It can be overwhelming to search for the perfect reading for your wedding, so here are some beautiful extracts from books - and a couple of poems; some well-known and some which you may not have heard before, but any one of which would add that special touch to your wedding day.
from The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
" It has made me better loving you… it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire.
Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story."
from Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
“'Still,' Morrie said, 'there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don’t respect the other person, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don’t know how to compromise, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can’t talk openly about what goes on between you, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don’t have a common set of values in life, you’re gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike.
'And the biggest one of those values, Mitch?'
'Your belief in the importance of your marriage.' He sniffed, then closed his eyes for a moment. 'Personally,' he sighed, his eyes still closed, 'I think marriage is a very important thing to do, and you’re missing a lot if you don’t try it.'
from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
"I have for the first time found what I can truly love — I have found you. You are my sympathy — my better self — my good angel — I am bound to you with a strong attachment. I think you good, gifted, lovely: a fervent, a solemn passion is conceived in my heart; it leans to you, draws you to my center and spring of life, wraps my existence about you — and, kindling in pure, powerful flame, fuses you and me in one. It was because I felt and knew this, that I resolved to marry you."
from Soul Mates by Lang Leav
"I don’t know how you are so familiar to me — or why it feels less like I am getting to know you and more as though I am remembering who you are. How every smile, every whisper brings me closer to the impossible conclusion that I have known you before, I have loved you before — in another time, a different place, some other existence."
from Adam Bede by George Eliot
“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life — to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”
from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
"The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds. Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.
Love participates of the soul itself. It is of the same nature. Like it, it is the divine spark; like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable. It is a point of fire that exists within us, which is immortal and infinite, which nothing can confine, and which nothing can extinguish. We feel it burning even to the very marrow of our bones, and we see it beaming in the very depths of heaven."
What a grand thing it is to be loved! What a far grander thing it is to love! The heart becomes heroic, by dint of passion. It is no longer composed of anything but what is pure; it no longer rests on anything that is not elevated and great. An unworthy thought can no more germinate in it, than a nettle on a glacier. The serene and lofty soul, inaccessible to vulgar passions and emotions, dominating the clouds and the shades of this world, its follies, its lies, its hatreds, its vanities, its miseries, inhabits the blue of heaven, and no longer feels anything but profound and subterranean shocks of destiny, as the crests of mountains feel the shocks of earthquake. If there did not exist someone who loved, the sun would become extinct.”
From Dr Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
“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 on the street, the wise expanses they saw on their walks, the rooms in which they lived or met, took more delight in their love than they themselves did.”
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 never 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.
Habitation by Margaret Atwood
Marriage is not
a house or even a tent
it is before that, and colder:
The edge of the forest, the edge
of the desert
the unpainted stairs
at the back where we squat
outside, eating popcorn
where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
we are learning to make fire
from Mark Twain's Letters
“This will be the mightiest day in the history of our lives, the holiest, and the most generous toward us both — for it makes of two fractional lives a whole; it gives to two purposeless lives a work, and doubles the strength of each whereby to perform it; it gives to two questioning natures a reason for living, and something to live for; it will give a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, a new mystery to life; and it will give a new revelation to love, a new depth to sorrow, a new impulse to worship. On this day, the scales will fall from our eyes and we shall look upon a new world.”