Diary of a Boho Bride – Emily & Jonny, Entry 5: The Readings and Ceremony

diary of a boho bride

Happy Friday to you all! I hope you are all well and getting all excited about Christmas! I can’t believe how close it is now. I am in London today for a wedding and it is looking so Christmassy. I am so happy to bring back Emily to the blog today. It has been lovely exchanging emails with her and I really can’t wait to see her wedding images. It’s going to look amazing with all her lovely ideas. Last time Emily spoke about the suits and in this entry she is talking about the ceremony and readings.

Emily and Jonny

I’ll pass you over to Emily………

Hope you are all well and looking forward to Christmas. Not long to go now at all. The festivities are in full swing in our household; Christmas Fiancé cards have been exchanged, Christmas jumpers are getting their wear and wedding planning is now running smoothly alongside Christmas lists. Our last Christmas as an unmarried couple! We are off from work over Christmas and spending it up in Yorkshire where the ceremony will be held. We are therefore using it as a good opportunity for organising some wedding things as well as seeing family and friends. Got to make the most of this romantic, festive period.

So last month I spoke about our visit to the registry office. We have now been sent through the ‘script’ for the ceremony with choices of words in an attempt to reflect what marriage means to us. When I first read through it, I was quite emotional. These are the words we will be saying on the day. They’re important and meaningful.

We are having a civil ceremony, which means we are obligated to choose from 3 given scripts but have the flexibility to add our own personal touches. I think it is these personal touches that are really going to make the ceremony special and unique to Jonny and I. At the end of the day, your wedding is about you both as a couple and not just the words the civil ceremony legal department has put together. Although we dream about saying the vows as if you are in a movie, I think they should be as unique as possible, but keeping within the legalities of course!

It was clear in the end which ceremony script to choose. Having read through them all, there was one that stood out against the others and applied more to Jonny and I. ‘A good partner in such a marriage will be loving, caring and above all, a best friend.’ It goes on to talk about patience and humour – having lived with Jonny for the past 4 years, these both certainly apply! I’m sure he would say the same about me!
So with words in place to get practising our lines I move on to the elements which will make the ceremony unique to us. As it is not a religious ceremony, the readings and songs we include cannot be associated with a religious background. Here are my thoughts so far:


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  • Memorial candle:  One of the things I would like to do within the ceremony is to light a candle for our friends and family who cannot be there on our wedding day and have a moment of silence. Our day is about celebrating our love with our nearest and dearest. It will be a special moment to think about those we have lost and have them part of the day in our thoughts.
  • Readings:  We have asked Jonny’s dad to do the reading on the day. I’m finding a reading quite tricky to find. It has to have the right level of sentiment without being over the top and also appropriate to be read by my future father in law to both of us.

Here are a couple of classics I have found so far:

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres
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 this 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 blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.


Why Marriage? By: Mari Nichols-Haining

Because to the depths of me, I long to love one person,
With all my heart, my soul, my mind, my body…

Because I need a forever friend to trust with the intimacies of me,
Who won’t hold them against me,
Who loves me when I’m unlikable,
Who sees the small child in me, and
Who looks for the divine potential of me…

Because I need to cuddle in the warmth of the night
With someone who thanks God for me,
With someone I feel blessed to hold…

Because marriage means opportunity
To grow in love in friendship…

Because marriage is a discipline
To be added to a list of achievements…

Because marriages do not fail, people fail
When they enter into marriage
Expecting another to make them whole…

Because, knowing this,
I promise myself to take full responsibility
For my spiritual, mental and physical wholeness
I create me,
I take half of the responsibility for my marriage
Together we create our marriage…

Because with this understanding
The possibilities are limitless.

Also here are some out there alternatives we have found (not so classic):


Home and Away theme tune – you’re laughing but read the lyrics!
You know we belong together,
You and I forever and ever.
No matter where you are,
You’re my guiding star.

And from the very first moment I saw you
There was such emotion
I’m walking on air,
Just to know (Just to know)
You are there (You are there)

Hold me in your arms
Don’t let me go
I want to stay forever
Closer each day….
Home and away…


Carrie’s Poem from Sex and the City
His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She was a question to be answered
And his answer was “I do”


Or a simple quote from one of my favourite movies, Notting Hill: After all… I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her. – would have to be said by me obviously (definitely wouldn’t work for Jonny’s dad!) (You tube video) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpK2EfVCA_8

There are also more lovely suggestions on the Boho website. http://www.boho-weddings.com/2012/05/16/wedding-wednesday-discussions-wedding-readings-what-will-you-choose/. – check out the dinosaur one! If you think of any more, please share. I’m always open to ideas and would love to hear what other people have included in their ceremonies; classic or alternative.

