Wedding programs are one of the little details that add an extra special something to your wedding day. Not only are they a record of your ceremony; wedding programs help guests feel included and understand what is happening, and often introduce your bridal party.
Do you need a wedding program?
While wedding programs are not required, they are a helpful (and sometimes necessary) piece of wedding stationery.
Wedding programs are extremely helpful if...
You are having a religious or traditional wedding, with many guests who are of another faith or culture
You are having a large wedding, where guests are unlikely to know the bridal party
You are having a particularly long ceremony where guests will need something to follow
You have many people who you need to thank
Those who are short on time or money may wish to forgo this option, but remember that a simple wedding program needn't use much time or money. I recommend that you provide them for your guests, as a thoughtful gesture and souvenir.
Elements of a Wedding Program
The Cover Typically the cover includes the date and/or the names of the couple. It may also include the location and time of the ceremony, a picture, or design element (such as a flower, scroll, etc.)
The Order of Events If you haven't already included your names, wedding date, location, and time on the front cover, consider listing that information on the inside just before the order of events. Then list what will happen during the ceremony, including processional music, greeting, readings, prayers, exchange of vows, ring ceremony, unity candle ceremony, pronouncement of marriage, recessional music, and any other ceremony music. Your list may not include all of these elements, and it may include some traditions not listed here. Be sure to list the events in the order they will occur and list the names of those performing the readings.
Members of the Wedding Party This is a simple list of the names and roles of your wedding party. For example:
Officiant: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg
Parents of the bride: Mary and John Smith
Parents of the groom: Elizabeth Jones and Thomas Wilson, Jr. Stepparents of the groom: Robert Jones and Lisa Marist-Wilson Grandparents: Sarah Smith, Margaret Blackwood, Thomas Wilson Sr. Maid of Honor: Maria Gellert Best Man: William Harris Bridesmaids: Rebecca Brown, Juanita Ramirez Groomsmen: Calvin Aremu, Jonathan Goldstein Readers: McGuire Johnson, Alexander Wilson
Other things you may wish to include in your wedding program
An explanation of traditions or rituals used in your ceremony
A request for audience participation in certain parts of the ceremony (e.g. affirmation of the marriage, communion, singing, offering of the peace, standing or kneeling)
Memorials (for example: The memorial candle is lit in honor of the bride's mother, Shirley Fielding. OR On this day of happiness, we would like to remember those who are no longer with us, especially Derrick Peterson, grandfather of the bride, and Samantha Wilson, mother of the groom.)
A short sentence about each of your bridesmaids and groomsmen, describing why they are important to you.
An explanation of the significance of the location, theme, first dance song, etc. (For example: the reception will be held at Coldwater Restaurant, the site of the bride and groom's first date.)