesterday was death conquered and tomorrow was birth pursued.

And now we are in God’s hands. You are a sun in His right hand and I an earth in His left hand. Yet you are not more, shining, than I, shone upon.

And we, sun and earth, are but the beginning of a greater sun and a greater earth. And always shall we be the beginning.

You are your own forerunner, you the stranger passing by the gate of my garden.
And I too am my own forerunner, though I sit in the shadows of my trees and seem motionless.

“He’s Not Perfect” by Bob Marley

“He’s not perfect. You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect.

But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can.

He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break.

Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give. Don’t analyse. Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there.

Love hard when there is love to be had. Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”

“Beach Chairs” by Joyce Ebrecht

Sitting on the beach chairs

watching the setting sun

holding hands and reminiscing

how it all begun

Sitting on the beach chairs

watching the ships out on the sea

holding hands and smiling

together we’re meant to be

Sitting on the beach chairs

watching people walking past

holding hands and knowing

that our love will always last

Sitting on the beach chairs

watching the waves along the shore

holding hands we realize

our love is stronger than before

Sitting on the beach chairs

watching the changing tide

holding hands with happiness

to be by each others side

Sitting on the beach chairs

watching the sunrise

holding hands with tears of joy

there are no more good-byes

“A Gift from the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindberg

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides.

“I Wanna Grow Old With You” performed by Adam Sandler

I wanna make you smile whenever you’re sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad,
All I wanna do is grow old with you,
I’ll get your medicine when your tummy aches,
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks,
Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you,
I’ll miss you,
Kiss you,
Give you my coat when you are cold,
Need you,
Feed you,
Even let you hold the remote control,
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink,
Put you to bed if you’ve had too much to drink,
I could be the man who grows old with you,
I wanna grow old with you

“I Like You” by Sandol Stoddard

I like you and I know why.
I like you because you are a good person to like.
I like you because when I tell you something special, you know it’s special
And you remember it a long, long time.
You say, ‘Remember when you told me something special?’
And both of us remember

When I think something is important
You think it’s important too
We have good ideas
When I say something funny, you laugh
I think I’m funny and you think I’m funny too
Hah-hah!

…And I like you because when I am feeling sad
You don’t always cheer me up right away
Sometimes it is better to be sad…
I like you because if I am mad at you
Then you are mad at me too
It’s awful when the other person isn’t…

I like you because I don’t know why but
Everything that happens is nicer with you
I can’t remember when I didn’t like you
It must have been lonesome then
I like you because because because
I forget why I like you but I do.

Touched by an Angel” by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage; exiles from delight. Live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple and comes into our sight to liberate us into life.
Love arrives and in its train come ecstasies, old memories of pleasure, ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls. We are weaned from our timidity. In the flush of love’s light we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.

A Touch of Heart”

There was a time… a moment I felt all alone but then the sun shined upon me bearing gifts of love, friendship and harmony, everlasting love shared and expressed through you to me. The prayers, the cares, the gestures brought forth to me healed my soul for at times I’d only known to give but failed to accept and receive with grace. I’m not alone now for your warmth overwhelms me, your spirit fills my soul, and I am ALIVE with your love.

Excerpt from “Any Husband or Wife” by Carole Haynes

Let us be guests in one another’s house, with a deferential “No” and courteous “Yes.” Let us take care to hide our foolish moods behind a certain show of cheerfulness. Let us avoid all sullen silences. We should find fresh and sprightly things to say. I must be fearful lest you find me dull, and you must dread to bore me any way. Let us knock gently at each other’s heart, glad of a chance to look within—and yet let us remember that to force one’s way is the unpardoned breach of etiquette. So we shall be host and hostess, until all need for entertainment ends. We shall be lovers when the last door shuts. But what is better still, we shall be friends.

“Blessing For A Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding. May you always need one another — not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness. A mountain needs a valley to be complete. The valley does not make the mountain less, but more. And the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it. So let it be with you and you. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another. May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all-important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults. If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back. May you enter into the mystery that is the awareness of one another’s presence — no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities. May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

Excerpt from “The Bridge Across Forever” by Richard Bach

A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.

