The Wedding Reading

The ceremonies and rituals which mark milestones in a life are like frosting. For a small moment in time, the beauty and goodness and magic of one’s life rises to the surface and covers everything underneath it with a defined and palpable sweetness.

Weddings are the ultimate frosting. Although they don’t often tell stories of the mess and struggle and differences all great loves embody, they are a showcase of the finer love; the love which overrides the underneath, which frosts it with the possibility of forever.

Last Friday, my great friend Amy married the man she loves, and I was lucky enough to write a reading – a marriage blessing – and stand before them to speak it out loud. My heart pounded, partly because I knew I would cry and I didn’t want to stand before a crowd of people blubbering my way through it, and partly because I wanted her to know. I wanted my words to hold the full weight of all the things I needed to say. Since she hadn’t heard the reading yet, I wanted these words to be enough.

As she walked down the aisle, a knot caught in my throat as I watched tears stream from her eyes, and I grabbed my champagne glass and drank what was left in one swift movement.


This is what I said.


After the ceremony, an older woman approached me. She touched my arm with her hand and said to me, “You know what you wrote? It’s true. After forty years of marriage, it’s still true. I sat there listening with tears in my eyes and although I nudged my husband when you said certain things, I realized that I’m the one who needs nudging most of all. I just wanted you to know how much it meant to me.” She thanked me and left.

Once I got back home, I printed the reading out and stuck it above my desk. Because in forty years time, I hope to be different to that woman. I hope to be sitting at a wedding, maybe my own granddaughter’s, nudging less and knowing more. Less and more than now, anyhow. I hope that in seeing it every day, I can continually remind my own self of all the things which matter.



Better Together– A Marriage Blessing

Someone once said that the measure of a good relationship is when the individuals are better when they are together than when they are apart. Every single one of us can bear witness to that truth, simply by beholding what it is you have done for each other. Amy and Jamie, it is for this reason that we bless your marriage from the very bottom of our hearts.

May you never grow too impatient, too busy, too weary, or too old to notice that the little things are, in fact, the big things.

May you face the world together. Through everything imaginable, may the force of your partnership be fiercer than the greatest of armies.

May you stay playful, young, and silly, for sometimes what we need is nothing more than someone who makes us laugh so hard that we forget the bad, and focus solely on the good.

May you strive to not seek perfection in each other – that instead of seeing through each other, you are there to help see each other through.

May you never stop finding what it is you can learn from one another, for nothing requires more growth than the unfolding of a marriage.

May you appreciate each other, for everything you both are, and may you never stop finding ways to offer this appreciation with every passing year.

May you remember that love is a verb – it’s serving one another not in the spirit of duty or sacrifice, but in the spirit of joy.

May you forgive and forget, and forgive and forget, over and over again, and in doing so realize that real love is accepting one as they are, not as you wish them to be.

And most of all, may you remember, that even through those moments which are grey and grim and messy and hard, to choose to love, in the end, will be only thing you need to do.




Congratulations, my dear friend, on finding your great love.


2 Responses to “The Wedding Reading”

  1. Elizabeth

    That was worth waiting for! Beautiful words as always Rachel!

    • Rachel Wiley

      Thanks love. She was brave not hearing it before the actual wedding day, but by the tears she shed when she heard it, I know it was worth the wait.


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