What Is the Very Best Reading for a Wedding?


Princess Bride's The Impressive Clergy
An excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit. The one about loving until your fur falls off.
I asked 2 of my favorite people to read Mr Rogers' "It's You I Like." It was really lovely.
I worked as a docent in a non-denominational church for a couple of years. Although it might not be best, readings of Kahil Gibran are (or were) very popular.
it is sappy but the we read the being real piece from the velveteen rabbit and I am a scientist....
“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.”
Mark Twain On Masturbation
We used Us Two by A.A. Milne.
The Goodridge decision legalizing same sex marriage in Massachusetts. Lots of good stuff there about what marriage really means.
My scientist brother-in-law read the lyrics to The Magnetic Fields' "The Book of Love" at our wedding. It was perfect.
I want to "Like" No. 8.
Read the lyrics to Broken Wings by Mr Mister as poetry.
It doesn't matter. I had two people read at my wedding and have no recollection of a single word that came out of either of their mouths.
I did the Princess Bride clery speech for my friends Liz and Henae when they got married. brought down the house.

also: wedding ceremony readings from the movies
From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – by Louis Bernieres:
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.

Or political:
wedding ceremony readings – from court documents
From “Goodridge Vs. Department of Health” – Massachusetts Supreme Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall
Marriage is a vital social institution. The exclusive commitment of two individuals to each other nurtures love and mutual support; it brings stability to our society. For those who choose to marry, and for their children, marriage provides an abundance of legal, financial, and social benefits. In return it imposes weighty legal, financial, and social obligations….Without question, civil marriage enhances the “welfare of the community.” It is a “social institution of the highest importance.” ... Marriage also bestows enormous private and social advantages on those who choose to marry. 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.
Love is Not All, by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.
also good:
Mayonnaise jar and golf balls reading
For all you philosophical brides-to-be, this quirky wedding reading is a tad long but it’s definitely worth the read.

When things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with an unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things–your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions–and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car.

The sand is everything else–the small stuff. “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

“Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your spouse out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first–the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked.

It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a few beers with a friend.”
and the Bible is never a bad place to go, right?

Ezekiel 23:19 Yet she increased her prostitution, remembering the days of her youth when she engaged in prostitution in the land of Egypt. She lusted after their genitals – as large as those of donkeys, and their seminal emission was as strong as that of stallions.
People do "readings" at weddings? Huh. Y'all are weird.
I get you 5280, play-act and have the father-in-law point a shotgun at the groom's back. Kiley and Goldie can analyze the proceedings.
You didnt mention if these smart people were heteros or homos, but here is the language of the 1921 bill before parliment in the UK discussing criminalization of lesbian behavior. The bill failed, because criminalizing might make women want to be lesbians.

It contains this phrase, which you have to admit is terrific all the way around. "I am sure that a prosecution would really be a very great public danger. Is there any necessity fur it? How many people does one suppose really are so vile, so unbalanced, so neurotic, so decadent as to do this? You may say there are a number of them, but it would be, at most, an extremely small minority, and you are going to tell the whole world that there is such an offence, to bring it to the notice of women who have never heard of it, never thought of it, never dreamed of it."

Some great suggestions- I may steal one of these ideas for my upcoming wedding to The Future Mrs. Dr. Awesome. Thanks everyone!
“I am magnificently prepared for the long littleness of life. There is diddley-squat for me to look forward to. Zilch, zero, zip-all, sweet lipperty-pipperty nothing. The only thought that will give me the energy to carry on is that someone has a life which would be diminished by my departure from it.”
-Stephen Fry
oh, that's right, you're not an original thinker. Not a creative bonewrench below your monkey head.
A Blessing in Disguise, John Ashberry.


But The Owl & the Pussycat works, too...
"A Lovely Love Story" by Edward Monkton.

