Wedding Readings, Songs, And Other Acts
During my parent's wedding, my aunt sang "One Hand, One Heart" from West Side Story. Apparently, this was a popular tradition in the '70s.
While we may have moved away from the days of the Sharks and the Jets, wedding passages and performances today can come from any corner of the pop culture universe. One of my favorite readings is a version of a passage from the novel Corelli's Mandolin:
"Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because that is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two."
Being that my husband is a musician, our wedding music was, um, a sensitive subject. Good friends came to the rescue and agreed to play double duty as guests and performers on the big day. Honeyfingers, a country-jazz and western swing band, played our cocktail hour between the ceremony and reception.
Friend and crooner babe Nicole Atkins played Bob Dylan's "Make You Feel My Love" during our processional.
We asked long-time gal pal Holly Miranda, the artist Tim was playing with the night I met him, to sing "Only You" by The Platters, as I walked down the aisle. Sadly, she couldn't make the wedding, but recorded it for us.
As for our readings, my husband and I loved this passage by Rainer Maria Rilke:
Marriage is in many ways a simplification of life, and it naturally combines the strengths and wills of two young people so that, together, they seem to reach farther into the future than they did before. Above all, marriage is a new task and a new seriousness, a new demand on the strength and generosity of each partner, and a great new danger for both.
The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of their solitude, and thus they show each other the greatest possible trust.
A merging of two people is an impossibility, and where it seems to exist, it is a hemming-in, a mutual consent that robs one party or both parties of their fullest freedom and development. But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side by side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them, which gives them the possibility of always seeing each other as a whole and before an immense sky.
If you're looking for a more traditional Christian passage, but don't want to turn to the usual Corinthians, my brother-in-law read this passage from Philippians 2: 1-4.
"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others more than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others."