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Non soppy and vomit inducing civil ceremony readings....impossible?

(66 Posts)
Indith Wed 13-Aug-08 19:44:32

Pretty much everything makes me want to throw up. There is cute stuff from Winnie the Pooh, very cute yes but having it read at my wedding would make me want to stick my head down the loo. There are all those "marriage advice/marriage cake" type things...yuck, there are sickly sweet "I love you let us fly on a carpet of dreams together for ever and ever my dearest darling" type things. More vomit.

I adore poems like this one by Pushkin

I loved you once: perhaps that love has yet
To die down thoroughly within my soul;
But let it not dismay you any longer;
I have no wish to cause you any sorrow.
I loved you wordlessly, without a hope,
By shyness tortured, or by jealousy.
I loved you with such tenderness and candor
And pray God grants you to be loved that way again.

I love folk music and can think of quite a few lyrics that I adore/are moving but the trouble with folky love songs is they tend to be quite tragic, young men going off to sea/dying in wars/fathers locking their daughters up and quietly getting rid of the unsuitable true love etc.

I have 2 maybes that I have yet to run by dp. One is from Captain Corelli which has stuck with me ever since I first read it as a teenager and the other is sonnet 116 but that always makes me think of Marianne being all impulsive and still dreaming of being swept off her feet rather than allowing love to grow.

Go on, there are some well read people around here, any suggestions?

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat Wed 13-Aug-08 19:45:51

hard to beat a bit of rabbie burns esp. if you are into folky stuff.

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat Wed 13-Aug-08 19:50:39

or try pablo neruda

eg
I will bring you happy flowers from the mountains, bluebells, dark hazels, and rustic baskets of kisses.
I want
to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.

sigh! i am alittle tipsy. sylvia plath's love letter is also v. good.

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 13-Aug-08 19:55:45

I had this. My FIL read it and thought it was twaddle hmm, but I liked it - mainly for the 'looking outwards in the same direction' sentiment.

EffiePerine Wed 13-Aug-08 19:58:32

TS Eliot?

'You gave me hyacinths first a year ago;
'They called me the hyacinth girl.'
—Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden,
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing,
Looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Laugs Wed 13-Aug-08 19:59:07

I am having the same dilemma Indith.

Everything that moves me has an element of sadness to it. I've always been turned off by sickly sweet romance and am dying to find something that expresses how love really feels (well, the good bits!) and how I hope my marriage is. I don't want something that talks endlessly about us being 'as one' as I fully intend us still to be 'as two'.

A decent website I've found is here. On the forum (Kvetch) there is a 'giant wedding reading repository. Lots are very American. I haven't found anything quite right, but it's given me a bit of inspiration.

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat Wed 13-Aug-08 19:59:47

hard to beat ts elliot

EffiePerine Wed 13-Aug-08 20:00:13

DH read this at his brother's wedding (he doesn't do poetry)

The first list we made out had to be discarded. It was clear that the upper reaches of the Thames would not allow of the navigation of a boat sufficiently large to take the things we had set down as indispensable; so we tore the list up, and looked at one another!

George said:

"You know we are on a wrong track altogether. We must not think of the things we could do with, but only of the things that we can't do without."

George comes out really quite sensible at times. You'd be surprised. I call that downright wisdom, not merely as regards the present case, but with reference to our trip up the river of life, generally. How many people, on that voyage, load up the boat till it is ever in danger of swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip, but which are really only useless lumber.

How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with fine clothes and big houses; with useless servants, and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence for them, and that they do not care three ha'pence for; with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys, with formalities and fashions, with pretence and ostentation, and with - oh, heaviest, maddest lumber of all! - the dread of what will my neighbour think, with luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show that, like the criminal's iron crown of yore, makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it!

It is lumber, man - all lumber! Throw it overboard. It makes the boat so heavy to pull, you nearly faint at the oars. It makes it so cumbersome and dangerous to manage, you never know a moment's freedom from anxiety and care, never gain a moment's rest for dreamy laziness - no time to watch the windy shadows skimming lightly o'er the shallows, or the glittering sunbeams flitting in and out among the ripples, or the great trees by the margin looking down at their own image, or the woods all green and golden, or the lilies white and yellow, or the sombre- waving rushes, or the sedges, or the orchis, or the blue forget-me-nots.

Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need - a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.

You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good, plain merchandise will stand water. You will have time to think as well as to work. Time to drink in life's sunshine - time to listen to the AEolian music that the wind of God draws from the human heart-strings around us - time to -

I beg your pardon, really. I quite forgot.

