Wondering how on Earth you'll fill time during your non-religious wedding ceremony? When searching for readings it can be difficult to find sweet things to say that don't include a religious context. That's why we search books, poems, songs and film for new ceremony readings.

Wedding vendors – planners, photographers and the like – listen to dozens of ceremony readings every year. Valarie Falvey, of Kirkbrides Wedding Planning & Design, adores this thought-provoking reading from a children's book classic.

Photo by Alicia Rinka

Nostalgic, heartfelt and sweet, perhaps The Velveteen Rabbit will fit in your wedding ceremony text. To jog your memory (after all, it's been a while since we've read it ourselves), this children's classic tells the story of a toy rabbit who wants to become real through the love of its owner. The story is simple and sweet, surely something worth a couple of tears from wedding guests.

Ceremony Reading Except from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams:

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nanna came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

How to Incorporate The Velveteen Rabbit in Your Wedding

Planning to use this reading in your ceremony? Now, you can buy a well-loved vintage version of the book on Etsy. Maybe, feature this framed The Velveteen Rabbit quote sign in your reception decor? Or, have your flower girl carry this sweet hand-knitted Velveteen Rabbit up the aisle.

That's not all, we have even more readings to inspire your modern wedding ceremony.