This article has a ton of really good suggestions, too: http://offbeatbride.com/2011/05/wedding-…
We used the Captain Corelli’s Mandolin piece that @16 quoted, and another piece by Miss Manners:

"While exclusionary interest in one other human being, which is what we call courtship, is all very exciting in the stages of discovery, there is not enough substance in it for a lifetime, no matter how fascinating the people or passionate the romance. The world, on the other hand, is chock full of interesting and curious things. The point of the courtship — marriage — is to secure someone with whom you wish to go hand in hand through this source of entertainment, each making discoveries, and then sharing some and merely reporting others. Anyone who tries to compete with the entire world, demanding to be someone's sole source of interest and attention, is asking to be classified as a bore. "Why don't you ever want to talk to me?" will probably never start a satisfactory marital conversation. "Guess what?" will probably never fail."
Bethany! Skip out of your important meeting! We need a Slog Poll drawn up!

I have used the section out of the Book of Ruth in the Bible, where Ruth tells her Mother in Law that she won't be separated from her.

Ruth 1:15-18:

15 Naomi said to Ruth: Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and her gods. Return after your sister-in-law.

16 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.

17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may God do to me, and worse, for death alone shall part us.

18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said no more to her.

The thing I like about it is the determination, the choice that is made. "Where you go, I will go... your people will be my people, your god my god..." Ruth is making a choice and screw what anyone else says.

That is how I think of partnerships. They are a choice made between the couple where each one takes up the other's life and attachments. They do become one person, but not because of some mystical mumbo jumbo, but because that other person is so damn important to them that they are willing to take all of them, the good, the bad, the ugly and all.
@27 I came to suggest A Lovely Love Story, as it will soon be read at my wedding.
I got married 11 days ago and we did a reading from Plato's Symposium (It's the part about how humans used to be joined together and the gods got pissed and split them up, so love is the pursuit of your former other half.).

But we own A Lovely Love Story and now I'm thinking we should have read it, as our invitations and some decorations were dinosaur-themed.
From The Irrational Season
By Madeleine L'Engle

" But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take. It is indeed a fearful gamble. Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take.If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation. It takes a lifetime to learn another person. When love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected."
Marriage, by Gregory Corso. Here are the first two stanzas:

Should I get married? Should I be Good?
Astound the girl next door with my velvet suit and faustaus hood?
Don't take her to movies but to cemeteries
tell all about werewolf bathtubs and forked clarinets
then desire her and kiss her and all the preliminaries
and she going just so far and I understanding why
not getting angry saying You must feel! It's beautiful to feel!
Instead take her in my arms lean against an old crooked tombstone
and woo her the entire night the constellations in the sky--

When she introduces me to her parents
back straightened, hair finally combed, strangled by a tie,
should I sit knees together on their 3rd degree sofa
and not ask Where's the bathroom?
How else to feel other than I am,
often thinking Flash Gordon soap--
O how terrible it must be for a young man
seated before a family and the family thinking
We never saw him before! He wants our Mary Lou!
After tea and homemade cookies they ask What do you do for a living?
Should I tell them? Would they like me then?
Say All right get married, we're losing a daughter
but we're gaining a son--
And should I then ask Where's the bathroom?
O God, and the wedding! All her family and her friends
and only a handful of mine all scroungy and bearded
just waiting to get at the drinks and food--
And the priest! He looking at me if I masturbated
asking me Do you take this woman for your lawful wedded wife?
And I trembling what to say say Pie Glue!
I kiss the bride all those corny men slapping me on the back
She's all yours, boy! Ha-ha-ha!
And in their eyes you could see some obscene honeymoon going on--

then all that absurd rice and clanky cans and shoes
Niagara Falls! Hordes of us! Husbands! Wives! Flowers! Chocolates!
All streaming into cozy hotels
All going to do the same thing tonight
The indifferent clerk he knowing what was going to happen
The lobby zombies they knowing what
The whistling elevator man he knowing
The winking bellboy knowing
Everybody knowing! I'd be almost inclined not to do anything!
Stay up all night! Stare that hotel clerk in the eye!
Screaming: I deny honeymoon! I deny honeymoon!
running rampant into those almost climatic suites
yelling Radio belly! Cat shovel!
O I'd live in Niagara forever! in a dark cave beneath the Falls
I'd sit there the Mad Honeymooner devising ways to break marriages, a scourge of
bigamy a saint of divorce--
But I should get married I should be good
How nice it'd be to come home to her
and sit by the fireplace and she in the kitchen
aproned young and lovely wanting by baby
and so happy about me she burns the roast beef
and comes crying to me and I get up from my big papa chair
saying Christmas teeth! Radiant brains! Apple deaf!
God what a husband I'd make! Yes, I should get married!
So much to do! like sneaking into Mr Jones' house late at night
and cover his golf clubs with 1920 Norwegian books
Like hanging a picture of Rimbaud on the lawnmower
like pasting Tannu Tuva postage stamps all over the picket fence
like when Mrs Kindhead comes to collect for the Community Chest
grab her and tell her There are unfavorable omens in the sky!
And when the mayor comes to get my vote tell him
When are you going to stop people killing whales!
And when the milkman comes leave him a note in the bottle
Penguin dust, bring me penguin dust, I want penguin dust--

