Weddings are the best parties. Families and friends of all ages, shapes and sizes, in the latest fashions (and in the greatest fashions of the past) meet up – often after long absences – dressed in expensive new finery, share a feast and have the time of their lives together. No expense is spared, huge numbers are involved, normal limits do not apply and a great time is had by all. It’s Christmas and your birthday and your 21st and your first date all rolled into one. Fabulous and of course we’re all for it.
But there is also something even more wonderful going on. You are announcing to the world and its wife (and husband and mother and father and uncle and aunt and brother and sister and cousin and bridesmaid and best man and woman all its best friends)that you have found your soul mate and that you are setting forth on the greatest adventure together. Marriage. The dizzying intensification of a life lived constantly for each other through all the illusory changes – joy, sorrow, riches, poverty, sickness, health – and on into parenthood perhaps, even maturity , perhaps!, etc etc. It would be a shame if the chance to celebrate this extraordinary ambition remains silent.
How to do it? How to celebrate this in words on the day, in public? How to shout to the rooftops what you’ve said quietly to each other in the ceremony. How to put it up on a stage for all to see?
Such a celebration needs the swagger and verve of a poet and the drama and grandeur of an actor in full song to really put into words. It needs eloquence and glory and a gravity that is not sombre. It needs the highest ad bravest poetry . Luckily, you don’t have to find the words yourself (though of course you may want to and if you have the skill and confidence no-one will say it better!) We have Shakespeare.
If you possibly can, read this wedding sonnet out yourselves – maybe even learn it as you will say it – by heart. But if you can’t, there will always be someone at the wedding who can do the words justice. (And if there isn’t, you now know who to send that spare invitation out to!)
It’s then just a matter of when to read it – at the ceremony itself, perhaps, when people are in the mood and the spirit of the occasion is still wondering at the union more than raising yet another glass to it. But this divine sonnet will work at any stage of the day. Shakespeare didn’t write for open air theatres of 5000 baying people for nothing. These celebratory words will demand a hearing at any time of the evening (though you might need a microphone late on). But most important of all, say them to each other in your hearts. And then try to live them.
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
Which looks on tempest and is not shaken.
It is the start to ev’ry wandering bark
Whose worth’s unknown, though his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come.
Love alters not wit his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ nor no-one ever loved.
Pic c/o popsugar