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5 Wedding Readings for a Civil Ceremony


If you’re having a civil ceremony for your wedding – that’s one that’s not in a church – then the ceremony is usually quite short.  So it’s a lovely idea to include one or two readings which will make the ceremony more personal and also mean it’s not over in a flash.  5 readings for a civil ceremony

You do have to be careful when choosing your readings for a civil ceremony.  Your readings cannot include any reference of any kind to any religion.  (This is the same for the music you choose for your ceremony too) Often your registrar will ask for a copy of the readings ahead of the ceremony to ensure they are suitable. 

There are lots of options for readings as you can choose an extract from a song, a poem or even a few lines from a book.  But here are some of my favourites.  I have to admit I’m biased about the first one as my daughter read this at our wedding.  She read it beautifully and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.   


Perfect  – Bob Marley

He’s not perfect – you aren’t either, and the two of you may never be perfect together – but if he can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold on to him and give him the most you can.

He may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but he will give you a part of him that he knows you can break – his heart. So don’t hurt him, don’t change him, don’t analyse and don’t expect more than he can give. Smile when he makes you happy, let him know when he makes you mad, and miss him when he’s not there.

bridesmaid doing a reading in civil ceremony

A Lovely Love Story – Edward Monkton

The fierce Dinosaur was trapped inside his cage of ice. Although it was cold he was happy in there. It was, after all, his cage.

Then along came the Lovely Other Dinosaur.

The Lovely Other Dinosaur melted the Dinosaur’s cage with kind words and loving thoughts.

“I like this Dinosaur,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.  “Although he is fierce, he is also tender and he is funny.  He is also quite clever though I will not tell him this for now.”

“I like this Lovely Other Dinosaur,” thought the Dinosaur. “She is beautiful and she is different and she smells so nice.  She is also a free spirit which is a quality I much admire in a dinosaur.”

“But he can be so distant and so peculiar at times,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur.  “He is also overly fond of things.  Are all Dinosaurs so overly fond of things?”

“But her mind skips from here to there so quickly,” thought the Dinosaur.  “She is also uncommonly keen on shopping.  Are all Lovely Other Dinosaurs so uncommonly keen on shopping?”

“I will forgive his peculiarity and his concern for things,” thought the Lovely Other Dinosaur, “for they are part of what makes him a richly charactered individual.”

“I will forgive her skipping mind and her fondness for shopping,” thought the Dinosaur, “for she fills our life with beautiful thoughts and wonderful surprises. Besides, I am not unkeen on shopping either.”

Now the Dinosaur and the Lovely Other Dinosaur are old.  Look at them.  Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.

And that, my friends, is how it is with love.

Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.  For the sun is warm.  And the world is a beautiful place.


The Beauty of Love – Anon

The question is asked: “Is there anything more beautiful in life than a young couple clasping hands and pure hearts in the path of marriage? Can there be anything more beautiful than young love?”

And the answer is given: “Yes, there is a more beautiful thing.

“It is the spectacle of an old man and an old woman finishing their journey together on that path. Their hands are gnarled but still clasped; their faces are seamed but still radiant; their hearts are physically bowed and tired but still strong with love and devotion. Yes, there is a more beautiful thing than young love. Old love.”

Wiping away the tears

Love Is Friendship Caught Fire – Laura Hendricks

Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times.

It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past.

It is the day-in and day-out chronicles of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories, and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for a great many things you lack.

If you do not have it, no matter what else there is, it is not enough.

Guest in hat doing reading

The Art of Marriage – Wilfred A Peterson

A good marriage must be created.
In the marriage, the little things are the big things.
It is never being too old to hold hands.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once each day,
It is never going to sleep angry.
It is having a mutual sense of values and objectives.
It is standing together and facing the world.
It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family.
It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways.
It is having the capacity to forgive and forget.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each person can grow.
It is a common search for the good and the beautiful.
It is not only marrying the right person
It is being the right partner.

There are plenty of readings to choose from which work for a civil ceremony and they do make a difference to your ceremony.  Think carefully about who you are going to ask to do a reading.  It needs to be someone confident enough to stand up in front of all your guests.  It’s a great way of including someone important to you who couldn’t be a bridesmaid or groomsmen for any reason.  And one last tip for you – make sure someone has spare printed copies of your readings on hand. 

Good luck with choosing them.  You can see some readings for children here and some readings for church weddings here. 

And if you need some help with your wedding planning, I’m always happy to chat through your plans and see how I can help you.  You can see info about my planning services here and you can find my contact details here. 


Louise Wearmouth, Founder of Your Fabulous Wedding