Great poets use words to make thoughts and emotions come alive, so what better time to read one aloud than at your wedding? To find the poem that suits both of you best, determine what style you’d like. Do you want something that rhymes? Or do you favor a more modern free verse? Are you a fan of the classic poets? Do you want a verse on nature? A sonnet? Or even a Haiku? Remember, it is all up to you.
A poem will fit into your ceremony wherever readings are appropriate. You can set the tone at the beginning of your ceremony with a poem after the officiant's welcome. You may also include a poem before your vows. If you’re having a sub-ceremony like a unity candle or sand ceremony, a poem can be read while you perform these actions. A poem can also be read after your ring exchange just before the officiate offers a blessing of the marriage or pronounces you married.
If you are having a religious ceremony, check with your priest or minister to see if secular love poems are allowed. You may be limited to scripture only.
Ahead, we've rounded up poems that are all about love and looking to the future with your partner.
"Slow Me Down, Lord!," Wilferd A. Peterson
“Let me look upward
into the branches of the towering oak
and know that it is great and strong
because it grew slowly and well.
Slow me down, Lord,
and inspire me to send my roots deep
into the soil of nature’s enduring values
that I may grow towards the stars
of my greater destiny.”
"A Wedding Toast," James Bertolino
“May your love be firm,
And may your dream of a 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.”
"New Beginnings," Barbara Crooker
“May this be a day of new beginnings
the sun, like a fragrant apple; the summer air,
soft on your hands as the kiss of a child.
May berries melt like honey on your tongue.
May your heart rise in wonder
at the clouds drifting across the sky.
May the trails under your boots
be covered in pine quills,
let the leaves rain down
in the autumn of your heart.
May the snow beneath your skis
run as fast as watered silk,
may the cold air kiss your cheeks,
turn them red as summer's roses.
May the rivers always flow
with their unexpected beauty,
the first freshets of snowmelt,
the rush of early spring. May you always walk in gladness
through whatever path or highway;
may you always walk within the golden circle of your love.”
"In One Another’s Souls," Rumi
“The moment I heard my first love story
I started looking for you,
not knowing how useless that was.
Lovers don’t meet somewhere along the way.
They’re in one another’s souls all along.”
"Now Touch The Air Softly," William Jay Smith
“Now touch the air softly, step gently, one, two...
I’ll love you ’till roses are robin’s-egg blue;
I’ll love you till gravel is eaten for bread,
And lemons are orange, and lavender’s red.
Now touch the air softly, swing gently the broom.
I’ll love you till windows are all of a room;
And the table is laid, And the table is bare,
And the ceiling reposes on bottomless air.
I’ll love you ‘till heaven rips the stars from his coat,
And the moon rows away in a glass-bottomed boat;
And Orion steps down like a river below,
And earth is ablaze, and the oceans aglow.
So touch the air softly, and swing the broom high.
We will dust the grey mountains, and sweep the blue sky:
And I’ll love you as long as the furrow the plough,
As however is ever, and ever is now.”
"In Your Light I Learn How to Love," Rumi
“In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art.”
"I Saw Two Clouds at Morning," John G. C. Brainard
“I saw two clouds at morning,
tinged by the rising sun,
and in the dawn they floated on,
and mingled into one;
I thought that morning cloud was blest,
it moved so sweetly to the west.
I saw two summer currents
flow smoothly to their meeting,
and join their course, with silent force,
in peace each other greeting;
calm was their course through banks of green,
while dimpling eddies played between.
Such be your gentle motion,
‘till life’s last pulse shall beat;
like summer’s beam and summer’s stream,
float on in joy, to meet
a calmer sea, where storms shall cease,
a purer sky, where all is peace.”
"Touched By An Angel," Maya Angelou
“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.
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.”
"The Gift," Pam Brown
“In you are flowers and firelight,
stars and songbirds,
the scent of summer,
the stillness just before dawn.
I love you today,
dressed in glory.
I will love you always-
dancing, singing, reading, making, planning, arguing.
I will love you cantankerous, and tired,
courageous and in terror,
joyful, fearful and triumphant.
I will love you through all weathers and all change.
For all you are is precious to me.
And every day I live with you
and share your love
is a gift to me.”
"At Nightfall," Charles Hanson Towne
“I need so much the quiet of your love
After the day’s loud strife;
I need your calm all other things above
After the stress of life.
I crave the haven that in your dear heart lies,
After all toil is done;
I need the star shine of your heavenly eyes,
After the day’s great sun.”
"It Was Said With Such Authority," Gary E. McCormick
“I’ll give you the gist of
what was said
It was about love
and the sayer
said it had nothing to do with receiving
love was all about giving
plain and simple
You could tell this guy
walked the talk
He made it clear
you must love yourself
before you can
begin to love another
The guy reminded me
of that lover from Galilee”
"Devoted," Lori Eberhai
“My heart can be your home,
my soul can be your refuge.
You can turn to me when you are weak,
you can call to me when the way is not clear.
I will be your promise and your prayer,
I will always be there,
Constant and complete.
Run to me,
reach out for me,
and I will love you in a unique and tender way.
Bring your love to me,
share your love with me,
sing your love to me,
and I will offer you peace, ease and comfort.”
"The Privileged Lovers," Rumi
“The moon has become a dancer at this festival of love.
This dance of light, this sacred blessing, this divine love,
beckons us to a world beyond, only lovers can see with their eyes of fiery passion.
They are the chosen ones who have surrendered.
Once they were particles of light, now they are the radiant sun.
They have left behind the world of deceitful games.
They are the privileged lovers who create a new world
with their eyes of fiery passion.”
"How Do I Love Thee?," Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
"[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]," E.E. Cummings
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
"Stardust," Lang Leav
If you came to me with a face I have not seen, with a name I have never heard, I would still know you. Even if centuries separated us, I would still feel you. Somewhere between the sand and the stardust, through every collapse and creation, there is a pulse that echoes of you and I.
When we leave this world, we give up all our possessions and our memories. Love is the only thing we take with us. It is all we carry from one life to the next.