Wedding programs are an optional part of your wedding stationery package, but it’s one that many couples opt to provide, even if they sometimes serve mostly as keepsakes of the special day. Of course, there are some times when a wedding program is almost mandatory and, if you choose to use them, there is some information they should contain.
When You Must Have Wedding Programs
Wedding programs are typically optional, but there are some times when you really should provide them to your guests. For instance, if you have a large wedding party or if most of the people in your wedding party would be strangers to your guests, then you should provide wedding programs.
Another reason to have wedding programs is if you have a number of people involved in the ceremony, such as soloists, organists, or speakers. These individuals deserve to have their name listed in a program so they will be known by the guests as well – it’s one way to show your appreciation for their participation.
You may also choose to have wedding programs if there are parts of your ceremony that may be unfamiliar to some of your guests. For example, if you are lighting a unity candle, you may want to explain who will be involved and what the significance of this part of the ceremony is for guests who may be unfamiliar with it.
Even if none of these situations are applicable to your ceremony, you can choose to have wedding programs.
Ordering Guidelines for Wedding Programs
Obviously, all of the details for your ceremony have to be determined prior to you ordering your wedding programs. You can’t list the names of the participants if you haven’t asked them yet.
You should place an order for your wedding programs at the same time you order your wedding invitations. That way you can feel confident that they will be ready to distribute on the day of your ceremony.
You should order one program for each guest, as well as one for every member of your wedding party, for any individual participating in the ceremony, and at least one for you to keep. It’s a good idea to order a few extras as well since not all of your guests may respond.
Wedding Program Content
If you choose to order wedding programs for your ceremony, then there are a number of pieces of information that are appropriate to include. Although there are no strict guidelines for wedding programs since they are optional, most wedding programs include three components: a cover, the ceremony order, and the wedding party participants.
The cover of your wedding program should provide the basic details about your ceremony, including who is getting married, where and when the ceremony is taking place, and other basic facts. Additionally, you can include a photograph of yourselves or some other type of artwork.
Below is an example of what the content of your wedding program’s cover might look like:
Angel Aurora Woods
Joshua Alexander Hughes
Saturday, January 22, 2007
at six o’clock in the evening
Missouri Botanical Gardens
St. Louis, Missouri
The next section of your wedding program includes a list of all the ceremony elements in the order in which they would occur. Depending on the length of your ceremony, this section can be relatively small or large. Remember there is really no guideline as to how long or how short this section needs to be.
One thing you must keep in mind is that you need to include the names of people responsible for each of the different ceremony elements. For example, if you have a soloist then that person’s name should be mentioned at the appropriate point in the program.
Below is an example of how this portion of your wedding program might look:
A Selection of the Couple’s Favorite Songs
“Wedding March” by Wagner
Rev. Elizabeth Webster
Giving of the Bride
Reciting of the Vows
Exchanging of the Rings
Pronouncement of the Marriage
“What a Wonderful World”
The final part of your wedding program should include a list of all the members of the wedding party. When it comes to the bridesmaids and groomsmen, you can choose to mention the person’s relationship to the bride or groom. This piece of information is a nice addition, especially for guests who are not well acquainted with the members of the wedding party.
Mr. and Mrs. Darren Woods
Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Hughes
Ms. Danielle Hughes
Maid of Honor
best man’s son
Rev. Elizabeth Watson
friend of the bride
Optional Wedding Program Content
In addition to the main sections of your wedding program, you can also add in almost any other content you desire. Here are some examples you might want to consider if space and/or your budget allows:
The story of how you met or of how you became engaged
Quotes about love, marriage, family, or relationships
Dedications to deceased family members and/or friends
Special thanks to parents of the bride and the groom
Copies of the vows, if you write your own (this will require some advanced preparation)
Explanations about the significance of different parts of the ceremony
Lyrics to songs and words to poems or poetry that will be performed during the ceremony
Additionally, the wedding program can be a good place to provide important information for guests, such as instructions on how to reach the reception location. You could also include instructions, such as “No flash photography permitted during the service” or “Please remain seated until the ushers dismiss you.”