How Do I Find My Couples Their Perfect Wedding Poem?

Roses are red, violets are blue, finding the perfect wedding poem is hard, so let me help you….

Part of being a Celebrant may involve helping your couples choose readings for their special day. Being on the lookout for verses that resonate to you, may come in useful if they ask your advice on authors and poems. Here we get an insight into one of our Celebrants, Tegan Elder’s favourites! 

But where do you start when it comes to looking for those perfect words?

First, the couple should consider what matters to them and choose pieces that reflect the relationship. You should think about the tone of the poetry, are they looking for romance or humour? Do they want guests to laugh, cry or ponder on the meaning of true love? Not only can you pick poems, but you can also take quotes from favourite films or music.

Here is a selection of my favourites….

A classic – A red, red rose by Robert Burns

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June;
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.

So fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in luve am I;
And I will luve thee still, my dear,
Till a’ the seas gang dry.

Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
I will love thee still, my dear,
While the sands o’ life shall run.

And fare thee weel, my only luve!
And fare thee weel awhile!
And I will come again, my luve,
Though it were ten thousand mile.

I adore this Rabbie Burns poem as it is a timeless classic. The declaration of everlasting love is exactly what everyone wants to hear on their wedding day.

Modern – I’ll be there for you by Louise Cuddon 

I’ll be there my darling, through thick and through thin
When your mind’s in a mess and your head’s in a spin
When your plane’s been delayed, and you’ve missed the last train.
When life is just threatening to drive you insane
When your thrilling whodunit has lost its last page
When somebody tells you, you’re looking your age
When your coffee’s too cool, and your wine is too warm
When the forecast said “Fine”, but you’re out in a storm
When your quick break hotel, turns into a slum
And your holiday photos show only your thumb

When you park for five minutes in a resident’s bay
And return to discover you’ve been towed away
When the jeans that you bought in hope or in haste
Just stick on your hips and don’t reach round your waist
When the food you most like brings you out in red rashes
When as soon as you boot up the bloody thing crashes

So my darling, my sweetheart, my dear…
When you break a rule, when you act the fool
When you’ve got the flu, when you’re in a stew
When you’re last in the queue, don’t feel blue
’cause I’m telling you, I’ll be there.

I adore this love poem by Louise Cuddon as it is an honest and realistic representation of life as a modern married couple. It brings an element of humour and always makes me smile when I hear it during a ceremony.

Romantic – Quote from The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Poets often describe love as an emotion that we can’t control, one that overwhelms logic and common sense. That’s what it was like for me. I didn’t plan on falling in love with you, and I doubt if you planned on falling in love with me. But once we met, it was clear that neither of us could control what was happening to us. We fell in love, despite our differences, and once we did, something rare and beautiful was created. For me, love like that has happened only once, and that’s why every minute we spent together has been seared in my memory.

I adore this movie quote from the film The Notebook. The film is a staple classic for all those true love romantics out there. It is full of very sweet quotes and this particular choice can be used as a reading or perhaps used for your personal vows instead.

Modern Scottish – Rings by Carol Ann Duffy

I might have raised your hand to the sky
to give you the ring surrounding the moon
or looked to twin the rings of your eyes
with mine
or added a ring to the rings of a tree
by forming a handheld circle with you, thee,
or walked with you
where a ring of church-bells,
looped the fields,
or kissed a lipstick ring on your cheek,
a pressed flower,
or met with you
in the ring of an hour,
and another hour…

I might
have opened your palm to the weather, turned, turned,
till your fingers were ringed in rain
or held you close,
they were playing our song,
in the ring of a slow dance
or carved our names
in the rough ring of a heart
or heard the ring of an owl’s hoot
as we headed home in the dark
or the ring, first thing,
of chorussing birds
waking the house
or given the ring of a boat, rowing the lake,
or the ring of swans, monogamous, two,
or the watery rings made by the fish
as they leaped and splashed
or the ring of the sun’s reflection there…

I might have tied
a blade of grass,
a green ring for your finger,
or told you the ring of a sonnet by heart
or brought you a lichen ring,
found on a warm wall,
or given a ring of ice in winter
or in the snow
sung with you the five gold rings of a carol
or stolen a ring of your hair
or whispered the word in your ear
that brought us here,
where nothing and no one is wrong,
and therefore I give you this ring.

I adore this piece by Carol Ann Duffy, as not only does it set a romantic scene, but it also ties together the universal symbolism of a ring, ideal for a wedding! But most importantly, this poem was written for William and Kate for their royal wedding in 2011. Live like Kings and Queens on your big day too!

Humour – Grow old with you from The Wedding Singer

I want to make you smile whenever you’re sad
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad
All I want to do is grow old with you
I’ll get your medicine when your tummy aches
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks

Oh it could be so nice, growing old with you
I’ll miss you
Kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold
Need you
Feed you

Even let you hold the remote control
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed if you’ve had too much to drink
I could be the man who grows old with you
I want to grow old with you.

I adore this piece taken from the brilliant film The Wedding Singer as it was chosen as a surprise reading for one of my couples and went down a treat! It is light-hearted, fun, and completely relatable. Plus, your reader could always sing the words and have all the guests joining in.

Finally, if you and your couple have searched high and low for that perfect poem and cannot find one that suits, then why not home in on the talents of their family and friends and ask them to write a personalised piece that reflects them as a couple. It would make for a lovely surprise on the day.

Whatever they choose to have read during the ceremony, tell them to make sure it makes their heart sing.

Tegan Elder
Tegan Elder

Humanist Celebrant
Feature Image: Lifetime Photography

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