Non religious wedding readings that will melt your heart

If you're having a non-religious wedding - that is, if you're tying the knot in a register office, at a country house hotel, in a barn, outside in a vineyard or even on board ship - it's important to remember that you will need to choose non-religious readings (as anything religious isn't permitted at a civil ceremony marriage).

wedding readings

(Photo by Megan Saul Photography via Green Wedding Shoes)

Plenty of choice for wedding readings

The good news is that there are absolutely masses of poems, excerpts from films and books to choose from and there's certainly to be one or two that have just the words you want to say to one another.

Who will be best at reading aloud?

Think carefully about who you ask to give your readings - you need somebody who is used to public speaking - who won't become tongue-tied and shy when they're confronted by a room full of expectant faces. So although your young niece or nephew is very cute - make sure that they're up to the job beforehand and have lots of practice!

Also remember to read out the title of the piece and where it's from.

A classical love poem

First off, we have a classical piece by the Elizabeth courtier Sir Philip Sidney who lived from 1554 to 1586. He was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I and wrote the following love poem below which says everything.

My true-love hath my heart, and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given:
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a bargain better driven.
His heart in me keeps me and him in one,
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart for once it was his own;
I cherish his because in me it bides.
His heart his wound received from my sight;
My heart was wounded with his wounded heart;
For as from me on him his hurt did light,
So still methought in me his hurt did smart:
Both equal hurt, in this change sought our bliss,
My true love hath my heart and I have his.

And something a little more modern

You could also use the words Julia Roberts' character speaks in 'The Runaway Bride' when she talks about the life she and her loved one would have together.

I guarantee that we'll have tough times. And I guarantee that at some point, one or both of us will want to get out. But I also guarantee that if I don't ask you to be mine, I'll regret it for the rest of my life. Because I know in my heart you are the only one for me.

Or to raise a smile

John Cooper Clarke is a punk poet and this poem he wrote about 30 years ago has certainly stood the test of time - and it's certain to raise a laugh (in the right way).

I wanna be your vacuum cleaner
breathing in your dust
I wanna be your Ford Cortina
I will never rust
If you like your coffee hot
let me be your coffee pot
You call the shots
I wanna be yours

I wanna be your raincoat
for those frequent rainy days
I wanna be your dreamboat
when you want to sail away
Let me be your teddy bear
take me with you anywhere
I don't care
I wanna be yours

I wanna be your electric meter
I will not run out
I wanna be the electric heater
you'll get cold without
I wanna be your setting lotion
hold your hair in deep devotion
Deep as the deep Atlantic ocean
that's how deep is my devotion

A passage from “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

When he looked into her eyes, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love.

Something older than humanity, more ancient than the desert. What the boy felt at that moment was that he was in the presence of the only woman in his life, and that, with no need for words, she recognized the same thing. Because when you know the language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city.

And when two such people encounter each other, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.

Or what about a bit of Hemingway?

“'ll fall in love with me all over again."
"Hell," I said, "I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?"
"Yes. I want to ruin you."
"Good," I said. "That's what I want too.”
― Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

Finally, here's a reading that says what marriage is - beautifully

A Wedding Message (Amanda Bradley)

To love is to share life together.
To build special plans just for two.
To work side by side,
And then smile with pride
As, one by one, dreams all come true.

To love is to help and encourage
With smiles and sincere words of praise.
To take time to share.
To listen and care
In tender, affectionate ways.

To love is to have someone special
On whom you can always depend
To be there through the years,
Sharing laughter and tears
As a partner, a lover, a friend.

To love is to make special memories
Of moments you love to recall.
Of all the good things
That married life brings,
Love is the greatest of all.

What readings are you planning for your wedding day? Have you any that you could share with us?

Transform your wedding reception into a cherry blossom-filled forest

Every year when the blossom trees come out I am struck by the precious, delicate beauty of the flowers and find it one of the most beautiful of sights.

And of course, I'm not the only one! The cherry blossom season in Kyoto is one of the world's most glorious natural events.

A canopy of blossom for your wedding day

So how would you like to turn your wedding reception into a cherry-tree blossom filled forest, like this one here?

artificial blossom trees

I challenge anyone to find a more beautiful, show-stopping sight than this incredible set-up from the innovative venue styling, marquee decor experts, Crescent Moon.

This is a company that really knows how to decorate a venue beautifully. Of course, it could be said that Kate Middleton kick-started the wedding tree trend six years ago when the aisle of Westminster Abbey was lined inside with trees, giving her a forest-style walk to her prince.

