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Bespoke Words

Have I mentioned how much I love books?! In case you missed it, I am a self confessed bibliophile! I love to spend time in bookshops perusing the shelves for old time favourites and some new additions. I know reading isn’t for everyone and I know it can be so stressful to go about finding readings and passages for your ceremony that you like and that reflect your personalities and beliefs. With me you can rest assured I’ve got you covered. I am an avid reader and a poet by trade and I love to help my couples find the perfect pieces of writing to use during their personalised ceremony.

One of the perks of having a Celebrant led ceremony is the freedom to choose words that suit you and your vision- so these can be religious, secular, humourous, works of fictions or poetry, song lyrics or movie quotes. There is no limit to what you can choose and I love to leaf through my bookshelves to find something perfect for you.

Your ceremony readings are natural ways to include your friends and family as well by inviting them to recite a piece. You could have as many pieces as you like in theory but for me three or four works quite well. Consider the following points in the ceremony for a reading: 1. An Opening Reading after the Celebrant has welcomed everyone. 2. After the Love Story before moving into the Vows. 3. A Closing Poem before the Pronouncement. Of course you can sprinkle them into your ceremony wherever you want and have as many as you like if you are feeling spoilt for choice!

Here’s a selection of 5 Readings/Poems to include in your bespoke ceremony:

First up is one of my favourite poems out there. This is simple and sweet sonnet by Irish poet Gabriel Fitzmaurice.

Just To Be Beside You Is Enough – Gabriel Fitzmaurice
Just to be beside you is enough,
Just to make your breakfast tea and toast,
To help you with the ware, that kind of stuff,
Just to get the papers and your post;
To hold you in my arms in calm embrace,
Just to sit beside you at the fire,
Just to trace my fingers on your face
Is more to me than all of youth’s desire;
Just to lie beside you in the night,
To hear you breathe in peace before I sleep,
To wake beside you in the morning light
In the love we sowed together that we reap.
Together we have taken smooth and rough.
Just to be beside you is enough.

Why not consider reciting your favourite lyrics in place of a standard piece from a book or poem? Music is a wonderful component of any ceremony but sometimes it is nice to pull out the beautiful words and hear them anew. Maybe you have a favourite song together?

How Sweet It Is by James Taylor
I needed the shelter of someone’s arms
There you were
I needed someone to understand my ups and downs
There you were
With sweet love and devotion
Deeply touching my emotion
I close my eyes at night
Wondering where would I be without you in my life
Everything I did was just a bore
Everywhere I went, seems I’d been there before
But you brighten up for me all of my days
With a love so sweet, so many ways
I wanna stop, thank you
How sweet it is to be loved by you
You were better to me than I was to myself
For me, there’s you and there ain’t nobody else
I wanna stop, thank you
How sweet it is to be loved by you

Alternatively, take inspiration from the silver screen. If movies are your thing there are countless monologues that can be used in your ceremony for something non-traditional and that compliments you as a couple. Like this from Nora Ephron from When Harry Met Sally.

“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”

—Harry, When Harry Met Sally

Works of fiction provide countless options. From childhood favourites to modern books the perfect reading is waiting for you between the pages. This is from Louis de Bernière’s 1994 novel:

From Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
Love is a temporary madness.
It erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides, you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
That it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
It is not excitement,
It is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
And this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
And when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
They find that they are one tree and not two.

Or if you are looking for something truly unique why not commission a bespoke poem? I can write a poem for you based on your love story such as this one I wrote for a very special 2021 couple:

A decade ago in café called Tribes
two young accountants began the rest of their lives.
One plucked up the courage with charm and good looks
and suggested some library dates hitting the books.
She passed the exams and he passed the test,
ten year have followed and they were ten of the best

With travels the world over from Ventry to the Whitsunday’s
no better people to make the most of the fun days.
There were jobs and promotions and all of life’s stresses
but together you solved each other’s messes
There was American football and views from Hill 16,
things in life that the other had never seen

A ring was produced in 2018 and the wedding date was set
and then it was revised, sure who could forget.
You bought your first home and began living it up
with parties and lodgers and then there was pup
It was a decade ago you first took their hand
and here you are now, together forever as planned.

I hope this has given you some inspiration! The important thing to remember is that your possibilities are endless when you are having a Celebrant led wedding ceremony. You have the freedom to choose the kind of words you want to include and you have a very reliable adviser in me when it comes to making the selection!


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