Wedding Readings and Poems
Some of these poems and readings have been passed down through generations and may not always quite fit in with today’s language or terminology. Please note that the wording can easily be altered to fit into each couple’s identity. We can work with each other to create the reading or poem which is special to you both.
A Good Wedding Cake
4lb of love
1/2lb of sweet temper
1lb of butter of youth
1lb of blindness of faults
1lb of pounded wit
1lb of good humour
2lbs of sweet argument
1 pint of rippling laughter
1 wine glass of common sense
A dash of modesty
Put the love, good looks and a sweet temper into a well-furnished house.
Beat the butter of youth into a cream and mix well together with the blindness of faults.
Stir the pounded wit and good humour into the sweet argument, then add the rippling laughter and common sense.
Work the whole together until everything is well mixed and bake gently for ever.
He’s not perfect by Bob Marley
“He’s not perfect.
You aren’t either, and the two of you will never be perfect.
But if he can make you laugh at least once, causes you to think twice, and if he admits to being human and making mistakes, hold onto him and give him the most you can.
He isn’t going to quote poetry, he’s not thinking about you every moment, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you could break.
Don’t hurt him, don’t change him, and don’t expect for more than he can give.
Smile when he makes you happy, yell when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there.
Love hard when there is love to be had.
Because perfect guys don’t exist, but there’s always one guy that is perfect for you.”
The Hands – Author Unknown
Please face each other and take each other’s hands, so that you may see the gift that they are to you. These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow and forever. These are the hands that will work alongside yours as together you build your future.
These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other. These are the hands that will hold you when fear or grief temporarily comes to you. These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes, tears of sorrow and tears of joy.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children, the hands that will join your family as one. These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it, support and encouragement to pursue your dreams, and comfort through difficult times.
And lastly, these are the hands that even when wrinkled and aged will still be reaching for yours, still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
“The Hungering Dark” – Frederick Buechner
Matrimony is called holy, because this brave and fateful promise of a man and a woman, to love and honour and serve each other through thick and thin, looks beyond itself to more fateful promises still, and speaks mightily of what human life at its most human and most alive and most holy must always be. Every wedding is a dream, and every word that is spoken there means more than it says, and every gesture – the clasping of hands, the giving of rings–is rich with mystery. And so, we hope with every bride and groom, that the love they bear one another, and the joy they take in one another, may help them grow in love for this whole world where their final joy lies.
“You Were Born Together” – Khalil Gibran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond 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 another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone, even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the land 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.
“Sooner or Later” – Anonymous
Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines, and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favorite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all–one known only by those who love.
“Yes, I’ll Marry You” By Pam Ayres
Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear.
And here’s the reason why;
So I can push you out of bed
When the baby starts to cry,
And if we hear a knocking
And it’s creepy and it’s late,
I hand you the torch you see,
And you investigate.
Yes, I’ll marry you, my dear,
You may not apprehend it,
But when the tumble-drier goes
It’s you that has to mend it,
You have to face the neighbour
Should our labrador attack him,
And if a drunkard fondles me
It’s you that has to whack him.
Yes, I’ll marry you,
You’re virile and you’re lean,
My house is like a pigsty
You can help to keep it clean.
That sexy little dinner
Which you served by candlelight,
As I do chipolatas,
You can cook it every night!
It’s you who has to work the drill
and put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so before you see the light,
I do, I do, I do!
“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 a 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 or 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, 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 fulfil.
“The Good-Morrow” by John Donne
I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
‘Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.
And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world; each hath one, and is one.
My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die
An Excerpt From “The Master Speed” by Robert Frost
Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.
From “Maud” by Alfred Tennyson
There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, “She is near, she is near;”
And the white rose weeps, “She is late;”
The larkspur listens, “I hear, I hear;”
And the lily whispers, “I wait.”
She is coming, my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead,
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.
“She Walks in Beauty” – Lord Byron
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face:
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!
“To Be One With Each Other” – George Eliot
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labour, 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?
“A White Rose” – John Boyle O’Reilly
The red rose whispers of passion,
And the white rose breathes of love;
O, the red rose is a falcon,
And the white rose is a dove.
But I send you a cream-white rosebud
With a flush on its petal tips;
For the love that is purest and sweetest
Has a kiss of desire on the lips
“Love Is A Great Thing” – Thomas à Kempis
Love is a great thing, yea, a great and thorough good. By itself it makes that is heavy light; and it bears evenly all that is uneven.
It carries a burden which is no burden; it will not be kept back by anything low and mean; it desires to be free from all worldly affections, and not to be entangled by any outward prosperity, or by any adversity subdued.
Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble, attempts what is above its strength, pleads no excuse of impossibility. It is therefore able to undertake all things, and it completes many things, and warrants them to take effect, where he who does not love would faint and lie down.
