One of the loveliest personal touches to a wedding ceremony is when couples choose to write their own wedding vows. While some people like to stick to tradition—and those classic vows can be incredibly powerful—writing your own vows ensures that your ceremony will be truly unique. If you really want to bare your heart in front of your friends and family and let them into your relationship, writing your own wedding vows is a great way to do that. You can make sure that the most intimate, romantic moments of your wedding feel authentic and tailored to you and your partner.
This is especially true for LGBTQ+ couples. With outdated or gendered language making up a lot of traditional wedding vow quotes and ceremony readings, many LGBTQ+ couples often like to put their own spin on their wedding ceremony. It makes total sense to want to show your pride in your community and your relationship when you’re writing your vows. As a woman in a lesbian relationship, I don’t feel the need to put G-A-Y in giant letters in an intimate moment like that (although if you want to, totally go for it!), but there are plenty of ways you can reference your relationship and your orientation in your wedding vow quotes and ceremony readings, as subtlety or as boldly as you want to.
It’s totally up to you.
To help you get started, here is a list of wedding vow quotes and ceremony readings that are perfect for LGBTQ+ couples—because love is love is love is love.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
—Being Loved Deeply, Lao Tzu
This is not just a beautiful quote about the strength a relationship gives you, but it also gives a subtle nod to the courageous history of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s powerful, but simple.
"...Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth is unknown, although his height be taken."
—Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare
This sonnet is a wedding classic for a reason—it speaks to marriage right from the first lines. But this particular excerpt is about the steadiness of true love, its ability to overcome and withstand whatever storms rage around it. It’s about finding your port in the storm.
“What is straight? A line can be straight, or a street, but the human heart, oh, no, it's curved like a road through mountains.”
—"A Streetcar Named Desire," Tennessee Williams
Leave it to Tennessee Williams to deliver a little zinger that’s both funny and heartfelt. If you want a little bit of wry humor in your vows, while still pulling at the heartstrings, this is a great choice.
“To burn with desire and keep quiet about it is the greatest punishment we can bring on ourselves.”
—"Blood Wedding and Yerma," Federico García Lorca
A stunning quote about how important it is to acknowledge how you feel—no matter what kind of relationship you’re in—and it’s so fitting for when you’re standing in front of the people you care about most.
“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”
—Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in Hodges v. Obergefell
For a court decision, this is undeniably poetic. It speaks both to the history of the fight for same-sex marriage, but it also talks about the significance of marriage more generally—and reminds us that loving who you love is an undeniable right.
“When you’re a kid, you assume your parents are soulmates. My kids are gonna be right about that.”
—Pam Beesly, "The Office"
Not all wedding quotes have to come from a towering figure in literature. Sometimes, they just fit. This quote from The Office is short and sweet, while still bringing a tear to your eye. You can always look for inspiration in your favorite shared shows and books, because they’re often the most meaningful.
"We, unaccustomed to courage, exiles from delight, live coiled in shells of loneliness, until love leaves its high holy temple, and comes into our sight, to liberate us into life. Love arrives, and in its train come ecstasies, old memories of pleasure, ancient histories of pain. Yet if we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear, from our souls. We are weaned from our timidity, In the flush of love's light, we dare be brave, And suddenly we see, that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love, which sets us free."
—"Touched By An Angel," Maya Angelou
"This powerful poem celebrates courage deep within the simple act of love," Kiss the Planner founder Aviva Samuels says.
"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me...Anything can happen, child. Anything can be."
—"Listen to the Mustn'ts," Shel Silverstein
Bianca Favia, chief creative coordinator of Estera Events suggests, "This reading drives its point home in just a few words and relates to how far equality of same-sex couples has come."
"I think I was searching for treasures or stones, in the clearest of pools, when your face ... when your face, like the moon in a well, where I might wish ... might well wish, for the iced fire of your kiss; only on water my lips, where your face ... where your face was reflected, lovely, not really there when I turned, to look behind at the emptying air ... the emptying air."
—"Echo," Carol Ann Duffy
"This powerful poem celebrates courage deep within the simple act of love," Samuels says.
"Happiness in marriage is not something that just happens
A good marriage must be created
In the art of marriage the little things are the big things..
It is never being too old to hold hands
It is remembering to say "I love you" at least once a day
It is never going to sleep angry
It is at no time taking the other for granted;
the courtship should not end with the honeymoon,
it should continue through all the years."
—"The Art of Marriage," Wilferd Arlan Peterson
"This measured poem is full of practical yet romantic notions for sustaining love over time," says ordained officiant Bethel L. Nathan.
"The future belongs to hearts even more than it does to minds
Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity
In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite
Love participates of the soul itself
It is of the same nature
Like it, it is the divine spark;
like it, it is incorruptible, indivisible, imperishable."
—"Les Misérables," Victor Hugo
"This dramatic excerpt gives love center stage as it praises the power of devotion simply and stunningly," Randi Martin, chief event planner at Trilogy Event Design says.
Choosing your wedding vows is a hugely personal decision, no matter who you're marrying. But there is so much inspiration out there, so dive deep and look for something that just clicks. When you find the right quote, you’ll know!