Our Vintage Bride Sophie is back this week with a selection of beautiful readings that would perfectly suit a vintage themed wedding, take it away Sophie!
I’m going to be exploring some old wedding readings with you today. Traditionally weddings were religious, as were the readings spoken at them. Today however, I’m going to be looking at poems and pieces written many years ago but which would work brilliantly as part of a ‘vintage wedding’ – today!
Firstly, I must share the same disclaimer Charlie did in her first post on alternative wedding readings because, alas, the exact same thing just happened to me. I’ll call it ‘the curse of looking at wedding readings following your own wedding or in the week before your wedding’. It’s a cruel, cruel curse so please be warned… If you have chosen your readings and it is too late to change them, put your laptop or tablet down. Just do it. Save yourself. Do it now.
Now that that’s cleared up, the first reading I will share is “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe. It was published in 1599, after his death. Although Marlowe was English, this would sit so beautifully at a Welsh wedding. As soon as I read it my heart sank because it would have been perfect at our own wedding almost three years ago. You would think he was writing about Wales… He mentions valleys, myrtle (which is considered lucky here) and, dare I say it? Sheep. I LOVE it. SOB!!!
If you’re having a 1930s style wedding you can even use it for your first dance. In 1995 it was used as song lyrics for a 30s-style swing piece in the film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III. Have a listen, it’s gorgeous.
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
And I will make thee beds of roses,
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle,
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.
A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs,
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.
The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning;
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.
THE CURSE STRIKES AGAIN!!! Those that know Gareth and I well will instantly know why this reading would have been perfect for us. I wish I could share the reason but he would give me evils and I would blush like a beetroot. However, that aside, this is so sweet. Us Two is a verse included in a book titled When We Were Six by A. A Milne and was published in 1927. It captures the innocence of young love and is so light and lovely, it is sure to make everyone smile. Oh, and it mentions dragons… Again, obviously Welsh!
“Wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
Whatever I do, he wants to do,
‘Where are you going today?’ says Pooh:
‘Well, that’s very odd ‘cos I was too.
Let’s go together,’ says Pooh, says he.
‘Let’s go together,’ says Pooh…
‘Let’s look for dragons,’ I said to Pooh.
‘Yes, let’s,’ said Pooh to Me.
We crossed the river and found a few-
‘Yes, those are dragons all right,’ said Pooh.
‘As soon as I saw their beaks I knew.
That’s what they are,’ said Pooh, said he.
‘That’s what they are,’ said Pooh.
‘Let’s frighten the dragons,’ I said to Pooh.
‘That’s right,’ said Pooh to Me.
‘I’m not afraid,’ I said to Pooh,
And I held his paw and I shouted ‘Shoo!
Silly old dragons!’ – and off they flew.
‘I wasn’t afraid,’ said Pooh, said he,
‘I’m never afraid with you.’
So wherever I am, there’s always Pooh,
There’s always Pooh and Me.
‘What would I do?’ I said to Pooh,
‘If it wasn’t for you,’ and Pooh said: ‘True,
It isn’t much fun for One, but Two,
Can stick together,’ says Pooh, says he. ‘That’s how it is,’ says Pooh.”
For those looking for some serious ‘old school love’ the following romantic poems are pretty lovely. They’ll certainly add a touch of classic vintage to the proceedings!
Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her
by Christopher Brennan (1870-1932)
If questioning would make us wise
No eyes would ever gaze in eyes;
If all our tale were told in speech
No mouths would wander each to each.
Were spirits free from mortal mesh
And love not bound in hearts of flesh
No aching breasts would yearn to meet
And find their ecstasy complete.
For who is there that lives and knows
The secret powers by which he grows?
Were knowledge all, what were our need
To thrill and faint and sweetly bleed?
Then seek not, sweet, the “If” and “Why”
I love you now until I die.
For I must love because I live
And life in me is what you give.
Marriage Morning by Alfred Lord Tennyson
Light, so low upon earth,
You send a flash to the sun.
Here is the golden close of love,
All my wooing is done.
Oh, the woods and the meadows,
Woods where we hid from the wet,
Stiles where we stay’d to be kind,
Meadows in which we met!
Light, so low in the vale
You flash and lighten afar,
For this is the golden morning of love,
And you are his morning star.
Flash, I am coming, I come,
By meadow and stile and wood,
Oh, lighten into my eyes and heart,
Into my heart and my blood!
Heart, are you great enough
For a love that never tires?
O’ heart, are you great enough for love?
I have heard of thorns and briers,
Over the meadow and stiles,
Over the world to the end of it
Flash for a million miles.
And for those with a sense of humour, the next two would really get some laughs. I was lucky enough to witness the Readers Digest article from 1955 in action at a wedding recently, it went down a treat. Everyone in the room was roaring with laughter and I genuinely don’t think the bride knew it was going to be read! Well I’d have loved it
A word to husbands by Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.
And this one:
I always rattle on about asking your parents or grandparents about their wedding but another way to include them and personalise your wedding would be to use their readings or vows on your own day. If they’re still happily married, who knows, maybe there’s some luck in there for you :)
What are your thoughts? Do any of these take your fancy or do you have an old reading you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!
See you soon!