“I Love You” by Roy Croft

I love you, not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you, not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you, for the part of me that you bring out. I love you, for putting your hand into my heaped-up heart, and passing over all the foolish, weak things that you can’t help dimly seeing there, and for drawing out, into the light, all the beautiful belongings that no one else had looked quite far enough to find. I love you, because you are helping me to make of the lumber of my life, not a tavern, but a temple. Out of the works of my every day, not a reproach, but a song. I love you, because you have done more than any creed could have done to make me good, and more than any fate could have done to make me happy. You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign. You have done it by being yourself. Perhaps that is what being a friend means, after all.

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If Thou Must Love Me by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

If thou must love me, let it be for naught

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 lose thy love thereby!

But love me for love’s sake, that evermore

Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

Excerpt from Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey

“What I’m feeling, I think, is joy. And it’s been some time since I’ve felt that blinkered rush of happiness. This might be one of those rare events that lasts, one that’ll be remembered and recalled as months and years wind and ravel. One of those sweet, significant moments that leaves a footprint in your mind. A photograph couldn’t ever tell its story. It’s like something you have to live to understand.

“An Epithalamion” by Tony Kushner

Conjunction, assemblage, congress, union:

Life isn’t meant to be lived alone.

A life apart is a desperate fiction.

Life is an intermediate business:

a field of light bordered by love

a sea of desire stretched between shores.

Marriage is the strength of union.

Marriage is the harmonic blend.

Marriage is the elegance of counterpoint.

Marriage is the faultless, fragile logic of ecology:

A reasonable process of give and take

unfolding through cyclical and linear time.

A wedding is the conjoining of systems in which

Neither loses its single splendor and both are completely

transformed. As, for example,

The dawn is the wedding of the Night and the Day,

and is neither, and both,

and is, in itself, the most beautiful time,

abundant artless beauty,

free and careless magnificence.

Love is the Ultimate Outlaw by Natalie Geist Iscoe

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words ‘make’ and ‘stay’ become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton

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.

Extract from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

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…

The Human Heart Curves Like a Road by Tennessee Williams

What is straight?

A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart,oh, no,

it’s curved like a road through mountains.

Because it’s not important who shares the love, but it’s important to be shared with someone.

There is nothing more valuable than finding the one to understand you and accept you just as you are.

The Key to Love

The key to love is understanding… The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word, but those unspoken gestures, the little things that say so much by themselves.

The key to love is forgiveness… to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes, without forgetting, but with remembering what you learn from them.

The key to love is sharing… Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together; both conquering problems, forever searching for ways to intensify your happiness.

The key to love is giving… without thought of return, but with the hope of just a simple smile, and by giving in but never giving up.

The key to love is respect… realizing that you are two separate people, with different ideas; that you don’t belong to each other, that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.

The key to love is inside us all… It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take you to its threshold; it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work… but the rewards are more than worth the effort… and that is the key to love.

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

“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 is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.”

Excerpt from ‘I’ll Cover You’ from Rent

Just slip me on, I’ll be your blanket,
Wherever, whatever, I’ll be your coat.
You’ll be my King, and I’ll be your castle
No, you’ll be my Queen, and I’ll be your moat
I think they meant it when they said you can’t buy love
Now I know you can rent it
A new lease you are my love, on life
All my life.
I’ve longed to discover
Something as true as this is.
So with a thousand sweet kisses, I’ll cover you

I wanna be yours” by John Cooper-Clarke

I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot
let me be your coffee pot
You call the shots
I wanna be yours

I wanna be your raincoat
for those frequent rainy days
I wanna be your dreamboat
when you want to sail away
Let me be your teddy bear
take me with you anywhere
I don’t care
I wanna be yours

I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out
I wanna be the electric heater
you’ll get cold without
I wanna be your setting lotion
hold your hair in deep devotion

Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
that’s how deep is my devotion.

“Why Marriage” by Mari Nichols- Haining

Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…

Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…

Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.

