It's so easy to find yourself caught up in the pretty images, details and practicalities of planning a wedding. We can quickly forget about the marriage part beyond the big day. The deep and meaningful stuff such as the love, companionship, compromises and lifelong promises we make to each other often takes a backseat in wedding planning.

So, I thought it'd be lovely to share some ceremony readings on Bridal Musings every now and again. Mainly, because I find it quite depressing searching for ceremony readings and poems about love and marriage. Once I click on a ceremony poem with potential I land on a really ugly or overly lovey-dovey website!

I hope the non-religious ceremony readings and poems I feature will be a welcome additional source of inspiration for you…

Photo by Laura Gordon Photography

Today, I'm sharing a short and sweet classic wedding ceremony reading by an unknown author called ‘Blessing of the Hands'.

But first, here's an interesting excerpt I came across while researching (aka Googling) hand blessings here:

About Hand Blessings

“Many cultures have different ways of blessing the hands of the bride and groom.

In Thai ceremonies, for example, the couple kneels as the elder, married relatives pour blessed water from a conch shell onto their hands and offer words of blessing. In the ancient Celtic tradition of hand-fasting, the couple’s hands are literally tied together to symbolize spiritual and physical unity as prayers and blessings are recited.

Photo by Laura Gordon Photography

In any tradition, a hand blessing is a ritual that draws you closer to one another.

Hands are considered to be a connection to the heart, and a hand blessing symbolically brings two hearts together,” by Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway

With that in mind, let's get onto the blessing. Many couples recite this poem prior to the exchanging of rings at wedding ceremonies…

Photo by Laura Gordon Photography

Blessing of the Hands

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 fills your mind.

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.

These are the hands that will help you to hold your family as one.

These are the hands that will give you strength when you need it.

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.

Photo by Laura Gordon Photography

How wonderful!

Is anyone planning on using this as a ceremony reading? I hope you'll find this feature useful, please do share your thoughts, I'd love to hear from you.

Other Ceremony Readings to Consider

Here are some popular ceremony readings that couples often choose for their weddings:

  • “The Art of Marriage” by Wilferd Arlan Peterson: This poem is a classic choice for couples who want a meaningful and inspiring reflection on the nature of love and commitment in their ceremony.
  • “I Carry Your Heart with Me” by E.E. Cummings: This poem is a beautiful expression of the deep love and connection between two individuals, and it is perfect for couples who want to share their love in a poetic and heartfelt way.
  • “A Lovely Love Story” by Edward Monkton: This whimsical and charming tale of two dinosaurs falling in love is a fun and lighthearted choice for couples who want to add some humor and personality to their ceremony.
  • “On Love” by Kahlil Gibran: This passage from Gibran's book “The Prophet” is a beautiful and insightful meditation on the nature of love and the importance of communication, respect, and mutual support in a loving relationship.
  • “Union” by Robert Fulghum: This reading is a humorous and heartwarming reflection on the simple joys and challenges of married life, and it is perfect for couples who want to add some lightness and humor to their ceremony.

Remember, there are many different types of ceremony readings available, and the most important thing is to choose ones that are meaningful and personal to you as a couple. Don't be afraid to get creative and write your own vows or ceremony elements, or to seek out the advice of your wedding planner or officiant if you need some guidance. With a little thought and planning, your wedding ceremony can be a beautiful and memorable celebration of your love and commitment to one another.

Get inspired by other beautiful ceremony traditions you might have never heard of.

Useful Tips on Choosing Ceremony Readings

It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of planning a wedding, but the ceremony itself is one of the most meaningful parts of the day. Choosing the perfect ceremony reading can be a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few tips to help you find the perfect reading for your big day.

  1. Reflect on Your Relationship: Start by reflecting on your relationship with your partner. What moments have been important to you? What values do you share? Consider readings that reflect these moments and values. You might also want to think about the mood you want to set for the ceremony – romantic, lighthearted, sentimental, or spiritual.
  2. Consider Your Guests: While the ceremony is ultimately about you and your partner, it's also important to consider your guests. Think about the tone and length of the reading, and whether it will be appropriate for your audience. If you have guests of different ages or backgrounds, you may want to choose a reading that is more universal or accessible.
  3. Get Recommendations: Ask your friends and family for recommendations for ceremony readings, or search online for popular choices. You may also want to check with your wedding officiant or planner, as they may have suggestions or resources.
  4. Practice the Reading: Once you have chosen a reading, practice reading it out loud to get a feel for how it sounds. Adjust the tone and pace as necessary, and make sure it is a comfortable length for the ceremony.
  5. Personalize the Reading: Finally, consider personalizing the reading to make it more meaningful to you and your partner. You could add your own vows or a personal anecdote that relates to the reading.

Remember, the most important thing is to choose a reading that feels authentic and true to you as a couple. Don't be afraid to get creative and think outside the box – your ceremony is a reflection of your unique love story, so make it your own.

Ceremony Readings FAQs

What is a ceremony reading?

A ceremony reading is a passage, poem, or other text that is read aloud during a wedding ceremony. It can be read by the couple, the officiant, or a guest.

What is the purpose of a ceremony reading?

A ceremony reading can serve many purposes, but typically it is meant to convey a message about love, commitment, or the couple's relationship. It can also set the tone for the ceremony or express the couple's personal beliefs or values.

When should the ceremony reading take place?

The ceremony reading can take place at any point in the ceremony, but it is often read just before or after the exchange of rings.

How do I choose a ceremony reading?

Choose a reading that speaks to you and your partner's personalities, beliefs, and values. Consider whether you want a religious or non-religious reading, the tone and style of the reading, and whether it reflects the mood you want to set for the ceremony.

Who should read the ceremony reading?

The reading can be read by the couple, the officiant, or a guest. Consider who will do the best job of delivering the reading and whether they are comfortable with public speaking.

How long should the ceremony reading be?

The length of the reading is up to you, but typically a ceremony reading lasts between one and five minutes.

Can I write my own ceremony reading?

Yes, you can certainly write your own ceremony reading. This can be a great way to personalize the ceremony and express your own unique love story.

Do ceremony readings have to be serious?

No, ceremony readings can be serious, humorous, romantic, or lighthearted. Choose a reading that reflects your personality and the tone you want to set for the ceremony.

Can I have multiple ceremony readings?

Yes, you can certainly have multiple ceremony readings. Just make sure that they flow well together and don't make the ceremony feel too long or disjointed.

Do I have to have a ceremony reading?

No, a ceremony reading is not necessary, but it can add a meaningful touch to the ceremony and make it more memorable for you and your guests.

Do ceremony readings have to be in English?

No, ceremony readings can be in any language that is meaningful to you and your partner. Just make sure that you provide a translation or summary for guests who do not speak the language.

Can I use a ceremony reading from a book or movie?

Yes, you can certainly use a reading from a book, movie, or other source as long as you have permission to do so. Keep in mind that some readings may be protected by copyright, so you may need to obtain permission before using them in your ceremony.