Readings and Prayers

Below is a small collection of readings, poems and prayers. Feel free to include one of  these in your ceremony or share one of your own with me and I’ll pop it in the  ceremony. There are no limits here, so let’s include whatever is meaningful to you – or  skip it. Your choice! 

A Wedding Prayer
We have gathered here today
To celebrate the love and commitment
That has united Groom and Bride
In a wonderful bond of marriage.
We ask that you bless this food that
We are about to receive with grateful hearts.
May your blessings descend also upon
These newly married spouses, their families and friends
Who join us here today.

Please bless Groom and Bride with a love to last forever. In sickness and in health may they find your strength In doubts and troubles may they see your light
May their love continue to grow with each new challenge May they always find strength in each other
May they be blessed with children to keep their days and nights busy And when the children sleep, and they look into each other’s eyes, May they always feel what they feel today.
May they live each moment of each day for each other. – Amen

All My Youth Returns
by Jalal al-Din Rumi
The unimaginable,
the unknowable—
that is what you give my soul
when it moves in your direction.
Union is the pure wine.
My life is the cup
without your wine
what use is the cup?

I once had a thousand desires
but in my one desire to know you
all else melted away.
The pure essence of your being
has taken over my heart and soul.
Now there is no second or third,
only the sound of your sweet cry.
Through your grace I have found
a treasure within myself.
I have found the truth of the Unseen world. I have come upon the eternal ecstasy. I have gone beyond the ravages of time. I have become one with you!
Now my heart sings.

An Uncommon Love
by Terah Cox

May you have the love only two can know May you go where only two alone may go May the sun rise and set in your bonded hearts and the moon never find you too long apart
May you cherish each other’s dreams as your own
and turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones
May you brave life’s mountains and miles together
May there be no storm your love cannot weather
May you always be lovers and allies and friends
May you souls’ conversation never end
May you capture on earth what’s in heaven above
May your hearts know the rapture of an uncommon love.

Apache Wedding Prayer
Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no loneliness, for each of you will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you.
May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years.
May happiness be your companion, and your days together be good and long upon the earth.
Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together.

Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that your connection deserves.
When frustration, difficulty and fear assail your relationship – as they threaten all relationships
at one time or another – remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong.
In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Attics of My Life
by Robert Hunter

In the attics of my life
Full of cloudy dreams unreal
Full of tastes no tongue can know
And lights no eye can see
When there was no ear to hear
You sang to me
I have spent my life
Seeking all that’s still unsung
Bent my ear to hear the tune

And closed my eyes to see
When there were no strings to play
You played to me
In the book of love’s own dream
Where all the print is blood
Where all the pages are my days
And all my lights grow old
When I had no wings to fly
You flew to me

You flew to me
In the secret space of dreams
Where I dreaming lay amazed
When the secrets all are told
And the petals all unfold
When there was no dream of mine
You dreamed of me

Blessing for A Marriage
by James Dillet Freeman

May your marriage bring you all the exquisite excitements a marriage should bring, and may life grant you also patience, tolerance, and understanding.
May you always need one another – not so much to fill your emptiness as to help you to know your fullness.
A mountain needs a valley to be complete; the valley does not make the mountain less, but more; and the valley is more a valley because it has a mountain towering over it.
So let it be with you and you. May you need one another, but not out of weakness. May you want one another, but not out of lack. May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
May you embrace one another, but not out encircle one another. May you succeed in all important ways with one another, and not fail in the little graces. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!” and take no notice of small faults.
If you have quarrels that push you apart, may both of you hope to have good sense enough to take the first step back.
May you enter into the mystery which is the awareness of one another’s presence – no more physical than spiritual, warm and near when you are side by side, and warm and near when you are in separate rooms or even distant cities.
May you have happiness, and may you find it making one another happy. May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

I Love You
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…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 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
to make me happy.
You have done it
without a touch,
without a word,
without a sign.
You have done it
by being yourself.

I Will Be Here
by Steven Curtis Chapman

If in the morning when you wake,
If the sun does not appear,
I will be here.
If in the dark we lose sight of love,
Hold my hand and have no fear,
I will be here.
I will be here,
When you feel like being quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen. Through the winning, losing, and trying we’ll be together, And I will be here.
If in the morning when you wake,
If the future is unclear,
I will be here.
As sure as seasons were made for change, Our lifetimes were made for years,
I will be here.
I will be here,
And you can cry on my shoulder,
When the mirror tells us we’re older.
I will hold you, to watch you grow in beauty, And tell you all the things you are to me.
We’ll be together and I will be here.
I will be true to the promises I’ve made,
To you and to the one who gave you to me. I will be here.

