Ideas for Beautifully Written Non-religious Wedding Readings

Non-religious wedding reading
Here are some offbeat nontraditional readings to make your wedding day all the more special. With beautiful words of poetry, prose, quotes, and excerpts from novels, Buzzle gives you ideas to pen down some unique non-religious wedding readings.
He & I
When words run dry,
he does not try,
nor do I.

We are on par.

He just is,
I just am,
And we just are.
― Lang Leav
While exploring the options for wedding readings, it's essential to select something that reflects your relationship, and your feelings about marriage. There aren't any set rules for choosing a piece to be read at your wedding ceremony. This is your big party, and you get to decide what stays, and what goes.

The only exception to the 'no rule' rule is―you need get the reading(s) approved by your registrar or minister before the ceremony. Other than that, you are free to have as many readings at your wedding that go along with the ceremony theme.
Romantic Non-religious Wedding Readings
Although many couples like to take the road less traveled, some end up selecting readings from famous poets like William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, George Gordon Byron, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Pablo Neruda―just to name a few. While there's absolutely nothing wrong with picking a reading from either of these literary gems, the only thing is, your guests must've attended many weddings, and chances are they've stumbled upon quite a few readings earlier. So try to be innovative with your selection.
Poems About Love
Non-religious Wedding Reading Anthony West Poem Excerpt
The Life That I Have by Leo Marks
The life that I have
Is all that I have
And the life that I have
Is yours

The love that I have
Of the life that I have
Is yours and yours and yours.

A sleep I shall have
A rest I shall have
Yet death will be but a pause

For the peace of my years
In the long green grass
Will be yours and yours and yours.
Love's Philosophy by Percy Bysshe Shelley
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another's being mingle
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain'd its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
I Rely on You by Hovis Presley
I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter
I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve
I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers
I rely on you.
Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney
Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won't slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job's done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.
Love Lives Beyond the Tomb by John Clare
Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, which fades like dew.
I love the fond,
The faithful, and the true

Love lives in sleep,
The happiness of healthy dreams
Eve's dews may weep,
But love delightful seems.

'Tis heard in spring
When light and sunbeams, warm and kind,
On angels' wing
Bring love and music to the mind.

And where is voice,
So young, so beautiful and sweet
As nature's choice,
Where Spring and lovers meet?

Love lives beyond
The tomb, the earth, the flowers, and dew.
I love the fond,
The faithful, young and true.
No, Love Is Not Dead by Robert Desnos (excerpt)
No, love is not dead in this heart these eyes and this mouth
that announced the start of its own funeral.
Listen, I've had enough of the picturesque, the colorful
and the charming.
I love love, its tenderness and cruelty.
My love has only one name, one form.
Everything disappears. All mouths cling to that one.
My love has just one name, one form.
And if someday you remember
O you, form and name of my love,
One day on the ocean between America and Europe,
At the hour when the last ray of light sparkles
on the undulating surface of the waves, or else a stormy night
beneath a tree in the countryside or in a speeding car,
A spring morning on the boulevard Malesherbes,
A rainy day,
Just before going to bed at dawn,
Tell yourself-I order your familiar spirit-that
I alone loved you more and it's a shame
you didn't know it.
Wings by Anthony West
If I had wings to fly
I'd breathe in deep
and spread them wide
as I leap from the cliff
into the wind
where the gulls glide.

Crossing this wide sea
I glide above cruel waves
that reach up to drown my flight
in their cold
deep
blue-green graves.

And as your day grows slowly light
I'd arrive on worn-out wings
to hold you
in your waking dreams
and feel you soft
and gently warm
in my embrace at last.
He Calls to Me by Tara Simms
He calls to me across the miles
Night winds carry his whispers
They float on the breeze and through my windows
Falling gently upon my ears
- Hush -
I hear him now.

He calls to me from the heavens
Glittering stars cannot compare to the sparkle of his eyes
When he looks at me, I am consumed by the fire
I see him now.

He calls to me through my dreams
Dancing together in the shadows of my sleep
Where we laugh and love once again
I am in his arms
I feel him now.