Crescent Blossom have two options for brides wishing to replicate the look. An avenue of artificial blossom trees as shown above within a marquee or room, or using the fake cherry blossom trees as table centres as below.

artificial blossom trees

In my opinion, both look completely beautiful.

The blossom-filled forest would be perfect for a spring or an early summer wedding day - particularly if the wedding is uncertain and you're marrying in a marquee. By decorating the interior of your venue you really can bring the outside in, and not worry about any potential rain.

In winter, the bare trees decorating the table will give a winter forest effect.

So if you want to have one of the most romantic wedding receptions ever, take a look at Crescent Moon's website and see how the experts use blossom trees - it really would give you a wedding day look that you and your guests would never forget.

30 Photos You Really Need To Have Taken On Your Wedding Day

Image via Krista Mason Photography

No pressure - but your wedding day photographs are one aspect you really need to get right on your big day. There's no second chances there.

First off, you need to decide on the style of wedding photography you want. Do you prefer a traditional set up with traditional poses or are you going for a more reportage kind of a style? It's really up to you - just remember that these photographs are going to be a longstanding reminder of the day you tied the knot and you want to be sure you're going to be happy with them.

Are you a traditionalist? Photography by Jose Villa

A post shared by Krista Mason (@kristamasonphotography) on Or do you prefer reportage style?

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Before you book a photographer have a good look at their portfolio of work so that you can be sure you like their style. Ask to see testimonials from other weddings and engagement shoots.

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See how you can work your venue into the background of your images

It's also a good idea to walk around your venue looking for photo opportunities - and also give you and the photographer the chance to get to know one another. You should also give your photographer a list of must-have shots so that nothing gets forgotten (and so you don't spend any more time than you need to away from your guests). Here's our list of 30 photographs we think you'll treasure forever - and if you've any to add please leave us a comment.

20 Must Have Wedding Shots

  1. Close up of bride's dress on hanger and/or bride's shoes
  2. Bride's mother and attendants helping bride with finishing touches (veil, shoes)
  3. Bride with mother and attendants
  4. Groom with his best men
  5. Groom at altar/ceremony doorway waiting for bride
  6. Bride in car with father (or whoever is giving her away)
  7. Bride and bridesmaids walking down the aisle
  8. Groom's face when first sees bride
  9. A shot of the marriage ceremony
  10. Couple walking down aisle as newly weds
  11. Bride and groom walking out of ceremony being greeted by guests with confetti/rice
  12. Bride and groom's first kiss together
  13. Bride and groom's hands with rings
  14. Exterior of reception venue with guests arriving
  15. Bride and groom arriving in car at reception
  16. Bride and bridesmaid's bouquets
  17. Bride and groom with their attendants
  18. Bride and groom with their parents/grandparents
  19. Interior of reception venue with tables ready
  20. Seating plan
  21. Table place settings
  22. Receiving line (if you're having one)
  23. Guests' faces during bridegroom's speech
  24. Top table during speeches
  25. Bride and groom enjoying a quiet moment together as newlyweds
  26. Young bridesmaids and pageboys during reception
  27. Cake cutting
  28. Bride and groom's first dance together
  29. Guests dancing and enjoying themselves
  30. Bride and groom leaving in car for honeymoon

Anything you think we've missed?

10 Great Wedding Songs for walking down the aisle

This is your moment. Your grand entrance. You're walking down the aisle towards your future partner and you need the right wedding music to accompany you. Something to create the perfect moment.

Making your music choices

So what are you going to choose? A timeless, classical piece or something a little more contemporary? Here are some wedding music ideas to inspire you. Just click on the link to play and start dreaming!

Vivaldi - Glorida. Very uplifting. This is something to consider if you're a bit of a traditionalist but also want the classical wow factor as you make that long walk. You're going to have a bit of a moment if you walk to this one - and if you're getting married in a large church with a long veil, then this music might must be a must.

The Bridal March from Lohengrin by Wagner. The 'Here Comes The Bride' piece. It's a classic and everyone will recognise it. You will certainly feel like a princess walking to this one!

What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Lovely, slow paced. And so romantic. Have those hankies ready.

I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher. Perfect for walking back down the aisle together as man and wife. A sunny, uplifting song that everybody knows.

I Can't Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley. Timeless and perfect. Elvis sings it with a voice like velvet.

Unforgettable by Nat King Cole. Another romantic classic.

Ode to Joy. Beethoven. Classical again, this one will never date.

Vivaldi - The Four Seasons. Just beautiful.

Purcell - Trumpet Tune. Dazzling.

