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Writing Your Wedding Program

Some wedding day traditions are deeply rooted in practicality, but that doesn't have to be their only function. Having the perfect wedding program is not only essential for letting your guests into the loop of the special day's proceedings—it's also a golden opportunity to set the tone for the whole event's atmosphere. Whether you are planning a black tie event, you're wearing a black wedding gown or something in between, the program is the perfect keepsake to articulate your personal vision—and one that guests (and you) can cherish for years to come.

What to Include in Wedding Programs

As guests are filing in and being seated by your lovely ushers prior to the ceremony, they will peruse the program for all the basic information they need: the order of events, the names of songs being played, the readings given, and the names of the wedding party. While these details are essential, feel free to also include what feels right to you—adding in more information is a great opportunity to let your personality as a couple shine. After all, it is your wedding! Family and friends will be grateful for something attractive to look at while they quietly wait for the ceremony to begin.

What your guests will expect to see:

  • Introduction of the couple
  • Date and location of the wedding
  • Order of events
  • Names of all songs and readings, and their deliverers
  • Names of the wedding party and their relationships to the couple

Other things to include:

  • Brief biographies of the couple and/or wedding party
  • Names of officiates, musicians, cake baker, catering company, wedding planner, etc.
  • Readings' actual text, favorite quotations, and song lyrics, with appropriate attributions
  • Explanation of religious and ethnic rituals/traditions, if generally unknown by many guests
  • Memorial sentiments
  • Thank you's
  • Fun stuff! A cute story about how the couple met or became engaged; explanation of why the venue was chosen; suggestion to use the program as a bib during the barbecue dinner following the ceremony, etc.

Consider using an additional insert if you want some information separated, such as readings’ text or the more silly inclusions, or if you just need a bit of extra room to fit in everything you want to say.

Choosing A Wedding Program Format

Think about how you want your program to be presented. Envision how you would like the program to be held by your guests. If you are including an insert, a folded card is best; if you’re simply including the essential information, consider a flat card. As far as templates and ornamentation, the sky is the limit! Wedding Paper Divas offers a large variety of styles and sizes to make sure you get exactly what fits your style best. Click on this link to explore our options.

Formal vs. Informal Program Wording

When it comes to the word choice of your programs, it’s important to let your personalities shine through. If you hate your middle name and not even your fiancé’s mother knows what it is, you don’t have to include it! Don’t feel limited by traditional formats if you are interested in a unique feel. The inner voice of your guests as they read the program is essentially your voice, so let your word choice set the tone exactly how you want to be heard.

More formal styles usually skip numerals and spell out everything:

The Marriage Ceremony Uniting the Hearts of
Jessica Marie Jones
Thomas Monroe Clark

on Saturday, The Eleventh of October
Two Thousand Fourteen
at Three O’Clock in the Afternoon
Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church
Wabash, Indiana

... while more informal wording can look a little something like this:

The Marriage Celebration of
Jess Jones
Tom Clark

Saturday, October 11, 2014
Ceremony at 3:00 p.m.
St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church
Wabash, Indiana

Handing Out the Programs

Depending on your preference and budget, you can estimate printing one program per person, one program per couple, or one program per family. Before ordering prints, keep in mind whether some of your guests who are attending only the reception will want to take home a program as well. You can always have a few on hand for people to grab in between the Chicken Dance and the Electric Slide.

You can also create a separate program to offer at the reception with its specific order of events and music included. This is a nice idea for a reception offering several spectacles, from the cutting of the cake to the tossing of the bouquet. That way, guests can be sure not to miss the release of the paper lanterns!

A friend or family member who is not busy filling another role on your big day can be designated to hand out the programs. Don’t feel shy about asking—although it’s an “easy” job, it’s quite essential to your guests’ experience, and people love to feel like a part of such a special event. Teenagers are especially great for this role. If you’re unsure whom to ask, this is also an opportunity for your ushers to do double duty since they are greeting every guest anyway.

Be specific with your program point person about where you’d like them to stand to avoid a bottleneck of guests and to keep aisles clear. Being near the entrance to the venue allows guests to be sure they’re in the right place and to feel welcomed immediately. If you’d prefer, you can always tastefully display the programs near the door as well, such as in a visibly ornate basket, so that guests can help themselves.

Smooth Sailing

Be sure to order enough programs so that your wedding party and everyone involved “behind the scenes” can take one home with them. Party favors aside, they’ll definitely want to have a memorable keepsake after all the preparation that went into your beautiful wedding.

This includes the musicians who perform during the ceremony and the reception. If you have a specific order of events and songs laid out, be clear with your music professionals and ensure that they have their own copies of the program. Have a few extra on hand just in case a replacement musician or DJ is sent at the last minute to keep them in the loop as well.

If you have any other questions about writing your own wedding program, you can always Live Chat with a specialist, e-mail us, or call seven days a week.

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