Not sure if you need wedding ceremony programs? While they're totally optional, a wedding program essentially is an outline of the ceremony and helps guests follow the order of the service so they understand what's taking place. The ceremony program should include all of the helpful details you would want to communicate to guests: the order of ceremony events, wedding-party bios to help guests get to know your VIPs, musical selections, passages and readings, explanations of any ceremony or cultural traditions, a thank-you note to guests for attending, and any additional messages to guests (i.e., directions to the reception venue, your wedding hashtag, no photos, etc.).
WHAT TO WRITE ON A WEDDING PROGRAM
Wondering what to put on a wedding program? Here's a breakdown of what you need to include, as well as some optional ideas.
- Couple's names
- Wedding date
- Outline of the ceremony proceedings
- Names of the people participating in the ceremony (family members, attendants, officiant, readers, musicians, etc.)
- Explanations of any cultural or ceremony traditions you'll be including
- Explanations of the significance of other wedding details (e.g., "The reception will be held at Brooklyn Winery, which is where we had our first date!")
- Brief overview of the wedding-day timeline
- Wedding hashtag
- Wedding logo/illustrations
- Photo/illustration of the couple
- Couple's monogram
- Your "how we met" story/your love story (brief)
- Musical selections/lyrics
- Meaningful verse, poem, or reading
- A request for audience participation during certain parts of the ceremony (e.g. singing, communion, affirmation of the marriage, etc.)
- Message of thanks to guests for attending the celebration
- Message in memory of loved ones who could not attend
- Helpful notes to guests (directions to cocktail hour/reception, notes on an unplugged ceremony, etc.)
Can also include:
SAMPLE WEDDING PROGRAM WORDING
To help you get started, here's a sample ceremony program with wording you might want to include.
- Welcome & Introduction
- Exchange of Vows & Rings
- Pronouncement of Marriage
The Wedding Ceremony
- The Parents of the Bride/Groom
- The Parents of the Bride/Groom
- Maid/Matron of Honor
- Best Man
- Flower Girl
- Ring Bearer
Introducing the Wedding Party
WEDDING CEREMONY PROGRAM IDEAS
As long as your wedding program contains all of the key ceremony details (more on that in the next section), how you share that information to your guests is entirely up to you. You could keep things simple and classic with a single-page program, but if you have more details to share, a multi-page booklet might be the way to go. Or, if you want your wedding program to be more of a design statement, something striking like an oversized linen panel—calligraphed with the ceremony details and displayed at the ceremony entrance—will definitely make an impression on your guests. For inspiration, we rounded up 10 ceremony program ideas we love, from classic and traditional to a few out-of-the-box designs.
1. Classic Wedding Program
A traditional single-page program is always a great choice—you could have the programs already placed on each ceremony chair, ask ushers to pass them out to guests, display them in a self-serve basket at the welcome table, or punch a hole at the top and tie them to chair backs with ribbon or twine.
SHOP THIS STYLE: "Someone Like You" wedding program by Design Lotus
Photo: Anna Delores Photography
2. Ceremony Program Booklets
If you're including wedding ceremony traditions or rituals some guests might not be familiar with, your program is the perfect place to provide explanations, whether it's the symbolism of a handfasting ceremony or the significance of the chuppah. Or, if your cocktail hour and reception will be held in a different location, it's a thoughtful gesture to include directions; a multi-page booklet is a great option if you've got a lot of information to share.
3. Ceremony Program Fans
Double-sided paper fans will keep guests cool if your ceremony is going to be held during warmer temps.
Photo: Jose Villa
4. Treat Bag Wedding Program
Print the ceremony details on a snack bag and fill it with something guests can munch on as they wait for the ceremony to begin.
Photo: Jose Villa
5. Mirror Ceremony Program
A large, framed mirror displayed at the ceremony entrance doubles as a welcome sign and a program.
Photo: M. Studios
6. Tropical Leaf Wedding Program
Instead of a paper program, hand-write the ceremony details on an oversized tropical leaf.
Photo: Brandon Kidd Photography
7. Chalkboard Sign Ceremony Program
Write all of the ceremony specifics on a chalkboard and display it on an easel near the ceremony entrance so guests won't miss it.
Photo: Ryan Flynn Photography
8. Wood Sign Wedding Program
Outline the order of events on a simple wood sign and hang it near the ceremony entrance so guests will see it as they arrive.
Photo: Tanja Lippert
9. Handkerchief Ceremony Program
Handkerchiefs printed with an outline of the wedding ceremony can be used for happy tears and make a lovely keepsake favor.
Photo: KT Merry
10. Ceremony Program with Wedding-Party Illustrations
An awesome way to help guests get to know your wedding-party VIPs a bit better: a ceremony program that includes fun illustrations and a brief bio for each member.
Photo: Em the Gem
11. Banner Wedding Program
Instead of passing out printed programs, display a billowy linen panel calligraphed with details of the ceremony. This couple actually displayed the banner at their home after the wedding.
Photo: Hunter Ryan Photo