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Non-Religious Wedding Readings: The Best Readings about Love for Weddings

Looking for the perfect non-religious wedding reading for your ceremony? Find the most beautiful passages about love for your wedding readings, invitations and vows here

Mix faith couple marrying with a celebrant

Wedding readings can be a powerful way to put your feelings into words. 

Whether you’re writing a wedding speech as the groom, a best man speech, or even designing your invitations, there are lots of opportunities to include a heartfelt reading or passage when planning your wedding.

A common misconception is that wedding readings must be religious. While it is traditional to have excerpts from religious scriptures if the couple commits to a faith, it’s certainly not a requirement. 

From movies and books to poems and plays, we have an exhaustive list of sentimental and touching non-religious readings for weddings to consider for your big day. 

Plus, we’ve asked wedding celebrant from Season One of Netflix's hit show Love is Blind, Paul Blackett, to share his top tips on how to choose the perfect non-religious wedding reading, along with some of his favourite extracts. 

Non Religious Readings from Books & Plays

If the happy couple shares a favourite book, or you find that a certain play perfectly articulates the meaning of love, why not take inspiration from it for your non-religious wedding reading? 

Here are some of the most romantic quotes from literature throughout the ages.

100 years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

“Madly in love after so many years … they enjoyed the miracle of loving each other as much at the table as in bed, and they grew to be so happy that even when they were two worn-out old people they kept on blooming like little children and playing together like dogs.”

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No … don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!”

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

“She is a mortal danger to all men. She is beautiful without knowing it, and possesses charms that she’s not even aware of. She is like a trap set by nature – a sweet perfumed rose in whose petals Cupid lurks in ambush! Anyone who has seen her smile has known perfection. She instills grace in every common thing and divinity in every careless gesture. Venus in her shell was never so lovely, and Diana in the forest never so graceful as my Lady when she strides through Paris!”

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

“She was more than human to me. She was a Fairy, a Sylph, I don’t know what she was – anything that no one ever saw, and everything that everybody ever wanted. I was swallowed up in an abyss of love in an instant. There was no pausing on the brink; no looking down, or looking back; I was gone, headlong, before I had sense to say a word to her.”

Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

“Now, I’m not going to deny that I was aware of your beauty. But the point is, this has nothing to do with your beauty. As I got to know you, I began to realise that beauty was the least of your qualities. I became fascinated by your goodness. I was drawn in by it. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life. I knew it was hopeless, but that didn’t matter to me. And it’s not that I want to have you. All I want is to deserve you. Tell me what to do. Show me how to behave. I’ll do anything you say.”

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

“It has made me better loving you … it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better.”

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

“I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till i find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… we’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… and when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight…”

The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach

“A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soul mate is the one who makes life come to life.”

Non Religious Wedding Readings from Poems

Bride reading her vows to a groom in a white marquee, with a celebrant

Nothing pulls on the heartstrings quite like poetry, and this selection of romantic rhymes will have every guest reaching for a tissue. 

With so many non-religious wedding poems to choose from, they’re perfect for those struggling to find the right words to express how they feel.

Untitled by R.M Drake

You will be the clouds
and I will be the sky.
You will be the ocean
and I will be the shore.
You will be the trees
and I will be the wind.

Whatever we are, you and I
will always collide.

Buried Light by Beau Taplin

Home is not where
you are from

It is where
you belong

Some of us
travel the whole
world to find it.

find it in a person.

A Vow by Wendy Cope

I cannot promise to never be angry;
I cannot promise always to be kind.
You know what you are taking on, my darling
It’s only at the start that love is blind.
And yet I’m still the one you want to be with
And you’re the one for me – of that I’m sure.
You are my closest friend, my favourite person,
The lover and the home I’ve waited for.
I cannot promise that I will deserve you
From this day on. I Hope to pass the test.
I love you and I want to make you happy.
I promise I will do my very best.

Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney

Masons, when they start upon a building,
Are careful to test out the scaffolding;
Make sure that planks won’t slip at busy points,
Secure all ladders, tighten bolted joints.
And yet all this comes down when the job’s done
Showing off walls of sure and solid stone.
So if, my dear, there sometimes seem to be
Old bridges breaking between you and me
Never fear. We may let the scaffolds fall
Confident that we have built our wall.

I Promise You by Myriah

I can’t promise you
That dark clouds
Will never hover
Over our lives Or that the future
Will bring us many rainbows.
I can’t promise you that
Tomorrow will be perfect
Or that our lives will be easy.
I can promise you my everlasting
Devotion, my loyalty, my respect,
And my unconditional love for a lifetime .
I can promise you that
I’ll always be here for you,
To listen and to hold your hand,
And I’ll do my best to make you happy,
And make you feel loved.
I can promise you that
I can see you through a crisis
And pray with you,
Dream with you,
Build with you,
And always cheer you on
And encourage you.
I can promise you that
I’ll willingly be your protector,
Your adviser, your counselor,
Your friend, your family,
Your everything.
I promise you.

