Honestly, there isn't really a wrong way to do a wedding ceremony program. The content will depend on the type of ceremony you're having, of course, but generally, it's a good idea to include the following:
- Full names of bride and groom
- Wedding date, city and state
- Name of officiant
- Timeline or basic order of ceremony so your guests may follow along
- Members of the wedding party, and their relationship to the bride/groom (if preferred)
- A brief "thank you" to both parents and to guests for attending
- Honoring of any deceased loved ones (in a poem or prayer, for instance)
- Map and directions to the cocktail hour or reception after the ceremony
When you lay out the order of ceremony, you'll want to include any songs, prayers and readings planned, and who will be leading them. You can choose to include the words to the verses and readings if you think that they're particularly relevant and you have the extra space on the program itself. Overall, it's important to make your guests feel like they're a part of the ceremony. Give them whatever information that you think is necessary in order for them to follow along and not get lost. Explain traditions, rituals and anything else that could be foreign to them.
Now comes the fun part! Some of the best ceremony programs I've seen are simple and practical. They tell you what's happening and when, and cut out all of the extra fluff that isn't necessary. One of my favorites to this day is actually pictured below, and it starts out something like this:
7.15.11 - Los Angeles, California
Sarah & Dale are getting married today! (You've probably figured that out by now) Here's how it's going to go:
You will hear songs chosen by Sarah and Dale. Okay, probably more by Sarah, but nonetheless, it's good music.
First will come our officiant, the lovely James Earl Jones (you can call him Jim)
Next, Dale will walk his mom, Kathy, and Sarah's mom, Linda, to their seats. Dale's dad, Dale, will follow immediately after the moms are seated.
Right around when the next song starts, you'll see the charming wedding party...
...You get the picture. Keeping it light and easy is a great idea, but it also depends on the type of ceremony you're having. This particular program was for a beach wedding in Mexico, so it was pretty fitting for the occasion.
Wedding Ceremony Programs
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Some other creative ideas include:
Using fans as ceremony programs is extremely popular right now for outdoor weddings. With these types of programs, less is better, so limit your content to the basics - wedding date, location, names and a "Thank you!"
Want to make your ceremony programs a DIY project? A ceremony program booklet tied together with a cute colored ribbon is an easy choice!
Accordian-style folded programs are a bit easier than a booklet with seperate pages, and still gives you the space to include all of the information that you need to, on the front and back pages.
If you want to skip printing individual programs, you can also create a display near the entrance to your ceremony that offers guests a rundown of the ceremony. This works well if you don't have a lot of readings and prayers for guests to follow in your ceremony. Use chalkboards, glass windows, mirrors...I even found one that had the ceremony info printed onto handkerchiefs, which were pinned on a clothes line! Cute, right?
Make it fun! If you've been to more than a few weddings, you know that more often than not, the ceremony doesn't start on time and you end up waiting around a bit. Include a fun little crossword puzzle or wordsearch with facts about you and your husband on the back of your ceremony program for your guests to work on while they wait. Just remember to supply pencils!