After your wedding invitations have been mailed, it’s time to start thinking about “day of stationery”. I offer several different types of day of stationery including menus and name cards but by far the most popular is wedding programs. Like the invitations, the programs create a first impression of the ceremony. They are a great way to let your guests know what to expect during the ceremony and acknowledge your family and bridal party.
From chalkboards and mirrors to pamphlets and fans, there are so many variations of wedding programs to choose from. When considering what to use, you’ll have to factor in budget, timeline, availability, and resources. For example, in the case of a smaller wedding, it might be more cost effective to order printed programs. If you’re having a large wedding, hiring someone to write on a chalkboard may be less expensive than ordering a ton of programs. Of course, if you’re using a calligrapher for a large surface you will need to find someone local. However, I can ship paper programs anywhere in the US!
I’m sharing what to include in your paper program, as other variations may be different. Typically the wedding program begins with wording along the lines of “welcome to the wedding of” and the full names of the bride and groom. Include the date, venue or church name, and the city and state where the ceremony is taking place.
Next up is the order of events. This is a timeline of what will happen during the ceremony and traditionally lists out the processional, exchange of vows, pronouncement of marriage, and recessional. If there are any readings or songs, it is appropriate to include them with this portion of the wedding program. With many religious ceremonies, there is a specific template to how the ceremony events should be listed. You can view some examples on The Knot.
Listing the names of parents and grandparents is common practice along with the bridal party. With the bridesmaids and groomsmen, you may note who is the maid of honor and best man. Some wedding programs include each person’s relationship to the bride and groom. For example, Bridesmaid Jane Smith is a childhood friend of the bride. Although this isn’t necessary, I think it’s a nice way to “introduce” these important people to your guests. If there are ushers or a flower girl or ring bearer, it is traditional to include their names along with the pastor or officiant.
Often in the double-sided programs I create, there is additional space after including all of the above. I’ve seen couples use this space as a “in memory of” section to name relatives who have passed away or as a general “thank you” to their family and friends for attending their wedding. It can also be used to tell the story of how the bride and groom met or display the wedding hashtag.
In the spirit of fun over tradition, I think the ceremony program is a place to get creative. There is no right or wrong way to word the wedding program and guests often appreciate seeing something different than the typical outline. I love new ideas and would enjoy helping you execute your vision!
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