“An Ocean of Love” by Lovelyn Layon


Have you ever sailed on vast ocean,
With no island to see, and things are out of reach?
With dreams and mysteries filled this ocean,
And a never ending faith that someone would teach?
Have you ever felt that feeling,
Of a deep calmness within you that’s hard to fight?
And no one could help you believing,
That you’re striving for the right?
Did you ever sailed on an ocean,
That further placed upon your heart?
For deeply below this ocean,
Lies a silent whisper, where love starts.
An ocean of Love, the ocean of dreams
Where you can find solace and exceptional truth
Though pain resides even if you don’t dream
As the existence of love bears its fruit.
The fruit of harmony, bliss, and wonder
Without the seed that’s buried down below
Like a pearl that lies down under
The ocean of love they call, starts hello.
Upon this vast ocean, two souls were me and you
Over the waves and across the surface
I have found a love so true
The ocean of love was then the wondrous place.

And I Have You” by Nikki Giovanni

Rain has drops
Sun has shine
Moon has beams
That makes you mine
Rivers have banks
Sands for shores
Hearts have heartbeats
That make me yours
Needles have eyes
Though pins may prick
Elmer has glue
To make things stick
Winter has Spring
Stockings feet
Pepper has mint
To make it sweet
Teachers have lessons
Soup du jour
Lawyers sue bad folks
Doctors cure
All and all
This much is true
You have me
And I have you

“Unconditional Love” by Father John Powell

True love is and must always be, a free gift with no conditions attached.

The essential message of unconditional love is one of liberation.

You can be whoever you are, express all your thoughts and feelings with absolute confidence.

You do not have to be fearful that love will be taken away.

You will not be punished for your openness or honesty.

There is no admission price to love, no rental fees or installment payments to be made.

There may be days when disagreements and disturbing emotions may come between you.

There may be times when thoughts or physical miles may lie between you.

But you have given each other the word of your commitment.

You have set your life on a new course.

You should not go back on your word to each other.

So feel free to be yourselves.

One thing we all know and should share with each other…we are committed to each others growth and happiness.

Above all else, never take each other for granted and always love each other, because true love is unconditional.

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 each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
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 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 the 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.

“To Be One With Each Other’” by George Eliot

That greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?

A White Rose” by JB O’Reilly

The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips.

Excerpt from “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’

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 roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that’s what love is. Love is not breathless, 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 who truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find out that they are one tree and not two.

Unknown title by Regina Hill

When two people join together and bond their lives forever
because they are certain they have something special
that will make their commitment last…
this is the first act of faith. Upon this act of faith these two people will build a life.
and as long as their determination stays with them
this life will always be their hope, their dreams, their truth, their being, their inspiration, and their source of strength.
Through their life together, they will hurt and laugh.
Together they will feel all of life’s up and downs.
They will learn and grow through trial and error.
The lessons will show them the meaning of true love
And the difference between a love that lasts and one that just gives up.
These two people will face each failure together and discover the strength to go on.
They will encourage each other’s dreams and forgive each other’s faults.
Through a labour of love these two will become as one,
fighting against the odds and ultimately creating a commitment that will grow into an infinite love.

 

Traditional Ceremony

Traditional Mexican Wedding in San Marcos, California by Robert Evans -  BridalPulse

Religious Readings

Ruth 1:16-17

But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.

“Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”

Proverbs 3:3-4

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

The Prayer by St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make us instruments of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let us sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is discord, union;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, Grant that we may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Amen

Matthew 5:1-10

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Romans 12:9-16

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.

Ephesians 4:25 – 5:2

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not make room for the devil. Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:22-23

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery” but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

Mark 10: 6-9 and 13-16


But from the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.


