Trying to Google “non-religious wedding readings” or “alternative wedding readings” brings you to a BUNCH of different websites, with no real, concise display of options. A million years ago I did this search myself, and landed on a SUPER LONG thread over on Offbeat Bride – but I just knew there had to be an easier way (or place) to list these. So when my co-worker asked me last week for some suggestions on nonreligious and alternative wedding readings, I knew just where to go – Facebook. Thanks to my amazing fans, I have a GREAT roundup of alternative wedding readings from literature, poems, songs, movies, and MORE. Check out the list we have (and leave us comments to continue adding to this post!).

The Best Nontraditional & Nonreligious Wedding Ceremony Readings

offbeat alternative wedding readings

[Anne & Jessica’s Summer Garden Wedding by Photo Lady Love]


From Literature:

William Shakespeare: Sonnet 116

The Irrational Season By Madeleine L’Engle

A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton

To Love Is Not To Possess by James Kavanaugh

Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

To Keep Your Marriage Brimming – Ogden Nash

From Poetry:

On Friendship by Roy Croft

How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog by Taylor Mali

Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

I’ll Always Belong to Myself by Rex X

The Master Speed by Robert Frost (originally written by him for his own daughter’s wedding!)

From Quotes:

Love Is… by Captain Corellis Mandolin

Instructions For Life In The New Millennium – by His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama

From Movies:

I vow to help you love life, to always hold you with tenderness, to have the patience that love demands, to speak when words are needed, and to share the silence when they are not, to agree to disagree about red velvet cake, to live within the warmth of your heart, and always call it home – from THE VOW


Ok  – keep adding! What did I miss!?

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  1. One of our recent Pop Wed couples asked for this blessing to be read from the book of Pagan rituals. It was so beautiful!

    “Above you are the stars. Below you are the stones. As time does pass, remember: Like a star should your love be constant. Like a stone should your love be firm. Be close, yet not too close. Possess one another, yet be understanding. Have patience each with the other. For storms will come, but they will also go quickly. Be free in giving of affection and warmth. Be sensuous to one another. Have no fear, and let not the ways of the unenlightened give you unease. For the spirit is with you now, and always. Blessed be.”

  2. So I know we talked about the court hearing overturning a marriage ban, and I’m doing all this research and I don’t think I’m finding the one I’ve heard (multiple times!)

    This is from the 2003 Massachusetts ruling:
    Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support.
    Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family. Because it fulfils yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.
    It is undoubtedly for these concrete reasons, as well as for its intimately personal significance, that civil marriage has long been termed a “civil right.” Without the right to choose to marry one is excluded from the full range of human experience.

    I cannot for the life of me find another one, so this must be it!

    1. Oh HEY Amber! I came down to the comments just now for the sole purpose of posting the MA ruling quote! Great minds, as they say…

  3. These two poems (or excerpts) by Jon Sands: Epithalamion: For Mollie and my Brother Jacob, and Epithalamion: For Ben and Wendell on their Wedding Day. Both are beautiful, and full of warmth and love. I hesitate to put the texts here due to copyright laws, but a quick google search will bring you to them! (Some of the first google links will be sound recordings, but there are written versions that will pop up, too.)

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