Are you planning to have your wedding ceremony at a beach location? There are so many great readings that can really speak to your setting, one that you’ve obviously put a lot of consideration into choosing. The sea is a classic metaphor for life, and so many great authors and poets have written about it that you’ll have plenty to pick from. Here are some of my favorites!
This is a good introduction to the ceremony;
“Hello and welcome! On this early autumn evening, near the waters edge, we gather on shifting sand under a dazzling blue sky. These are gifts of nature, and they speak volumes about the partnership we are celebrating today, the partnership of Michelle and Scott. Here, we are reminded that life is ever changing, ever renewed, but to enjoy, to savor that happy chaos and wild love, we all need our anchors. The sea is more than just a scenic backdrop today; it is a place that brings this couple peace; they met here, the live here; it’s a place that brings them peace. Their partnership is not new, but that we can start Michelle and Jason’s married life together here is sweet indeed.”
From Poet Mary Oliver
Have you ever seen anything in your life more wonderful
into the clouds or the hills, or the rumpled sea,
and then is gone, and how it slides again out of the blackness,
on the other side of the world,
like a red flower streaming upward on its heavenly oils.
Say, on a morning in early autumn,
at its perfect imperial distance–
and have you ever felt for anything
such wild love?
Do you think there is anywhere, in any language,
a word billowing enough for this sweet pleasure.
The Starfish Story
(from an ancient legend)
One early morning as I was walking along the beach
I discovered a figure at a distance moving like a dancer.
As I got closer I noticed that the figure was a young girl
Maybe 9-10 years old and she wasn’t dancing.
She was reaching down to the shoreline
Picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean…
As I came even closer, I said ‘Good morning, what are you doing?’
She paused a little out of breath, looked up and said,
‘Throwing starfish into the sea’,
‘Why are you throwing them back there?’ I asked,
She said, ‘The sun is getting hot and the tide is going out,
If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die’.
I couldn’t help saying ‘But there are miles of beach
And hundreds of starfish, d’you think it makes a difference?’
She gave me a very serious look and bent down picking up another starfish
And threw it into the sea,
As it splashed into the water she said
‘It makes a difference to that one…’.
Anne Morrow Lindberg, from “A Gift from the Sea”
When you love someone, you do not love them all the
time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment.
It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend
to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We
have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of
love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the
tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it
will never return. We insist on permanency, on
duration, on continuity; when the only continuity
possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in
fluidity-in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are
free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in
the same pattern.
From Barbara Kingsolver
Every one of us is called upon, many times, to start a new life. A frightening diagnosis… a marriage, a move, loss of a job…And onward full tilt we go, pitched and wrecked and absurdly resolute, driven in sprite of everything to make good on a new shore. To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another-that is surely the basic instinct..Crying out; High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is!