Marriage is one of the seven Sacraments of the Church; for religious people, it is an aspiration and a calling in life. Thus, their weddings are significant and elegant affairs. An easy way to personalize weddings is to carefully choose the readings to be given.
Wedding readings are an excellent way to give your guests a glimpse into your relationship and beliefs. For religious couples, the Bible is their source of guidance and self-actualization; it makes sense that they would want excerpts from the Bible to be read on their special day.
Below are 25 unique wedding Bible readings you can incorporate into your ceremony, followed by steps you can take to choose the perfect reading for your ceremony. Lastly, some things to remember regarding wedding Bible readings are also enumerated.
Unique Wedding Bible Readings for Your Ceremony
1. Ruth 1:16-17
And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where though lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.
2. Psalm 27:1-3
3. Psalm 37:3-5
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
4. Proverbs 3:1-3
My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.
5. Proverbs 5:18
6. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one [prevails] against him, two shall withstand him.
7. Song of Solomon 6:3
I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
8. Song of Solomon 8:6-7
9. Jeremiah 29:11-13
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find [me] when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
10. Micah 6:8
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
11. Mark 10:6-9
12. John 15:12
This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13. Romans 12:9-10
Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.
14. Romans 13:8
15. 1 Corinthians 7:3-4
Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath [not] power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife,
16. 1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
17. 1 Corinthians 16:14
18. Galatians 4:13-14
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love they neighbor as thyself.
19. Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
20. Philippians 1:9-10
21. Colossians 3:12-15
Put [on,] therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man [has] a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
22. 1 Peter 4:8-9
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
23. 1 John 3:18
24. 1 John 4:7-8, 11-13
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit.
25. 1 John 4:17-18
Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
Choosing a Unique Wedding Bible Reading for Your Ceremony
Talk to the Officiant of Your Wedding
Before making any decisions, it is best to approach the priest, deacon, or person who will be officiating your ceremony. Ask them for details and guidance regarding the readings; they will inform you about the number of readings you need to prepare, when they will be read, and so on.
In some cases, you will have limited freedom when it comes to readings; you might be asked to pick two among prescribed readings from the Old and New Testaments. You can avoid being blindsided by talking to your officiant as soon as possible.
Discuss the Details with Your Partner
Once you have a general idea of the logistics of the readings, it is time to sit down with your partner to finalize the details. Here are some of the questions you need to ask yourself during this conversation:
- How many readings do we want to include? Is one reading enough, or do you want three verses that are quite short?
- Who will be the readers? This can be a relative, friend, member of the wedding party, guest, or a lector from the parish.
- Is there a specific Bible verse that we want to be read?
- Do we really want a Bible verse? There are many types of wedding readings, such as poems, lyrics, and quotes from various forms of art. You may find that another type fits your relationship better. If this is the case, talk to your officiant again and ask if this would be possible.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Reading
Your consideration while picking a reading for your wedding ceremony should not solely be its uniqueness. While that is important, here are some other factors that should influence your decision:
- It must be meaningful to you and your partner. The reading must be representative of your feelings, commitment, and personality. It must strike a chord within you and your guests. If a certain verse from the list above resonates with you, it might be a sign.
- It must not be too long or too short. On one hand, readings that are too short might feel abrupt. On the other hand, readings that are too long might bore your guests. Regardless, they will disrupt the flow of your ceremony. Though it might be challenging to find a verse with the perfect length, you can always edit and modify what you pick.
- It must match the atmosphere of your wedding. If the wedding is a formal event, a serious reading would work best. However, for more casual events, you may want to go for a more laid-back reading.
Do not force yourself to make a decision instantly; take your time to fully absorb the verses, process what they mean to you, and reflect. It might take a day, a week, or even a month.
It is important for you and your partner to have consistent and honest conversations about wedding-related matters like readings. Listen to each other with an open mind. Let them express what they think. Eventually, you will reach a consensus or compromise.
Things to Remember for Unique Wedding Bible Readings
There Are Different Versions of the Bible
It is important to keep in mind that the Bible is available in many versions and translations; there are at least 50 versions of the English Bible, and it has been translated into over 700 languages. With that said, the phrasing and wording of verses and chapters will vary depending on which version is available to you.
A lot of the quotes listed above are from the King James Version (KJV), which has an older translation of the text. Thus, KJV has unique wedding bible readings that are perfect for formal and traditional wedding ceremonies. Oppositely, for a more casual event, it might be best to go with a more modern translation, such as the New International Version.
Regardless of which version you choose, make sure to be consistent; the version you use on the invitation should also be the version you use at the ceremony and reception.
How Long Should the Readings Be?
Overall, the readings should be finished by five minutes. It is best that you choose two passages that take one to three minutes each to read. It is worth noting that Catholic weddings typically have three readings and a responsorial psalm.
Proceeding with a long reading, or going further than five minutes, might make you lose your guests’ attention. Similarly, it might make the wedding ceremony longer than planned. This comes with financial and logistical issues.
When Should the Readings Be Read?
In a typical Catholic wedding, there is a part of the ceremony called “Liturgy of the Word.” It is composed of two readings — one from the Old Testament and another from the New Testament, a responsorial psalm, the Gospel, and a homily from the priest. This portion of the ceremony comes after the priest’s opening prayer and before the Rite of Marriage.
Who Reads the Readings?
The Gospel at a Catholic wedding will be read by the priest or deacon officiating your ceremony. The responsorial psalm typically has a song leader, who is also known as a cantor. In the absence of a cantor, anyone can lead. Similarly, the first and second readings can be read by anyone. Here are some tips that will help you choose the readers for your wedding:
- The person must believe in what they are reading. Even though it may not seem like it, proclaiming the first or second reading is a big responsibility — they will be proclaiming the word of God. If the reader does not believe what they are reading, their delivery might come across as uninspired or disingenuous.
- Ideally, the reader must be comfortable with speaking in front of an audience. There are techniques to combat the anxiety, but they must be willing to do so.
- The reader must be willing to put in some work. Some amount of practice will go into preparing to be a reader. They do not have to memorize the reading, but they need to refine their rhythm, diction, and confidence.
With that said, the readers can be family members, friends, guests, or someone else. If you are unable to find readers, ask the parish if they have trained lectors who can act as readers for your ceremony.
Other Ways to Incorporate Bible Verses into Your Wedding
As mentioned above, you have a limited time for wedding readings. If there are more verses you want to feature in your wedding, here are some ways you can incorporate them into your special day:
- Include a short Bible verse in your invitation.
- Include Bible verses in the caption of your wedding-related posts on social media.
- Include a verse in your speech at the reception, such as the wedding thank you speech.
- Print a few verses and place them in picture frames. They will function as pieces of decor for your venue.
- Have an artist write or design a Bible verse into your welcome sign.
For many people, the Bible is a source of wisdom, strength, and hope. It plays an important role in their life and how they live it, and everyone’s relationship with the text and the religion as a whole is different. For your unique wedding Bible reading, you are free to choose which verse applies to you and resonates with you the most.