He calls to me
Every moment of every day
Distance couldn't keep us apart
When destiny drew us together
I'll hold him for eternity
As long as he keeps calling.
Like the Waves From the Shore by Marge Tindal
I must now ebb
The time has come
to sail my oceans

Rolling away from you
like the waves from the shore
rippling out to the vastness of the sea
that beckons my ship of folly

I'll not ask you
to stand the night vigil
on the shoreline
of memory

You are here
on the beaches of my memory
even though I drift the tides

If you should look
into a starlit night
and see a reflection of me
know only that
I will one day
come crashing again
to the shore
swept homeward
by the pull
of the tide
and
you
The Robot by Michael Mack (excerpt)
Upon the stairway of despair,
Complete with broken love affairs
And promises that never came,
But faded with a touch of shame,
A pretty girl with golden hair
And innocence so sadly rare,
Strove to keep her head above
A way of life devoid of love.

Feeling pinned against Life's wall,
She chanced upon a robot tall
And said, "Please come and share with me
Whatever Fate has deemed to be.
I'm through with love, done with chances
Spirit crushed by past romances,
Just be a friend in word and deed.
That's all that I shall ever need."
Excerpts from Books or Novels
Non-religious Wedding Reading Craig Silvey Book Excerpt
Just Kids by Patti Smith
"Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves...'What will happen to us?' I asked. 'There will always be us,' he answered."
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
"Oh, what a love it was, utterly free, unique, like nothing else on earth! Their thoughts were like other people's songs.
They loved each other, not driven by necessity, by the 'blaze of passion' often falsely ascribed to love. They loved each other because everything around them willed it, the trees and the clouds and the sky over their heads and the earth under their feet. Perhaps their surrounding world, the strangers they met in the street, the wide expanses they saw on their walks, the rooms in which they lived or met, took more delight in their love than they themselves did."
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The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach
"A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we're pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we're safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we're two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we've found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life."
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
"We throw the frisbee farther than anyone has ever seen a frisbee go. First it goes higher than anyone has thrown before, so that in the middle of the pale blue there is only the sun's glazed headlight and the tiny white disc, and then it goes farther than anyone has known a frisbee to go, with us having to use miles of beach, from one cliff to the other, thousands of people in between, to catch it. It's the trajectory that's important, we know that, that the distance relies on both velocity and angle of flight, that you have to throw the hell out of the thing, and also put it on the correct trajectory, an upward trajectory both straight and steady, not too high, not too low, because if it's sent on the right upward path, its momentum will carry it almost twice the distance, the second half on its way down, the second half a gimme, meaning that you need only to provide for half of its distance yourself, it's momentum providing for the second half, when finally its forward progress slows and slows and stops and it falls, as if parachuting, and then we move and run under, our quick steps scratching into the wet sand and when it falls, it falls into our hands, because we are there. We look like professionals, like we've been playing together for years. Busty women stop and stare. Senior citizens sit and shake their heads, gasping. Religious people fall to the knees. No one has ever seen anything like it."
Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
"What I'm feeling, I think, is joy. And it's been some time since I've felt that blinkered rush of happiness. This might be one of those rare events that lasts, one that'll be remembered and recalled as months and years wind and ravel. One of those sweet, significant moments that leaves a footprint in your mind. A photograph couldn't ever tell its story. It's like something you have to live to understand. One of those freak collisions of fizzing meteors and looming celestial bodies and floating debris and one single beautiful red ball that bursts into your life and through your body like an enormous firework. Where things shift into focus for a moment, and everything makes sense. And it becomes one of those things inside you, a pearl among sludge, one of those big exaggerated memories you can invoke at any moment to peel away a little layer of how you felt, like a lick of ice cream. The flavour of grace."
A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
"At night, there was the feeling that we had come home, feeling no longer alone, waking in the night to find the other one there, and not gone away; all other things were unreal. We slept when we were tired and if we woke the other one woke too so one was not alone. Often a man wishes to be alone and a woman wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. We were never lonely and never afraid when we were together."
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
"He dug so deeply into her sentiments that in search of interest he found love, because by trying to make her love him he ended up falling in love with her. Petra Cotes, for her part, loved him more and more as she felt his love increasing, and that was how in the ripeness of autumn she began to believe once more in the youthful superstition that poverty was the servitude of love. Both looked back then on the wild revelry, the gaudy wealth, and the unbridled fornication as an annoyance and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude. Madly in love after so many years of sterile complicity, they enjoyed the miracle of living each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs."
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
"I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I'll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again... I'll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me."
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
"Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches... I have stayed these years in my hovel because of you. I have taught myself languages because of you. I have made my body strong because I thought you might be pleased by a strong body. I have lived my life with only the prayer that some sudden dawn you might glance in my direction. I have not known a moment in years when the sight of you did not send my heart careening against my rib cage. I have not known a night when your visage did not accompany me to sleep. There has not been a morning when you did not flutter behind my waking eyelids..."
Song Lyrics
Non-religious Wedding Reading Paramore Song Excerpt
The Sore Feet Song by Ally Kerr
I walk ten thousand miles,
ten thousand miles, to see you
And every gasp of breath,
I grabbed it just to find you
I climbed up every hill to get to you
I wandered ancient lands to hold just you

and every single step of the way
I pay
Every single night and day
I searched for you
through sandstorms and hazy dawns
I reached for you