Yet if I should get married and it's Connecticut and snow
and she gives birth to a child and I am sleepless, worn,
up for nights, head bowed against a quiet window, the past behind me,
finding myself in the most common of situations a trembling man
knowledged with responsibility not twig-smear not Roman coin soup--
O what would that be like!
Surely I'd give it for a nipple a rubber Tacitus
For a rattle bag of broken Bach records
Tack Della Francesca all over its crib
Sew the Greek alphabet on its bib
And build for its playpen a roofless Parthenon

No, I doubt I'd be that kind of father
not rural not snow no quiet window
but hot smelly New York City
seven flights up, roaches and rats in the walls
a fat Reichian wife screeching over potatoes Get a job!
And five nose running brats in love with Batman
And the neighbors all toothless and dry haired
like those hag masses of the 18th century
all wanting to come in and watch TV
The landlord wants his rent
Grocery store Blue Cross Gas & Electric Knights of Columbus
Impossible to lie back and dream Telephone snow, ghost parking--
No! I should not get married and I should never get married!
But--imagine if I were to marry a beautiful sophisticated woman
tall and pale wearing an elegant black dress and long black gloves
holding a cigarette holder in one hand and highball in the other
and we lived high up a penthouse with a huge window
from which we could see all of New York and even farther on clearer days
No I can't imagine myself married to that pleasant prison dream--

O but what about love? I forget love
not that I am incapable of love
it's just that I see love as odd as wearing shoes--
I never wanted to marry a girl who was like my mother
And Ingrid Bergman was always impossible
And there maybe a girl now but she's already married
And I don't like men and--
but there's got to be somebody!
Because what if I'm 60 years old and not married,
all alone in furnished room with pee stains on my underwear
and everybody else is married! All in the universe married but me!

Ah, yet well I know that were a woman possible as I am possible
then marriage would be possible--
Like SHE in her lonely alien gaud waiting her Egyptian lover
so I wait--bereft of 2,000 years and the bath of life.
I think you should read the rules for Fight Club.
my vote is in - Plato @32
It might not be the best for a wedding, but these two might get a kick out of Lem's mathematical love poem from The Cyberiad: http://homepages.inf.ed.ac.uk/rmayr/cybe…
@25 Thought you were ignoring everything I said! Hah!
man, I've been called out twice in two days. i'm going to take a break for a while. Enjoy conversing with the other Sloggers who think highly of you.
Lyrics to "Love is Eternity" by They Might Be Giants:

Dan and Lisa, hi
We kind of know you guys
But you still might wonder why we're here

You see we're certified appointed fans
Of this thing called marriage, and
We've got a short list of the facts
You'll need

Don't say it's okay then go to sleep mad
Don't act like the other doesn't know how to drive
Patience is a virtue best shared with a spouse
And remember love's a verb
And love can be eternity

Dan, when you're surrounded by nothing
In a pitch meeting
Think of your love for Lisa on this day

And Lisa, when you're surrounded by debt
Trapped on a cellphone
Think of your love for Dan on this day

So, Dan and Lisa, bye
We hardly know you guys
But we're excited for you still, it's true

Though there's more we could report
Our time on earth is short
So let's keep it to the facts and review

Don't say it's okay then go to sleep mad
Don't act like the other doesn't know how to drive
Patience is a virtue best shared with a spouse
And remember love's a verb
And love can be eternity, Dan and Lisa

@42: "Living well is the best revenge!"

I think I'll ask them to read that at my upcoming marriage to TFMDrA. I'd read it myself but this iron lung I live in makes reading aloud kinda difficult.