Wednesday, May 6, 2009

wedding readings...

only a week and a half left! We're trying to figure out what we'll do for the actual ceremony..our plan right now is to exchange some kind of vows, have some kind of reading, do the 15 minutes of silence/quaker thing(where we give people a chance to speak if they feel moved to), exchange rings, and then sign the wedding license. We still have to write the actual vows, and decide on readings...

Here are some possibilities for readings that I got off the internets: (we will probably use one or for your favorites in the comments!)

1.From "Union"
by Robert Fulghum

"You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will" - those late night talks that included "someday and somehow and maybe"- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife "

2. From Plato's Symposium:
"Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of ills.

Once upon a time, human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. Due to the power of these original humans, the gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. So, in a manner not unlike the powers that be do so today, Zeus divided the humans in half. He split their power, so that he and the other gods may do what they wish.

But the gods are not completely efficient. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one.

When separated, having one side only, we are always looking for our other half. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We should pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love."

3. "Sonnet 116"
by William Shakespeare

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds.
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is not shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom,
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved."

4. Marriage is ....."
by Anon, 1st century China

" Marriage is a dynamic process of discovery
Marriage is a journey, not an arrival.
In marriage, being the right person is as important
as finding the right person.
Marriage is starting to love, over and over again.
Marriage is a life's work.
Marriage is an art... and like any creative process,
It requires active thought and effort.
We have to learn how to share on many different levels.
We need to practice talking from the heart,
And understanding attitudes as well as words.
Giving generously and receiving graciously
are talents that are available to anyone.
But all these skills need to be developed,
if the marriage picture that we paint is to be anything
approaching the masterpiece intended."

5. “Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog”
by Taylor Mali

"First of all, it’s a big responsibility,
So think long and hard before deciding on love.
On the other hand, love gives you a sense of security:
when you’re walking down the street late at night
and you have a leash on love
ain’t no one going to mess with you.
Because crooks and muggers think love is unpredictable.
Who knows what love could do in its own defense?
On cold winter nights, love is warm.
It lies between you and lives and breaths
and makes funny noises.
Love wakes you up all hours of the night with its needs.
It needs to be fed so it will grow and stay healthy.
Love doesn’t like being left alone for long.
But come home and love is always happy to see you.
It may break a few things accidentally in its passion for life,
but you can never be mad at love for long.
Is love good all the time? No! No!
Love can be bad. Bad, love, bad! Very bad love.
Love makes messes.
Love leaves you little surprises here and there.
Love needs lots of cleaning up after.
Sometimes you just want to get love fixed.
Sometimes you want to roll up a piece of newspaper
and swat love on the nose,
not so much to cause pain,
just to let love know ‘Don’t you ever do that again!’
Sometimes love just wants to go for a nice long walk.
Because love loves exercise.
It runs you around the block and leaves you panting.
It pulls you in several different directions at once,
or winds around and around you
until you’re all wound up and can’t move.
But love makes you meet people wherever you go.
People who have nothing in common but love
stop and talk to each other on the street.
Throw things away and love will bring them back,
again, and again, and again.
But most of all, love needs love, lots of it.
And in return, love loves you and never stops."

6. "On Marriage"
by Kahlil Gibran

"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 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."


  1. I used the Plato thing once when I married two people. I think it's beautiful. But those are all great choices.

  2. Please tell me you have someone line up to perform the ceremony. I think Quaker weddings are only legal when both parties are Friends....

  3. my other blog- never fear, they are legal in our state- and we got a quaker wedding license. There was a supreme court case about it, and atheists won the right to have a quaker ceremony.

  4. I personally like "Union" or Plato's Symposium. I do have a question, impression is that Platos' Symposium directly contrasts the message given in "On Marriage" by Kahlil Gibran. Which theory do you believe? That married couples grow into one being? Or remain separate? Im not sure how you could consider both for your wedding, being they are so different.

  5. "Once upon a time, human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. Due to the power of these original humans, the gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. So, in a manner not unlike the powers that be do so today, Zeus divided the humans in half."

    Wow, super ironic. This also happens to be an iconic midrash:

    Genesis Rabbah 8.1: “Fore and aft You have created me” [Ps 139:5]… R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar said: When God created the first man, he created him androgynous. Of this it is written, “Male and female he created them… and he called their name Adam” [Gen 5:2]. R. Shmuel b. Nahman said: When God created the first man, He created him diprisophon (i.e., with two faces), and severed him and made him two backs—one back facing this way, and one back the other.

    But as an atheist I guess you prefer Zeus for some reason...?

    Song of Songs is awfully romantic, is that an unacceptable source for a wedding reading? Here's a couple of popular formulations taken from that book:

    "My Beloved spake, and said to me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; Flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell. Arise my love, my fair one, come away. My beloved is mine and I am his."


    "The voice of my beloved!
    Behold, he comes,
    leaping upon the mountains,
    bounding over the hills.
    My beloved speaks and says to me:
    "Arise, my love, my fair one,
    and come away;
    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.
    My beloved is mine and I am his.
    Set me as a seal upon your heart,
    as a seal upon your arm;
    for love is strong as death,
    jealousy is cruel as the grave.
    Its flashes are flashes of fire,
    a most vehement flame.
    Many waters cannot quench love,
    neither can floods drown it."

    Up to you.

  6. hmm wouldn't plato's symposium (written 300bc) predate the midrash? Not sure about the dates there...but yeah, thanks for the song of songs suggestions, will check that out too. I think we have decided against using the symposium readings since there's so much stuff about gods...if you have other suggestions for readings from the jewish tradition that don't mention god (or souls or religion), I'd be happy to check them out, it would be nice to have something jewish in there...

  7. AE,

    "hmm wouldn't plato's symposium (written 300bc) predate the midrash?"

    Almost certainly. It's no secret that Jews have borrowed ideas from the surrounding cultures, though I don't know if this idea is actually derived from the other.

    "if you have other suggestions for readings from the jewish tradition that don't mention god (or souls or religion), I'd be happy to check them out, it would be nice to have something jewish in there..."

    I don't know much on this score, but the story of Jacob and Rebecca is very romantic in nature, as is the story of Rabbi Akiva. I don't know how far you'd want obviously Jewish characters or rabbis at your wedding.

  8. I think you are obsessed with this wedding. You should put it all in perspective, if you love this guy and are willing to spend the rest of your life with him why do you need some hookey ceremony? The institution of marriage reeks of pagan/religious silliness.

    If you need to prove your commitment to each other why not jump from a plane (with a parachute of course) tethered to each other and pull the ripcord together. When you land, then throw a big party for your friends.

    BTW, there is no bigger adrenalin rush then sky diving.

    Get on with your lives. Finish your degree. DOn't wwatse your time with this wedding silliness.

  9. mrsmisl, are you fucking kidding me? I'm getting married next Sunday, people are already arriving as of tomorrow, I'm not canceling my wedding. Nice try though.

  10. Chill out!!! You are obsessed.

    It is only a silly ceremony and a

    You and B should just move on with your life together.

  11. This is a good piece of content, I was wondering if I could use this blog on my article about non religious wedding readings, I will link it back to your website though. If this is a problem please let me know and I will take it down right away. Best regard.


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