Humorous Wedding Readings
June 5, 2010 12:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a short (1-2 minute) humorous wedding reading. Ideally, it's from a well-known/classic author (Mark Twain, Jonathan Swift, etc.). I'm specifically hoping to find a bit of wit, and perhaps even a little snark, but still with a happy/warm tone. The topic could be love, weddings, marriage, men & women, or anything along those lines. The key is to have some lightness and humor in it.

I've searched through the various wedding reading threads and haven't found much in the way of humor. I've been able to piece together a sentence or two from Mark Twain, but was hoping to find a little more length than that. Children's literature would be fine, though I'd like to stay away from straight rhyming verse (Dr. Seuss, Ogden Nash).
posted by davebug to Human Relations (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
P.G. Wodehouse comes to mind. Sorry I can't think of an exact passage or story, but if you had the time to read through the short stories (which are collected in "The World of Jeeves and Wooster," Harper Collins), you're bound to find some very clean, a bit quaint, but nevertheless quite humorous passages involving the relations between men and women. Also look for women being romantic while men are being snarky. Bertie was forever getting engaged against his will and/or becoming the unlikely, reluctant object of female attention, so there are some possibilities there.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:08 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

I read parts of Charles Darwin's notes on marriage for a wedding toast recently. It's light-hearted, but still pro-marriage and it was an easy one to edit (which I only did for length -- it really is great as a whole piece!). Also, you can find it in its more original form on the Darwin Correspondence Project site.
posted by bluestocking at 1:11 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

Another, thanks to randomkeystrike's mention of Wodehouse:

"In making love, as in every other branch of life, consistency is the
quality most to be aimed at. To hedge is fatal. A man must choose the
line of action that he judges to be best suited to his temperament,
and hold to it without deviation. If Lochinvar snatches the maiden up
on his saddle-bow, he must continue in that vein. He must not fancy
that, having accomplished the feat, he can resume the episode on lines
of devotional humility. Prehistoric man, who conducted his courtship
with a club, never fell into the error of apologizing when his bride
complained of headache."

from P.G.W.'s "The Intrusion of Jimmy"
posted by bluestocking at 1:18 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

There're one or two oppressively bitter and misogynistic paragraphs about marriage in Schopenhauer's On Women which might pass as light-hearted and humorous if read a certain way. It'd be a gamble, but...
posted by flechsig at 1:19 PM on June 5, 2010

Edward Lear's "The Owl and the Pussycat" is great, though of course it does rhyme. It also requires that the reader be able to avoid cracking up at the "O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love" lines.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:37 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

The children's book "I Like You" (full text here), was our only wedding reading. It's funny and sweet without being sappy.
posted by doift at 5:58 PM on June 5, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you need a joke for your talk, don't forget: "A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores." (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant
posted by Susurration at 10:44 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

I quoted Socrates at my friends' wedding. He is reported to have said, "by all means marry. You may be happy. Or you may become a philosopher."
posted by wjm at 3:37 AM on June 6, 2010

i suggest looking over some Oscar Wilde. 'An Ideal Husband" or "The Importance of Being Earnest" are full of these type of gems
posted by genmonster at 6:28 AM on June 6, 2010

Falling in love is like owning a dog, which is wonderful and funny and i found via a post on the blue a while back.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:33 AM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

We had the Owl and the Pussycat read at our wedding.

I still don't see why people think that line is funny -- but we loved the reading.
posted by jb at 7:53 AM on June 6, 2010

From Chapter 28, “The Battle of Chiriguaná,” of Louis de Bernières’ The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts:
The policeman looked to the sky for inspiration, coughed to clear his throat.

“A good woman,” he said, “is like a good she goat. She is beautiful, graceful, forgiving, abundant, and fertile. She is a good companion and abolishes solitude. Farides is beautiful, graceful, forgiving, and she has already abolished the solitude of Profesor Luis. Only time and activity will tell if she is fertile.” He winked slyly, and the people cheered bawdily. The policeman held up his hand for silence. “And a good man,” he continued, “is like a good he goat. He is handsome, noble, protective, and fertile. He also is a good companion and abolishes solitude. Profesor Luis is all these things, but only time will tell if he, too, is fertile! May I take this opportunity to wish you both all of the energy you will need to find out if this is so!” The people cheered again, and once more the policeman raised his hand.

“A good couple is like good music. To be good, it must be female and full of grace and tenderness, but it also must be male and full of strength and will. Then you will have true duende and true saudade. In Profesor Luis I see machismo, and in Farides I see gracia. May they always make sweet music together!”
posted by rhapsodie at 4:40 PM on June 6, 2010

I don't believe in marriage. No, I really don't. Let me be clear about that. I think at worst it's a hostile political act, a way for small-minded men to keep women in the house and out of the way, wrapped up in the guise of tradition and conservative religious nonsense. At best, it's a happy delusion - these two people who truly love each other and have no idea how truly miserable they're about to make each other. But, but, when two people know that, and they decide with eyes wide open to face each other and get married anyway, then I don't think it's conservative or delusional. I think it's radical and courageous and very romantic.

From the film Frida.
posted by MasonDixon at 9:17 PM on June 6, 2010 [3 favorites]

We used the previously mentioned "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" at our wedding and everyone laughed and loved it.
posted by thejanna at 7:26 AM on June 7, 2010

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