Though weary, it is not tired; though pressed it is not straitened; though alarmed, it is not confounded; but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.
Love is active and sincere, courageous, patient, faithful, prudent and manly.
“I Love You” – Carl Sandberg (also called “The Mother’s Day Poem”)
I love you for what you are, but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.
I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals. I pray for your desires that they may be great, rather than for your satisfactions, which may be so hazardously little.
A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall. The most beautiful rose is one hardly more than a bud wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for a larger and finer growth. Not always shall you be what you are now. You are going forward toward something great. I am on the way with you and therefore I love you.
“I Love You” – Roy Croft
I love you
Not only for who 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 drawing out, into the light all the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked quite far enough to find.
You have done it without a touch, without a word, without a sign.
“To Love Is Not to Possess” – James Kavanaugh
To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison,
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony,
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.
“Fidelity” – D.H. Lawrence
Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.
Older than flowers, older than ferns,
older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.
And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks
of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,
a man’s heart and a woman’s,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.
The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.
“Coming Home” – Mary Oliver
When we’re driving, in the dark,
on the long road
to Provincetown, which lies empty
for miles, when we’re weary,
when the buildings
and the scrub pines lose
their familiar look,
I imagine us rising
from the speeding car,
I imagine us seeing
everything from another place — the top
of one of the pale dunes
or the deep and nameless
fields of the sea —
and what we see is the world
that cannot cherish us
but which we cherish,
and what we see is our life
moving like that,
along the dark edges
of everything — the headlights
sweeping the blackness —
believing in a thousand
fragile and unprovable things,
looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping
barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me.
“Sonnet from the Portuguese, XLIII” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Excerpt #1 from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gabran
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond 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 another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one 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.
Excerpt #2 from “The Prophet” by Khalil Gabran
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.
From I Corinthians 13:4-7,
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
Does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
“The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or steep mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle,
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs,
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.
The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.
“Wedding Prayer” by Robert Louis Stevenson
Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank you for this place in which we dwell,
for the love that unites us,
for the peace accorded us this day,
for the hope with which we expect the morrow,
for the health, the work, the food,
and the bright skies that make our lives delightful;
for our friends in all parts of the earth.
“Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman
Allons! the road is before us!
It is safe—I have tried it—my own feet have tried it well—be not detained!
Let the paper remain on the desk unwritten, and the book on the
Let the tools remain in the workshop! let the money remain unearned!
Let the school stand! mind not the cry of the teacher!
Let the preacher preach in his pulpit! let the lawyer plead in the
court, and the judge expound the law.
I give you my hand!
I give you my love more precious than money,
I give you myself before preaching or law;
Will you give me yourself? will you come travel with me?
Shall we stick by each other as long as we live??
An Irish Wedding Blessing
You are the star of each night,
You are the brightness of every morning,
You are the story of each guest,
You are the report of every land.
No evil shall befall you, on hill nor bank,
In field or valley, on mountain or in glen.
Neither above, nor below, neither in sea,
Nor on shore, in skies above,
Nor in the depths.
You are the kernel of my heart,
You are the face of my sun,
You are the harp of my music,
You are the crown of my company?
“A Dedication to My Wife” by T.S. Eliot
To whom I owe the leaping delight
That quickens my senses in our waking time
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleeping time,
The breathing in unison
Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
Who think the same thoughts without need of speech
And babble the same speech without need of meaning.
No peevish winter wind shall chill
No sullen tropic sun shall wither
The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only
But this dedication is for others to read:
These are private words addressed to you in public.
“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more that whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persevere,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
“The Bargain” by Sir Philip Sidney
My true love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driven:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.
His heart in me keeps him and me in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides:
He loves my heart, for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides:
My true love hath my heart, and I have his.
Scottish Wedding Prayer
Lord help us to remember when
We first met and the strong
love that grew between us.
To work that love into
practical things so that nothing
can divide us.
We ask for words both kind
and loving and hearts always
ready to ask forgiveness
as well as to forgive.
Dear Lord, we put our
marriage into your hands
“Sudden Light” by Dante Rosetti
I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore.
You have been mine before,
How long ago I may not know:
But just when at that swallow’s soar
Your neck turned so,
Some veil did fall—I knew it all of yore.
Has this been thus before?
And shall not thus time’s eddying flight
Still with our lives our love restore
In death’s despite,
And day and night yield one delight once more?
Genesis 1:26-28: Be Fruitful and Multiply
Your wedding day represents the start of your new family. You are making a commitment to your spouse, but also to fulfil God’s command to continue the cycle of life by bringing children into the world.
“God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’ God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.”
Genesis 2:18-24: It Is Not Good That Man Should Be Alone
Just like you may have searched for your new spouse, God searched for a suitable partner for man. A marriage really is a partnership, one in which you will be there for one another with all the love and support you have to give.