People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

Revelation 19:1, 5-9

After this I heard what seemed to be the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power to our God, And from the throne came a voice saying, “Praise our God, all you his servants, and all who fear him, small and great.” Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder peals, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready; to her it has been granted to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”

Colossians 3:12-17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ* dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Song of Songs 2:8-17

The voice of my beloved!
Look! He’s coming,
leaping over the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
Look, there he stands behind our wall,
looking through the windows,
gazing through the lattice.
My beloved spoke to me:
Get up, my darling, my beautiful one, and come on.
Look! Winter is past.
The rain is over and gone.
Blossoms have appeared in the land.
The season of songbirds has arrived,
and cooing of turtledoves is heard in our land.
The fig tree has produced its fruit,
the grapevines have blossomed and exude their fragrance.
Get up, my darling, my beautiful one, and come on.
My dove, in the hidden places of the rocks,
in the secret places of the cliffs,
show me your form, and let me hear your voice.
For your voice is pleasant,
and your shape is lovely.
Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes that destroy the vineyards,
our vineyards that are in bloom.
My beloved belongs to me and I belong to him.
He is the one who shepherds his flock among the lilies.
Until the day breaks[h] and the shadows flee,
turn around, my beloved,
and be like a gazelle or a young stag
on the rugged mountains.

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13

My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle-dove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.’

Song of Solomon 8:6&7

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.

1 Corinthians: 13
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Genesis 2:24-28
The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a suitable partner for him.” So the Lord God formed out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them; whatever the man called each of them would be its name. The man gave names to all the cattle, all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals; but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.

So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man, and while he was asleep, he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib that he had taken from the man. When he brought her to the man, the man said:

“This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; This one shall be called ‘woman,’ for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”

Matthew 19:4-6
Jesus says: “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

1 John 4:7-12
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Ecclesiastes: 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up. Again, if two lie together, they are warm; but how can one be warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him.

Non-Religious

“About the Man Who Began Flying After Meeting Her” by Dave Eggers

“When he met her and they liked each other a great deal, he heard things better, and in his eyes the lines of the physical world were sharper than before. He was smarter, he was more aware, and he thought of new things to do with his days. He considered activities which before had been vaguely intriguing but which now seemed urgent, and which must, he thought, be done with his new companion. He wanted to fly in lightweight contraptions with her. He had always been intrigued by gliders, parachutes, ultralights and hang-gliders, and now he felt that this would be a facet of their new life: that they would be a couple that flew around on weekends and on vacations, in small aircraft. They would learn the terminology; they would join clubs. They would have a trailer of some kind, or a large van, in which to hold their new machines and supple wings folded, and they would drive to new places to see from above. The kind of flying that interested him was close to the ground – less than a thousand feet above earth. He wanted to see things moving quickly below him, wanted to be able to wave to people below, to see wildebeest run and to count dolphins streaming away from shore. He hoped this was the kind of flying she’d want to do, too. He became so attached to the idea of this person and this flying and this life entwined that he was not sure what he would do if it did not become actual. He didn’t want to do this flying alone; he would rather not do it than do it without her. But if he asked her to fly with him, and she expressed reservations, or was not inspired, would he stay with her? Could he? He decides that he would not. If she does not drive in the van with the wings carefully folded, he will have to leave, smile and leave, and then he will look again. But when and if he finds another companion, he knows his plan will not be for flying. It will be another plan with another person, because if he goes flying close to the earth it will be with her.”

Cinderella

“So this is love
So this is what makes life divine
I’m all aglow
And now I know
The key to all heaven is mine
My heart has wings
And I can fly
I’ll touch every star in the sky
So this is the miracle
That I’ve been dreaming of
So this is love.”

Never Marry but for Love by William Penn

Never marry but for love; but see that thou lovest what is lovely. He that minds a body and not a soul has not the better part of that relationship, and will consequently lack the noblest comfort of a married life.

Between a man and his wife, nothing ought to rule but love. As love ought to bring them together, so it is the best way to keep them well together.

A husband and wife that love one another show their children that they should do so too. Others visibly lose their authority in their families by the contempt of one another, and teach their children to be unnatural by their own examples.

Let not enjoyment lessen, but augment, affection; it being the basest of passions to like when we have not, what we slight when we possess.

Here it is we ought to search out our pleasure, where the field is large and full of variety, and of an enduring nature; sickness, poverty or disgrace being not able to shake it because it is not under the moving influences of worldly contingencies.

Nothing can be more entire and without reserve; nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented than such a couple, nor greater temporal felicity than to be one of them.

