The Ceremony: Words to describe “This Marriage”


Hey everyone! I’m going to continue our recent little trip into “ceremony planning land” today with an update about something that I’ve always known I would include in my (eventual) wedding – readings.

Having grown up in a Catholic family, readings were a regular part of every Sunday Mass and special occasions (like communion or matrimony services). I always enjoyed hearing them, and in high school I even participated as a lector – the person who does the readings for a “regular” mass – on a regular basis at our home church. Although we’re having a non-denominational Christian ceremony for our wedding, both Shaun and I liked the idea of including readings to help express who we are as a couple and personalize the ceremony.

Fortunately, our officiant Gloria is totally on board with the idea of readings. In fact, she said that our options aren’t exclusively limited to scripture. While I’d like to include at least one scripture reading, it’s very difficult to find one that doesn’t seem “overdone.” So when Gloria suggested that we think about poems or other sources for inspiration, I immediately knew what one of our readings would be.

My senior year of high school, I somehow found myself in the Chamber Choir as well as the usual Wind Ensemble (band) that I had participated in previously. How this happened, I’ll never exactly know…I’m not a fantastic singer. Not bad, but not great by any means. Still, being in Chamber Choir exposed me to some amazing music and helped me to grow as a musician. The above video is one of the songs we performed that year, set to some wedding photos by a YouTube user.

The song is “This Marriage” by Eric Whitacre, but the lyrics of the song are actually the text of a poem of the same name by Jalal ad-Dīn Rumi. Rumi was a pretty well known poet who lived in the middle east in the early 1200’s. In case you hadn’t guessed already, we’ve decided to use “This Marriage” as one of our ceremony readings. Here’s the full text of the poem:

“This Marriage”

May these vows and this marriage be blessed.
May it be sweet milk,
this marriage, like wine and halvah.
May this marriage offer fruit and shade
like the date palm.

May this marriage be full of laughter,
our every day a day in paradise.
May this marriage be a sign of compassion,
a seal of happiness here and hereafter.

May this marriage have a fair face and a good name,
an omen as welcomes the moon in a clear blue sky.

I am out of words to describe
how spirit mingles in this marriage.

Aside from the personal connection that I have with this poem and the song that we performed in high school, I love the overall message about marriage that it offers. I love that it’s survived almost 1,000 years and that its message still rings true today. The reading is short but effective, and I think it perfectly describes how I hope my marriage with Shaun will be – both on the day we get married and for many, many years after.

Have you ever been to a wedding where there was a reading that wasn’t from the Bible (or other sacred text)? Was it something that held special meaning for the bride and groom, or was it just a nice reflection on marriage?


About Kimberly H.

I'm a Wisconsin girl born and bred - a 2L at the University of Wisconsin Law School and a former member of the UW Marching Band. I married my best friend on 7/7/2012 and am an avid lover of nail polish, corgi pups and historical fiction novels!

One response »

  1. Pingback: Our Ceremony: Choosing Traditions « Wedding in the 920

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