When you begin to plan your wedding, you will find that there are a number of little details that are all too easy to overlook. That’s one of the reasons we always suggest that you begin planning your wedding as early as possible, so there is plenty of time to review and address any little details that may have gotten lost in the shuffle.
The wedding program is one of those little details that often gets overlooked, and couples can find themselves scrambling at the last minute to prepare and print a suitable program for their wedding ceremony.
If you have yet to consider your wedding program, don’t worry. We’re here to walk you through the basics, and show you what you need to know about designing a perfect wedding program.
Are Wedding Programs Essential?
A wedding program is not necessarily an essential part of the wedding ceremony. If, for example, you are planning a small wedding with only close friends and family attending, you might forgo the program. That being said, a wedding program makes a welcome souvenir of your ceremony. It also helps your guests to follow the service, and gives you a chance to publicly thank family, friends, and members of the wedding party.
When to Include a Wedding Program
So, if wedding programs aren’t essential than why include them? Well, there are some very good reasons why including a wedding program in your wedding stationary makes good sense.
- Large Weddings – If you are planning a big wedding, you will most likely have many guests who do not know all of the members of the wedding party. A detailed wedding program makes it easy to introduce the bridal party to all of your guests.
- Long Ceremonies – If you are planning a long and involved wedding ceremony, a program gives your guests an easy to understand guide so they can follow along with the different sections of the service.
- Religious Ceremonies – If your wedding is built around a religious ceremony, chances are many of your guests will be unfamiliar with the rites and traditions of the service. A wedding program makes it easier for guests who are not members of your faith to follow the service, and to understand the religious rites and the role they should play.
- Acknowledgments – Finally, your wedding program is a wonderful way to thank friends and family, and to highlight the contributions of your wedding party. It also makes a wonderful souvenir.
Key Elements of Your Wedding Program
If you decide that a wedding program is right for you, there are a few key elements that you need to include in order to create a successful program.
- The Cover – This should feature the names of the bride and groom, and the date and time of the wedding. You might also want to emboss the cover with your initials or a family crest.
- The Schedule of Events – The next section of the program should consist of a detailed list of what will happen throughout the ceremony. This should include the processional, readings, prayers, exchange of vows, unity ceremony, and recessional. Make this section as detailed as possible, and be sure to include the names of the people leading the prayers or giving the readings.
- An Explanation of Any Religious Rites – This section is optional, but if you are planning a religious service it is a good addition. Explain any religious traditions or rituals that will be part of the service, with special attention to the roles your guests should play (standing, kneeling, communion, singing, etc).
- Introduce the Wedding Party – Finally, a section should be devoted to introducing your wedding party. This should include the wedding officiant, parents of the bride and groom, Maid of Honor, Best Man, bridesmaids, and groomsmen. If you like, you can include a short sentence about each member of the bridal party explaining their significance in your lives.
This should form the core of your wedding program. You can also include memorials to family members who you are missed on this day of celebration, favorite quotes or poems, and a general ‘thank you’ to all of your guests for attending. Finally, include a tip in slip with directions to the wedding reception.
Not every wedding ceremony needs a wedding program. But if you are planning a large wedding, particularly one with a religious service at it’s heart, you should definitely consider it. A wedding program will help your guests follow the service, gives you a chance to publicly acknowledge your bridal party, and makes for a wonderful souvenir for you and your guests.