Every Day by David Levithan

“This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.”

Bread for the Journey by Henri Nouwen

“Many human relationships are like the interlocking fingers of two hands… Human relationships are meant to be like two hands folded together. They can move away from each other while still touching with the fingertips. They can create space between themselves, a little tent, a home, a safe place to be.”

“True relationships among people point to God. They are like prayers in the world. Sometimes the hands that pray are fully touching, sometimes there is distance between them. They always move to and from each other, but they never lose touch. They keep praying to the One who brought them together.”

Maybe by Anon

Maybe we are supposed to meet the wrong people before we meet the right
one so when they finally arrive we are truly grateful for the gift we have been
given.

Maybe it’s true that we don’t know what we have lost until we lose it but it is
also true that we don’t know what we’re missing until it arrives.

Maybe the happiest of people don’t have the best of everything, but make the
best of everything that comes their way.

Maybe the best kind of love is the kind where you sit on the sofa together, not
saying a word, and walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you ever
had.

Maybe once in a lifetime you find someone who not only touches your heart but
also your soul, someone who loves you for who you are and not what you could
be.

Maybe the art of true love is not about finding the perfect person, but about
seeing an imperfect person perfectly.

Irish Blessing

May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future
Be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship
And your hearts joined forever in love.
Your lives are very special,
God has touched you in many ways.
May his blessings rest upon you
And fill all your coming days.

“I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles

My whole heart. Will be yours forever. This is a beautiful start, To a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right. I choose you. I will become yours and you will become mine…

We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes, And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you. I am not scared of the elements I am underprepared, but I am willing. And even better I get to be the other half of you.

“Still Life With Woodpecker” by Tom Robbins

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words ‘make’ and ‘stay’ become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

Every Day” by David Levithan

This is what love does: It makes you want to rewrite the world. It makes you want to choose the characters, build the scenery, guide the plot. The person you love sits across from you, and you want to do everything in your power to make it possible, endlessly possible. And when it’s just the two of you, alone in a room, you can pretend that this is how it is, this is how it will be.

“Union” by Robert Fulghum

Before this moment you have been many things to one another: acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this—is my husband, this—is my wife.

Be Love Now by Ram Dass

Imagine feeling more love from someone than you have ever known. You’re being loved even more than your mother loved you when you were an infant, more than you were ever loved by your father, your child, or your most intimate lover—anyone. This lover doesn’t need anything from you, isn’t looking for personal gratification, and only wants your complete fulfillment.

You are loved just for being who you are, just for existing. You don’t have to do anything to earn it. Your shortcomings, your lack of self-esteem, physical perfection, or social and economic success— none of that matters. No one can take this love away from you, and it will always be here.

Imagine that being in this love is like relaxing endlessly into a warm bath that surrounds and supports your every movement, so that every thought and feeling is permeated by it. You feel as though you are dissolving into love.

This love is actually part of you; it is always flowing through you. It’s like the subatomic texture of the universe, the dark matter that connects everything. When you tune in to that flow, you will feel it in your own heart—not your physical heart or your emotional heart, but your spiritual heart, the place you point to in your chest when you say, “I am.”

This is your deeper heart, your intuitive heart. It is the place where the higher mind, pure awareness, the subtler emotions, and your soul identity all come together and you connect to the universe, where presence and love are.

Unconditional love really exists in each of us. It is part of our deep inner being. It is not so much an active emotion as a state of being. It’s not “I love you” for this or that reason, not “I love you if you love me.” It’s love for no reason, love without an object. It’s just sitting in love, a love that incorporates the chair and the room and permeates everything around. The thinking mind is extinguished in love.

If I go into the place in myself that is love and you go into the place in yourself that is love, we are together in love. Then you and I are truly in love, the state of being love. That’s the entrance to Oneness.

