"It has made me better loving you" - 18 wedding readings we love


If you're looking for a wedding reading and have heard enough Corinthians 13 to last you a lifetime, here are some alternative ideas for your wedding ceremony to choose from. Whether you're after a really beautiful wedding poem, a bible reading or something from a great work of literature, we've got all your wedding reading requirements covered.

Warning: don't read any of these if you're feeling a bit emotionally fragile...

1) Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
“My mother’s last word to me clanks inside me like an iron bell that someone beats at dinnertime: love, love, love, love, love. … Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word ‘love’ to the people you love so when it matters most to say it, you will. We’re all going to die, Johnny. Hit the iron bell like it’s dinnertime.”

2) Let me put it this way by Simon Armitage

Let me put it this way:

if you came to lay

your sleeping head

against my arm or sleeve,

and if my arm went dead,

or if I had to take my leave

at midnight, I should rather

cleave it from the joint or seam

than make a scene

or bring you round.


how does that sound?

3) Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce

“If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I'd like to do, is to save every day ‘till eternity passes away, just to spend them with you. If I could make days last forever; if words could make wishes come true; I'd save every day like a treasure and then, again, I would spend them with you. If I had a box just for wishes, and dreams that had never come true; the box would be empty, except for the memory of how they were answered by you. But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them. I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with.”

4) Delirium by Lauren Oliver 
“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”

(As far as wedding readings go, this one's very short - you could always put it on the inside page of your order of service for guests to read before you arrive instead) 

5) Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.”

6) The Life That I Have by Leo Marks

The life that I have

Is all that I have

And the life that I have

Is yours.

The love that I have

Of the life that I have

Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have

A rest I shall have

Yet death will be but a pause.

For the peace of my years

In the long green grass

Will be yours and yours and yours.

7) From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres
“Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become 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 of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossom had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."

8) Albert Einstein on Relativity 

"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."

(A nice wedding reading if you or your partner are scientifically inclined...)

9) The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

“It has made me better loving you… it has made me wiser, and easier, and — I won’t pretend to deny — brighter and nicer and even stronger. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I didn’t have them. Theoretically I was satisfied, as I once told you. I flattered myself I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid, sterile, hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better.”

10) 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 analyze. 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."

11) The Cloths of Heaven by W.B Yeats
Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

12) Ecclesiastes 4 (verses 9-12)
Two are better than one;
 because they have a good reward for their labour.
 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:
 but woe to him that is alone when he falleth;
 for he hath not another to help him up. 
Again, if two lie together, then they have heat:
 but how can one be warm alone?
 And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him;
 and a threefold cord is not quickly broken."

13) 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.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,

Which watch not one another out of fear;

For love, all love of other sights controls,

And makes one little room an everywhere.

Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,

Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown,

Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,

And true plain hearts do in the faces rest,

Where can we find two better hemispheres,

Without sharp north, without declining west?

Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;

If our two loves be one, or, thou and I

Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

14) 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.”

15) Hope Is The Thing With Feathers, 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 chilliest land,

And on the strangest sea;

Yet, never, in extremity

It asked a crumb of me.

16) Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

17) Close close all night by Elizabeth Bishop

Close close all night

the lovers keep.

They turn together

in their sleep,

close as two papers

in a book

that read each other

in the dark.

Each knows all

the other knows

learnt by heart

from head to toes.

18) From First Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke

Understand, I'll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I'll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too.

19) Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney

Masons, when they start upon a building, are careful to test out the scaffolding;

Make sure that planks won't slip at busy points,

Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.

And yet all this comes down when the job's done

Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.

So if, my dear, there sometimes seems to be

Old bridges breaking between you and me

Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall

Confident that we have built our wall.

20) Marriage Morning, Alfred Lord Tennyson

Light, so low upon earth,

   You send a flash to the sun.

Here is the golden close of love,

   All my wooing is done.

Oh, all the woods and the meadows,

   Woods, where we hid from the wet,

Stiles where we stayed to be kind,

   Meadows in which we met!

Light, so low in the vale

   You flash and lighten afar,

For this is the golden morning of love,

   And you are his morning star.

Flash, I am coming, I come,

   By meadow and stile and wood,

Oh, lighten into my eyes and my heart,

   Into my heart and my blood!

Heart, are you great enough

   For a love that never tires?

O heart, are you great enough for love?

   I have heard of thorns and briers.

Over the thorns and briers,

   Over the meadows and stiles,

Over the world to the end of it

   Flash of a million miles.

21) Close Close All Night By Elizabeth Bishop

Close close all night

the lovers keep.

They turn together

in their sleep,

close as two papers

in a book

that read each other

in the dark.

Each knows all

the other knows

learnt by heart

from head to toes.

Want more wedding planning ideas? We've got it all covered, from alternative wedding shoes to cool first dance songs. Also check out our round-up of the best wedding pinterest boards for wedding inspiration, wedding decoration ideas to make your venue look beautiful, bridesmaid dresses for every style and budget, and get your head around picking the dress with our wedding dress fitting do's and don'ts

Continued below...

What do you think of these wedding readings and poems? Tweet us @InStyle_UK with your favourites or even suggest some of your own