After a nationwide search, we reveal the best new verses written by poets in the UK
When it comes to weddings, everyone wants their special day to be as unique as possible. From the flowers and the venue, down to the bridesmaid dresses and the cake, the bride and groom always want to stand out from the crowd.
One area where this is especially true is wedding poetry. Couples who choose to have poems read out during their wedding ceremonies often want to find beautiful and moving verses that sum up their romance, without falling into the trap of being cloying or saccharine sweet.
And this is where you, our readers, came in.
Back in June, Stylist.co.uk launched an exciting new competition to track down the UK’s freshest new wedding poetry writers. Our panel of internal judges were looking for someone who writes moving, memorable verses that are both romantic and loving, but also unusual and unique. We were flooded with brilliant entries from all over the UK, and narrowing the poems down to one winner and four shortlisted entries was a tough challenge.
Now, we are thrilled to reveal the winning poem, a beautiful string of verses titled Ours. The poem, written by Jo Fisher, is fittingly unique and gorgeously unusual, and worthy of being read out at any wedding. For her prize, Jo will be treated to an overnight stay and champagne afternoon tea for two at the recently redesigned Academy Hotel, based in literary Bloomsbury, London.
We have also selected four brilliant poems for our shortlist: two untitled entries written by Rowan Roberts and Boo A-C, alongside Aaj shaadi ki din hai (Today is the wedding day) by Rads Chand and After Ever by Carla Polidori.
You can read the winning poem and our shortlist below. Congratulations to all five poets, and thank you to all who entered.
The winning poem
Ours by Jo Fisher
My love for you does not span boundless oceans,
nor chase the ends of the midnight sky;
or reach high above the peaks of mountain ranges,
nor the bleakest depths of gorges forged from stone.
It is not lovelorn writings that transcend
generations, dedications to classic romance
or letters to the lost and unrequited.
My love for you is balled up socks on the bedroom floor
and wet towels thrown off and forgotten,
hidden at the bottom of the washing pile.
It is feeling the touch of your icy toes on mine
and making the best of discomfort
for the sake of the curl of your fingers, entwined upon my chest.
It is bickering over milk
and the way you take your tea,
and how you insist on backseat driving
and arriving everywhere a little too late,
and the habits you hate of mine.
It is the beauty in our every day;
the way we while away our hours.
It is not grand displays of affection
It is ours.
It is how we were
and how we are
and how we’ll one day be;
and how we choose to spend our time
together. You and me.
The shortlisted poems
Untitled by Rowan Roberts
A lovely garden always makes me think:
How many times have those roses been scoured
For black spots or aphids lurking underneath?
How many dandelions have been uprooted
With care to leave no trace that may regrow?
How many hot and rainless summer days
Have seen that soil be quenched by human hands?
What other gentle kindnesses have passed,
That I, without so much as a green thumb,
May never know, or wouldn’t understand?
Yet we have grown a garden, you and I;
And one that’s seen a fair few seasons too.
We tend to all its needs and watch it grow;
And with each year we learn a trick or two.
Aaj shaadi ki din hai (Today is the wedding day) by Rads Chand
Dawn breaks with the chirps of the kabootar,
The flutter of the peacock hiding out back.
The spices of mama’s chai brews sweet,
simmering along the gas flame, its notes singing a song of masala, spice
and a pinch of surprise.
My dil beats loud, competing with the dhol crashing proud
the charge of love coursing through me -
my soul is on fire, hungry to embrace my lifeline
the one that lives in my other half, completing me with the
promises I eagerly anticipate, offering him protection in the champagne shade.
The silken saris and the georgette dupattas
sway in the slight breeze, gentle as a tease,
caressing me as the pundit heralds us to hurry forth
to complete our rites within the auspicious hour.
I inhale deeply to steady the nerves,
the sharp tang of saffron, amber, cardamom adorning my curves.
I peek through my netted veil,
and steal a glimpse at my pyaar, my jaan, my knight in shining armour -
marvelling at how lucky are us few, who trust another to see them through,
to cherish and adore and light up with a smile,
savouring the magic reality of that feeling, the strong eddying current,
the frisson of excitement and the stuff of teenage dreams,
that - of being in love.
Untitled by Boo A-C
A Ring is a near perfect thing,
a circle, infinite,
no end, no beginning.
So I don’t know why we use them to signify our love,
much like the ring it is near perfect,
but not infinite, no not at all,
but there is power in the finite-ness of all things.
We will end and we have begun,
started as two, end as one,
And thats enough for me.
Just to have you,
a near perfect thing,
After Ever by Carla Polidori
Every night as you lie next to me,
Your phone illuminates your face just so,
And I think about how brightly it glows, golden
Like the light in the movies cast on cinema’s leading love interests
As they fall,
Just like we did.
But those on-screen loves only get 90 minutes,
While we one day realised that we no longer saw
A finite time for this togetherness to last.
And now I can’t help but feel sorry for them,
That it was so short.
And yes, this story, our story, might not be Hollywood,
Although sometimes it feels close - so very close.
But even a frame frozen and lit by solid gold can’t capture how lovely it feels
To do something as uncinematic as wake up next to you
Looking for more beautiful wedding poems and readings? Head here to see some of our favourite verses from the internet