21 Literary Wedding Readings From Books You'll Want At Your Bookish Ceremony

Your dress may seem like the most important decision for your big day, but for the bookish among us, your literary wedding reading may be the biggest decision looming ahead.

Like many young girls, I always dreamed about my future wedding. What kind of dress would I wear? What flowers would I carry? But I never gave much thought to what I would want read at my wedding until more recently.

There's nothing wrong with a traditional ceremony, but it's your wedding ultimately. For book lovers, a wedding ceremony presents the perfect opportunity to bring out our favorite quotes and passages to share with our loved ones. It's chance to reflect on your spouse while borrowing words from some of the greatest writers of all time. I don't know about you, but when the day comes and my nerves take over, I'd rather let the Bard express my thoughts and love right then.

It's unique moments like these that will be remembered the most. While the color or style of your bridesmaid dresses may eventually be up for poking gentle fun, whatever you choose to read will be recalled as what made your ceremony different, whether it's something short and sweet to integrate into your vows or an epic poem.

1. "I'm in love with you, and I'm not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I'm in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we're all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we'll ever have, and I am in love with you."

—John Green, The Fault In Our Stars

2. "I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where,I love you directly without problems or pride:I love you like this because I don’t know any other way to love,except in this form in which I am not nor are you,so close that your hand upon my chest is mine,so close that your eyes close with my dreams."

—Pablo Neruda, "One Hundred Love Sonnets: XVII"

3. “Love is tricky. It is never mundane or daily. You can never get used to it. You have to walk with it, then let it walk with you. You can never balk. It moves you like the tide. It takes you out to sea, then lays you on the beach again. Today’s struggling pain is the foundation for a certain stride through the heavens. You can run from it but you can never say no.”

— Amy Tan, The Hundred Secret Senses

4. "Let's be a comfortable couple and take care of each other! And if we should get deaf, or lame, or blind, or bed-ridden, how glad we shall be that we have somebody we are fond of, always to talk to and sit with!"

— Charles Dickens, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby

5. "Let me not to the marriage of true mindsAdmit impediments. Love is not loveWhich 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."

— William Shakespeare, "Sonnet 116"

6. "Don't ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn't fall in love, I rose in it."

— Toni Morrison, Jazz

7. "here is the deepest secret nobody knows(here is the root of the root and the bud of the budand the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which growshigher than soul can hope or mind can hide)and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars aparti carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"

— e.e. cummings, "[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in]"

8. "A day or two after my love pronouncement, now feral with vulnerability, I sent you the passage from Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes in which Barthes describes how the subject who utters the phrase 'I love you' is like 'the Argonaut renewing his ship during its voyage without changing its name.' Just as the Argo’s parts may be replaced over time but the boat is still called the Argo, whenever the lover utters the phrase 'I love you,' its meaning must be renewed by each use, as 'the very task of love and of language is to give to one and the same phrase inflections which will be forever new.'"

— Maggie Nelson, The Argonauts

9. "For a few seconds they looked silently into each other's eyes, and the distant and impossible suddenly became near, possible, and inevitable."

— Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

10. "And they did have fun, though it was of different kind now. All that yearning and passion had been replaced by a steady pulse of pleasure and satisfaction and occasional irritation, and this seemed to be a happy exchange; if there had been moments in her life when she had been more elated, there had never been a time when things had been more constant."

— David Nicholls, One Day

11. "Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own."

— Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

12. "I am amazed by peaceIt is this possibility of youasleepand breathing in the quiet air."

— June Jordan, "Poem for My Love"

13. "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."

— C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

14. "Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new."

— Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

15. "Allow me to sit in the sunand listen to the sky.I will love you gently.Allow me to stay in my roomand weave my rainbows.I will love you truly."

— Chungmi Kim, "Allow Me"

16. "She rested her head against his and felt, for the first time, what she would often feel with him: a self-affection. He made her like herself. With him, she was at ease; her skin felt as though it was her right size.. It seemed so natural, to talk to him about odd things. She had never done that before. The trust, so sudden and yet so complete, and the intimacy, frightened her.. But now she could think only of all the things she yet wanted to tell him, wanted to do with him."

— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

17. "The world is full of loss; bring, wind, my love,my home is where we make our meeting-placeand love whatever I shall touch and readwithin that face."

— Muriel Rukeyser, "Song ('The world is full of loss...')"

18. "I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else."

— Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

19. "Come live with me and be my Love,And we will all the pleasures proveThat hills and valleys, dale and field,And all the craggy mountains yield."

— Christopher Marlowe, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"

20. "Perhaps our deepest love is already inscribed within us, so its object doesn't create a new word but instead allows us to read the one written."

— Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

21. "Both of them were uncertain; both of them were trying as much as they could; both of them would doubt themselves, would progress and recede. But they would both keep trying, because they trusted the other, and because the other person was the only other person who would ever be worth such hardships, such difficulties, such insecurities and exposure."

— Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

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