Romantic readings for bibliophile brides and grooms

I have never been much of a romantic reader or writer. When my teacher made my class do up our first Valentine’s Day cards, at the age of 8 or so, my offering was “Roses are red, violets are blue, these flowers are dead so I’ll give them to you”.

If you are looking for a love story suggestion, I’m the wrong person to ask. I prefer Macbeth to Romeo and Juliet, and Terminator 2 to Titanic. My complete obliviousness to thoughtful romantic writing had never been a handicap or even something I had thought about up until recently, when friends asked if I had any recommendations for prose that would be suitable for readings at a wedding.

I blanked. Completely. Now, these friends has lots of other friends; smarter, better, more literary friends who don’t neglect the novel in favour of a steady diet of non-fiction, humour and re-reading Game of Thrones. Proper friends, who actually read books nominated for the Miles Franklin award instead of filing them under “after I chortle through Bryson’s “At Home*””. I have no fear that they will be unable to get far better recommendations and I won’t ending trying to scrawl out a short poem for them.

(“Roses are red, violets are blue, you’re getting wed, let’s all go woo hoo” was about as good as I could manage, sadly.)

Literature at weddings as part of the ceremony is something that I’m coming across quite often. Now that it has become less common for wedding readings to be directly from religious text, I’ve heard plenty of variety. Some couples are inspired by Plato, others by Pratchett.  I’ve heard readings from the pages of the Bible and from the pages of the Princess Bride.

Two of my friends took their wedding’s readings from a host of sources, including  poetry by e.e. cummings and  T. S. Eliot (that’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, and not an offering from the poems that inspired the musical Cats), an excerpt from Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco. I had to suppress a smile when the Eco was read out – one of them had loaned me the book a while back and I will never forget the disappointment on their face when I handed it back afterwards saying I found it a bit dull. It was lovely to see a wedding that was a meeting of hearts, minds and bookshelves.

It’s not just readings where the books come in handy – one couple I know gave out copies of The Little Prince in the wedding goodie bags. All this love and all these lovely words on love – and I can’t think of a single decent quotation to throw out there. Can anyone help me out with some romantic words, books and stories that you’d recommend for a reading?

Or am I going to be stuck writing doggerel again?


*At Home was brilliant. I regret nothing.