A bookish wedding for book-lovers and story-tellers
This October, ten years since we first became a couple, I was finally able to stand with my husband(!) look him in the eye and make some all-important promises. I walked down the aisle to the tune of Ar Lan y Mor, one of my favourite Welsh songs about falling in love on the beach, which was sung beautifully by my auntie.
Not being religious, we chose to have a friend act as celebrant and wrote the ceremony ourselves, which was actually very liberating and meant the whole experience was all the more personal. As a passionate poet and lover of literature, I felt the need to include some heart-felt passages that reflected my feelings towards our relationship. Although my husband is not a writer, nor avid reader of literature, he is as laid back as they come and was happy for me to include the selected pieces that had touched me over the years.
During the ceremony, rather than biblical extracts, hymns and prayers, we had three literary readings:
- ‘Mad Girls’ Love Song,’ by Sylvia Plath (not an obvious choice, seeing as this is a poem about unrequited love, but one of my favourite poems which was just too stunning to leave out. The narrator in this poem wonders whether the love she remembers ever really existed, or whether it was a figment of her imagination. It brings back some insecurities I held deep throughout the adolescent years of our relationship.)
- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis de Bernieres Our wedding day came ten years into our relationship, which has been consistent and stable since we were both only fourteen years old. This passage from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin is about what happens when the initial passion of falling in love burns out, and two people are left solidly entwined, like tree roots beneath the surface of the earth.
- Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte This reading comes from a passage from Jane Eyre during which Jane addresses Rochester regarding her love for him.
I then chose several snippets to include in frames on each table. Although I’m not keen on themed weddings, I’m forever enraptured by the power of language, and felt this was the best way to express some of what I wanted to say without going overboard.
“I’ve loved you from the moment I laid eyes on you. What would be more reasonable than to marry you?” ― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars,” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same,” ― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you,” ― Roald Dahl, The Witches
“She says nothing at all, but simply stares upward into the dark sky and watches, with sad eyes, the slow dance of the infinite stars,” ― Neil Gaiman, Stardust
“If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets,” ― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore
“Unclose your mind. You are not a prisoner. You are a bird in fight, searching the skies for dreams,” ― Haruki Murakami, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Other subtle touches were my typewriter, which my husband (it’s still not getting old!) bought me from an antique shop back when we lived in Gloucester, and a few old books on the tables as part of the decor.
We danced to Lou Reed’s ‘Perfect Day’ – again not an obvious choice, and I worried guests might think we’d misinterpreted the lyrics, which are said to be about heroine (the song was famously included on the soundtrack to Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting,) but we chose it because it was an old favourite of ours with many layers open to interpretation. Besides, it really was a Perfect Day.
So, that was my take on a wedding inclusive of my passion for literature, without going overboard or harping on a theme. I hope it’s useful for anyone who might want to do the same ❤