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“How Do I Love Thee?” – Fifteen Love Poems to Count the Ways of Love at Your Wedding

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If you are looking for just the right words to express “the depth and breadth and height” of your emotions on your wedding day, you need look no further. We've compiled a repository of love poems for every type of bride. Some poems are as sentimental as vows, while others are certain to simply delight. We hope that you'll find one to express exactly what is in your heart on your special day.

Romantic Brides

You've been planning the details of this day since you first heard the words “happily ever after.” As a little girl, you spent countless hours walking down the “aisle” of your bedroom. At last you have found your Prince Charming, and now you need a poem as wonderful as the person you are about to marry. So when it comes to the subject of love, you prefer to turn to the masters.

  

  1. Sonnet 116, by William Shakespeare

    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:
    Oh, no! it is an ever-fixed mark
    that looks on tempests and is never shaken:
    it is the star to every wandering bark,
    Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
    Love's not times 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 even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error, and upon me prov'd,
    I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

  2. Translation of Love Sonnet LXXI, by Pablo Neruda

    And now you're mine. Rest with your dream in my dream.
    Love and pain and work should all sleep, now.
    The night turns on its invisible wheels,
    and you are pure beside me as sleeping amber.

    No one else, Love, will sleep in my dreams. You will go,
    we will go together, over the waters of time.
    No one else will travel through the shadows with me,
    only you, evergreen, ever sun, ever moon.

    Your hands have already opened their delicate fists
    and let their soft drifting signs drop away;
    your eyes close like two gray wings, and I move

    after, following the water you carry, that carries
    me away. The night, the world, the wind spin out their destiny.
    Without you, I am your dream, only that, and that is all.
    Without a touch,
    Without a word,
    Without a sign.
    You have done it
    By being yourself.

  3. 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 the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

    i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Dramatic Brides

Your mother is right—you have always had a flair for the dramatic. You want to yield to the power of words on this day and find a poem that will strike the precise emotional chords of your love. Ideally, this poem will reach right into the hearts and minds of everyone who has come to witness your union. And as the words float up and away, into the atmosphere above, you secretly hope to hear a collective sigh of reflection escape from the crowd.

  

  1. Love Song, by Rainer Maria Rilke

    How can I keep my soul in me, so that
    it doesn't touch your soul? How can I raise
    it high enough, past you, to other things?
    I would like to shelter it, among remote
    lost objects, in some dark and silent place
    that doesn't resonate when your depths resound.
    Yet everything that touches us, me and you,
    takes us together like a violin's bow,
    which draws one voice out of two separate strings.
    Upon what instrument are we two spanned?
    And what musician holds us in his hand?
    Oh sweetest song.

  2. No, I'll Not Take the Half, by Yevgeny Yevtushenko

    No, I'll not take the half of anything!
    Give me the whole sky! The far-flung earth!
    Seas and rivers and mountain avalanches -
    All these are mine! I'll accept no less!

    No, life, you cannot woo me with a part.
    Let it be all or nothing! I can shoulder that!
    I don't want happiness by halves.
    Nor is half of sorrow what I want.

    Yet there's a pillow I would share,
    Where gently pressed against a cheek,
    Like a helpless star, a falling star,
    A ring glimmers on a finger of your hand.

  3. Admonitions to a Special Person, by Anne Sexton

    Love? Be it man. Be it woman.
    It must be a wave you want to glide in on,
    give your body to it, give your laugh to it,
    give, when the gravelly sand takes you,
    your tears to the land. To love another is something
    like prayer and can't be planned, you just fall
    into its arms because your belief undoes your disbelief.

Timeless Brides

Your wedding day will nod to tradition but still include the personal details that make your love unique. You prefer a simple elegance to a lot of hoopla and flair. For this reason, you want the words read at your ceremony to be a natural and succinct declaration of your commitment to one another. Forget the flowery prose; you want a poem that is straightforward and beautiful in its simplicity.

  
  1. Title Unknown, by Carl Sandburg

    I love you.
    I love you for what you are,
    but I love you yet more for what you are going to be.
    I love you not so much for your realities as for your ideals.
    I pray for your desires, that they may be great,
    rather than for your satisfactions,
    which may be so hazardously little.
    A satisfied flower is one whose petals are about to fall.
    But the most beautiful rose is one,
    hardly more than a bud,
    wherein the pangs and ecstasies of desire are working for larger and finer growth.
    Not always shall you be what you are now.
    You are going forward toward something great.
    I am on the way with you and... I love you.

  2. On Love, by Thomas à Kempis

    Love is a mighty power, a great and complete good.
    Love alone lightens every burden, and makes rough places smooth.
    It bears every hardship as though it were nothing, and renders all
    bitterness sweet and acceptable.
    Nothing is sweeter than love,
    Nothing stronger,
    Nothing higher,
    Nothing wider,
    Nothing more pleasant,
    Nothing fuller or better in heaven or earth; for love is born of God.
    Love flies, runs and leaps for joy.
    It is free and unrestrained.
    Love knows no limits, but ardently transcends all bounds.
    Love feels no burden, takes no account of toil,
    attempts things beyond its strength.
    Love sees nothing as impossible,
    for it feels able to achieve all things.
    It is strange and effective,
    while those who lack love faint and fail.
    Love is not fickle and sentimental,
    nor is it intent on vanities.
    Like a living flame and a burning torch,
    it surges upward and surely surmounts every obstacle.

