Thursday, June 26, 2008

How to Choose Wedding Poetry and Readings

Having friends and family contribute to your wedding by reading poetry or prose is a lovely addition to the ceremony. It adds new voices and gets people involved, something we humanists are very keen on.

If you are having a humanist ceremony, your celebrant will give you lots of examples of poetry and prose. You can also go to your local library or bookshop where you'll find lots of great collections of love poetry and you can search on the internet where there is probably too much to choose from.

One important thing to bear in mind when you are selecting readings is to choose them for yourself but also for the person who is going to be reading them. In other words don't give a humorous reading to the most serious person you know! Give them a serious reading which they will carry off really well. I've had a few weddings where very dreamy young women have read romantic, moving pieces which was wonderful, especially for some of the male guests.

I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you:

I absolutely love 'I rely on you' by the late, great Hovis Presley. This is possibly the most popular poem I have heard in my weddings. Here he is performing it himself.

'These I Can Promise' by Mark Twain is romantic but realistic at the same time.

I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old.

But I can promise all my heart’s devotion
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that’s ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.

This extract from 'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Marjorie Williams is my all time favourite reading and I cry every time I hear it. it is a wonderful reading for children to do but adults always love to read it too. Hankies at the ready...


"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 suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive.

But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"Someone made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."


If you haven't read this story you might want to look away now because a spoiler is coming up...

The Rabbit becomes REAL!

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