Weddings are associated with some of the most romantic forms and images of poetry. Traditional love poems and songs are often used during ceremonies to mark the occasion with something special, particularly as an addition to (or sometimes substitute for) more markedly religious readings. Wedding poetry is also often written naturally thanks to inspiration stemming from the day’s events, and can subsequently be used for a general expression of love for all kinds of events from Valentine’s Day to anniversaries.
Writing Wedding Poetry
Wedding poetry can be relatively easy to write as there are no hard and fast rules. Sonnets are the traditional choice, but this is definitely an area where the words themselves are far more important. If you’re considering writing wedding poetry but you aren’t sure where to get started, consider who can get involved. Writing a poem to swap with your partner can work quite well, as can writing a line each. If you aren’t confident with your own poetry, getting a close friend or relative to write about you both as a couple can add extra meaning and charm, particularly if you can get it printed or handwritten and signed as a permanent memory of the day.
The most important thing when writing traditionally styled wedding poetry and poetic vows is to avoid clichés and hyperbolic presentation of emotion. Whilst this can be quite successful for ironic modern pieces, it’s far too easy to write poetry that will make your guests cringe. The best place to test reactions is via an online poetry forum. Friends and family will tell you your poem is great regardless, and it will ruin the surprise if you test it out with people you know anyway. Forum members are far more likely to give you honest feedback – constructive or otherwise!
To get started with a more modern take, try making a list of words that describe how you feel about your partner (or ask the happy couple to make a list for you if you’re writing for someone else).
Traditional vs. Modern Wedding Poems
A great way to get inspiration or find a poem for your own wedding day is to take a look at some of the most popular romantic poems. Even if you’re intending to go for something non-traditional or create your own unique piece, reading up on existing poetry can help you identify themes, associations and styles to incorporate or avoid according to your tastes.
Probably the most popular love poem of all time is William Shakespeare’s sonnet, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day’. It is a popular choice at weddings all over the globe, and is particularly suited to more traditional church weddings.
However, modern poems can be a lot more personal and are preferred by couples looking for an expression of love they can identify with more easily. If you’re interested in reading more modern works, The Guardian has an excellent piece from Carol Ann Duffy covering a range of new wedding poems by various talented poets.