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Readings For A Civil Ceremony

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#1 Becky

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 08:00 PM

I am having a civil ceremony, which means that there cannot be any religious or spiritual references in the readings and music.

I'm always a bit stumped when it comes to thinking about readings, but found this yesterday and I think it's beautiful:

"Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two." - from Captain Corelli's Mandolin


When I googled for this, a lot of the time it said that the quote was by 'St Augustine' - I've not read Captain Corelli's Mandolin, any thoughts on why this is?

I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread where people can post other ideas for readings :)

If anyone else has found any other good readings, feel free to post them here! :lol:

#2 ElmoGrace

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 08:44 PM

I found this one - its an extract from Les Miserables which is suitable for civil ceremonies.
"You can give without loving but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be truly alone again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves."

My h2b loves Dante's Divine Comedy so I would like an extract from it to be read during the church service.
The love of God, unutterable and perfect, flows into a pure soul the way that light rushes into a transparent object. The more love that it finds, the more it gives itself; so that, as we grow clear and open, the more complete the joy of heaven is. And the more souls who resonate together, the greater the intensity of their love, and, mirror-like, each soul reflects the other."

#3 Anon_SA

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:24 AM

We weren't originally going to have a reading but our registrar suggested we should as our venue is so grand people would be expecting more than your average civil ceremony. So to make it truly personal, Richard's mum and dad are writing something and reading it together. I guess it's very fitting as where we got engaged is so important to their family and we were there with them when it happened!

I do however love both of those readings! To be honest I haven't looked around at any because I didn't think we were going to include one. Also I didn't think anything that exists already could convey anything about us :) so sorry it's all about the cheese today. ONE MONTH TODAY! 30 days!!

#4 Frogbitch

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 08:50 AM

Our Border collie puppy died on his 2nd birthday, two months before the wedding.
I hadn't found a reading I liked up to that point, but one of the ladies here found this for me.

Falling in love is like owning a dog
an epithalamion by Taylor Mali

First of all, it's a big responsibility,
especially in a city like New York.
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you're walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain't no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?

On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breathes
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.

Love doesn't like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.

Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.

Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know Don't you ever do that again!

Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you're all wound up and can't move.

But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.

Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops.

We played around with it a lttle to suit us better, but it really helped to make the ceremony more personal.

#5 Helen

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 05:58 PM

I let my dad choose the reading... I may regret it depending on what he chooses!

I think at the moment he is going with the owl and the pussycat which is quite witty as I'd already chosen a reading for the person marrying us to read which is about an owl, they may think we have an owl fettish... I think it is called No Mistake by Martha Sims although I might have just invented that in my head.

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#6 airy_fairy

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 03:13 PM

the captain corelli's mandolin one is beautiful but it's used a lot... I've only been to three weddings (in different parts of the country with entirely unconected groups of people) and it featured at every one... Our celebrant gave us loads of ides and poems/readings, I'll try and dig the list out :(

#7 airy_fairy

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 03:35 PM

OOOOOK, a long list,! It's really good though, fifty-odd readings and poems! here is what we have selected;

For Better, For Worse "It is not enough to love passionately: you must also love well. A passionate love is good doubtless, but a beautiful love is better. May you have as much strength as gentleness; may it lack nothing, not even forbearance, and let even a little compassion be mingled with it ….. you are human and, because of this, capable of much suffering. If then something of compassion does not enter into the feelings will not always befit all the circumstances of your life together; they will be like festive robes that will not shield you from wind and rain. We love truly only those we love even in their weakness and their poverty. To forbear, to forgive, to console – that alone is the science of love. " Anatole France

These I Can Promise

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. Mark Twain

A quote from the film ‘Shall we dance?’

We need a witness to our lives. There are a billion people on the planet...I mean, what does anyone’s life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything - the good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying, your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.
Now comes the knitting, the tying, entwining into one, Mysterious involvement of two, whole, separate people Into something altogether strange and changing, new and lovely. Nothing can ever be, we will never be, the same again: Not merged into each other irrevocably, but rather From now on we go the same way, in the same direction, Agreeing not to leave each other lonely or discouraged, or behind.
I will do my best to keep my promises, to treasure and to keep you warm; And we will make our wide bed beneath the bright And ragged quilt of all the yesterdays that make us who we are, The strengths and frailties we each bring to this marriage, And we will be rich indeed. Rowena Edlin-White

We are closing with a celtic blessing;

Peace of the running water to you,
Peace of the flowing air to you,
Peace of the quiet earth to you,
Peace of the shining stars to you,
and the love and the care from us all to you.

if you want a copy of all of them, then send me a message!

#8 MrsMay2011

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:51 PM

Bloody hell, I must be hormonal today, I'm all teary-eyed now after reading those! :(
Married 17th May 2011 in NYC

#9 Becky

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 07:58 PM

Those are lovely! :(

It's a shame about the Captain Correli's Mandolin one - I had no idea it was that popular. I hope everyone at my wedding hasn't heard it a million times before!!

#10 Zoe

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 08:17 AM

We've decided on the following reading for Steve's brother (who is one of the best men) to read: (He'd probably have a heart attack if it was any longer)

May this be the start of a happy new life
that’s full of special moments to share

May this be the first of your dreams come true
and of hope that will always be there

May this be the start of a lifetime of trust
and of caring that’s just now begun

May today be a day that you'll always remember
the day when your hearts become one...
Became Mrs Roberts 6th May 2011

#11 Sez

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 11:40 AM

Loving the mark twain one... might have to steal it

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#12 kennerturps

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Posted 17 April 2011 - 06:33 PM

We are getting married in a church but going to have two readings. One not religious and one religious... This is our none religious one!

The lovely love story by edward monkton

The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice.
Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.
Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.

I like this Dinosaur thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
Although he is fierce he is also tender and he is funny.
He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.

I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur, thought the Dinosaur.
She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice.
She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.

But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
He is also overly fond of things.
Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?

But her mind skips from here to there so quickly thought the Dinosaur.
She is also uncommonly keen on shopping.
Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?

I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things, thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.
For they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.

I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping, thought the Dinosaur.
For she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides,
I am not unkeen on shopping either.

Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.
Look at them.
Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.

And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.
For the sun is warm.
And the world is a beautiful place


#13 Becky

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Posted 18 April 2011 - 07:28 AM

That's brilliant! I love Edward Monkton :D

#14 marriageplan08

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 12:10 PM

I personally love this one by George Eliot

To Be One With Each Other
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories? :)

#15 Littlepurpleprincess

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 01:25 PM

My H2B has chosen this one. What do ya think?

To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia:

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt thou the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt, I love.

O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I have not art to reckon
my groans; but that I love thee best, O most best, believe it! Adieu.

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