The spoken word – Wedding Local
How to choose the perfect readings for your wedding ceremony

The spoken word

Whether religious or secular, wedding ceremonies often do not stray too far from the beaten path. Usually, this includes a reading of the couple’s choosing near the beginning of the ceremony. Although most people often choose traditional readings, it’s still a way to personalize your wedding ceremony by expressing your love for each other.

Unless you’re having an informal or a non-traditional wedding, it’s best not to have something racy or off-colour read at your wedding. With children, grandparents and clergy in attendance, it’s just not appropriate. (However, nobody said you can’t save that for your wedding night when you’re alone!)

Here are some typical types of readings and some suggestions. They can be mixed and matched, but don’t try to cram every favorite poem and verse into your wedding. Keep it simple.

Religious passages

The Bible, the Torah and other religious texts offer a plethora of musings on love and marriage. You can’t go wrong in a formal wedding by choosing a religious passage, and the clergy member officiating your wedding can help choose one that expresses what you want to say.

  • I Corinthians 13:12-17 – Probably the most common passage read at a Christian wedding, it expresses the traits of love, and is a beautiful guide on how to share that love.
  • Colossians 3:12-17 – Expresses the ideas of love and forgiveness.
  • Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 – Discusses the strength of a marriage when God is involved
  • Ketubot 8 – From the Jewish text, the Talmud, this passage reflects on marriage and love.


Poems are also nice additions as readings for a wedding ceremony. They’re short, to the point, and there are plenty that deal with love.

  • “To Be One with Each Other,” by George Eliot
  • “How Do I Love Thee,” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  • William Shakespeare’s sonnets, including No. 18 and 116
  •  “I Will Make You Brooches,” by Robert Lewis Stevenson
  • “A Red, Red Rose,” by Robert Burns

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