365 Days of Shakespeare

That's right – the Bard in a year.

114. Shakespeare Wedding Readings

with 2 comments

Thinking more and more about my wedding and how Adam and I plan to incorporate Shakespeare into the day, it seems only fitting that a reading of some Shakespeare ought to happen somewhere. Maybe not during the ceremony – we’ll see – or even out loud, but we definitely want there to be some of Shakespeare’s words here and there to be seen and perhaps heard by our loved ones.

So what makes a good Shakespeare reading, without going overboard or being cheesy? There’s always the idea of having the cake labeled “Sweets to the sweet”. There are tons of quotes that can be taken out of the plays (and often out of context) that are great for weddings. But then there are those big, long passages, such as the always-classic Sonnet 116:
Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
admit impediments. Love is not love
which alters when it alteration finds,
or bends with the remover to remove:
Oh, no! It is an ever-fixed mark.
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
it is the star to every wandering bark,
whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
within his bending sickle’s compass come;
love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
but bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

It might be overdone, but I can’t help but to love it. We probably will avoid using it (at least in the ceremony) to avoid cliche whenever possible, but I would love this to be present somewhere.

Sonnet 18 is lovely as well (“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”), and the “summer’s day” is a nice little reference to Midsummer, where we met. But it is even more overdone than Sonnet 116, so I doubt it will make an appearance on the big day. At least not an obvious one!

I’m not opposed to quoting Hamlet – “Doubt thou the stars are fire/Doubt that the sun doth move/Doubt truth to be a liar/But never doubt I love” – even if it would be a little weird to quote a tragedy at a wedding. Then again, I have yet to find four lines that promise true love in such a way, so it might just be perfect.

Any other suggestions are welcomed!


Written by Caroline Mincks

January 24, 2010 at 12:12 AM

2 Responses

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  1. For what it’s worth, we used 116 in our wedding. Perhaps a bit overdone, but I’m glad we used it, since I end up teaching it annually, and thus get an annual reminder of my wedding.


    Ted Leach

    January 27, 2010 at 6:57 AM

  2. I do love it a lot. Maybe we’ll incorporate it in a way that isn’t a reading. I’m planning to make all of our flowers out of paper, so maybe we can print it onto a few of them!


    January 27, 2010 at 5:39 PM

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