Lessons in life and love – wedding readings from children’s books

Have you read anything from The Velveteen Rabbit in the last year? Or perhaps seen a poem about two dinosaurs who fall in love? I have as well – and I imagine most couples planning weddings in the UK know just why I’m asking!

dinosaur wedding Belinda McCarthy

A truly lovely love story – photo credit Belinda McCarthy

An article on the BBC News website asked the other day, “Why is a children’s book about rabbits being read at weddings?” and author Lucy Wallis shared some very insightful thoughts about kids’ books having to explain love in very simple terms.

My lovely friend and UKAWP director Bernadette Chapman was quoted in the article, saying weddings are increasingly focused on personality – meaning more creative freedom to choose quirky wedding readings. Bernadette said “children’s literature has become so popular because it’s inter-generational and everyone can relate to it“.

dinosaur wedding by Belinda McCarthy

Donna and Paul’s wedding had a quirky and fun dinosaur theme, and guess what they chose for a wedding reading?! Image credit Belinda McCarthy Photography

As a calligrapher I get to see a lot of wedding readings – and it fascinates me how our choices of poem have changed over the years. Five years ago the most popular wedding readings were the extract (below) from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (the novel or the film) and Steven Curtis Chapman’s I Will Be Here.

wedding poem calligraphy (2)

Photo credit Claire Gould,

wedding poem calligraphy (3)

Photo credit Claire Gould,

Malvern library wedding Rob and Sarah Gillespie (4)

Hannah and Nick chose the extract from The Velveteen Rabbit as their wedding reading at Malvern College – photo credit Rob and Sarah Gillespie

Now we choose from our favourite books, song lyrics and novels. Hannah and Nick chose the extract from The Velveteen Rabbit for their wedding in the Memorial Library at Malvern College, and their wedding was very focused on personality and creativity. I loved sharing it with you on the blog the other day!

wedding poem calligraphy (1)

Photo credit Claire Gould,

Eternal favourites include 1 Corinthians, Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 and the Apache wedding blessing. Last week on the English Wedding Blog Amelia and Jonny chose a classic poem by W.B. Yeats – He Wishes For The Cloths of Heaven. So it’s good to see we now feel free to choose classics, quirky or children’s poems for our weddings – personal choice wins every time!

country chic English wedding by Tom Redman

Amelia and Jonny’s country chic English wedding by Tom Redman Photography

The Owl and the Pussycat is a wedding reading I’m particularly fond of though – I’ve written and illustrated it for my couples so many times I practically know it by heart! And it’s a timeless, innocent little story with old English charm. The best of both worlds, mixing classic poetry with childlike imagery – and I hope, a favourite wedding poem for many years to come!

the owl and the pussycat poem

The Owl and the Pussycat – an eternal favourite wedding poem. Calligraphy by Claire Gould

Although I have a fondness for anything a little unusual and quirky… this little Green Day number looks as much fun as it sounds!

wedding poem calligraphy (4)

Photo credit Claire Gould,


Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



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