“18 Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.'”
“21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.’ 24 Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
Genesis 9:8-17: The Rainbow and God’s Covenant with Noah
The covenant that you make with one another today is an echo of the covenant that God made with everyone on Earth. Like the rainbow is a symbol of God’s promise, your rings are symbols of your everlasting oath to love, honour, and cherish one another.
“12 God said, ‘This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.'”
Genesis 24:58-67: The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah
If one of you has lost a parent, you might find this an especially appropriate wedding reading. Though Rebekah and Isaac have an arranged marriage, they find love in one another and Isaac finds the support he needed.
“58 And they called Rebekah, and said to her, ‘Will you go with this man?’ She said, ‘I will.'”
“67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. He took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her. So, Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.”
Joshua 24:15: As for Me and My Household, We Will Serve the Lord
This may be a brief verse, but the sentiment comes across wonderfully. It is another way for a couple to signify that they are committed in their union to following God’s teachings and passing that on to their children.
“Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Ruth 1:16-17: Your People Shall Be My People
Though Ruth is talking to her mother-in-law, the commitment she makes is poignant. She is swearing her commitment to her husband’s family the way that modern couples do to each other. You can take this as both an oath to each other and to the families that you are binding with your marriage.
“16 But Ruth said, ‘Do not press me to leave you or to turn back from following you! Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die, I will die—there will I be buried. May the Lord do this and so to me, and more as well, if even death parts me from you!'”
Proverbs 3:1-6: Do Not Let Loyalty and Faithfulness Forsake You
A wedding is a transition between stages of life. It’s a time when parents often give advice about what lies ahead. Though you are not children when you get married, it’s a good time to be reminded of the need to trust in the Lord.
“1 My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; 2 for length of days and years of life, and abundant welfare they will give you. 3 Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them round your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favour and good repute in the sight of God and of people. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8: For Everything There Is a Season
“1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: 2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12: Two Are Better Than One
“9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Song of Solomon 2:10-13: Arise, My Love, My Fair One, and Come Away.
“10 My beloved speaks and says to me: ‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; 11 for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. 12 flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. 13 The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.'”
Song of Solomon 8:6-7: Set Me as a Seal Upon Your Heart
“6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If one offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned.”
Isaiah 32:2: Each Will Be Like a Hiding Place
“Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a cover from the tempest, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.”
Isaiah 54:10-14: My Steadfast Love Will Not Depart from You
“10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.”
“14 In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you.”
Isaiah 61:10-11: As a Bridegroom Decks Himself with a Garland
“10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.”
Jeremiah 33:10-11: There Shall Once More Be Heard the Voices of the Bride and Bridegroom
“11 the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voices of those who sing, as they bring thank-offerings to the house of the Lord: ‘Give thanks to the Lord of hosts, for the Lord is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever!’ For I will restore the fortunes of the land as at first, says the Lord.”
Tobit 8:4-9: Grant That We May Grow Old Together
“4 Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, ‘Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grants us mercy and safety.’ So, she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe.”
“7 I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.”
Sirach 26:1-4: Happy Is the Husband of a Good Wife
“1 Happy is the husband of a good wife; the number of his days will be doubled. 2 A loyal wife brings joy to her husband, and he will complete his years in peace. 3 A good wife is a great blessing; she will be granted among the blessings of the man who fears the Lord. 4 Whether rich or poor, his heart is content, and at all times his face is cheerful.”
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
My beloved responded and said to me,
‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along. ‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
‘The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
‘The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.
Arise, my darling, my beautiful one,
And come along!’
Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labour.
For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Furthermore, if two lie down together, they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone?
And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back 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 I will be buried. Thus, may the LORD do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.”
- If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
- If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
- And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
- Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
- Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
- For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
- When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
- For now, we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
- But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.
By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.
We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.
We love, because He first loved us.
Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.
From the Talmud (Ketubot 8a)
Blessed art though, O Lord, King of the Universe, who created mirth and joy, bridegroom and bride, gladness, jubilation, dancing, and delight, love and brotherhood, peace and fellowship. Quickly, O Lord our God, may the sound of mirth and joy be heard in the streets of Judah and Jerusalem, the voice of bridegroom and bride, jubilant voices of bridegrooms from their canopies and youths from the feasts of song. Blessed art though, O Lord, who makes the bridegroom rejoice with the bride.
A Hebrew Wedding Prayer
Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hath created joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, mirth and exultation, pleasure and delight, love and brotherhood, peace and friendship. May there soon be heard in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of joy and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the jubilant voice of bridegrooms from the wedding canopy, and of youths from their feasts of song. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who gives the Bridegroom joy in his bride.
The Seven Benedictions (the Sheva Brachot)
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe who hast created the fruit of the vine.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe who has created all things for His glory.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, creator of man.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe who hast made man in his image, after his likeness, and hast prepared for him, out of his very self, a perpetual fabric.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord, creator of man.
