We feel you—being in wedding parties can be rough. They’re time-consuming, expensive and after you’ve lined up by the altar more than a few times, v. boring. BUT, you love your friends and would do anything for them so next time you get asked to buy a pastel dress, don a floral crown and dust off your nude shoes, you’re going to say yes. If you’re some lucky lady’s maid of honour this year (or just need to give a kick-ass speech), we rounded up 10 readings, poems and quotes that won’t leave a dry eye in the house—without prompting too many eye rolls.
1. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
“Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That’s what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because this excerpt from Oliver’s YA novel about a young woman who falls in love in a dystopian society where love is viewed as a disease is accurate without being flowery and will hit the right note with all the Hunger Games/Divergent fans out there.
2. Just Kids by Patti Smith
“Where does it all lead? What will become of us? These were our young questions, and young answers were revealed. It leads to each other. We become ourselves … ‘What will happen to us?’ I asked. ‘There will always be us,’ he answered.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because a snippet from singer-songwriter/poet/artist/punk icon Patti Smith is the ideal choice for your rebel bestie who you never thought would get married.
3. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
“My mother’s last word to me clanks inside me like an iron bell that someone beats at dinnertime: love, love, love, love, love. … Be brave. Be authentic. Practice saying the word ‘love’ to the people you love so when it matters most to say it, you will.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because this literary choice from the author of Wild hits us in the feels without smacking of romance.
4. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving. The great acts of love are done by those who are habitually performing small acts of kindness. We pardon to the extent that we love. Love is knowing that even when you are alone, you will never be lonely again. And great happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved. Loved for ourselves. And even loved in spite of ourselves.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because it’s a bang-on description of all types of love, not just the “happily ever after” kind.
5. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
“People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square. Love lets you find those hidden places in another person, even the ones they didn’t know were there, even the ones they wouldn’t have thought to call beautiful themselves.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because it will make even the biggest cynics feel like love is possible, flaws and all.
6. The Essential Rumi by Rumi (Coleman Barks, translator)
“The minute I heard my first love story
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere.
They’re in each other all along.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because, we have to admit, this one kind of gave us chills.
7. Theodor Seuss Geisel aka Dr. Seuss
“You know you’re in love when you don’t want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because it’s a lovely choice for when a few sweet words will do the trick.
8. Still Life with Woodpecker by Tom Robbins
“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won’t adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words “make” and “stay” become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because while we may not be hopeless romantics, we can recognize that this is good.
9. The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life … You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you.”
Why we don’t hate it: Because it captures the vulnerability of love (cheesy but true) in plain, direct language that’s totally relatable.
10. First Poems by Rainer Maria Rilke
Understand, I’ll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I’ll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too.
Why we don’t hate it: Because the quiet, serious person in your inner circle whose big day you’re celebrating will love that you went for a brooding, intense German-language poet.
The Real Cost of Weddings: 10 Brides Break It Down
What Fashion People Wear to Weddings
Step-by-Step Guide for DIY Wedding Makeup