Wedding Readings for a Nondenominational Wedding

Poetry, song lyrics or an Apache saying can be part of the ceremony

By Cynthia Myers

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Scriptures and other religious texts are often included as part of the wedding ceremony. If you and your intended aren't religious, or if you do not want to emphasize one particular religion, you can look to many other sources for meaningful readings for your wedding. Choose passages that express your feelings about love, marriage and making a commitment to build a life together. You may read these yourself, or ask others, including the officiant, to read them during the ceremony.


Poetry expresses mankind's deepest emotions and countless poems have been written about love. Many of these are appropriate for weddings. You can choose classic romantic poetry such as the sonnets of Shakespeare or the love poems of Browning, Keats or Christina Rosetti. Or look to more modern poets such as Maya Angelou or E E Cummings.

Song lyrics

If you and your soon to be spouse have a love song that's especially meaningful to you, consider reading part of the lyrics during your wedding. Even familiar lyrics take on new meaning when read instead of sung.


Books are full of writings on love. You can select nonreligious readings on love from "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran or even J.R.R. Tolkien. You can read from comic books or romance novels -- it doesn't matter, as long as the reading pertains to love, marriage or commitment and is meaningful to the both of you.

Other cultures

Look to other cultures and traditions for inspiration for your wedding. Maybe you'd like to include an Irish blessing or an Apache meditation on love. Make your wedding multicultural as well as nondenominational by incorporating readings from around the world.

Write Your Own

Each of you could write a few sentences about what marriage means to you, or how loving the other person has changed your life. One of you could compose a poem. Some people choose to write their own vows, making promises to each other that go beyond "in sickness and in health."

About the Author

Cynthia James is a regular contributor to DexKnows.

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Choose ceremony readings

Sacred texts might perfectly reflect your sentiments on your wedding day, but the humorous poetry of Ogden Nash or a quote from a Supreme Court decision on marriage might work better if you're looking for something secular. Research online to discover readings to personalize your wedding ceremony.

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