Love by Roy Croft

I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

Non Religious Wedding Readings from Songs

Bride and groom saying their vows in front of a wedding celebrant

Every couple has a song that reminds them of when they first fell in love - so why not use it to inspire a non-religious wedding reading?

Whether you’re writing a best man speech for the happy couple, or you’re a newlywed delivering a speech for your beloved new spouse, quoting romantic love songs and artists is a romantic and simple way to make the entire wedding party truly feel the love. 

Better Together by Jack Johnson

Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart.
Like: “Why are we here?”, “And where do we go?”,
“And how come it’s so hard?”
It’s not always easy,
And sometimes life can be deceiving
I’ll tell you one thing:
It’s always better when we’re together.

My Love is Your Love by Whitney Houston

If tomorrow is judgement day,
And I’m standing on the front line,
And the Lord asks me what I did with my life,
I will say I spent it with you.

Purify Me by India Arie

Easy like a Sunday morning,
Like an angel calling,
He taking me all in,
I’m embracing him with my skin,
Like a glimmer of light,
Like a vision of life,
And he’s so perfect I couldn’t picture him if I tried.

I Choose You by Sara Bareilles

There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me that you could not come true
Just love’s illusion
But then you found me
And everything changed
And I believe in something again.

My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter

Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose you
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose you
I choose you

We are not perfect we’ll learn from our mistakes
And as long as it takes I will prove my love to you
I am not scared of the elements I am under-prepared,
But I am willing
And even better
I get to be the other half of you.

I Love You Because by Jim Reeves

I love you because you understand, dear
Every single thing I try to do
You’re always there to lend a helping hand, dear
I love you most of all because you’re you
No matter what the world may say about me
I know your love will always see me through
I love you for the way you never doubt me
But most of all I love you ‘cause you’re you
I love you because my heart is lighter
Every time I’m walking by your side
I love you because the future’s brighter
The door to happiness opened wide.

Fool For You by John Butler Trio

So I stepped up to the plate to a place I thought I’d never be
So I’m thanking you today because of you I am now me
Cold days them dark and blue when ran was our only friend
For all that we’ve been through and will go through again
For that I say,
I will come and I will stand
and I will live my life beside you
I’m a proud, a proud man, but all the same I’m
I’m just a fool, I’m a fool for you
I’m a fool, I’m a fool for you.

Non Religious Wedding Readings from Films & TV

LGBTQ+ couple saying their vows with a celebrant outdoors

For many people, our first experience of true love was through watching our favourite characters fall head over heels for each other on TV. So, why not capture the spark of the most romantic films and TV shows ever made on your big day?

Carrie’s Poem – A Wedding Reading (Sex & The City)

“His hello was the end of her endings,
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle,
His hand would be hers to hold forever,
His forever was as simple as her smile.

He said she was what was missing,
She said instantly she knew,
She was a question to be answered,
And his answer was ‘I do’.”

The Notebook

“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

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.”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

“When I say, ‘I love you,’ it’s not because I want you or because I can’t have you. It has nothing to do with me. I love what you are, what you do, how you try. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. And I understand with perfect clarity exactly what you are. You’re a hell of a woman. You’re the one.”

Grey’s Anatomy

“Today’s the day my life begins. All my life I’ve been just me. Just a smart mouth kid. Today I become a man. Today I become a husband. Today I become accountable to someone other than myself. Today I become accountable to you. To our future. To all the possibilities that a marriage has to offer. Together, no matter what happens, I’ll be ready. For anything. For everything. To take on life, to take on love. To take on possibility and responsibility. Today Izzie Stevens, our life together begins. And I for one can’t wait.”

When Harry Met Sally

“I love that after I spend a day with you,
I can still smell your perfume on my clothes.
And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night.
And it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve.
I came here tonight because when you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody,
You want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”


“It is a love based on giving and receiving. As well as having and sharing, And the love that they give and have is shared and received. And through this having and sharing and receiving, we too can share and love and have and receive… When I think of the love that these two givers and receivers share, I cannot help but envy the lifetime ahead of having and loving and giving and… And then I can’t think of a good word for right here.”

Non Religious Wedding Readings from Children’s Books

Female celebrant outside reading wedding extract

Readings for weddings can be non-religious, especially if you choose one from a children’s book. From A. A. Milne to Sarah Boynton, discover the most beautiful wedding readings from children's books that even the kids will love. 

