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Readings for Civil Ceremonies

By law, you are not allowed to have any religious or spiritual material read out at a civil ceremony. The Superintendent Registrar must also approve what is to be read. It is best to send them a copy of what you intend to have read at least two weeks before the date of your wedding, but every registry office is different, and it is best to check what the procedures are for each one. You will also need to discuss with him/her when will be the best time to have your reading.

Who Should Read? Most couples choose a close friend or relative, but it could also be done by the Bride or Groom themselves. Make sure you choose someone you know will be confident and who can project their voice to the back of the room. Make sure that they will be happy to read whatever you and your fiance have chosen. Here are some suggested readings.

The Art of Marriage
A good marriage must be created, In the marriage, the little things are the big things. It is never being too old to hold hands. It is remembering to say "I Love you" at least once a day. It is never going to sleep angry. It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives. It is standing together and facing the world. It is forming a circle of love that gathers in the whole family. It is speaking words of appreciation and demonstrating gratitude in thoughtful ways. It is having the capacity to forgive and forget. It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow. It is a common search for the good and the beautiful. It is not only marrying the right person - It is being the right partner. Anon

Marriage is
Marriage is a dynamic process of discovery. Marriage is a journey, not an arrival. In marriage, being the right person is as important as finding the right person Marriage is starting to love, over and over again. Marriage is a life's work. Marriage is an art... and like any creative process, it requires active thought and effort We have to learn how to share on many different levels. We need to practice talking from the heart, and understanding attitudes as well as words. Giving generously and receiving graciously are talents that are available to anyone. But all these skills need to be developed, if the marriage picture that we paint is to be anything approaching the masterpiece intended. Anon.

A Walled Garden
'Your marriage' he said 'should have within it, a secret and protected place, open to you alone. Imagine it to be a walled garden, entered by a door to which only you hold the key. Within this garden, you will cease to be a mother, father, employee, homemaker or any other of the roles which you fulfill in everyday life. Here you are yourselves, two people who love each other. Here you can concentrate on one another's needs.' So take my hand and let us go back to our garden. The time we spend together is not wasted but invested. Invested in our future and the nurture of our love. Anon

Marriage is one long conversation, chequered by disputes
The disputes are valueless; they but ingrain the difference; The heroic heart of woman prompting her at once to nail her colours to the mast. But the intervals, almost unconsciously, and with no desire to shine, the whole of material life is turned over and over, ideas are struck out and shared, the two persons more and more adapt their notions to suit the other, and in process of time, without sound of trumpet, they conduct each other into new worlds of thought. R L Stevenson

A Marriage
Make of two fractional lives A whole; It gives to two purposeless lives a work, and doubles the strength of each to perform it; it give 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, and a new mystery to life. Mark Twain

We Two
You and I Have so much love, That it burns like a fire, In which we bake a lump of clay Molded into a figure of you And a figure of me.

Then we take both of them, And mix the pieces of water, And mold again a figure of you, And a figure of me.

I am in your clay. You are in my clay. In life we share a single quilt. In death we will share one coffin. Kuan Tao-Sheng

Indian Wedding Blessing
Now we feel no rain, for each of us will be a shelter to the other. Now we feel no cold, for each of us will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of us will be a companion to the other.

We are two bodies, but there is one life before us and one home. When evening falls, I'll look up and there you will be. I'll take your hand; you'll take mine and we'll turn together to look at the road we travelled to reach this: the hour of our happiness.

It stretches behind us, even as the future lies ahead. A long and winding road, whose every turning means discovery. Old hopes, new laughter, shared fears. The adventure has just begun.

Bridal Song
COMFORTS lasting, loves increasing, Like soft hours never ceasing: Plenty's pleasure, peace complying, Without jars, or tongues envying; Hearts by holy union wedded, More than theirs by custom bedded; Fruitful issues; life so graced, Not by age to be defaced, Budding, as the year ensu'th, Every spring another youth: All what thought can add beside Crown this bridegroom and this bride! John Ford

Mayan Wedding Poem
I know not if the voice of man can reach to the sky, I know not if the god's will hear if I pray, I know not if the gifts I have will all be granted, I know not what will come to pass in future days, But I hope only good will come from my love to you.
My True Love Hath My Heart
My true love hath my heart, and I have his, By just exchange, one for the other given. I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss, There never was a better bargain driven.

His heart in me keeps me and him in one, My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides; He loves my heart, for once it was his own, I cherish his, because in me it bides.

His heart his would received from my sight, My heart was wounded with his wounded heart; For as from me on him his hurt did light, So still methought in me his hurt did smart.

Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss; My true love hath my heart and I have his. Sir P Sidney

Shall I Compare Thee
Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? Thou are more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And Summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd:

But thy eternal Summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st; Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st: So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. William Shakespeare

How Do I Love Thee?
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.

I love thee to the level of everyday's Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith. I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With my lost saints,--I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life!--and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms
Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, Which I gaze on so fondly to-day, Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms, Live fairy-gifts fading away, Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, Let thy loveliness fade as it will, And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart Would entwine itself verdantly still.

It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, And thy cheeks unprofaned by a tear, That the fervor and faith of a soul may be known, To which time will but make thee more dear! No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close, As the sunflower turns on her god when he sets The same look which she turned when he rose! Thomas Moore

Love's Philosophy
The fountains mingle with the river, And the rivers with the ocean; The winds of heaven mix forever, 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; Now sister flower would be forgiven If it disdained its brother; And the sunlight clasps the earth, And the moonbeams kiss the sea:- What are all these kissing's worth, If thou kiss not me? Percy Shelley

A Poem by Walt Whitman
Listen, I will be honest with you I do not offer the old smooth prizes But offer rough new prizes These are the days that must happen to you: You shall not heap up what is called riches, You shall scatter with lavish hand all that you earn or achieve. However sweet the laid up stores, However convenient the dwelling, you shall not remain there. However sheltered the port, however calm the waters, you shall not anchor there. However welcome the hospitality that welcomes you, You are permitted to receive it but a little while Afoot and lighthearted, take to the open road Healthy, free, the world before you the long brown path before you, leading wherever you choose. Say only to one another: Camerado, I give you my hand! I give you my love more precious than money; I give you myself before preaching and law: Will you give me yourself? Will you come travel with me? Shall we stick by each other as long as we live?

Two Lives
Two lives, two people, so very different, yet so similar. Together we stand as one, sharing our future as it comes. The past is that, past. Buds are yet to blossom, with care and trust, the best is yet to be revealed. Honesty and kindness, are the fruits of love. Lord bless this day and always to enrich us so our love will never end.

Reading by Walter Pinder
Everyday you live, learn how to receive love with as much understanding as you give it. Find things within yourself, then you can share them with each other. Do not fear this love. Have an open heart and a sincere mind. Be sincerely interested in each other's happiness. Be constant and consistent in your love. From this comes security and strength. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us on this day of your marriage. Try to commit yourselves fully and freely to each other.
What is Love?
Love is just not looking at each other and saying "You're wonderful". There are times when we are anything but wonderful. Love is looking out in the same direction. It is linking our strength to pull a common load. It is pushing together towards the far horizons, hand in hand. Love is knowing that when our strength falters, we can borrow the strength of someone who cares. Love is a strange awareness that our sorrows will be shared and made lighter by sharing; that joys will be enriched and multiplied by the joy of another. Love is knowing someone else cares that we are not alone in life.

Love's Coming
Quietly as rosebuds Talk to the thin air, Love came so lightly, I knew not he was there. Quietly as lovers Creep at the middle moon, Softly as players tremble in the tears of a tune; Quietly as lilies Their faint vows declare Came the shy pilgrim: I knew not he was there. Quietly as tears fall On a warm sin, Softly as griefs call In a violin; Without hail or tempest, Blue sword of flame. Love came so lightly I knew not that he came. John Shaw Neilson

I look into the eyes of my best friend The one with whom I can share anything with My deepest hopes and heart-filled dreams Inner fears and sheltered insecurities My most warming joys and overwhelming triumphs All future journeys that I have left to encounter This and more I know I can share with you

Today... I take pride in my best friend With admiration I look upon you and smile For all that you are and all that you do that makes me so proud Every part of you that I have come to adore And for all those parts I have not yet learned I will live each day from now on cherishing you with honor

Today... I share my soul to my best friend My most prized possession which no other has been given I give it with great confidence and trust Because with you I am at peace and I know with you it is safe You give to me a warmth that I keep with me always And what else can I give to someone who has given me so much For you have opened my eyes to see a love, which before you I was blind to

Today... I am marrying my best friend For I know now God put you here to be my partner Knowing even before I, that you were the one I would live to love Guiding me to this aisle, He knew your hand would be waiting here for me to hold Graciously leading me here to you and allowing us to share this moment together So I could begin the rest of my journeys through life, happily ever after with you My Best Friend.

Love Is The Reason
Love is the reason why this day was chosen by you both to begin your lives together and love is the reason why you both will give with all hearts for the good of each other. Love is the reason that together you will become one; one in hope; one in believing in life; one in sharing the coming years.

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