Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

Congratulations on your engagement and thanks for looking at my blog!

How to use this blog

This blog is structured as a series of questions and under each posting, I've provided what I hope will be helpful advice for you in planning your humanist wedding. All of the posts are on one page, but each one has been condensed in size, so to read the full details, just click on the post title or 'read more'. When you get to the end of the post, just click on 'home' to get back to the full page of posts. If you're interested in a particular subject, you can also click on the list to the left or you can do your own search by using the box below.

I've started with a short video clip, so happy watching, happy reading and happy wedding planning!

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How do we choose readings and poetry?



There is such a vast array of lovely wedding poetry out there that you may find yourselves spoiled for choice! Alternatively, you might find yourselves having to wade through huge numbers of unsuitable readings (some religious, some cheesy, some just badly written) on the internet. There are some very nice wedding poetry books on the market though and I particularly like, 'Handfast', which is a book of Scottish poetry for weddings (published by the Scottish Poetry Library in 2004) and 'Heartsongs' by Pinky Agnew (published by Rider, 2006). The Humanist Society also have a huge collection of lovely non-religious poetry and readings to help you to find something appropriate for you. The most important thing is to choose poems that you like and that express your thoughts and feelings about each other and about your wedding day. I would usually include 2 or 3 readings in a ceremony, but of course you don't have to have any at all if it's not your thing!

You also need to consider carefully who is going to read for you.
I quite often read all of the poetry and am very happy to do so - but many couples like to involve friends or a members of the family by asking them to read a poem during the ceremony.


It's an important thing to ask someone to do for you and there are a few things to consider:

  • Choose someone you know won't feel too nervous on the day, someone who feels comfortable with public speaking.
  • Choose someone who you feel will do the poem justice, who will read it well for you.
  • Give them plenty of notice and send them a copy of what you'd like them to read. You could alternatively ask them to choose something for you and as well as being a really nice way of adding an element of surprise to the ceremony, this can also be very moving too.
  • Ask the reader to contact the Celebrant before the ceremony to discuss where and when the reading will be placed and where they should stand etc..
If you have children (either your own or in your wider circle of friends or family) and would like to involve them in the ceremony, why not get them to do a reading for you? If you choose the reading carefully and the child is confident, it can add something very special to the ceremony. In fact, they will probably steal the show with the 'cute factor'! This is Hanni reading a poem for her mum and 'poppy' (as she calls her step dad) at their wedding at Inchcailloch island on Loch Lomond:


One of my all time favourite wedding poems is Christine de Luca's 'Journey' which is published in the Scottish Poetry Library book, 'Handfast':

Today you see far down a mountainside,
out over islands to your far horizon.
Your sight is sharp, your goal clear, and tides
of love lap round all your desiring.

Two sets of footprints you will make, but true
companions on this journey you’ll become.
When you slip out of step, think of today;
relive again its close embrace of freedom.

May truest feelings stir you as the wind
disturbs the loch, or smirr on cotton grass.
May you find bliss in ordinariness
and joy forever in its present tense.

(Reproduced with the kind permission of the author)

And here are the lovely Nicola and Simon, who chose this beautiful reading, beginning their journey after their wedding at Glenskirlie Castle:



Another idea to consider with readings is to have a verse that all your guests read together. This especially suits well wishings (or 'blessings' for want of a better word) at the end of your ceremony. The reading needs to be fairly short and sweet and you can either print the words in an Order of Ceremony or have it done in a 'repeat after me' format (i.e. the Celebrant reads a line and everyone repeats it). This is one of my personal favourites and it's by an unknown author:

May your home be a place of happiness for all who enter it;
a place where the old and young are renewed in each other’s company,
a place for growing and a place for sharing, 
a place for music, a place for laughter and a place for love.........
Readings and poetry can add a lot to a wedding ceremony and there is such a vast choice out there that I'm sure you'll find something that is appropriately humanist and that suits you and the style of your big day!

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