Choosing a wedding reading that will speak to the bride and groom and strike a chord with the congregation as well is no easy feat. Do you err on the side of caution and keep it classic, but risk the déjà vu factor? Opt for sentimentality to show the couple how much they mean? Or add a dose of humour to proceedings?
Sometimes, simple is best. So a poignant and nostalgic verse from one of your favourite children's books could be the perfect choice. Here's six passages from some of our most beloved childhood books that are ideal for a wedding reading.
The Amber Spyglass
By Philip Pullman
This passage from Pullman's hit Dark Materials series is a poignant description of love which bridges science and romanticism.
"I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight."
Guess How Much I Love You
By Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
Guess How Much I Love You is a modern children's classic, articulating a parent-child bond and the limitless quality of their love. Its simplicity means that it's ideal for a child to read at a ceremony.
Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very long ears. He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening.
"Guess how much I love you," he said.
"Oh, I don't think I could guess that," said Big Nutbrown Hare.
"This much," said Little Nutbrown Hare, stretching out his arms as wide as they could go.
Big Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms. "But I love YOU this much," he said.
Hmm, that is a lot, thought Little Nutbrown Hare.
"I love you as high as I can reach." said Little Nutbrown Hare.
"I love you as high as I can reach," said Big Nutbrown Hare.
That is quite high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that.
Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea. He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet.
"I love you all the way up to my toes!" he said.
"And I love you all the way up to your toes," said Big Nutbrown Hare, swinging him up over his head.
"I love you as high as I can HOP!" laughed Little Nutbrown Hare, bouncing up and down.
"But I love you as high as I can hop," smiled Big Nutbrown Hare - and he hopped so high that his ears touched the branches above.
That's good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I could hop like that.
"I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river," cried Little Nutbrown Hare.
"I love you across the river and over the hills," said Big Nutbrown Hare.
That's very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think any more. Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be further than the sky.
"I love you right up to the MOON," he said, and closed his eyes.
"Oh, that's far," said Big Nutbrown Hare. "That is very, very far."
Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night."
Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, "I love you right up to the moon - AND BACK."
Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You
By Nancy Tillman
This heartfelt narrative also articulates the bond of unconditional love between a parent and child, accompanied by beautiful illustrations of a child dashing across brilliantly hued landscapes followed by wild animals. However, the description of a love that knows no bounds or distance makes it ideal for a wedding reading, especially if you're looking for a sentimental passage.
"I wanted you more
than you ever will know
so I sent love to follow
wherever you go.
It’s high as you wish it. It’s quick as an elf.
You’ll never outgrow it…it stretches itself!
So climb any mountain…
climb up to the sky!
My love will find you.
My love can fly!
Make a big splash! Go out on a limb!
My love will find you. My love can swim!
It never gets lost, never fades, never ends…
if you’re working…
or sitting with friends.
You can dance ’til you’re dizzy…
paint ’til you’re blue…
There’s no place, not one,
that my love can’t find you."
The Little Yellow Leaf
By Carin Berger
Short and sweet, Carine Berger's tale of two leaves who find the courage to fall from a tree together is a touching metaphor for finding a soulmate.
"The story of a leaf who isn't ready to let go from the tree.
And then, high up on an icy branch, a scarlet flash.
One more leaf holding tight.
"You're here?" called the Little Yellow Leaf.
"I am," said the Little Scarlet Leaf.
"Like me!" said the Little Yellow Leaf.
Finally… "Will you?" asked the Little Scarlett Leaf.
"I will!" said the Little Yellow Leaf.
And one, two, three, they let go and soared."
The Secret Garden
By Francis Hodgson Burnett
Hodgson Burnett's classic will hold fond childhood memories for many. This passage about certainty and immortality is a touching metaphor for love, especially if you want to stear clear of passages that are overly sentimental.
"One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun—which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands of years.
"One knows it then for a moment or so. And one knows it sometimes when one stands by oneself in a wood at sunset and the mysterious deep gold stillness slanting though and under the branches seems to be saying slowly again and again something one cannot quite hear, however much one tries. The sometimes the immense quiet of the dark blue at night with millions of stars waiting and watching makes one sure; and sometimes a sound of far-off music makes it true; and sometimes a look in someone’s eye."
Now We Are Six
By A. A. Milne
This Winnie The Pooh passage is a popular wedding reading thanks to its heart-warming description of true companionship.
Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh.
There’s always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do.
"Where are you going today?" says Pooh.
"Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
"Let’s go together," says Pooh, says he.
"Let’s go together," says Pooh…
"Let’s look for dragons," I said to Pooh.
"Yes, let’s," said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few.
"Yes, those are dragons all right," said Pooh.
"As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
"That’s what they are," said Pooh, said he.
"That’s what they are," said Pooh.
"Let’s frighten the dragons," I said to Pooh.
"That’s right," said Pooh to Me.
"I’m not afraid," I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted,
"Shoo! Silly old dragons!" – and off they flew.
"I wasn’t afraid," said Pooh, said he,
"I’m never afraid with you."
So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh.
here’s always Pooh and Me.
"What would I do?" I said to Pooh,
"If it wasn’t for you,"
and Pooh said: "True, it isn’t much fun for one,
"but two can stick together," says Pooh, says he.
"That’s how it is," says Pooh.