Throw Back Thursday: A Selection of Non-Religious Readings

We all love this post – its brilliantly helpful when you’re looking for some inspiration on readings for your wedding that aren’t Corinthians! So here you go. First posted in 2013, our previous bride-to-be Charlie, now married and with a baby on the way, talked about picking readings for a non-religious ceremony. Over once again, to you Charlie…..x

Throw Back Thursday: A Selection of Non-Religious Readings


Hello lovely readers!

This week I am sharing with you some non-religious readings, a simple way of making a civil ceremony a lot more personal. Before I start, I almost feel like I should put a disclaimer on this post for those of you who have already selected your readings because of what happened to me!

Mark and I had chosen three readings, confirmed them with the registrar, found readers to read them and printed off our orders of ceremony and then about three nights before the wedding I came across this reading from Stardust (which was the first film Mark and I saw together- him under duress!) and I nearly cried because I loved it so much and couldn’t have it, so proceed with caution!

The Stardust reading

Yvaine: You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn’t true. I know a lot about love. I’ve seen it; I’ve seen centuries and centuries of it. It’s the only thing that made watching your world bearable.

All the wars, pain, lies, and hate, made me want to turn away and never look down again. But to see the way that mankind loves! I mean you could search the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful.

So, yes I know that love is unconditional, but I also know it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable, and strangely easy to mistake for loathing. And, well, what I’m trying to say, Tristan, is.. I think I love you.

My heart it feels like my chest can barely contain it, like it doesn’t belong to me anymore; it belongs to you, and if you wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange: no gifts, no goods, no demonstrations of devotion, nothing, but knowing you love me, too. Just your heart in exchange for mine.


As I mentioned above, we had three readings and I think they worked really well – we had a lot of comments about how personal our ceremony was and that was what I was hoping for. Deciding who will do the readings for you can be difficult! It is a daunting thing for some people to get up and speak in front of a room full of people and I know some people have found it hard to find willing volunteers!

Mark knew he wanted to ask his best man and as he’s a confident guy that was no problem, that left us with two. Initially I tested the water with my bridesmaids but as suspected they were all quite hesitant and I didn’t want anyone to do anything they weren’t totally comfortable with. I then thought about two other people close to me, my two cousins Jade and Amy. What with Amy being a teacher I was pretty sure that she would be fine, but Jade hates being the centre of attention so I was cautious about asking her but to my delight they both said yes and did an amazing job!

These were the readings we had:

But if those don’t float your boat (don’t worry I won’t be offended!) I have plenty more inspiration for you. This one comes from the lovely Budget-bride Sarah’s wedding: I love you much (most beautiful darling) by ee cummings and it is a beauty.

Dr Seuss fan’s this one is for you! Oh the places you’ll go makes a beautiful but light hearted reading, it is quite long though so you may want to have it abridged!

Do we have any couples with a Scottish connection? This is a great two person reading, with one person reading the application and one the appointment, preferably a married couple in my humble opinion:

Bidie-in by Diana Hendry and Hamish Whyte


O Let me be your bidie-in

And keep you close within

As dearest kith and kin

I promise I’d be tidy in

Whatever bed or bunk you’re in

I’d never ever drink your gin

I’d be your multi-vitamin

I’d wear my sexy tiger-skin

And play my love-sick mandolin

It cannot be a mortal sin

To be in such a dizzy spin

I’d like to get inside your skin

I’d even be your concubine

I hope you know I’m genuine

O let me be your bidie-in


Of course, you may be my bidie-in

You didn’t need to apply within

A braw new world’s about to begin

We’ll gang thegether through thick and thin

We’ll walk unscathed through burr & whin

If you’re to be my porcupin

I’ll just have to bear it and grin

I’ll be your sheik,your djinn

I’ll be yang to your yin

You’ll be my kitten,my mitten,my terrapin.

All night long we’ll make love’s sweet din

And never mind the wheelie-bin

In our romantic cinema there’ll be no FIN

And so I say again – you’re in- You’ve got the job of bidie in!

I absolutely love this one by Coulson Macleod, his typography prints are so beautiful! I also love this poem by Joyce Ebrecht, it makes me think of being an old married couple :) With that in mind I also found this one which brings tears to my eyes: The beauty of love.

If you are a book lover why not take an extract from your favourite book as a child? Even better if both of you have a favourite book and you can take a reading from each, I have seen it done with books such as Winnie the Pooh and The Velveteen Rabbit and I think it works so well.

I hope that by now you have found some inspiration but just in case you haven’t (as we are indeed a WELSH wedding blog!) I will leave you with the lovely Mi gerddi gyda thi complete with translation!

“Mi gerddaf gyda thi dros lwybrau maith
A blodau can a breuddwyd ar ein taith
I’th lygaid syllaf a dal dy law
Mi gerddaf gyda thi beth bynnag ddaw”.

“I will walk with you across distant paths
Flowers and dreams will bless our journey
Into your eyes I will gaze and holding your hand
I will walk with you whatever may come”.

Have you found readings that you love? Have you decided not to have readings? If you have any readings that I haven’t included (I know there are bound to be loads!) please share them in the comments box, I would love to read them and I’m sure our readers will too :)

Charlie x

23 thoughts on “Throw Back Thursday: A Selection of Non-Religious Readings”

  1. Lovely post Charlie. As a fellow ‘Classic’ I would like to add a pearl of hindsight-lit wisdom. DON’T FORGET TO MAKE SURE YOUR READERS ARE IN POSSESSION OF A COPY OF THE READING AT THE CEREMONY! And no that’s not accidental caps-lock. I’m actually shouting here.