Indith Wed 13-Aug-08 20:00:17

Hmm I always find that kind of thing slightly preachy Rhinestone (for me obviously, all have different tastes etc etc....<<flails in attempt to not dig a hole>>)

Not sure about Sylvia Couldyou, and I'm afraid rustic baskets of kisses are not my cup of tea grin

Fussy? Moi?

Dropdeadfred Wed 13-Aug-08 20:00:44

I got married last saturday and I chose the reading from Captain Corelli's mandolin. So many people came to me afterwards and asked where it was from and how meaningful it was...one friend said it was the most truthful words she had ever heard at any wedding ceremony smile

My Mum didn't want to rwad it initially she thought it sounded depressing...but as DH and I had ben together for 12 yrs before marrying I thought the words were very relevant to us and the way we feel about each other...so many readings are about 'starting a new life together' and we are already some way down that journey so they didn't seem to have any meaning to me

EffiePerine Wed 13-Aug-08 20:02:04

that's frpm three men in a boat btw

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat Wed 13-Aug-08 20:04:10

at least read love letter it is a lovely poem

edam Wed 13-Aug-08 20:04:22

there's a love poem by John Donne that my FIL read at my wedding - comparing JD and his lady to a pair of compasses, one fixed, one travelling but always connected (I'm not exactly selling it here, but it is wonderful, honest). Brain numb but think it's either A Valediction Against Mourning, or the same Against Weeping.

Admittedly John Donne was a vicar but his love poetry is not churchy (and he really meant it, got sent to the Tower for daring to marry Anne).

Habbibu Wed 13-Aug-08 20:04:55

The Confirmation by Edwin muir is used quite a lot, which may put you off, but I love it:
THE CONFIRMATION

Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face.
I in my mind had waited for this long,
Seeing the false and searching for the true,
Then found you as a traveller finds a place
Of welcome suddenly amid the wrong
Valleys and rocks and twisting roads. But you,
What shall I call you? A fountain in a waste,
A well of water in a country dry,
Or anything that's honest and good, an eye
That makes the whole world seem bright. Your open heart,
Simple with giving, gives the primal deed,
The first good world, the blossom, the blowing seed,
The hearth, the steadfast land, the wandering sea.
But like yourself, as they were meant to be.

Indith Wed 13-Aug-08 20:06:05



It is lovely. I think I keep rejecting stuff for the same reason, we already have a ds and another on the way, we are not starting out on a life together nor in a young lovers passionate romance of the sort you have pre kids. We are parents, and that means staggering to bed and mustering just about enough energy for a cuddle before sleep grin

EffiePerine Wed 13-Aug-08 20:06:07

was about to suggest Donne (if you don;t mind a bit of sentiment)

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den?
'Twas so; but this, all pleasures fancies be.
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone,
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown;
Let us possess one world, each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest,
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west?
Whatever dies was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.

EffiePerine Wed 13-Aug-08 20:07:52

this is rather nice but a bit bleak

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

the edge of the receding glacier

where painfully and with wonder
at having survived even
this far

we are learning to make fire

Indith Wed 13-Aug-08 20:08:39

Oh god missed stuff, last post aimed at dropdeadfred.

<<attempts to read stuff and not have it all merge into one>>

If I don't say thanks individually I do mean thanks, and am reading stuff

ma11 Wed 13-Aug-08 20:08:44

I love this one from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran. It is called "On Marriage". I really like the message, about getting married but not giving up yourself, your own identity.

On Marriage
Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But 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.

edam Wed 13-Aug-08 20:09:33

Do you know, I'd got completely confused there... it wasn't A Valediction Forbidding Mourning or Weeping, it was 'The Sun Rising' which I liked because I am a lazy slugabed. grin

RhinestoneCowgirl Wed 13-Aug-08 20:13:00

No offence taken Indith!

I read the bit from The Prophet at a friend's wedding and it is lovely, but think not allowed at civil ceremonies due to being Too Religious?? May depend on registrar tho...

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

halia Wed 13-Aug-08 20:16:44

how about donne or shakespeare?

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved?
The Good Morrow

But this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got,
'twas but a dream of thee.
The Good Morrow

I am two fools, I know,
For loving, and for saying so
In whining poetry.
The Triple Fool

Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time.
The Sun Rising

She's all states, and all princes I;
Nothing else is.
The Sun Rising

EffiePerine Wed 13-Aug-08 20:17:24

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-fixèd mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his heighth 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.

Laugs Wed 13-Aug-08 20:18:56

I keep re-reading your Pushkin poem Indith. Not at all suitable, but so beautiful.

EffiePerine's Donne poem always makes me smirk as I remember at A-level being told it was very smutty - apparently 'we sucked on country pleasures' is a joke to read like 'we fucked on cuntry pleasures' because Fs and Ss looked the same in writing in 16th century. Ho ho. I knew that A-level was worthwhile.

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