Readings for the Secular Ceremony

For the most part, Mr. S and I are on the same page when it comes to our wedding. There are a few things we’ve disagreed on, and we’re learning the art of compromise.

One of the things we’re trying to compromise on is whether or not we’re going to have any readings at the ceremony. Mr. S is against it. He wants the ceremony to be as quick as possible so that we can go on to the party. I agree that I want a quick ceremony—10–15 minutes, tops—but I think that we can devote a minute or two of that time to a beautiful, touching secular reading.

We’ve tabled the debate for now, but if we decide to go for a reading, here are some of my faves:

“The Quiet World” by Jeffrey McDaniel

In an effort to get people to look

into each other’s eyes more,

and also to appease the mutes,

the government has decided

to allot each person exactly one hundred

and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it in to my ear

Without saying hello. In the restaurant

I point at chicken noodle soup.

I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,

proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.

I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond,

I know she’s used up all her words,

so I slowly whisper I love you

thirty-two and a third times.

After that, we just sit on the line

and listen to each other breathe.

“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 am unlovable,

who sees the small child in me,

and looks for the pine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night

with someone I feel blessed to hold…

Because marriage means opportunity to grow in love, in friendship…

Because, knowing this, I promise myself to take full responsibility

for my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness.

Because with this understanding the possibilities are limitless…

“Love” 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

“Your Laughter” by Pablo Neruda

Take breath away from me, if you wish,

take air away, but

do not take from me your laughter.

Do not take away the rose,

the lanceflower that you pluck,

the water that suddenly

bursts forth in your joy,

the sudden wave

of silver born in you.

My struggle is harsh and I come back

with eyes tired

at times from having seen

the unchanging earth,

but when your laughter enters

it rises to the sky seeking me

and it opens for me all

the doors of life.

My love, in the darkest

hour your laughter

opens, and if suddenly

you see my blood staining

the stones of the street,

laugh, because your laughter

will be for my hands

like a fresh sword.

Next to the sea in the autumn,

your laughter must raise

its foamy cascade,

and in the spring, love,

I want your laughter like

the flower I was waiting for,

the blue flower, the rose

of my echoing country.

Laugh at the night,

at the day, at the moon,

laugh at the twisted

streets of the island,

laugh at this clumsy

boy who loves you,

but when I open

my eyes and close them,

when my steps go,

when my steps return,

deny me bread, air,

light, spring,

but never your laughter

for I would die.

Are you including a reading in your ceremony? Do you prefer religious or secular readings?


Ms. Sloth

Wedding Date:
May 2011
Eating My Words About That Facebook Thing.
Gallery of the Day
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  1. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 10:01 pm

    We had a secular ceremony and incorporated “On Love” by Khalil Gibran, ‘Union’ by Robert Fulghum and ‘These Hands’.

    Yaay for secular readings! 🙂

  2. Member
    bunnylovesbear 2248 posts, Buzzing bee @ 9:51 pm

    love love LOVE that “why marriage?” reading you included. I wish I could incorporate it into my church wedding somehow!!

  3. Member
    jordynrose 6351 posts, Bee Keeper @ 10:33 pm

    Love the Roy Croft reading. I wanted to use it, but ended up going with “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd Peterson.

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    I’m All for Brevity, but Seriously? | Weddingbee, Guest @ 1:45 pm

    […] tried to talk him into having a reading or two, but he wasn’t into it. I also wanted to write our own vows, but when I first brought this up to […]

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