I stole ten thousand pounds,
ten thousand pounds to see you
I robbed convenience stores
'cause I thought they'd make it easier
I lived of rats and toads and I starved for you
I fought of giant bears and I killed them too

and every single step of the way
I pay
Every single night and day
I searched for you
through sandstorms and hazy dawns
I reached for you

I'm tired and I'm weak, but I'm strong for you
I wan' go home but my love gets me through
She Keeps Me Warm by Mary Lambert
She says I smell like safety and home
I named both of her eyes "Forever" and "Please don't go"
I could be a morning sunrise all the time, all the time yeah
This could be good, this could be good

And I can't change, even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change, even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love, my love, my love, my love
She keeps me warm, she keeps me warm

What's your middle name?
Do you hate your job?
Do you fall in love too easily?
What's your favorite word?
You like kissing girls?
Can I call you baby?
Yeah, yeah

She says that people stare 'cuz we look so good together
Yeah, yeah, yeah

And I can't change, even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
And I can't change, even if I tried
Even if I wanted to
My love, my love, my love, my love
She keeps me warm, she keeps me warm

I'm not crying on Sundays, I'm not crying on Sundays
Love is patient, love is kind
My love, my love, my love, my love
She keeps me warm, she keeps me warm
The Idea of Growing Old by The Features
We can talk all night, we can talk all day
We can play charades when there is nothing to say
You turn me on to the idea of growing old

I can make you angry, you can make me smile
We can make origami with the kids for a while
You turn me on to the idea of growing old

Now it won't be long
No, it won't be long
Whoa, whoa, whoa

You turn me on to the idea of growing old
Turn me on to the idea of growing old

We can lay around and count the number of times
I've acted foolish and you've rolled your eyes
You turn me on to the idea of growing old

You in your kerchief and me in my cap
We can settle down for an afternoon nap
You turn me on to the idea of growing old

Now it won't be long
No, it won't be long

You turn me on to the idea of growing old
Turn me on to the idea of growing old
I Was Made for You by She & Him
I was takin' a walk
When I saw you pass by

I thought I saw you lookin' my way
So I thought I'd give you a try

When I saw you smile
I saw a dream come true
So I asked you, maybe, baby whatcha gonna do?

'Cause I have been waitin' for a long long time
For a boy like you

I won't be waitin' anymore cause I know:

Baby! Baby!
I was made for you

I was takin' a walk
When I saw you pass by

I thought I saw you lookin' my way
So I thought I'd give you a try

When I saw you smile
I saw a dream come true
So I asked you, maybe, baby whatcha gonna do?

'Cause I have been waitin' for a long long time
For a boy like you

I won't be waitin' anymore cause I know:

Baby! Baby!
I was made for you
Still Into You by Paramore (excerpt)
Can't count the years on one hand
That we've been together
I need the other one to hold you.
Make you feel, make you feel better.
It's not a walk in the park
To love each other.
But when our fingers interlock,
Can't deny, can't deny you're worth it

'Cause after all this time.
I'm still into you

I should be over all the butterflies
But I'm into you (I'm into you)
And baby even on our worst nights
I'm into you (I'm into you)
Let them wonder how we got this far
Cause I don't really need to wonder at all
Yeah after all this time
I'm still into you

Recount the night that I first
Met your mother
And on the drive back to my house
I told you that, I told you that I loved ya.
We Found Love by Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris
It's like you're screaming, and no one can hear
You almost feel ashamed
That someone could be that important
That without them, you feel like nothing
No one will ever understand how much it hurts
You feel hopeless; like nothing can save you
And when it's over, and it's gone
You almost wish that you could have all that bad stuff back
So that you could have the good

Yellow diamonds in the light
Now we're standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine
What it takes to come alive

It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny
But I've gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place

Shine a light through an open door
Love and life I will divide
Turn away 'cause I need you more
Feel the heartbeat in my mind

It's the way I'm feeling I just can't deny
But I've gotta let it go

We found love in a hopeless place

Yellow diamonds in the light
Now we're standing side by side
As your shadow crosses mine

