Wedding Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Love, Marriage and Anniversaries

Wedding Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Love, Marriage and Anniversaries

by June Cotner

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A beautiful collection of poems, prayers, and toasts for all marriage celebrations.

Finding the right words about love for a wedding or anniversary can be difficult. In Wedding Blessings, June Cotner has collected perfect selections for the bride, groom, members of the wedding party, and other family and friends to share. From verses and vows to prayers and toasts, the sentiments of Wedding Blessings will help make any marriage celebration more memorable. With selections devoted to "anniversaries" and "Reflections", Wedding Blessings also serves as a tribute to and affirmation of marriage.

Filled with inspiration and timeless words by renowned authors such as Robert Browning, Rainer Maria Rilke, the Persian poet Rumi, as well as many contemporary writers, this spiritual, multi-faith anthology offers true gems suitable for all aspects of weddings, anniversaries, and vow-renewal ceremonies. Wedding Blessings is a wonderful gift for the bride-to-be and others celebrating the union of marriage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780767914611
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 11/19/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 1,053,332
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

JUNE COTNER is the author of more than a dozen anthologies, including the bestselling Graces. She lives in Poulsbo, Washington.

Read an Excerpt

What Greater Thing

What greater thing is there for two human souls,

than to feel that they are joined for life--

to strengthen each other in all labor,

to rest on each other in all sorrow,

to minister to each other in all pain,

to be one with each other

in silent unspeakable memories . . .

-George Eliot (1819-1880)

You Were Born Together
(from The Prophet)

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.

Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.

But let there be spaces in your togetherness,

And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.

Love one another but make not a bond of love:

Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.

Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone,

Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver

with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.

For only the hands of Life can contain your hearts.

And stand together, yet not too near together:

For the pillars of the temple stand apart,

And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

-Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931)

When Two People Are at One

When two people are at one

in their inmost hearts

They shatter even the strength of iron

or of bronze

And when two people understand each other

in their inmost hearts

Their words are sweet and strong

like the fragrance of orchids.

I Ching

Married Love

You and I

Have so much love

That it

Burns like a fire,

In which we bake a lump of clay

Molded into a figure of you

And a figure of me.

Then we take both of them,

And break them into pieces,

And mix the pieces with water,

And mold again a figure of you,

And a figure of me.

I am in your clay.

You are in my clay.

In life we share a single quilt.

In death we will share one bed.

-Kuan Tao-Sheng (1262-1319)
Translated from the Chinese by Kenneth Rexroth and Ling Chung

To Love Another

For one human being to love another human being: that is perhaps the most difficult task that has been entrusted to us, the ultimate task, the final test and proof, the work for which all other work is merely preparation . . . Loving does not at first mean merging, surrendering, and uniting with another person--it is a high inducement for the individual to ripen . . . to become world in himself for the sake of another person; it is a great, demanding claim on him, something that chooses him and calls him to vast distances.

-Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove

That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,

Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks

Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,

By shallow rivers, to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses

And a thousand fragrant posies,

A cap of flowers and a kirtle

Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool,

Which from our pretty lambs we pull;

Fair lined slippers for the cold,

With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy buds,

With coral clasps and amber studs:

And if these pleasures may thee move,

Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing

For thy delight each May morning:

If these delights thy mind may move,

Then live with me and be my love.

-Christopher Marlowe (1564-1594)

In One Another's Souls

The moment I heard my first love story I began seeking you,

not realizing the search was useless.

Lovers don't meet somewhere along the way.

They're in one another's souls from the beginning.

-Rumi (1207-1273)
Adapted by Eleanor Munro, from the translation by A. J. Arberry

I Shall Love You

Sensual pleasure passes and vanishes in the twinkling of an eye, but the friendship between us, the mutual confidence, the delights of the heart, the enchantment of the soul, these things do not perish and can never be destroyed. I shall love you until I die.

-Voltaire (1694-1778)


I love you,

Not only for what you are,

But for what I am

When I am with you.

I love you,

Not only for what

You have made of yourself,

But for what

You are making of me.

I love you

For the part of me

That you bring out;

I love you

For putting your hand

Into my heaped-up heart

And passing over

All the foolish, weak things

That you can't help

Dimly seeing there,

And for drawing out

Into the light

All the beautiful belongings

That no one else had looked

Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you

Are helping me to make

Of the lumber of my life

Not a tavern

But a temple;

Out of the works

Of my every day

Not a reproach

But a song.

I love you

Because you have done

More than any creed

Could have done

To make me good,

And more than any fate

Could have done

To make me happy.

You have done it

Without a touch,

Without a word,

Without a sign.

You have done it

By being yourself.

Perhaps that is what

Being a friend means,

After all.

-Roy Croft (1907-1973)

Entering the Vow

What is a vow,

but an intention

spoken out before the world

so that the world, in hearing,

might take part

in aspirations

of the willing heart?

In our coming here today

to join and bless

the joy of your becoming wed,

may we enter in

the truth of the words you've said,

"I do."

-Maureen Tolman Flannery

Love Is Patient

Love is patient, love is kind.

It does not envy, it does not boast,

it is not proud. It is not rude,

it is not self-seeking,

it is not easily angered,

it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil

but rejoices with the truth.

It always protects, always trusts,

always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. . . .

And now these three remain:

faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.

-I Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 (NIV)

My Bounty (from Romeo and Juliet)

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,

My love as deep; the more I give to thee,

The more I have, for both are infinite.

-William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

What People are Saying About This

Father Paul Keenan

"The poetry of a wedding is a preamble to the poetry of married life. Wedding Blessings entices the marital Muse and invites divine benediction upon the wedding day and the new life of husband and wife."--(Father Paul Keenan, Author of Stages of the Soul and Hearstorming


I created Wedding Blessings to honor and celebrate one of the happiest of passages for a family. The purpose of the book is to help couples customize their weddings and anniversary celebrations by offering a diverse selection of readings and vows. Clergy members, friends, and relatives of the bride and groom can also find selections to read or recite at a wedding. Some people have told me they want original pieces. Others want traditional favorites. You'll find both in this book: fresh poems by award-winning poets and traditional favorites by writers such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Kahlil Gibran, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rumi, and Shakespeare.

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Wedding Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Love, Marriage and Anniversaries 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
lalawe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Vows, readings, blessings, toasts, and even a section for anniversaries. I found several lovely pieces, including a wonderful "in memory" prayer. Most are non-denominational in nature, though there are a few specifically Christian and Jewish ones. All are the traditional "lovey-dovey" style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For those who are writing their own wedding ceremony, or parts of it, I recommend this book. I am writing my own ceremony and was struggling to find pieces that really spoke to me. This books combines religious with non-religious to help you with the tone of your ceremony. Even if I don't use any of the pieces, I now know where to begin and what to look for in a good blessing for the ceremony.