Are you thinking of having programs at your wedding ceremony? While not totally necessary, wedding programs can definitely be a fun and helpful handout. Everyone wants to know who’s who in the wedding party, and it’s also nice to give guests an idea of what to expect in terms of the ceremony. They’re a nice keepsake for you as a couple, and guests will have something to look at while they’re waiting for your ceremony to begin. Plus, if you’re having an outdoor wedding, there’s always the bonus of fans!
Wedding programs can vary greatly, and like all other aspects of your big day, it should fit the vibe of you and your groom. If you’re having a formal ceremony in a ballroom, a more elegant cardstock will probably set the tone, but if you’re having a BBQ at a campground, they can be more fun and relaxed. There are a lot of cool features you can incorporate into your wedding programs (just check out Pinterest or Etsy—the options are endless!) but how edgy or creative you want to go will depend on the feel and theme of your wedding.
The most important thing to include in your wedding program is the order of events. Whether you’ll be having an hour-long church ceremony or a 10-minute unity candle lighting, people like to know what to expect. List out the order of events that will be taking place, including any songs or poems so that guests are able to follow along or participate.
Another feature of wedding programs is who’s who. List out the parents of the bride and groom, the name of the officiant, and any readers, musicians or other participants. You’ll also list out the names of those in the bridal party, as well as their relationship to the bride and groom. This is a great way to highlight the people you’ve chosen and make them feel important, as well as help everyone know who’s standing up there with you! An example:
Pastor George Green
Parents of the Bride
Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Brown
Parents of the Groom
Mr. and Dr. Christian and Sarah Smith
Maid of Honor
Caitlin Brown (Sister of Bride)
Drew O’Brian (Best Friend of Groom)
Ella Jones (Friend of Bride)
Jennifer Smith (Sister of Groom)
Anthony Tate (Friend of Groom)
Peter Marx (Cousin of Groom)
What could be included in your wedding program:
- A thank you note to someone who means a lot to you as a couple, whether it’s your parents or the friend that introduced you. (Example: Thank you for coming to our big day! We’re so excited to spend the rest of our lives loving each other. We’d like to thank our parents for always supporting us, and our friend Amanda for introducing us to each other in college (Go Badgers!). Without you, this wedding wouldn’t be taking place, and we are so grateful for your love and friendship!)
- Pictures of you and the groom with a short synopsis of your love story.
- An infographic of your relationship timeline, from meeting each other to your wedding day.
- Explanations of any family or religious traditions you’ll be embracing.
- Any additional family members, like the names of your grandparents, particularly if they’re being walked in formally.
- A note honoring any deceased loved ones.
- A small packet of bird seed or rice for guests to toss after the ceremony.
If you do choose to have wedding programs, make sure there’s one available for every couple and assign someone to hand them out at the entrance of your venue. This can be members of your bridal party or another friend or family member, but try to have an actual person handing them out: leaving a pile on a table or in a basket will cause plenty of guests to accidently pass them by.
Like mentioned above, wedding programs aren’t totally necessary. If you’re on a tight budget, they’re one of the details of your wedding that most guests will chuck in the garbage can, so it can seem silly to spend a fortune. But if you do want to give your guests a guide to your ceremony, they can be a fun, informative addition.