Ceremony programs are not one of those required aspects of a wedding, but they can certainly be helpful to your guests and are a simple way to add some personalization to your day.
Since having a wedding program is not a mandatory tradition, there’s no major etiquette or decorum to follow. Which, on the one hand, is great! You have the freedom to make your program as funny or as formal as you desire. On the other hand, it can be overwhelming to not have the structure that proper etiquette dictates. With too many options, how can you know you are making the right choice?
That’s why we have decided to put together some tips and suggestions on how to create the perfect wedding program that fits the formality of your event.
Photo by Liz Banfield; Floral Design by Jackson Durham Events
- The first step is deciding what style you want your program to represent. We suggest matching the look of your program to your nuptials: a formal wedding dictates a more formal program, while you can have a little more fun with a program for a casual celebration.
- Decide whether you want the program to be a single sheet, a booklet, or a folded style. If you’re keeping it simple, a single sheet is probably the way to go. If you want to convey a lot of information, you will want the space a booklet can provide. A tri-folded program makes for a good compromise.
- Choose your font wisely. You don’t want it to be boring, but anything overly flashy may look like a childhood project. Avoid Comic Sans and Papyrus!
- This is another opportunity to show off your engagement photos. Just be sure that the image will be printed in high quality – a photo that looks like it was printed right off your computer won’t do you or your beloved justice.
- If your reception décor features a custom monogram, the cover of your ceremony program is a great place to introduce it.
- At a minimum, make sure your names and wedding date are on the cover.
- If your ceremony features any religious, cultural, or familial traditions, it is helpful to explain these customs for those outside your sphere of experience.
- List your music choices for the processional and recessional. You likely spent a significant amount of time deciding on the right tune for your trip down the aisle, and your guests will like to see what you selected – they might not recognize an instrumental version.
- An order of events is helpful so your friends and family can follow along, especially if your type of ceremony is not one they have witnessed before.
- If you wish, the opening pages would be a good place to include readings from the ceremony, or even your vows.
- Think of this as the cast section of a playbill. Your officiant may not be in your bridal party per se, but you will want to give them proper credit. If there is a personal relationship, be sure to mention why they were selected: i.e. a friend or family member who became ordained for the occasion, a childhood pastor, the rabbi who presided over your bat mitzvah, etc.
- List both sets of parents first. Including stepparents and grandparents are optional, but it can be a lovely gesture. This of course depends on your personal relationships, so use your best judgment.
- At a minimum, list the name of every bridesmaid, groomsman, or any other attendant. The bridal party and the guests may appreciate including a photo and/or a quick explanation of their relationship to the couple – this can also be included on a wedding website. If you have the space, sharing a brief story for each member of the wedding party helps to show your appreciation.
- Even if you’re planning to thank them in a reception toast, including a thank you to your families and anyone else who helped you throughout your engagement is a lovely move that will never be frowned upon.
- If you have lost loved ones you wish to honor, including a memorial section on the back of the program is a thoughtful way to include those who are no longer with us.