Wedding reading for Kids
December 14, 2010 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Civil Wedding Readings suitable for kids.

Have a civil ceremony wedding shortly and would like two short readings that could be given by nephew and niece (10 and 12 years old respectively). Looking through previous posts this suggestion seems just about right. So just need one more, but of course some choice would be great too. Just like my nephew and nieces, ideally the readings would be short and sweet.
posted by Elmore to Society & Culture (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Are you explicitly opposed to readings from the Bible (for whatever reason)? Having a civil ceremony doesn't necessarily preclude sacred readings, and I imagine some stuff from, say, Song of Solomon might work well.

Here's a list of some more non-religious ideas. Several of these could work very well for a kid, especially if he or she has read the work in question.
posted by Madamina at 3:15 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

At my dad & stepmother's wedding someone read this excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit. It's longer than the one you linked to but probably within the abilities of a confident 12-year-old? I really liked it.
posted by mskyle at 3:25 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh for chrissakes do NOT make a twelve year old girl read aloud from the Song of Solomon.

I drew the short straw on the Song of Solomon reading at a wedding when I was 20 and had to practice some of the more suggestive lines a few times so as to avoid giggle fits in the church.

If you went Classic Biblical Wedding Readings, I'd do the epistolary "Love is patient, love is kind..." one. Paul's letter to the... Corinthians???? Sorry my bible knowledge is failing me and I've spent too long googling an Anne Bradstreet poem that turned out not to be appropriate to your situation.

Along the lines of the E. E. Cummings piece, what about another poem? Or a paragraph or two from something very simple. I liked the Little Prince passage from the linked thread.
posted by Sara C. at 3:25 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks Madamina, not against readings from the Bible per se, but we were told by the registrar that the readings/music couldn't be religious. Thanks for the link, I love Whitman's "Song of the Open Road", but I'm saving the last few lines for myself to say... I'm looking for something a bit more open or abstract, but apt, for my 10 year old niece to recite.
posted by Elmore at 3:34 PM on December 14, 2010

My sister-in-law read Robert Burns' poem A Red, Red Rose at our (civil) wedding. It's short and suitable for a tween to read.
posted by immlass at 3:34 PM on December 14, 2010

At one of my cousin's weddings, one of the readings was from Dr. Seuss's Oh, The Places You'll Go! My cousin's aunt-through-his-mother's-side picked it; she read an abridged version that contained the passages that seemed most apt to a couple embarking on marriage. She also kept it as a surprise - no one knew that that was what she'd picked.

It was the one and only time I've ever heard a reading at a wedding get a round of applause.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:10 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

I was going to suggest several of the Ogden Nash readings in this thread.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:26 PM on December 14, 2010

Best answer: We used "I like you" by Sandol Stoddard Warburg. It's very sweet, a bit long, but you can pick out a piece you like.

The part about throw up was edited out for us on the spot by the reader, but oh well.
posted by emkelley at 4:27 PM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]

D'oh, I see that's the thread you've already looked at. Sorry for not realizing that before.

There's the Owl and the Pussycat, but you'd probably have to excerpt it (middle part has a lot of "oh pussy, oh pussy, what a beautiful pussy you are you are").
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:28 PM on December 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Little Prince!!
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:51 PM on December 14, 2010

Desirata is a great one - though it might be too long for a kid.

Another great one is the passage on marriage from the Prophet, by Khalil Gabrain:

Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?"
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of [the Universe].
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

posted by Flood at 5:18 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

At our wedding, my husband's very sweet and very kindergarten-teacher great-aunt read It's You I Like by Fred Rogers; it was appropriate, secular (which was imporant to us), and most definitely kid-friendly.
posted by mimi at 5:42 PM on December 14, 2010

Do you have any favorite love songs? Song lyrics are usually poetic can make really powerful readings without music. Even something that would be cheesy to music (like Elvis or Bubblegum Pop) can be meaningful when read aloud.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:10 PM on December 14, 2010

Best answer: The OP didn't say it was for his/her wedding.

I personally this that this is more suited to be read by the officiant, but it's short, sweet, and easy.

“Union” by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks – all those sentences that began with "When we're married" and continued with "I will and you will and we will" – those late night talks that included "someday and somehow and maybe"- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. 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." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this is my husband, this is my wife.
posted by two lights above the sea at 6:46 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

A little long, and a bit of a tongue twister but I've heard Us Two by A. A. Milne, and the words are pretty easy.

I've also heard a shortened, slightly altered version of Oh The Places You'll Go, by Dr Seuss.
posted by kjs4 at 8:02 PM on December 14, 2010

Best answer: Here are the secular readings used at my December 4 wedding:

Pathways by Rainer Maria Rilke

Understand, I'll slip quietly
away from the noisy crowd
when I see the pale
stars rising, blooming, over the oaks.

I'll pursue solitary pathways
through the pale twilit meadows,
with only this one dream:
You come too.

Litany by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 9:58 PM on December 14, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: My brother got married a couple of weeks ago and two young girls read this:
It made everyone cry.

The other poem I've heard at a wedding is the Owl and the Pussycat.
posted by ozgirlabroad at 12:51 AM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

From Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events:

Dewey was wrong when he said that being noble enough is all we can ask for in this world, because we can ask for much more than that. We can ask for a second helping of pound cake, even though someone has made it quite clear that we will not get any. We can ask for a new watercolor set, even though it will be pointed out that we never used the old one, and that all of the paints dried into a crumbly mess. We can ask for Japanese fighting fish, to keep us company in our bedroom, and we can ask for a special camera that will allow us to take photographs even in the dark, for obvious reasons, and we can ask for an extra sugar cube in our coffees in the morning and an extra pillow in our beds at night. We can ask for justice, and we can ask for a handkerchief, and we can ask for cupcakes, and we can ask for all the soldiers in the world to lay down their weapons and join us in a rousing chorus of “Cry Me A River”, if that happens to be your favorite song. But we can also ask for something we are much more likely to get, and that is to find a person or two, somewhere in our travels, who will tell us that we are noble enough, whether it is true or not. We can ask for someone who will say “You are noble enough,” and remind us of our good qualities when we have forgotten them, or cast them into doubt.
posted by naoko at 12:02 PM on December 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Thank you to everyone who gave some input, some really great suggestions that are bang on. I think we are sorted now.

- emkelly, That poem is great, maybe not for one of the kids to read, but it will definitely be used.

- two lights above the sea, thank you. Again not something for one of the kids, but will be really nice as a reading and will be used.

- ImproviseOrDie, love the Rilke poem, it's absolutely perfect for what we're looking for. Thanks.

-ozgirlabroad, Damn those lovely Dinosaurs. Again, perfect. Thanks.

Thanks so much everyone, have a great holiday season/Christmas/booze up, whatever you want to call it.
posted by Elmore at 12:41 PM on December 15, 2010

If one of them was a bit of a ham, this would be quite adorable. It was recited at my wedding by a very theatrical 8-year-old who totally "stuck" the ending. Then the older one (or the more serious one) could do a reading with more gravity.
My Rules - Shel Silverstein

If you want to marry me, here’s what you’ll have to do:

You must learn how to make a perfect chicken-dumpling stew.

And you must sew my holey socks,

And soothe my troubled mind,

And develop a knack for scratching my back,

And keep my shoes spotlessly shined.

And while I rest you must rake up the leaves,

And when it is hailing and snowing

You must shovel the walk… and be still when I talk,

And—hey—where are you going?
posted by pineapple at 8:40 PM on December 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

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