In My Life - The Beatles. As you walk either up or back down the aisle. Perfection.

Hope this wedding music inspires your walk down the aisle on your big day.

Oh, and here's how Kate Middleton - now the Duchess of Cambridge - made her walk.

Top 10 things to consider when planning your wedding

(Image via Jeremy Boyer)

So - the question has been popped, you've told your friends and family, you've drunk some celebratory champagne.

Now it's time to start on the wedding planning

Don't get overwhelmed by the enormity of whole thing: do the brainstorming over a couple of weeks, and then add the layers of details over the following months.

For your first session have something to eat (but avoid alcohol), switch your phones to silent, grab a pad and a pen and take a deep relaxed breath.

Before you get into deep detail, there are a few basic questions that will need answering. Here's our list to consider.

Grab your besties. This is gonna be a good one. #NewCollection #Spring2017

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Top 10 wedding planning thoughts

  1. Who is paying for the wedding? The two of you, your parents, the rest of your family or a mix of all three? Would your parents be upset if you didn't expect them to contribute, or mightily relieved? Are your family in a position to help fund your wedding or is that a bit cheeky? And don't forget, there will always be little extra expenditure items along the way that you won't have bargained for!
  2. Is there a ballpark budget? Will you consider a Wedding Planner or DIY? Brides Magazine carried out a survey in 2015 and found out that their readers spent an average of over £30,000 on their weddings...
  3. What time of year do you want to get married? Is there a special month for you or would you rather be dictated by the venue availability?
  4. Where do you think you'd like to have the ceremony in a perfect world? Church, registry office or special venue; town or country - home or away? Maybe brainstorm a long list and then narrow it down.Town or country?
  5. Who will be the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Ushers and Bridesmaids? Many or few? Future-in-laws or just old friends? Do brothers and sisters make the grade?
  6. Is it more important for you to have a more lavish wedding and a less expensive honeymoon or the other way round?
  7. How important are the flowers and the cake to you? Will you allocate a large proportion of your budget to either, both or none?
  8. Dress to die for or something a little more modest? Morning suit, black tie, boho or themed?
  9. How will you travel to the wedding? Walking, horseback, classic car, sports car?
  10. Will your reception be just drinks and canapes or a full-blown wedding breakfast followed by all-night party or an elite meal for the chosen few? Champagne or prosecco, beer or cocktails? Band or DJ or both?

    Raspberry and lime green wedding table

Magical wedding table by Anne Edgar Photography

Whatever your first thoughts, sleep on them before you commit yourselves to anything. And try not to be too self-centered, or assume that you know what others are thinking - above all, keep those lines of communication open!

All that really matters is that you and your fiance are about to embark on a wonderful journey together, of which the wedding day, whilst important, is only a very small part. Don't make your marriage about only one day; your future life as a married couple is what really matters.

Decor idea: A forest feast reception

Decor idea: A forest feast reception


Does a wedding reception conjure up images of large white tents and crowded dance floors to you? And maybe that's really not a look or mood you're after. You'd like a reception that's more intimate, less mainstream, more colorful.

You're not keen on inviting a load of people either - you'd rather have a select chosen few who mean a lot to you than a party for acquaintances and long-lost relatives.

In which case, step away from the crowd and create your own beautiful theme for your guests. If you hold a smaller wedding reception then you can go all out and really invest in the little details that add up to create a big picture.

When your guest list is small, you only need one or two tables to accommodate the entire party. You will be able to splurge on those rare violets from the florist, or a five course tasting from the caterer. You can spend on those small luxurious details to create a party to remember, rather than trying to cut corners because you're worried about your budget.

You could have better quality wine, champagne and some knockout cocktails. Your wedding cake can be small and perfect. You'll also find it easier to find a venue - a beautiful room in a jewel of a restaurant maybe.

But if you fancy an outdoor reception then you'll like this rustic-inspired feast in the forest, for those who are leaning more towards a quaint dinner party reception. From the vibrant moss to the bountiful blooms, this is a fairytale setting with some magical colors.


The invitations reflect the flowers chosen ...


Terrariums are a beautiful DIY wedding project to hang above the table to add to the rustic flair.


Try an alternative cake that's light on the icing and plays up the "naked" trend to make it feel authentic.


Any DIY ideas incorporating tree branches are a must in a forest setting. We love the idea of incorporating twigs into the vases at your table arrangements or as a napkin ring at the place settings!