I Would Know You Anywhere
Author Unknown

(Wonderful as part of a ring vow)
I would know you anywhere
I’ve come to tell you that I’ve found you again So wear the circle of my love
As we begin to continue what’s always been there. Of everything that glitters
Among all we have and hold
Don’t think that I don’t recognize
You here among the gold
Sometimes cares are many
Love helps to keep them small
The world might spin you round until you hardly recognize yourself at all
I don’t know much of living
And I don’t know how to die
and I surely don’t know how I got so blessed to have you by my wedded side.
But I would know you anywhere.

Love Is A Mighty Power
Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good.
Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.
It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all bitterness sweet and acceptable.
Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing stronger, nothing higher, nothing wider, nothing more pleasant, nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God.
Love flies, runs and leaps for joy. It is free and unrestrained. Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds. Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil, attempts things beyond its strength.
Love sees nothing as impossible, for it feels able to achieve all things. It is strange and effective while those who lack love faint and fail.
Love is not fickle and sentimental, nor is it intent on vanities. Like a living flame and a burning torch, it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.

Marriage Joins Two People in the Circle of Its Love
by Edmund O’Neill

Marriage is a commitment to life, the best that two people can find and bring out in each other. It offers opportunities for sharing and growth that no other relationship can equal. It is a physical and an emotional joining that is promised for a lifetime. Within the circle of its love, marriage encompasses all of life’s most important relationships.

A wife and husband are each other’s best friend, confidant, lover, teacher, listener and critic. And there may come times when one partner is heartbroken or ailing, and the love of the other may resemble the tender caring of a parent for a child. Marriage deepens and enriches every facet of life. Happiness is fuller, memories are fresher, commitment is stronger, even anger is felt more strongly and passes away more quickly.
Marriage understands and forgives the mistakes life is unable to avoid. It encourages and nurtures new life, new experiences and new ways of expressing a love that is deeper than life. When two people pledge their love and care for each other in marriage, they create a spirit unique unto themselves, which binds them closer than any spoken or written words. Marriage is a promise, a potential made in the hearts of two people who love each other and takes a lifetime to fulfill.

My Angels
As a child safe within the warmness of your embrace
Protected from the cold careless world outside
Through all the trials and tribulations that I would face
I knew that under your wings I could run and hide.
You have shown understanding and compassion throughout the years That ultimately would make me the person I should be.
After all the smiles and through all the tears
I was then blind, but now I finally see
I have two angels who have fallen from the sky.
Who would lift me up when I was down?
To fix my wings when I couldn’t fly
And to replace the smile that once was a frown.
You’ve wiped my tears with your gentle hand
Reassuring me that everything was going to be okay
I knew that no one else could ever understand
I could read your expression, you didn’t have to say.

I wish to be that child once more
But life goes on and I will stand tall
So when you need an angel, just knock on the door
And I will be your feet if ever you should fall

Nature Prayer
We give thanks for places of simplicity and peace.
Let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of refuge and beauty
Let us find such a place within ourselves.
We give thanks for places of nature’s truth and freedom, of joy, inspiration and renewal places
Where all creatures may find acceptance and belonging.
Let us search for these places: in the world, in ourselves and in other. Let us restore them. Let us strengthen and protect them and let us create them. May we mend this outer world according to the truth of our inner life and May our souls be shaped and nourished by nature’s eternal wisdom.

Never Enough
by Reanna Almeida

Sometimes I know the words to say To give thanks for all you’ve done But then they fly up and away
As quickly as they come.
How could I possibly thank you enough The one who makes me whole
The one to whom I owe my life
The forming of my soul.
The one who tucked me in at night The one who stopped my crying The one who was the expert
At picking me up when I was lying.
The one who saw me off to school And spent sad days alone
Yet magically produced a smile As soon as I came home.
The one who makes such sacrifices To always put me first
Who lets me test my broken wings In spite of how it hurts.
Who paints the world a rainbow When it’s filled with broken dreams Who explains it all so clearly
When nothing’s what it seems?
Are there really any words for this? I find this question tough….
Anything I want to say
Just doesn’t seem enough.
What way is there to thank you
For your heart, your sweat, your tears For ten thousand little things you’ve done For oh so many years.

For changing with me as I changed Accepting all my flaws
Not loving ‘cause you had to But loving just because.
For never giving up on me
When your wits had reached their end For always being proud of me For being my best friend.
And so I came to realize
The only way to say
The only thank you that’s enough Is clear in just one way.
Look at me before you
See what I’ve become.
Do you see yourself in me?
The job that you have done
All your hopes and all your dreams The strength that no one sees A transfer over many years
Your best was passed to me.
Thank you for the gifts you give For everything you do
But most of all, thank you
for making dreams come true.

