Words To Read When You Wed: Ashes, Tea

We’ve come to the end of the ‘Words To Read When You Wed’ series (Part I, Part II), at least for now. This last batch of readings from the fabulous Amanda of First Milk is, hands down, my favorite. It treats marriage as the serious act of finality that it is – worthy of celebration because of it’s simplicity. The fact that two humans are willing to say I take you now, and always. Now, on to Amanda:

For “sickness,” for “poorer,” for “dust” and “until.”
— Ben Franklin

Josiah Franklin and Abiah his wife
lie here interred.
They lived lovingly together in wedlock fifty-five years;
and without an estate or any gainful employment,
with God’s blessing,
maintained a large family comfortably;
and brought up thirteen children and seven grandchildren
From this instance, reader,
be encouraged to diligence in thy calling, by constant labour,
and honest industry, and distrust not Providence.
He was a pious and prudent man,
she a discreet and virtuous woman.
Their youngest son,
in filial regard to their memory,
places this stone.

–Craig Arnold

It is nothing that they did
Or could have helped, two people
Falling in love. Not even
Because they shared a toothbrush,
Once. It is their germs
Getting acquainted.
For weeks
They take turns being sick
–one makes the tea, the other
answers the phone. Slowly,
they can’t tell better from worse.
This goes on
Until one dies.

–Sandol Stoddard Warburg

And I like you because when I am feeling sad, you don’t always cheer me up right away. Sometimes it is better to be sad.
You can’t stand the others being so googly and gaggly every single minute.
You want to think about things.
It takes time.

I like you because if I am mad at you, then you are mad at me too.
It’s awful when the other person isn’t. Phooey.
They are so nice and hoo-hoo you could just about punch them in the nose.

I like you because if I think I am going to throw up, then you are really sorry.
You don’t just pretend you are busy looking at the birdies and all that.
You say, “maybe it was something you ate.”
You say, “same thing happened to me one time.”
And the same thing did.

If you find two four-leaf clovers, you give me one.
If I find four, I give you two.
If we only find three, we keep on looking.

Sometimes we have good luck and sometimes we don’t.

If I break my arm and if you break your arm too, then it is fun to have a broken arm.
I tell you about mine; you tell me about yours.
We are both sorry.
We write our names and draw pictures.
We show everybody and they wish they had a broken arm too.

–Tom Robbins

Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

There lies the port; the vessel puffs her sail:
There gloom the dark, broad seas. My mariners,
Souls that have toiled, and wrought, and thought with me —
That ever with a frolic welcome took
The thunder and the sunshine, and opposed
Free hearts, free foreheads …
Come, my friends.
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Though much is taken, much abides: and though
We are not now that strength which in the old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Photo: Intro photo by Gabriel Harber. Trees in a graveyard via hkvam, toothbrushing bride from here, Outlaws by Dara Bishop Photography via LaRoseK via First Milk

Ed Note: I insisted to Amanda that we must include one of these quotes, because it reminded me so much of our friend East Side. I bet you can tell which quote it is.

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  • I agree with Meg’s assessment. Definitely my favorite. I think the Robbins quote just got a place in my wedding. Don’t know where, but someplace!

  • Maddie

    Meg, this is by far my favorite collection of postings on your blog yet.

    Sometimes I feel so inundated (even by the best practical bloggers) with pretty pictures of lovely weddings, but I’ve seldom seen anyone capture the essence of getting married like you and Amanda have managed to here.

    Thank you for recognizing that getting married is a big effing deal.

    Also, I just want to say that I normally HATE wedding readings and I’ve now got Still Life with Woodpecker on order from Barnes and Noble. You two really captured lightning in a bottle with these readings.

  • Mmmm. These are my favorites, too. Thanks again, Meg!

  • I too, love the Robbins quote. And the Warburg is also great. Thank you for sharing these – in the midst of all the details of planning an event, it’s a beautiful reminder of why we’re going through all the planning at all.

  • Love the Ulysses, and again, the Woodpecker is my favorite. Lovely selections, thanks Meg and Ads.

  • Thanks for sharing. This collection is my favourite too, and so is the Robbins. Beautiful!

  • Oh, wow, now I want to vow to aid and abet.

  • As always, I love seeing Amanda’s wedding choices. That Craig Arnold poem is amazing.

  • I gave the book ‘I like you’ to my love when we first started dating. I’ve always imaged having it read at our wedding. Now that we’re changing the format that probably won’t happen. But from the heart of a preschool teacher it’s absolutely the best way I can think to say ‘I like you.’

  • Blue12rain

    Wonderful words that don’t follow the normal, cheesy path. Thanks for a unique and beautiful selection guys!

  • Sarah

    Just bought the I Like You book on Amazon.

  • <3

  • Lovely words. “I like you” made me laugh out loud :)

    • Becca

      I tried to hit exactly, but reported you. Sorry!

  • I <3 these.

  • I get to witness a lot of wedding ceremonies, and last weekend’s was singularly beautiful, charming and fun -A perfect match for the couple. It was the first time I’d heard “I Like You” and I spent the better part of this morning Googling the phrases I could remember, like “If you had two four-leaf clovers, you would give me one.” and “If we had three four leaf clovers, we’d keep looking.”

    Thanks for sharing. My wife will have this book on her pillow in short order.

  • Metanoia

    Thank you! I think I might have found the quirky wedding vows my partner wants… I wrote a little piece based on the poem “I like you” that you posted up there. Now to run it past him. I think it has all the flavour of who we are without too much “mushiness” which is what he wants to avoid. Also your blog is really inspiring. No more looking at other peoples weddings… I’m just going to do everything the way we want. :-)