Vendors featured in this styled shoot include: Pure Elegance Events, Daisy Saulls Photography, Bergerons Flowers, Fluffy Thoughts Cakes, The Woodend Sanctuary, Roxy Heart Vintage, Felicia Renee Beauty, Fabulous Frocks of Alexandria.

A wedding reception idea to steal - a milkshake bar

Milk shake bar at wedding reception

Who doesn't love millkshakes? They're a great non-alcoholic option for a party and come in just about every flavor you can imagine. Chocolate, strawberry, Oreo ... a wedding reception isn't the place to stick to a diet in any case!

You don't need to have a formal sit-down dinner

Having different food options at your reception instead of a formal sit-down meal is an idea that's growing and growing in popularity. As well as a milkshake bar you could have a burger van, traditional fish and chips, Thai food, an ice cream van...

Your guests get to browse around and choose what they want to eat - and it's certainly an idea that kids will love and lets you do away with all the stress of having a formal kids' table and trying to put together children of vastly differing ages (and hoping they get along).

Elizabeth Anne Designs recently highlighted this retro rockabilly milkshake bar and I LOVE this idea. Having a milkshake bar at your reception is a guaranteed hit. Add the adorable decor and everyone's favorite toppings from sprinkles, cherries to gummy bears and you have a serious winner.

If you're having a DIY wedding then this is something you could possibly replicate yourself - although we recommend you have waiting staff in charge of the milk bar!

Here's a few highlights to look out for:

  • Traditional striped paper straws
  • Bar style seating with high stools
  • A blackboard offering all the different flavors
  • Whipped cream option (definitely not diet time here)
  • Strawberries on sticks for dipping
  • A tray of sprinkle options
  • Double the milkshake bar up as an ice cream bar too - you can use the same sprinkles for both
  • Bunting that suggests strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavor
  • Retro stripes as a backdrop to give that vintage feel

Images by Kelli Kano Photography

A LumberJack and Jill Themed Bridal Shower Party

Thinking about having a couple's shower? After all, it shouldn't only be the bride who gets to bask in the love of friends and family celebrating the upcoming big day.

If you want your bridal shower to be a really good party (and in fact morph into an engagement party of sorts) then why not have a bridal shower with your other half?

It's not exactly a traditional idea but it certainly has its advantages.

  • Maybe you're not keen on all-girl events
  • Maybe your other half wants to have a groom's shower
  • Maybe you didn't have an engagement party and this is the perfect way to combine it with a shower party
  • You've had a really good idea for a party (like the couple here) and you just have to host it
  • You've too many friends to invite to a single bridal shower so why not make it a combined event anyway?
  • You love sharing stuff with your other half in any case and wouldn't want them to miss out

If you thought bridal showers were just pink and feminine then think again. This joint bridal shower party had a lumberjack and jill theme - complete with red gingham.

It's a bit like the classic old movie: "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". (Watch this clip to get some more inspiration if you fancy having a lumberjack and jill theme. Maybe you could even host a barn dance in a barn - now that would be different!)

I've found this Lumberjack and Jill themed couple's shower from Frilly Milly Events via Eat Drink Pretty that is sure to inspire you with its creativity. I love the unique theme and food, and the photobooth shots are priceless!

The food shots are certainly worth looking at for inspiration. Hearty and substantial - fries, corn cobs, burgers, baked beans. And for the health option we have fresh fruit on skewers. All beautifully presented.

Also like the silhouettes of the bride and groom here. That's something you could organise yourself too.

Dress code for your guests is easy - it's lumberjack shirts all the way - plus a bit of gingham. Should be a fun party!

Lumberr Jack and Jill Wedding Themelumberjackphotobooth2.jpg

Photography by IGC Photography

How to find the best wedding photographer for YOU

You don't get a second chance at wedding photography. Whilst you can have a rehearsal in the days leading up to your big day, you can't retake your wedding pics. So you need to make sure you're going to get them right.

Which is all about choosing the right wedding photographer.


Photography is big business

The wedding photography business is a big one. With every wedding in need of a professional to capture its precious moments, there is an endless array of photographers in the field. It's important to hone in on what you really want out of these keepsakes and pick a photographer that can give you just that.

Questions to ask a potential photographer

To help you pick the right person, read through these key questions to ask before you book a photographer's services.


How long have you been photographing weddings?

Don't feel the need to have a complete interview with your potential photographer, but do get a sense of their experience. Just because a photographer has been capturing weddings for 10 years as opposed to one doesn't mean they're necessarily more talented. However it does probably mean that they are very efficient in photographing under pressure, and know how to get the most shots per time allotted. If you don't want to be hanging around having photographs taken when you could be with your guests then that is something really worth considering.