We found love in a hopeless place
400 Lux by Lorde
We're never done with killing time
Can I kill it with you
'Til the veins run red and blue?
We come around here all the time
Got a lot to not do
Let me kill it with you

You pick me up and take me home again
Head out the window again
We're hollow like the bottles that we drain
You drape your wrists over the steering wheel
Pulses can drive from here
We might be hollow, but we're brave

And I like you
I love these roads where the houses don't change
Where we can talk like there's something to say
I'm glad that we stopped kissing the tar on the highway
We move in the tree streets
I'd like it if you stayed

Now we're wearing long sleeves and the heating comes on
(You buy me orange juice)
We're getting good at this
Dreams of clean teeth
I can tell that you're tired
But you keep the car on
While you're waiting out front
Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey (excerpt)
I've seen the world
Done it all
Had my cake now
Diamonds, brilliant
And Bel Air now
Hot summer nights, mid July
When you and I were forever wild
The crazy days, city lights
The way you'd play with me like a child

Will you still love me
When I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I'm no longer beautiful?

I've seen the world, lit it up
As my stage now
Channeling angels in the new age now
Hot summer days, rock 'n' roll
The way you play for me at your show
And all the ways I got to know
Your pretty face and electric soul
You've Got the Love by Florence + The Machine (excerpt)
Sometimes I feel like throwing my hands up in the air
I know I can count on you
Sometimes I feel like saying "Lord I just don't care!"
But you've got the love I need to see me through

Sometimes it seems the going is just too rough
And things go wrong no matter what I do
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you've got the love I need to see me through

When food is gone you are my daily need, oh
When friends are gone I know my saviour's love is real
You know it's real

You've got the love, you've got the love, you've got the love
Song and Music by Sondre Lerche (excerpt)
You be words and I'll be music
Ain't you heard that's how they do it
You're a poem when you're on your own
I'll try not to get in your way
But I've all the pretty poems I have known
Baby, you give me something to say

I'll be words and you'll be music
I concur, I can't refuse it
You're a sad little tune by yourself
So lovely I wanna sing along
If there's one thing I know I can tell
When we get together we're a song

Whenever I'm with you, it's true
It's everything you say and do
It's words & music, you and I
Famous Quotes
Non-religious Wedding Reading James Baldwin Love Quote
The Ninth Doctor
"Do you wanna come with me? 'Cause if you do, then I should warn you - you're gonna see all sorts of things. Ghosts from the past. Aliens from the future. The day the Earth died in a ball of flame. It won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm. But I'll tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime!"
William W. Purkey
"You've gotta dance like there's nobody watching, love like you'll never be hurt, sing like there's nobody listening, and live like it's heaven on earth."
Bob Marley
"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you've never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can't wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful. There is never any pressure, jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around. You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you because they love you for who you are. The things that seem insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever. Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it's like being young again. Colours seem brighter and more brilliant. Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or didn't exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you through a long day's work and always brings a smile to your face. In their presence, there's no need for continuous conversation, but you find you're quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never interested you before become fascinating because you know they are important to this person who is so special to you. You think of this person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there's a chance it may be broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy that you never dreamed possible. You find that being vulnerable is the only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that's so real it scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end. Life seems completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and security is in knowing that they are a part of your life."
Napoleon Dynamite
"Why do you love me? Why do you need me? Always and forever. We met in a chat room - now our love can fully bloom. Sure, the World Wide Web is great, but you, you make me salivate. Yes, I love technology, but not as much as you, you see. But I still love technology... always and forever. Our love is like a flock of doves flying up to heaven above. Always and forever."
Shana Abé
"I heard what you said. I'm not the silly romantic you think. I don't want the heavens or the shooting stars. I don't want gemstones or gold. I have those things already. I want...a steady hand. A kind soul. I want to fall asleep, and wake, knowing my heart is safe. I want to love, and be loved."
Jon Katz
"I think if I've learned anything about friendship, it's to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don't walk away, don't be distracted, don't be too busy or tired, don't take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff."
Dana Scully, The X-Files
"It seems to me that the best relationships, the ones that last, are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is... suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with."
Beverly Clark, Shall We Dance?
"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness.'"
James Baldwin
"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up."
John Lennon
"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life."
We hope this list helped spark your creativity, and will come in handy when making the decision. You do not 'have to' select something from these famous non-religious wedding readings; you can perhaps choose an excerpt from a novel or poem you and your partner bonded over. So, trust your instincts, keep foreign language selections out, and whatever you write, make sure it expresses your emotions closely.
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