“Love is an Adventure” by Pierre Tielhart de Chardin

“Love is an adventure and a conquest. It survives and develops like the universe itself only by perpetual discovery. The only right love is that between couples whose passion leads them both, one through the other, to a higher possession of their being. Put your faith in the spirit which dwells between the two of you. You have each offered yourself to the other as a boundless field of understanding, of enrichment, of mutually increased sensibility. You will meet above all by entering into and constantly sharing one another’s thoughts, affections, and dreams. There alone, as you know, in spirit, which is arrived through flesh, you will find no disappointments, no limits. There alone the skies are ever open for your love; there alone lies the great road ahead.”

“Love is More Thicker Than Forget” by EE Cummings


love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail
it is most mad and moon-ly
and less it shall un-be
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea
love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive
it is more sane and sun-ly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

The Velveteen Rabbit” by 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 a child 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 all loose in the 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 Carry Your Heart With Me” by E.E. Cummings


I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. I am never without it. Anywhere I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing, my darling. I fear no fate, for you are my fate, my sweet. I want no world, for beautiful you are my world, my true. And you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you. Here is the deepest secret nobody knows, here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life which grows higher than soul can hope or mind can hide. And this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart. I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart.

Sonnet from the Portuguese, XLIII by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Excerpt #1 from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gabran

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 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.

Excerpt #2 from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gabran

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour 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 on your lips.

“Wedding Prayer” by Robert Louis Stevenson

Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
Amen

“The Bargain” by Sir Philip Sidney

My true love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.
His heart in me keeps him and me 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:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.

Wiccan/Pagan Ceremony

Wiccan/Pagan Handfasting Ceremony

“This Day I Married My Best Friend”

“This day I married my best friend
…the one I laugh with as we share life’s wondrous zest,
as we find new enjoyments and experience all that’s best.
…the one I live for because the world seems brighter
as our happy times are better and our burdens feel much lighter.
…the one I love with every fiber of my soul.
We used to feel vaguely incomplete, now together we are whole.”

The Couple’s Tao Te Ching: “Transforming Power” & “A Sacred Space” by Lao Tzu, Interpreted by William Martin

Your love contains the power
of a thousand suns.
It unfolds as naturally and effortlessly
as does a flower,
and graces the world with its blooming.
Its beauty radiates a transforming energy
that enlivens all who see it.
Because of you, compassion and joy
are added to the world.
That is why the stars sing together
because of your love.

Your love requires space in which to grow.
This space must be safe enough
to allow your hearts to be revealed.
It must offer refreshment for your spirits
and renewal for your minds.
It must be a space made sacred
by the quality of your honesty,
attention, love, and compassion.
It may be anywhere,
inside or out,
but it must exist.

The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh

“The Buddha spoke about four elements that constitute true love: the capacity to be kind and offer happiness, maitri in Sanskrit, compassion, the capacity to relieve suffering, karuna; the capacity to bring joy every day, mudita; and finally, the capacity of nondiscrimination, upeksha. When there is true love, there is nondiscrimination. The pain of the other is our own pain; the happiness of the other is our own happiness…To make our love meaningful, we need to nourish our bodhicitta, our mind of boundless love and compassion…First, we learn to love one person with all our understanding and insight; then we expand that love to embrace another person, and another, until our love is truly boundless.”

Love Is a Great Thing by Thomas à Kempis

Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good. By itself it makes that is heavy light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven.

It carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all wordly affections, and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity, or by any adversity subdued.

Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down.

Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.

Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent and manly.

A Scottish Blessing

If there is righteousness in the heart,
there will be beauty in the character.
If there is beauty in the character,
there will be harmony in the home.
If there is harmony in the home,
there will be order in the nation. 
If there is order in the nation,
there will be peace in the world.
So let it be

“This Day I Married My Best Friend” Author Unknown

“This day I married my best friend
…the one I laugh with as we share life’s wondrous zest,
as we find new enjoyments and experience all that’s best.
…the one I live for because the world seems brighter
as our happy times are better and our burdens feel much lighter.
…the one I love with every fiber of my soul.
We used to feel vaguely incomplete, now together we are whole.”

“The Wedding Vow” by Rebecca W.

