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The most meaningful part of your wedding is your ceremony, and the very best way to personalize it (after writing your own vows) is choosing ceremony readings. They may already hold personal meaning to the two of you, or that may grow over time and likely represent your personal style as a couple.

Feel free to look for inspiration in unexpected places. A movie quote, song lyric, short poem, excerpt from a favorite novel, a quote or a childhood book are all great sources for personalizing your ceremony readings. Here are a few that might spark your interest!

Let’s start our list of ceremony readings with one that is calligraphed on a handmade paper banner that hangs in Birch & Bunny Weddings HQ (my home office).

I Carry Your Heart With Me
by E. E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me I carry it in
my heart) I am never without it(anywhere
I go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
I fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet) I want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

To Be One With Each Other
by George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?

An Excerpt from the Novel ‘Contact’
by Carl Sagan

For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.

Love Sonnet 17
by Pablo Neruda

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Wild Awake
by Hilary T. Smith

People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.

To Love is Not to Possess
by James Kavanaugh

To love is not to possess,
To own or imprison
Nor to lose one’s self in another.
Love is to join and separate,
To walk alone and together,
To find a laughing freedom
That lonely isolation does not permit.
It is finally to be able
To be who we really are
No longer clinging in childish dependency
Nor docilely living separate lives in silence,
It is to be perfectly one’s self
And perfectly joined in permanent commitment
To another–and to one’s inner self.
Love only endures when it moves like waves,
Receding and returning gently or passionately,
Or moving lovingly like the tide
In the moon’s own predictable harmony
Because finally, despite a child’s scars
Or an adult’s deepest wounds,
They are openly free to be
Who they really are–and always secretly were,
In the very core of their being
Where true and lasting love can alone abide.

Somewhere I Have Never Traveled, Gladly Beyond
by E. E. Cummings

somewhere I have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which I cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though I have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, I and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(I do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands

Coming Home
By Mary Oliver

“When we are driving in the dark,
on the long road to Provincetown,
when we are weary,
when the buildings and the scrub pines lose their familiar look,
I imagine us rising from the speeding car.
I imagine us seeing everything from another place—
the top of one of the pale dunes, or the deep and nameless
fields of the sea.
And what we see is a world that cannot cherish us,
but which we cherish.
And what we see is our life moving like that
along the dark edges of everything,
headlights sweeping the blackness,
believing in a thousand fragile and unprovable things.
Looking out for sorrow,
slowing down for happiness,
making all the right turns
right down to the thumping barriers to the sea,
the swirling waves,
the narrow streets, the houses,
the past, the future,
the doorway that belongs
to you and me.

I hope you’re inspired to look to unexpected sources when choosing your ceremony readings. You never know where you’ll find a real gem.

In an intimate twilight ceremony in the heart of Banff National Park, Vanessa and PJ renewed their vows.  The two expressed their ongoing love for one another after over a decade of marriage. They did so, in the presence of their two beautiful children, their parents and a few close friends.

Intimate Ceremony

Vanessa and PJ returned from their honeymoon to discover that sadly their wedding photographer had shut down and left town with the film.  Their lone framed photo of their wedding day was snapped by a friend. After their Banff Vow Renewal ceremony, Vanessa and PJ have made some new memories. This time, the lovely Jennie Guenard has captured these beautiful images for them.

The inspiration behind everything from Vanessa’s stunning Elizabeth Dye gown to the watercolour vow renewal booklets and even their cake was inspired by the pretty colours in their mountain backdrop and the way it looked like a watercolour painting at twilight.  I hope you all love these photos as much as we do!

Tamara of Bake My Day created this gorgeous mountain cutting cake. The mountains match Vanessa + PJ’s blue and grey colour scheme and watercolour theme. Yes, she made that beautiful flower too and it’s edible!

Isn’t Vanessa breathtaking?  (and how about that gown?!)  Vanessa wore the Elizabeth Dye Halo Gown in glacier and ivory.

What an incredible honor it was to be a part of planning your special day Vanessa and PJ. Your Vow Renewal ceremony was so beautiful, and your family is lovely!  We’re so happy that you now have some photographs to hang on your walls.  Yours is a love for the ages!

Credit where credit is due!

Photography: Guenard Photography
Planning: Laura Richert of Birch & Bunny Weddings and Events
Florals: Occasional Bloom
Cake: Bake My Day
Boutique: The Bridal Boutique Calgary
Dress: Elizabeth Dye
HMUA: Emilia Art Make Up
Jewelry: Joanna Bisley Designs
Menswear: Ed Williams Mens Wear
Stationery: Sarah Laree Designs
Popsicles: Family Freezed Vintage Popsicle Cart
Custom Popsicle Sticks: Custom Laser Works
Chocolatier: Old Coal Handcrafted Chocolates
Rentals: Orange Trunk Vintage Rentals
Cake Stands: Birch & Bunny Weddings

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