On Marriage
from The Prophet by Kahil Gibran

You were born to be together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in your silent memory.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not bondage of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one other of your bread, but eat not of the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone, though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping,
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

On Your Wedding Day
Author Unknown

Today is a day you will always remember
The greatest in anyone’s life
You’ll start off the day just two people in love
And end it as Husband and Wife
It’s a brand new beginning the start of a journey
With moments to cherish and treasure

And although there’ll be times when you both disagree These will be surely outweighed by pleasure
You’ll have heard many words of advice in the past When the secrets of marriage were spoken
But you know that the answers lie hidden inside Where the bond of true love lies unbroken
So live happily forever as lovers and friends
It’s the dawn of a new life for you
As you stand there together with love in your eyes From the moment you whisper “I Do”
And with luck, all your hopes, and your dreams can be real May success find its way to your hearts
Tomorrow can bring you the greatest of joys
But today is the day it all starts

See Clearly
by Lao Tzu, 6th century B.C.

Your love is a great mystery.
It is like an eternal lake
Whose waters are always still and clear like glass. Looking into it you can see
The truth about your life.
It is like a deep well
Whose waters are cool and pure.
Drinking from it you can be reborn.
You do not have to stir the waters

Or dig the well.
Merely see yourself clearly
And drink deeply.

An excerpt from the novel The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

“When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. Something that exerted the same force whenever two pairs of eyes met, as had theirs here at the well. She smiled, and that was certainly an omen — the omen he had been awaiting, without even knowing he was, for all his life. The omen he had sought to find with his sheep and in his books, in the crystals and in the silence of the desert.
“It was the pure Language of the World. It required no explanation, just as the universe needs none as it travels through endless time. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. He was more certain of it than of anything in the world. He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.”

The Art of Marriage
A good marriage must be created.
In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things…
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say, “I love you” at least once each day.
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives;
It is standing together facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is finding room for the things of the spirit.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right partner, it’s being the right partner.

The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 3
by Mary Mackey

It’s easy to love through a cold spring
when the poles of the willows turn green
pollen falls like a yellow curtain
and the scent of Paper Whites clots the air
but to love for a lifetime takes talent
you have to mix yourself
with the strange beauty of someone else
wake each morning for 72,000 mornings in a row so breathed and bound and tangled
that you can hardly sort out
your arms and legs
you have to find forgiveness in everything even ink stains and broken cups
you have to be willing to move through life together the way the long grasses move in a field
when you careen blindly toward the other side
there’s never going to be anything
straight or predictable about your path
except the flattening and the springing back
you just go on walking for years
waist deep in the weeds
bent slightly forward hand in hand
like two question marks
and all the while it burns my dear
it burns beautifully above you
and goes on burning like a relentless sun

We Who Love You
Your parents, we who love you,
have looked on in joy, recognizing
that in your desire to create a future together you have discovered and have fostered
one another’s most endearing and enduring qualities.
The love we have for you is all embracing,
joyful, to see you turn toward one another’s light. Certain that you will tenderly support each other, aware that patience as much as passion
will nourish and maintain the bond between you. Certain also, that with care and courage
you will create a haven where each may grow and flourish as do all things in nature, given light and warmth.
We who watched over your childhood innocence with the most profound longing
to keep you from all hurt or harm,
no longer yearn toward that gift
which is not ours to give,
for we have learned that adversity
brings its own gifts of strength and of compassion. As you set out upon the path
which we have traveled, we stand beside you with every confidence in your resilience and strength.
As we once cradled you in strong young arms We hold you now, as strongly, sweetly, in our hearts. How very proud of you we are.
Know that you have our blessing,
As you know you have our love.

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you hang my first painting on the fridge and I wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you feed a stray cat,
and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I knew that little things are special things.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I heard you say a prayer,
and I believed that there was a God to talk to.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I felt you kiss me goodnight,
and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw tears come from your eyes,
and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s alright to cry.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I saw that you cared,
and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking,
I looked….
and I wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

Why Marriage?
by Mari Nichols

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’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine 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 marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements.
Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole.
Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage.
Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.

Words Cannot Express Enough
Mere words cannot express enough,
all the thanks we wish to say.
For sharing with us all the joy,
on a very special day.
A perfect day is one that’s spent,
with those who really care.
We’ll never face the world alone,
because we know you’re there.
Thank you for sharing our special day,
for your love and support along the way.
A new life together we now start,
and you have played a special part.
You helped to bring our dreams to life,
watched as we became husband and wife.
So we give our thanks and wishes too,
and all our love, from us, to you.

Bible Scripture
1 Corinthians 13
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Ruth 1: 16
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.”

Mark 10:6-9
But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. Therefore a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.

Romans 12:9-12
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Readings and Prayers