You are not the air that I breathe,
You are the sweet scent that drifts upon it
You are not the sounds that I hear,
You are the music of my life
You are not the food that I need,
You are the nourishment of my soul
You are not my will to survive
You are my reason for living
It is with you that I experience the wonders of the world
It is with you that I triumph over the challenges in my path
It is your partnership that will lead me to the fulfillment of my dreams
It is your friendship that guides me as I learn and grow.
It is your patience and wisdom that calms my restless nature
It is through you that I know my true self
I do not take you for granted, I cherish you
I do not need you, I choose you
I choose you today in witness of all the people who love us
I choose you tomorrow in the privacy of our hearts
I choose you in strength and weakness
I choose you in health and in sickness
I choose you in joy and sorrow
I will choose you, over all others,
every day for all the days of my life

Apache Wedding Prayer


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 will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.

Treat yourselves and each other with respect,
and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.
Give the highest priority to the tenderness,
gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.
When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship;
as they threaten all relationships at one time or another,
remember to focus on what is right between you,
not only the part which seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the storms
when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives,
remembering that even if you lose sight of it
for a moment, the sun is still there.
And if each of you takes responsibility
for the quality of your life together,
it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your life together,
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.

Author Unknown

You touched my hand and reached my thoughts,
You kissed my lips and reached my heart,
You looked into my eyes and touched my soul.
No words were said, no thoughts exchanged.
Through only a touch you changed me,
With only a kiss you moved me,
With only a look you brought me life.”

“The Promise” by Robert Sexton

Across the years I will walk with you
in deep green forests; on shores of sand.
And when our time on earth is through,
in heaven, too, you will have my hand.

Author Unknown

Upon this day, our hands we bind,
A symbol of our hearts entwined.
To witness this, we ask of thee,
Our union forever blessed be.

“Blessing of the Hands”

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch, will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief fills your mind.
These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes; tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.
These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.
And lastly, these are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, still giving the you same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.

“Take My Hand” by Wayne Toups

Take my hand,
Say you’ll be true.
Say those simple words,
Oh, I love you, only you.
Take my hand,
Oh, and hold it tight.
Take my hand
And everything will be alright.

Vow Renewal Ceremony

11 Ideas for the Sweetest Vow Renewal Ceremony | Vow renewal dress, Wedding  vows, Wedding vows renewal

“The Place Poem” by Ted Enslin

I could open the doors and the windows
to great winds
Let everything be scattered,
like loose sheets of paper
Let tumbling take sense and proportion
from what we have put in order.
That suits us,
but it would not change anything.
You have come in,
and your entrance has been final.
You do not leave me,
nor do I leave you, beloved.
We have made this house our place,
And our shelter.
When we go out,
we will go out together.

Marriage Needs Time to Ripen by Theodore Parker

It takes years to marry completely two hearts, even the most loving and well assorted. A happy wedlock is a falling in love. Young persons think love belongs to the brow-haired and crimson cheeked. So it does for its beginning. But the golden marriage is part of love which the bridal day knows nothing of…. Such a large and sweet fruit is marriage that is needs a long summer to ripen, and then a long winter to mellow and season it.

Now You Will Feel No Rain

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 each other.
Now you will feel no solitude,
for each will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons,
but you will lead one life.
Go now to your dwelling place,
to begin the days of your life together.
And may your days be good and
long upon the earth.

Love is Enough by William Morris

“Love is enough: though the World be a-waning,
And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining,
Though the sky be too dark for dim eyes to discover,
The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder,
Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder
And this day draw a veil over all deeds pass’d over,
Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter;
The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.”

Our Family

Our family is a circle of love and strength.
With every birth and every union, the circle grows.
Every joy shared adds more love.
Every obstacle faced together makes the circle stronger.

The Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath

I feel good with my husband: I like his warmth and his bigness and his being-there and his making and his jokes and stories and what he reads and how he likes fishing and walks and pigs and foxes and little animals and is honest and not vain or fame-crazy and how he shows his gladness for what I cook him and joy for when I make him something, a poem or a cake, and how he is troubled when I am unhappy and wants to do anything so I can fight out my soul-battles and grow up with courage and a philosophical ease. I love his good smell and his body that fits with mine as if they were made in the same body-shop to do just that. What is only pieces, doled out here and there to this boy and that boy, that made me like pieces of them, is all jammed together in my husband. So I don’t want to look around anymore: I don’t need to look around for anything.

