8 Best Man Readings From Books

For the couple to-be that loves books, the best man has a unique opportunity to bring a literary element to what might — despite all best intentions — become a raging debauche of a reception. It's the best man's duty to kick off the toasts with a phenomenal best man speech, and what better way to remain in the readerly couple's favor than by selecting some well-cherished words from a favorite book that will let everyone have a moment of thoughtful contemplation before some crazy aunt or uncle starts regaling the partygoers with their niece or nephew's most embarrassing moments.

The pressure, good sir, is on.

What comprises a good wedding toast? Obviously, knowing the tone of the wedding and knowing the couple is essential. Personally, I always think memorable readings or speeches capture some essence of both parties in the wedded union. We've probably all heard toasts that focus on the best man's bond with the groom — and we've probably all thought . . . okay, but what about the bride?

When selecting a best man reading, don't be afraid to think outside the box. If you're not a natural born speechwriter, choose a poem (an epithalamium is, in fact, a poem written on the occasion of nuptials) can be an excellent and meaningful alternative — especially if the couple is registered at Barnes and Noble.

Here are eight ideas to get you inspired.

1. "Sonnet 116" by William 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-fixed mark

That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wand'ring bark,

Can you go wrong with The Bard?

2. "Wedding Poem" by Ross Gay

Utterly ebullient and terrific for an outdoor reception.

Friends I am here to modestly report

seeing in an orchard

in my town

a goldfinch kissing

3. "Psalm V" by Julia Fiedorczuk (translated by Bill Johnston)

to catch life

red-handed, to relish the goodness

of your home amid the hills encircled

by a wedding party where I seek and find, seek

and do not find, seek and disappear and —

4. "The Couple Next Door" by Suji Kwok Kim

I love how

faithfully they work their garden

all year, scumbling dried eelgrass

in fall, raking away mulch in spring.

Perfect for the long-dating, domestic couple.

5. "And Then It Was Less Bleak Because We Said So" by Wendy Xu

Romance is a grotto of eager stones

anticipating light, or a girl whose teeth

you can always see. With more sparkle and pop

is the only way to live.

Who wouldn't want to toast to more sparkle and pop?!

6. "Bronzed" by Dean Young

The offbeat imagery in this poem is spot-on for a reception at an unassuming (and possibly retro) locale.

The sword's hilt glints, the daffodils bow down,

all is temporary as a perfect haircut, a kitten

in the lap, yet sitting here with you, my darling,

waiting for a tuna melt and side of slaw

seems all eternity I'll ever need

and all eternity needs of me.

7. " [love is more thicker than forget]" by E.E. Cummings

For the couple that's keen on semantic wrangling.

love is less always than to win

less never than alive

less bigger than the least begin

less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly

and more it cannot die

than all the sky which only

is higher than the sky

8. "Give All to Love" by Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first three stanzas are wedding-toast gold.

Give all to love;

Obey thy heart;

Friends, kindred, days,

Estate, good-fame,

Plans, credit and the Muse,—

Nothing refuse.

Images: Christopher Jolly/Unsplash