May she who was barren be exceedingly glad and rejoice when her children are united in her midst in joy. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who makes Zion joyful through her children.
O Lord make these beloved companions greatly rejoice even as Thou didst rejoice at Thy creation in the Garden of Eden as of old. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who makest bridegroom and bride to rejoice.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has created joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, mirth and exultation, pleasure and delight, love, brotherhood, peace, and fellowship. Soon may there be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of joy and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the jubilant voice of the bridegrooms from the canopies, and of youths from their feasts of song.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord who makest the bridegroom to rejoice with the bride.
Song of Solomon, from the Old Testament
I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine.
My beloved speaks and says to me: Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away; for lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom; they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely. Set me as a seal upon your heart and seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy cruel as the grave.
It flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly scorned. I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine.
The True Nature of Soul Mates
The Zohar, book of Jewish Mysticism Each soul and spirit, prior to it’s entering into this word, consist of male and female united into one being. When it descends on this earth the two parts separate and animate two different bodies. At the time of Marriage, The Holy One, blessed he be, who knows all souls and spirits, unites them again as there were before, and they again constitute one body and one soul, forming as it were the right and left of one individual.
A New Seven Blessings from “The New Jewish Wedding”
By Anita Diamant
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, expressing our appreciation for this wine, symbol, and aid of our rejoicing.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, realizing that each separate moment and every distinct object point to and shares in this oneness.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, recognizing and appreciating the blessing of being human.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, realizing the special gift of awareness that permits us to perceive this unity and the wonder we experience as a man and a woman joined to live together.
May rejoicing resound throughout the world as the homeless are given homes, persecution and oppression cease, and all people learn to live in peace with each other and in harmony with their environment.
From the Divine, source of all energy, we call forth an abundance of love to envelop this couple. May they be for each other lovers and friends, and may their love partake of the same innocence, purity, and sense of discovery that we imagine the first couple to have experienced.
We acknowledge the Unity of all within the sovereignty of God, and we highlight today joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, delight and cheer, love and harmony, peace and companionship. May we all witness the day when the dominant sounds through the world will be these sounds of happiness, the voices of lovers, the sounds of feasting and singing.
Praised is love; blessed be this marriage. May the bride and bridegroom rejoice together.
Secular Seven Benedictions
Blessed is the wonder of creation, the earth, the provider of all things. May you be inspired each day by the abundance of the natural world, by science and technology, as well as art, music, literature, and creative expression.
Blessed is the essence of humankind. People have the capacity for love and friendship, generosity, kindness, and compassion. May you express these qualities freely and be blessed to receive them throughout your lives.
Blessed is the design of humankind. The diversity of humanity is remarkable: out of the same basic shape, infinite variations. May you find comfort in the similarities shared by all of the world’s cultures and celebrate the qualities which make us different.
Blessed is the joy of this gathering. Despite its blessings, we live in a broken world. May you be blessed to live in a world where there is food for those who are hungry, homes for those who are homeless, freedom for those who are oppressed, and peace and equality for all.
Blessed is the joy of lovers. Today we celebrate with this couple as they freely unite in marriage. May you live in a world where this freedom is extended to all couples, allowing anyone to marry without judgment, impediment, or persecution.
Blessed is the joy of gladness and celebration. With the breaking of the glass, today’s ceremony will end, and celebration begin. As we shout “Mazel Tov” let us wish good luck for this couple and make this wish for ourselves and our loved ones: May every day be full of happiness, love, friendship, harmony, laughter, and rejoicing.
Blessed is the human capacity for joy, embodied in the symbol of wine. The ritual of drinking wine at Jewish celebrations is an expression of joy and sanctification. May you find something to celebrate every day of your life and may your cup runneth over.
Another Secular Seven Blessings
Praised be the enlightened one amongst humans, who understands that the world was not created for him.
Praised be the one who is thankful for the evolution of humans.
Praised be the one, who loves all humans as one’s self, as one’s very own self, and loves every human as one loves one’s spouse. Praised be the one who is thankful for the evolution of humans.
Let the barren (city) be joyful and exulted at the ingathering of her children into her midst in gladness. Praised be the one who shares in the gladness of Zion at the return of her children.
Let us gladden the loving couple, (so they may enjoy gladness) like the legendary gladness of paradise. Praised be the one, who gladdens the bridegroom and the bride.
Praised be those who increase, joy and gladness, bridegroom and bride, exultation, song, pleasure and delight, love and brotherhood, peace and friendship. May there soon be heard, all over the world, as in the cities of Judea and as in the streets of Jerusalem, the sound of joy and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the happy shouting of bridegrooms from their weddings and of young men and women from their song-filled feasts. Praised be the one, who causes the bridegroom and bride to be glad together.
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