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WEDDING BLOG

15 Beautiful Nonreligious Readings for Your Wedding Ceremony

January 30, 2019 | juliette

photo by Amy Bluestar Photography

When deciding to have a nonreligious ceremony, one of the hard parts can be finding nonreligious readings that fit your mood, fit your vibe, and offer deep reflections on love and marriage. If you’ve peeped our 12 romantic love poems to read at your wedding and 13 unexpected wedding ceremony readings articles, you know we’re all about helping you find wedding ceremony readings that speak to your soul. But, if you’re looking for even more reading inspiration, here are 15 more beautiful nonreligious readings that won’t leave a dry eye in the house.

photo by Kris Turner Photography

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

“Once upon a time, there was a boy. He lived in a village that no longer exists, in a house that no longer exists, on the edge of a field that no longer exists, where everything was discovered, and everything was possible. A stick could be a sword, a pebble could be a diamond, a tree, a castle. Once upon a time, there was a boy who lived in a house across the field, from a girl who no longer exists. They made up a thousand games. She was queen and he was king. In the autumn light, her hair shone like a crown. They collected the world in small handfuls, and when the sky grew dark, they parted with leaves in their hair.

Once upon a time, there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”

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. One of those freak collisions of fizzing meteors and looming celestial bodies and floating debris and one single beautiful red ball that bursts into your life and through your body like an enormous firework. Where things shift into focus for a moment, and everything makes sense. And it becomes one of those things inside you, a pearl among sludge, one of those big exaggerated memories you can invoke at any moment to peel away a little layer of how you felt, like a lick of ice cream. The flavor of grace.”

“Love is an Adventure” by Pierre Teilhard 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.”

photo by Henry Tieu 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.”

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

“Still,” Morrie said, “there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.”

“And the biggest one of those values, Mitch?”

Yes?

“Your belief in the importance of your marriage.”

He sniffed, then closed his eyes for a moment.

“Personally,” he sighed, his eyes still closed, “I think marriage is a very important thing to do, and you’re missing a lot if you don’t try it.”

He ended the subject by quoting a poem he believed in like a prayer: “Love each other or perish.”

“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
And 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 a love lasting and true
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
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
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
Darlin’ I’ll wait for you
Should I fall behind, wait for me”

photo by Jami Laree

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.”

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 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.”

“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 the 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.”

photo by Autumn Nicole Photography

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

“At night, there was the feeling that we had to 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.”

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

“You’re like a song that I heard when I was a little kid but I forgot I knew until I heard it again.”

“Love’s Philosophy” by Percy Bysshe Shelley

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single:
All things by a law divine
In another’s being mingled—
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?

photo by Olivia Markle Photography

Jazz by Toni Morrison

“It’s nice when grown people whisper to each other under the covers. Their ecstasy is more leaf-sigh than bray and the body is the vehicle, not the point. They reach, grown people, for something beyond, way beyond and way, way down underneath tissue. They are remembering while they whisper the carnival dolls they won and the Baltimore boats they never sailed on. The pears they let hang on the limb because if they plucked them, they would be gone from there and who else would see that ripeness if they took it away for themselves? How could anybody passing by see them and imagine for themselves what the flavor would be like? Breathing and murmuring under covers both of them have washed and hung out on the line, in a bed they chose together and kept together nevermind one leg was propped on a 1916 dictionary, and the mattress, curved like a preacher’s palm asking for witnesses in His name’s sake, enclosed them each and every night and muffled their whispering, old-time love.”

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.”

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer

“I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.”

Now that you’ve got some ideas of nonreligious readings, it’s time to nail down the rest of your ceremony details! Our ultimate guide to planning your wedding ceremony has everything you need to stay organized!

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3 Comments

  1. Really Heart touching :)

  2. These are fantastic readings, and are a breath of fresh air to the normal wedding readings :-D

  3. I love finding inspiration for different readings and then seeing how I’d use parts of them for my own vow renewal

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