What's your style?

Your number one to do is to check out a photographer's portfolio in detail before even chatting with them. You'll want to be sure that their artistic style matches the theme of your wedding. For example if you notice their portfolio features mountain landscapes and bohemian portraits, but your wedding is in a church with classic details, you'll want to pick someone who is experienced at shooting more traditional weddings. When speaking with the photographer for the first time check that your vision and their style align. You can even send over some inspirational photos so that the artist can see what you have in mind! We really stress that you get this one right from the beginning. If you have different tastes stylistically, there is going to be a devastating crash at some point.


Digital, film, or both?

Most photographers nowadays shoot on a professional digital cameras, however film can present a different stylistic touch. If you are planning a vintage-inspired celebration, opt for a photographer that's a pro shooting on film. Plus, the old school medium lends itself to timeless prints.

How will you coordinate with the videographer?

Sometimes photographers and videographers can come in a package deal if you are working with a well-known studio. Make sure you get the two of them together before your big day or better still, choose a couple that work together in tandem. They'll know how to complement one another's medium so that you've got the whole day covered.


What's included in your package?

When your photographer produces an estimate for their work, be sure to get the full list of everything that's included in that. For instance ask specifics such as are prints, albums, or proofs included in that? You'll also want to get a sense of roughly how many photos you should be expecting by the end as well.

Do you have assistants or associates to help you?

Depending on the studio of the photographer, they may have associates under them to help out or even stand in for the wedding. If you're expecting to have the head photographer there on the big day, make it clear that you trust them to be the creative director. You also need to ask them if they will be around the whole time - you don't want them handling over your precious wedding to an inexperienced assistant. You are paying for their services so make sure you get them.


How long after the wedding will I receive photographs?

Most couples want that instant gratification to see and share their wedding photos right away. However, depending on their workload some photographers can take months to deliver the finished products! Manage your expectations by discussing a deadline from the beginning. Most couples will have photographs to look at when they get back from their honeymoon and if you're marrying at a very busy time of year (say mid-summer) then be prepared to wait a while.

Are there copyright restrictions to using your photos?

If you're a social media fiend, then copyrights and watermarks can sometimes get in the way of your Insta wedding. This comes into play when discussing exactly what's included in the package deal. Will you have to pay extra for the copyrights of the photos or are you part-owner once they are delivered to you?


Photos by Mia Domenico, Rebecca Hollis, Vasilis Lagios Photography, Southern Jewel Photography, and Brandy Angel Photography

How to create your perfect wedding music list

Of course, you want your big day to have just the right atmosphere - and a big part of achieving this is organizing and choosing your wedding music list.

Music is a massive part of our everyday lives and is a personal self-expression tool for you and your partner on your wedding day - right from when guests begin to arrive at the ceremony through to the final dance. If you're having a traditional wedding then your music can veer towards the traditional. If it's a bit more bohemian, then you will want to choose more contemporary sounds.

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As for creating a particular mood, then music is an almost instantaneous way of doing it. It can make you feel happy, sad, nostalgic and want you to get up and dance. Think about your guests. You won't be able to appeal to everyone all of the time, but there are some time-honoured beautiful pieces of music that will make people feel happy.

So here are some music ideas for your wedding day.

As guests arrive

Have some music playing in the background as everybody starts to arrive and take their seats. Don't choose anything too loud and too strident. Remember a lot of people will probably be seeing one another again for the first time in a long while - so they will want to chat. Pachbel's Canon is a popular choice with good reason - it's classical, calm and moving and would work well for either a religious wedding ceremony or a civil service.

Signing the register and walking back down the aisle

That's it. Congratulations! You're now married and it's time for the celebrations to begin. Here's some music that we think would be just perfect for showing how you're feeling!

Don't forget that there's a difference between the reception and the ceremony. The kind of music that you would play during a ceremony, particularly if it's being held in a church, should be different than the kind of music held at a reception. Ceremony music should be much more elegant and respectful of the union of marriage while reception music is more celebratory and usually played by a DJ.

Your first dance

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Traditionally this is when the two of you can come over all misty-eyed and dance romantically together. It's always worth having a few dance lessons beforehand so you can show off some good moves (and finally learn to waltz properly).

And if you want to do something v non-traditional, we've included a version of Boom! Shake the Room! from Strictly!

Getting the party started

You want your guests to hit that dance floor running. So here are some options that will certainly do the trick. We've thrown in the perennially popular 'September' as that's one that is sure to get the oldies feet tapping, remembering their Seventies disco days!