    I didn’t realise my Mum didn’t have a printed copy of the reading on her until about 3 minutes before she was due to speak in the ceremony itself. It was my fault, I said I’d get a nicely printed hard copy to her in advance, but it totally slipped my mind. Thankfully, I snatched an unobtrusive moment to whisper the situation to our fantastic celebrant, Carole Renshaw who acted as the consummate pro she is and passed her own copy of the reading to my Mum. Not before the situation had managed to completely freak out both my Mum and I though. Gladly, my Mum handled it really well and no-one noticed but it was a rather unpleasant moment I’d rather have avoided!

    1. Oh my goodness Pip! Excellent advice! I forgot to say that we did give printed copies to our readers on the day but it’s something that could easily be forgotten in all the chaos x

  2. Another classic here.
    Love the stardust reading and the ones you chose Charlie.

    We went for one reading. I wish we’d had more, we didn’t realise quite how short the ceremony would be with just the three one.
    We had an extract of Love Monkey by Edward Monkton. I love it so much I’m thinking of getting it printed as a wall art for our first anniversary gift.

    We had chosen a German reading and were planning to have two people read it. One in German, one in English but couldn’t find anyone other then my husband who was a confident reader of German so that got shelved.

    I like the idea, if your registra agrees, to have vows or promises as readings if you’re going for a registry gig like we did. There’s so much id have liked to have said to Andrew on the day infront of everyone to show why we were marring and why I love him but it’s only with hindsight I realise this.

    Hardcopies are a must! Thankfully we had bought the book as a keepsake for our reader otherwise we to would have had a panic!

    Good luck to everyone looking!

    1. Ooh lovely idea on printing your chosen idea as an anniversary present! I’m totally stealing that! :-)

      Fab post Charlie! :-) x

    2. I love the idea of reading something to your groom/bride, but I would have totally fallen apart I think!
      Oh I forgot about Love Monkey, love that one!

  3. Dic Jones has a perfect Welsh version of the apache blessing – so lovely

    Priodas – Dic Jones

    Boed i chwi egni newydd
    Liw dydd yng ngwres yr haul,
    A thyner wawl y lleuad
    Liw nos i fwrw’r draul,
    A golched cynnes gawod law
    I ffwrdd eich gofid a phob braw.

    Chwythed awelon ysgafn
    I adnewyddu’ch nerth,
    Ac na foed i chwi lithro
    Lle byddo’r llwybrau’n serth.
    Boed i chwi ysgafn droedio’r byd
    Gan roi i’r ddaear barch o hyd.

    Corwynt na thywydd garw
    Eich taro mwy ni all
    Tra bo’ch yng nghwmni’ch gilydd
    Yn gysgod naill i’r llall,
    A phan fo llwydrew’n cwmpo’r mes
    Mi fydd y nailll i’r llall yn wres.

    Dwy galon, un dyhead,
    Dwy dafod ond un iaith,
    Dwy raff yn cydio’n ddolen,
    Dau enaid ond un taith.
    Mi fydd cwmniiaeth yn parhau,
    Nid oes unigrwydd lle bo dau.

    Rhagoch i’ch papell bellach
    I gadw tân ynghynn,
    Y drws i bawb yn agor
    A’r holl linynau’n dynn.
    Doed eich breuddwydion oll yn wir,
    Boed fyr eich llid a’ch cof yn hir.

  4. Aaaaah I adore Stardust and couldn’t believe I missed Yvain’s monologue until AFTER our wedding. I hope someone reads this and decides to include it in their special day – so beautiful x

  5. Great post MRS Charlie! We had one short and sweet reading. It was a personal joke really. When we got together I lived with a group of Sex in the City obsessed girls. He’ll hate me for saying but Gareth is partial to an episode or two himself. My friend Ellen read Carrie’s Poem from the show…

    His hello was the end of her endings
    Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
    His hand would be hers to hold forever
    His forever was as simple as her smile

    He said she was what was missing
    She said instantly she knew
    She was a question to be answered
    And his answer was “I do”

    Without agreeing to her saying it the registrar introduced the reading as “Gareth’s favourite from his favourite show” It was pretty funny!


  6. Thank you Charlie for mentioning ‘What Is Love?’ – it does make a beautiful reading & we have many brides who ask if they can use it. Of course, we’re so thrilled by this. The words were actually written by the Coulson half of the business (which is Mark) about falling in love with me (I’m the Macleod half of the business). Needless to say I married him :)


      1. Fabulous ideas! I had a look online myself and found a lovely poem but I can’t find it again! It was about the ceremony so mentioned bride walking down the aisle, looking nervous etc and was really sweet but ended with a line about the bride and groom wanting to go to the bar. Anyone know what I mean??

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  10. Might seem funny an Aussie looking at a Welsh blog. But I am proud of my Welsh heritage. My Grandfather immigrated to Australia in 1922 and died March 1965, four and a half years before I was born. I know he is always with me, at times I feel his presence. In September, after 2 failed marriages, I marry my high school sweetheart. Something I should have done 25 years ago. As part of the ceremony, I am including some Welsh elements. An oathing stone and a welsh poem. I found the site looking for an appropriate poem and love “Mi gerddi gyda thi”. I will use it during the wedding, unfortunately in English as I don’t know Welsh (if I did I would read it in both Welsh and English). I am having the stone engraved, I am hoping to get an accurate translation to engrave the stone in Welsh. I’m not sure if google translator gives an accurate translation. The English version of what I want on the stone is: ” Today, all that I am and all that I have, I give to you”.
    If anybody could translate it to Welsh I would be extreme grateful.

    Bruce Roberts

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