By Martin Luther King, Jr.

The meaning of love is not to be confused with some sentimental outpouring. Love is something much more than emotional bosh …. An overflowing love which seeks nothing in return, [agape] is the love of God operating in the human heart. Love is the most durable power in the world.
This creative force, so beautifully exemplified in the life of our Christ, is the most potent
instrument available in humankind’s quest for peace and security. The great military leaders of the past have gone, and their empires have crumbled and burned to ashes. But the empire of Jesus, built solidly and majestically on the foundation of love, is still growing.

“Marriage Joins Two People” by Edmund O’Neil

Marriage offers opportunities for sharing growth
that no other human relationship can equal.
It is an emotional and physical joining that is promised for a lifetime.
Within the circle of love,
marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships.
A wife and husband are each others best friend,
confidant, lover, teacher, listener and critic.
Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life.
Happiness is fuller; memories are fresher;
even anger is felt more intensely, and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives,
the mistakes that life is unavoidable to avoid.
It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences
and new ways of expressing your love through the seasons.
When two people pledge to love and care for each other in marriage,
they create a spirit unique to themselves,
which binds them closer than any spoken or written words.
Marriage is a promise and potential,
made in the hearts of two people who are in love,
that takes a lifetime to fulfill.

Untitled by Theodore Parker

It takes years to marry completely two hearts, even the most loving and well assorted. A happy wedlock is a falling in love. Young persons think love belongs to the brow-haired and crimson cheeked. So it does for its beginning. But the golden marriage is part of love which the bridal day knows nothing of…. Such a large and sweet fruit is marriage that is needs a long summer to ripen, and then a long winter to mellow and season it.

“Prayer for a Marriage” by Steve Scafidi

When we are old one night,
and the moon arcs over the house
like an antique china saucer,
and the tea cup sun
follows somewhere far behind
I hope the stars deepen to a shine
So bright you could read by it, If you liked,
and the sadness we will have known will go away for a while,
in this hour or two before sleep,
and that we kiss, standing in the kitchen,
not fighting gravity so much as embodying its sweet force,
And I hope we kiss, Like we do today,
Knowing so much good is said in the primitive tongue —
From the wild first surprising ones,
To the lower dizzy ten thousand infinitely slower ones –
And I hope while we stand there in the kitchen,
Making tea and kissing,
The whistle of the teapot wakes the neighbors.

“Litany” by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.

Love is Giving

Love is giving, not taking,
mending, not breaking,
trusting, believing,
never deceiving,
patiently bearing
and faithfully sharing
each joy, each sorrow,
today and tomorrow.

Love is kind, understanding,
but never demanding.
Love is constant, prevailing,
its strength never failing.
A promise once spoken
For all time unbroken,
Love’s time is forever.

“The Place Poem” by Ted Enslin

I could open the doors and the windows
to great winds
Let everything be scattered,
like loose sheets of paper
Let tumbling take sense and proportion
from what we have put in order.
That suits us,
but it would not change anything.
You have come in,
and your entrance has been final.
You do not leave me,
nor do I leave you, beloved.
We have made this house our place,
And our shelter.
When we go out,
we will go out together.

“The One

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 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.

“When You Are Old” by W.B. Yeats

When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sad, “From us fled Love,
He paced upon the mountains far above,
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

From The Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.

The meaning of love is not to be confused with some sentimental outpouring. Love is something much more than emotional bosh …. An overflowing love which seeks nothing in return, [agape] is the love of God operating in the human heart …. Love is the most durable power in the world.
This creative force, so beautifully exemplified in the life of our Christ, is the most potent
instrument available in humankind’s quest for peace and security. The great military leaders of the past have gone, and their empires have crumbled and burned to ashes. But the empire of Jesus, built solidly and majestically on the foundation of love, is still growing.

From Gift from the Sea

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.