Used to be, guests would sit in the pews at a wedding with empty hands and no idea about the order of the ceremony, who some of the attendants were, their relationship to the couple, and possibly no clue how to get to the reception site.
Of course, the wedding won’t screech to a halt if some of your guests don’t know how you met your spouse, the sentimental reason you choose Gerbera daisies for your bouquet, what song or scripture is up next, or the fact that your best friend since preschool is your maid of honor.
But wouldn’t it be nice if everyone felt a little closer to you on your wedding day? As a frequent wedding guest, it’s more fun to observe the wedding and finally be able to put faces with the names we’ve heard for so long – the attendants and friends who are standing up with you, the siblings we’ve met briefly but don’t really know very well, members of the family you’re marrying into.
So why not make a wedding program? It’s a great way to keep your guests informed about the day’s events, which means your guests will feel more comfortable and prepared for what’s next. Another benefit of a wedding program is to assist guests who are of a different faith or culture and may not be familiar with the traditions they’re about to be a part of.
Whether your wedding is casual or ultra-formal, a wedding program is a welcome bonus that can be passed out to each guest as they sign the guest book and make their way to their seats before the ceremony.
What might you include in a wedding program?
- Briefly introduce each person in the wedding party. With or without a photo, it’s a nice idea to state the person’s name, their duties for the ceremony, and how you know this person (sister, cousin, lifelong friend, sorority sister, etc.).
- How did you meet your spouse? Not everyone attending your wedding will know, so share the short version of how your love story began.
- How did he propose? Unless it’s too intimate to share, it might be fun to tell everyone how your husband-to-be proposed.
- The order of the ceremony, from the prelude to the recessional with each piece of the ceremony mentioned. This doesn’t mean you should spell out the entire ceremony, word-for-word, like a script. It can be as simple as stating a word or two for each part of the ceremony, such as Prelude, Prayer, Scripture (along with where the verse may be found in the Bible), Reading (and the name of the poem), Solo (along with the name of the song and who will be performing), Exchange of Rings, etc.
- An explanation of any traditions or rituals that will take place during the ceremony or reception. Many Christian denominations, for example, are used to a short, sweet ceremony, and may be surprised with all of the standing up, sitting down, kneeling, communion, and the length of a traditional Catholic wedding mass. Let your guests know what they should expect next.
- Your new address. Let everyone know where they can reach you after the ceremony. Plus they’ll want to update their Christmas card lists!
- A map to the reception. Everyone will appreciate a map or directions from the ceremony to the reception site.
- Special notes of thanks to anyone who has helped you with the wedding, your families, or anyone else who deserves a shout out.
The program itself can be simple or extravagant. If you are a computer whiz, you should be able to whip up an attractive program in no time, or find a graphic designer to handle the project. The front cover is often a photo of the couple, along with their names and the date. If you have had a wedding monogram or logo created, this would be a great spot to use it. Visit your local scrapbook store or stationery store to find interesting paper, and add a tasteful ribbon to hold the pages together.