Lovebirds rejoice, because I've picked out 18 great, romantic poems to incorporate into your wedding vows, because there's more to declaring your feelings than "love, honor, and cherish." Whether you decide to recite a full poem to your partner, or you're just looking for inspiration, there's something on this list that will make your big day extra special.
First off, congratulations! If you're here, that means you're getting married, and you're writing your own vows, which is nothing if not a daunting enterprise. Take a deep breath, though, because everything is going to be fine. If this list is where you're meant to find your inspiration, you can rest well knowing that your search ends here.
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of wedding-appropriate poems, and you should not feel obligated to use any material in your wedding vows that you are not 100 percent in love with. So if you don't find something here you love, you may want to look at the other poems and literary passages Bustle writers have picked out for wedding readings, to see if anything strikes your fancy.
Check out the 17 romantic poems I've picked out for you below:
"Stray" by Elizabeth Alexander
On the beach, close to sunset, a dog runs
toward us fast, agitated, perhaps feral,
scrounging for anything he can eat.
We pull the children close and let him pass.
"Touched by an Angel" by Maya Angelou
We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
"Habitation" by Margaret Atwood
Marriage is not
a house or even a tent
"Serenade" by Djuna Barnes
Three paces down the shore, low sounds the lute,
The better that my longing you may know;
I'm not asking you to come,
But — can't you go?
"Love Poem Without a Drop of Hyperbole In It" by Traci Brimhall
I’d train my breath and learn to read sonar until
I retrieved every lost blood vessel of you. I swear
this love is ungodly, not an ounce of suffering in it.
"Perfect Orange" by Ching-In Chen
Because today our hands unravel a perfect orange
we each left our homes
drank ripening light before boarding
put our hands together into red soil
"Heart to Heart" by Rita Dove
It's neither red
It doesn't melt
or turn over,
"To Be One With Each Other" by George Eliot
What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
"On Marriage" by Marilyn Hacker
Epithalamion? Not too long back
I was being ironic about "wives."
It's very well to say, creation thrives
on contradiction, but that's a fast track
"Gay Marriage Poem" by Jenny Johnson
We could promise to elope
like my grandmother did
if a football team won.
"our souls are mirrors" by Rupi Kaur
god must have kneaded you and i
from the same dough
rolled us out as one on the baking sheet
"So Much Happiness" by Naomi Shibab Nye
It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
"Colors passing through us" by Margie Piercy
Purple as tulips in May, mauve
into lush velvet, purple
as the stain blackberries leave
on the lips, on the hands,
"Monna Innominata [I loved you first]" by Christina Rossetti
I loved you first: but afterwards your love,
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
"The Anactoria Poem" by Sappho
Some there are who say that the fairest thing seen on the black earth is an array of horsemen;
some, men marching; some would say ships; but I say
she whom one loves best
"Maritime" by Sharon Wang
Did you ever feel this. Astonished
by the blood drawn from
your arms when you took a step forward
and the air scraped you.
"&" by Aracelis Girmay
& isn’t the heart
magnet between the seconds of days
& dusks, the peonies
& the fig tree & the squirrels?