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The order of service booklet:
Originally both Jonny and I loved the idea of a simple print out for the order of service, much like the image attached. Basically, we get married, eat food, have a drink and party under the stars. In reality, it’s a lot more complicated. We need an informative itinerary that will guide our guests through the ceremony and the entire day. The design for this will come down to the end product for the invites, but I have found a few lovely, simple, rustic styles which I thought were cute and practical. Also, this is a lovely keepsake for you and your guests!

Sing-a-long songs
I am really unsure whether or not a sing along during the ceremony will work or not. Will people embrace it or find it quite strange? I don’t know whether to risk it or not. It could be a real fun, upbeat element or it could go down like a lead balloon….I think further research is required for this. I’ll look into it with the other wedding music. Add it to the list. Has anyone been to a civil ceremony where the guests have sung? I’m thinking a classic song like the Beatles or Louis Armstrong could be a winner.

Oh and one more note…
One thing I am planning on asking the registrar politely is if they will do the announcement for mobile phones prior to me walking down the aisle. I know this might sound silly or I’m being a diva, but I think that ruins the moment when you start a ceremony with “if you have a mobile phone, please put it on silent”. Maybe guests should hand them in before they sit down, as if they were sitting an exam! Ok, a little bit farfetched, but you get my point. Mood killer!

Lots of details to think about but also very exciting and inspirational. Some of the ceremonies shown on TV, films and online are so magical and stunning to watch, I can’t wait to have our own special moment. I hope it has got you thinking about ways to make your own day unique too!

So have an amazing Christmas everyone! I hope it’s a magical, sparkly one. Roll on 2015, the year of the wedding. That’s when the pressure and real excitement begins!

Emily x

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    Elinor Prędota

    I adore that piece from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. It’s one of my favourites to offer to couples — although very few pick it for some reason. And the Lovely Dinosaur story is gorgeous. I first came across it when a Bride read it out as her speech at the reception — she’d had copies of the whole comic printed for all the guests to follow along as she read it! :-)

    Here are some of my favourite readings:

    But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to take…It is indeed a fearful gamble…Because it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature. 

    To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can take… If we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participation… It takes a lifetime to learn another person. 
    — from “The Irrational Season” by Madeleine L’Engle

    When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity – in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern. 

    The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits – islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides
    — from “Gift of the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    Love has no other desire but to fulfil itself. 
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires: 
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. 
To know the pain of too much tenderness. 
To be wounded by your own understanding of love; 
And to bleed willingly and joyfully. 
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving; 
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy; 
To return home at eventide with gratitude; And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise on your lips.
    — Khalil Gibran

    Love is life – creation, seed and leaf, and blossom and fruit and seed
    Love is growth – search and reach and touch and dance
    Love is nurture and succour and feed and pleasure
    Love is pleasuring ourselves, pleasuring each other
    Love is life believing in itself
    Life is the sacred mystery, singing to itself, dancing to its drum
    Telling tales, improvising, playing
    And we are all that spirit
    Our stories all but one cosmic love story, that we are love indeed
    That perfect love in me seeks the love in you
    And if our lives could ever meet without fear
    We would recognise each other and rejoice
    For love is life, believing in itself.
    — Monitongquat

    When two people are at one in their inmost hearts
    they shatter even the strength of iron and bronze
    and when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts
    their words are sweet and strong, like the fragrance of orchids.
    — the I Ching

    When the bee of the heart
    Finds the flower of its choice
    It nestles there
    Wanting for no other thing.
    — Kabir (freely adapted by me!)

    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:
    O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wandering barque,
    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 e’en to the edge of doom,
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
    — William Shakespeare


      Elinor thank you so much for all this! I am sure so many of our Boho Brides will find this useful! :-)

    Elinor Prędota

    Regarding the singing thing, the last wedding I conducted the whole gathering sang “You Are There” by Artisan. It was really beautiful. Hardly anyone knew the song before the ceremony, but the couple sent lyrics and a recording of the song out a month or so in advance, and everyone had the lyrics in front of them at the ceremony, and it worked really well. (It probably helped that most of the guests were LARPers, who include a lot of singing-around-the-beer-barrel in their gaming!)


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