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Stuck for a wedding reading? For the Atheist in your Life?

It does sound odd, doesn't it? But there's an Atheist/Agnostic/Non-religious person in everyone's life. Maybe that person is you, or your Spouse to be. Maybe it's a significant person whom you want included in your ceremony?

Whoever it is, you've probably discovered the joys & pains of designing your own ceremony, namely finding appropriate readings that reflect you & your family.As soon as you go off the traditionally trodden track - you're either bewildered by choice or bothered by the lack of it, especially for non-religious readings.

Well, this where having a celebrant makes it easy! Let me come to your rescue! I've been there; when I wanted to include the Atheist in my Life, namely my brother and card carrying member of Atheists Ireland , I didn't want him to feel uncomfortable with what he was reading. I wanted give him something he would be happy to read, not make a face at the whole way through!

So I scoured the Net, and in my experience there are great resources out there, if you know what you want; if you are not sure, keep reading!

So, here's the skinny - most people like the poetry option, usually Shakespeare's love sonnets e.g. the famous Sonnet 18 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day', or the beloved Sonnet 116 'Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediment'.

Or there's also lovely poems by Emily Dickinson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, W.B. Yeats & Rainer Maria Rilke and many more - see

If you'd like something ultra modern & cool, what about your favourite romantic song lyrics? Or the lyrics from songs such as: 'If I should fall behind' by Bruce Springsteen. 'He's not perfect' by Bob Marley or 'The book of love' by Steven Merritt? For inspiration see:

And on the Prose side of things, there's always the main man : The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran -straddling the border between prose & poetry while not specifically all out religious. See more :-

In the end I couldn't see my brother doing any of the above so was delighted when I found a prose piece for him to read. I know that may sound daunting to some people to read such a piece appropriately, so I've recorded a video of me reciting it and here's the text below.

The 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, dancing partner, 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.

I hope that helps give you lots of inspiration & encouragement planning your wedding.

Best wishes

Nicola Hannan

#wedding #readings #nonreligious #atheist #agnostic #ceremony