That is our overall theme of life and what we want to convey to all our guests. We wanted keep to who we are and choose things that are a tad offbeat and maybe a little unexpected. So keeping that in mind here were our choices. (Sorry for the varying fonts, colors, and sizes. I copied and pasted and don't know enough about HTML code to fix it all. My thoughts are all in italics after the readings.)
A Wedding Toast
"May your love be firm, and may your dream of life together be a river between two shores- by day bathed in sunlight, and by night illuminated from within. May the heron carry news of you to the heavens, and the salmon bring the sea's blue grace. May your twin thoughts spiral upward like leafy vines, like fiddle strings in the wind, and be as noble as the Douglas fir. May you never find yourselves back to back without love pulling you around into each other's arms."
-- James Bertolino
We thought this one was beautiful, but not really "us".
From The Invitation
"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.
It doesn't interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring with your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it or fade it.
I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it's not pretty, every day, and if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, "Yes!".
It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand alone in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back...."
Definitely not your average reading, but while realistic and true to the heart, we also wanted a little more romance.
Song of Solomon 2:10-13
This we love. It goes well with the rest of the service and brings in the romance and faith.
My lover spoke and said to me,
"Arise, my darling,
my beautiful one, and come with me.
See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.
The fig tree forms its early fruit;
the blossoming vines spread their fragrance.
Arise, come, my darling;
my beautiful one, come with me."
~ By Raymond J. Baughan ~
Here in the space between us and the world
lies human meaning.
Into the vast uncertainty we call.
The echoes make our music,
sharp equations which can hold the stars,
and marvelous mythologies we trust.
This may be all we need
to lift our love against indifference and pain.
Here in the space between us and each other
lies all the future
of the fragment of the universe
This was also one of the favorites. Romantic and boundless.. just like love should be.
We wondered about our readers having to read the unique timing and rhyming that is TS Eliot.
Dedication to My Wife
T. S. ELIOT
To whom I owe the leaping delight
That quickens my senses in our wakingtime
And the rhythm that governs the repose of our sleepingtime,
The breathing in unison
Of lovers whose bodies smell of each other
Who think the same thoughts without need of speech
And babble the same speech without need of meaning.
No peevish winter wind shall chill
No sullen tropic sun shall wither
The roses in the rose-garden which is ours and ours only
But this dedication is for others to read:
These are private words addressed to you in public.
~ Author Unknown ~
Sooner or later we begin to understand that love is more than verses on valentines and romance in the movies. We begin to know that love is here and now, real and true, the most important thing in our lives. For love is the creator of our favourite memories and the foundation of our fondest dreams. Love is a promise that is always kept, a fortune that can never be spent, a seed that can flourish in even the most unlikely of places. And this radiance that never fades, this mysterious and magical joy, is the greatest treasure of all - one known only by those who love.
As beautiful as this is, it seems a little heavy on romance and little short on the reality of love and life to it.
These I Can Promise
I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth, or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads away from change or growing old.
But I can promise all my heart's devotion;
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that's ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.
Yes, I'll Marry You.
This is such a touching, loving poem grounded in the reality of life. But we also felt that someone else reading it to us was not as the poem was intended as from one to another.
Geniuses of countless nations
Have told their love for generations
Till all their memorable phrases
Are common as goldenrod or daisies.
Their girls have glimmered like the moon,
Or shimmered like a summer moon,
Stood like a lily, fled like a fawn,
Now the sunset, now the dawn,
Here the princess in the tower
There the sweet forbidden flower.
Darling, when I look at you
Every aged phrase is new,
And there are moments when it seems
I've married one of Shakespeare's dreams.
This is one of my favorites, simple sweet, and unexpected.
On Your Wedding Day, as You Trade Vows
On your wedding day, as you trade vows,The last two lines of this are some of my favorite overall.
No ordinary moment hurries by.
You partake, as far as time allows,
Of something more than time and Earth and sky.
Unknowable, invisible, yet there;
Resplendent to the heart if not the face;
More than both of you, yet less than air;
A transcendental act conferring grace.
Reason might say, How can this be true?
Return then to the heart, for this is love.
In making vows, you make one out of two,
A mystery beyond what words can prove.
Go then as one flesh, one home, one heart.
Each still a whole, yet also now a part.
We Will Not Wish You Joy by Brain Zouch
We will not wish you joy on this great day,
For joy is in your hearts and goes with you
Along the fragrant, mystic, sunlit way:
We will not wish you joy while love is new.
But this is our wish: May you be strong enough
To shelter love, and keep it safe from harm,
When winds blow high, and roads are steep and tough
May you protect your love, preserve its charm.
When days are dark, may love be your sure light,
When days are cold, may love be your bright fire,
Your guiding star when hope is out of sight,
The essence and the sun of your desire.
May love be with you through the flight of years,
Then after storms, there always be calm.
Though you have cause for heartache and for tears,
Despair lasts not, where love is there for balm.
This be the prayer we breathe for you today:
When you have reached the summit of life's hill,
May it be possible for you to say,
"Married long years, but we are lovers still."
~ Regina Hill ~
When two people join together
and bond their lives forever
because they are certain they have something special
that will make their commitment last…
this is the first act of faith.
Upon this act of faith these two people will build a life.
and as long as their determination stays with them
this life will always be their hope, their dreams, their truth, their being, their inspiration,
and their source of strength.
Through their life together, they will hurt and laugh.
Together they will feel all of life's up and downs.
They will learn and grow through trial and error.
The lessons will show them the meaning of true love
And the difference between a love that lasts
and one that just gives up.
These two people will face each failure together and
discover the strength to go on.
They will encourage each other's dreams and forgive each other's faults.
Through a labour of love.
these two will become as one,
fighting against the odds and ultimately creating
a commitment that will grow into an infinite love.
This is a great reading, but its a bit long and just didn't suit us.
Short poem from Ian Burgham.
A windrose, a compass
My direction, my description of the world.
I love this! But, too short.
I dreamed of Paradise,– and still,
though sun lay soft on vale and hill,
And trees were green and rivers bright,
The one dear thing that made delight
By sun or stars or Eden weather,
Was just that we two were together.
I dreamed of Heaven,– and God so near!
The angels trod the shining sphere,
And all were beautiful; the days
Were choral work, were choral praise;
And yet, in Heaven's far-shining weather,
The best was still,– we were together!
I woke– and found my dream was true,
That happy dream of me and you!
For Eden, Heaven, no need to roam;
The foretaste of it all is Home,
Where you and I through this world's weather
Still work and praise and thank together.
Together weave from love a nest
For all that's good and sweet and blest
To brood in, till it come a face,
A voice, a soul,a child's embrace!
And then what peace of Bethlehem weather,
What songs, as we go on together!
Together greet life's solemn real,
Together own one glad ideal,
Together laugh, together ache,
And think one thought, "each other's sake,"
And hope one hope– in New-world weather
To still go on, and go together.
From STILL LIFE WITH WOODPECKER
Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for you, I love you for free.
We felt that this was too short and not quite right for us... but I love it nonetheless. :-)
So from there we narrowed it to two and sent them on to our nearest and dearest who will be reading for us.
Which two do you think we picked?