  3. Love Me, by Walter Rinder

    Love me because I try to touch life within the framework of uncertainty.
    Love in me the shadows of my indecision as I strive to gain knowledge.
    Love in me the silence of my hurts and the noise of my confusions.
    Love me for the feeling of my heart not the fears of my mind.
    Love me in my search for the truth though I may stumble upon fallacy.
    Love me as I pursue my dreams sometimes hampered by illusions.
    Love me as I grow to know myself even during times of stagnation.
    Love me because I seek God's harmony not man's discord.
    Love me for my body that I wish to share with affection, wrapping you in warmth.
    Love me because we are different, as we are the same.
    Love me that our time together will be spent in growing, kindling the world with understanding.
    Love me not with expectations but with hope.
    I will love you the same

    Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
    Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
    Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
    Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
    Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
    Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

    Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
    For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
    And stand together yet not too near together:
    For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
    And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

Natural Brides:

Your wedding ceremony is a declaration of your love for one another—and your love for the planet that we all share. Whether you are planning to marry on a mountaintop or in a field of wildflowers, one thing is certain: Your perfect wedding location includes a canopy of sky above. You want the words read aloud at your wedding to be as honest and pure as nature itself.

  
  1. Carry Her Over the Water, by W.H. Auden

    Carry her over the water,
    And set her down under the tree,
    Where the culvers white all day and all night,
    And the winds from every quarter,
    Sing agreeably, agreeably, agreeably of love.

    Put a gold ring on her finger,
    And press her close to your heart,
    While the fish in the lake snapshots take,
    And the frog, that sanguine singer,
    Sing agreeably, agreeably, agreeably of love.

    The streets shall flock to your marriage,
    The houses turn round to look,
    The tables and chairs say suitable prayers,
    And the horses drawing your carriage
    Sing agreeably, agreeably, agreeably of love.

  2. The Invitation, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

    It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
    I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your hearts longing.
    It doesn't interest me how old you are.
    I want to know if you will risk looking a fool for love,
    for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.
    It doesn't interest me what planets are square in your moon.
    I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
    if you have been opened by life's betrayals or have become shriveled and closed down from fear of further pain.
    I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving, to hide it, fade it, or fix it.
    I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.
    It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me is true.
    I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true yourself;
    if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore trustworthy.
    I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the moon in God's presence.
    It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have.
    I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.
    It doesn't interest me who you know, or how you came here.
    I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.
    It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
    I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
    I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in empty moments.

  3. On Marriage, by Kahlil Gibran, from “The Prophet”

    You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
    You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
    Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
    But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
    And let the winds of heavens dance between you.

Fun Brides

You are the bride that thinks outside of the bouquet, and you intend to march down the aisle to a slightly different beat. You know that you can't reinvent the wedding wheel, but you would like to incorporate a few things into your ceremony that haven't been seen—or heard—before. You have actually considered wearing a wedding dress that's not white, and you just may have a wedding pie instead of a cake. So consider reading one of these poems at your wedding, and watch the smiles linger on the faces of those you love.

  
  1. Tin Wedding Whistle, by Ogden Nash

    Though you know it anyhow
    Listen to me, darling, now,

    Proving what I need not prove
    How I know I love you, love.

    Near and far, near and far,
    I am happy where you are;

    Likewise I have never learnt
    How to be it where you aren't.

    Far and wide, far and wide,
    I can walk with you beside;

    Furthermore, I tell you what,
    I sit and sulk where you are not.

    Visitors remark my frown
    Where you're upstairs and I am down,

    Yes, and I'm afraid I pout
    When I'm indoors and you are out;

    But how contentedly I view
    Any room containing you.

    In fact I care not where you be,
    Just as long as it's with me.

    In all your absences I glimpse
    Fire and flood and trolls and imps.

    Is your train a minute slothful?
    I goad the stationmaster wrathful.

    When with friends to bridge you drive
    I never know if you're alive,

    And when you linger late in shops
    I long to telephone the cops.

    Yet how worth the waiting for,
    To see you coming through the door.

    Somehow, I can be complacent
    Never but with you adjacent.

    Near and far, near and far,
    I am happy where you are;

    Likewise I have never learnt
    How to be it where you aren't.

    Then grudge me not my fond endeavor,
    To hold you in my sight forever;

    Let none, not even you, disparage
    Such valid reason for a marriage.

  2. Resignation, by Nikki Giovanni

    I love you
    because the Earth turns round the sun
    because the North wind blows North
    Sometimes
    because the Pope is Catholic
    and most Rabbis Jewish
    because winters flow into springs
    and the air clears after a storm
    because only my love for you
    despite the charms of gravity
    keeps me from falling off the Earth
    into another dimension
    I love you
    because it is the natural order of things.

  3. The Quiet World, by Jeffrey McDaniel

    In an effort to get people to look
    into each other's eyes more,
    and also to appease the mutes,
    the government has decided
    to allot each person exactly one hundred
    and sixty-seven words, per day.
    When the phone rings, I put it in to my ear
    Without saying hello. In the restaurant
    I point at chicken noodle soup.
    I am adjusting well to the new way.

    Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
    proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
    I saved the rest for you.

    When she doesn't respond,
    I know she's used up all her words,
    so I slowly whisper I love you
    thirty-two and a third times.
    After that, we just sit on the line
    and listen to each other breathe.

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