Especially if you’re having kids at your wedding, including a reading from a children’s book can be a simple yet romantic way to express true love in a non-religious wedding reading.

Your Personal Penguin by Sandra Boynton

I like you a lot
You’re funny and kind
So let me explain
What I have in mind.

I want to be Your Personal Penguin
I want to walk right by your side
I want to be Your Personal Penguin
I want to travel with you far and wide.

Wherever you go, I’ll go there too
Here and there and ev’rywhere
And always with you.
I want to be Your Personal Penguin
From now on.

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you. It’s so much more friendly with two.”

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

“No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater… The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”

Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne

“If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together… there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we’re apart… I’ll always be with you.”

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“She is more important than all the hundreds of you other roses: because it is she that I have watered; because it is she that I have put under the glass globe; because it is she that I have sheltered behind the screen; because it is for her that I have killed the caterpillars; because it is she that I have listened to, when she grumbled, or boasted, or even sometimes when she said nothing. Because she is my rose.”

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger

“And then, high up on an icy branch, a scarlet flash, one more leaf, holding tight. ‘You’re here,’ cried the little yellow leaf. ‘I am,’ said the little scarlet leaf. ‘Like me,’ said the little yellow leaf. Neither spoke. Finally… ‘Will you?’ asked the little scarlet leaf. ‘I will,’ said the little yellow leaf. And, one two three, they let go, and soared…”

Still looking for inspiration? Perhaps you’d prefer a wedding reading which is guaranteed to make your guests laugh! If that’s the case, take a look at our selection of the best funny wedding readings.

Top Tips for Choosing Non Religious Wedding Readings

Paul the wedding celebrant holding up an

Get inspired and enjoy the process of hunting for readings for weddings that are non-religious. UK and beyond, there is so much out there, so don’t rush your decision!

Also, consider who will be giving your readings. You’ll want to tailor your readings to the person who’ll be giving them – if it’s your best man speech, don’t go for something too serious, and if it’s your mum who has a tendency to cry, choose something brief.

Finally, have a discussion with your officiant – they’ll be able to advise what kind of readings are best. But enough of what we think... let’s get some tips from an expert! We asked wedding celebrant Paul Blackett to share his professional tips and tricks on finding great non-religious wedding reading ideas. 

As a Humanists UK accredited celebrant, Paul has experience in crafting gorgeous wedding ceremonies and vow renewals, whilst making sure that the whole day flows seamlessly for the happy couple.

“Wedding readings have proven to have the power to elevate the communal experience of gathering together at a wedding to celebrate love and marriage, and each offer a unique reflection on the beauty of human relationships free from the constraints of traditional religious texts.

“The key is to ensure the readings you choose hold real meaning to you both and resonate with you.

“Literature is as diverse as your love for each other, so if you like the idea of a reading but don’t know where to start, a Humanists UK wedding celebrant like me will be only too happy to help you to find something that is special and unique to your story! 

“It’s just one of the many advantages of hiring a celebrant.”

Can You Have Non-Religious Readings at a Catholic Wedding? 

“If your priest is open to the idea, then I think this depends on the balance you wish to strike between faith and human connection in your ceremony script.

“Undoubtedly there are some lovely religious readings that encapsulate both, but if you’re drawn to the idea that balancing things with a reading that will offer a reflection point on love and life without necessarily drawing on any religious references, I’d say mix it up!

What To Read At A Non-Religious Wedding? 

Paul the celebrant taking a phone selfie with a couple

“Really, the options are limitless at a non-religious wedding.

“There are countless ‘classics’ that offer something for everyone and focus on your love for one another, but if prose or verse isn’t your thing, why not think about choosing lyrics from your favourite song or from a scene from your favourite movie instead?

“There’s no rule that says that readings at a wedding must be formal and stuffy – have some fun with it!”

Here are three of Paul’s favourite non-religious wedding ceremony readings: 

Reading #1: Union by Robert Fulghum

Hitched Highlight: “The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, 'You know all those things we've promised and hoped and dreamed—well, I meant it all, every word.'"

Reading #2: The Amber Spyglass: Excerpt  by Philip Pullman

Hitched Highlight: “I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment.”

Reading #3: Love Is Friendship Caught Fire by Laura Hendricks

Hitched Highlight: “Love is friendship caught fire; it is quiet, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection, and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present, hopes for the future, and does not brood over the past.”

Still looking for inspiration? Perhaps you’d prefer a wedding reading which is guaranteed to make your guests laugh! If that’s the case, take a look at our selection of the best funny wedding readings.