We’re so happy our friends over at Bridal Guide posted this feature on us! Enjoy!
Your wedding program is an opportunity. It can be used in its classic form — a list of what, when or whom, or you can take this keepsake of your wedding and use it to narrate your day. You can be poetic, informative, funny and inclusive. You can give give your guests a glimpse inside your head as to what inspired all your choices. It can also second as a fan or sun shade on a hot day, and small children can even use them as a telescope to get a better look at you. But mostly, your program can bring everyone into your inner sanctum just by the way you choose to express yourself. Here, we’ll break down exactly what goes into creating the perfect wedding program.
The most common format is a single or folded card. But, I have also seen wacky ones, such as Cootie catchers, fans, cartoon drawings of the bridal party, and games and puzzles (like bingo, crosswords, and sudoko puzzles). If you don’t have the time (or the wherewithal) for something like this, just changing the dimensions can add a whole new level of drama to your program. Long and narrow is elegant; large squares are grand; rolled and coned are lovely; and tied up with ribbons are celebrated. Z-Cards that keep unfolding can be fun. Sepia-toned booklets are hip, and sewn-down-the-seam is edgy and cool. Finding the format to fit your personality and your event is key.
Covers can be as simple or as elaborate as you would like. Most couples will print their names, wedding date, and location. Some will use a photo from their engagement photo shoot or candid photos of their courtship. I have seen couples use dried pressed flowers, wax seals, ribbons and bows, dangling charms, and monograms to adorn the covers of wedding programs. The programs can easily mimic your own aesthetic and carry forward some of the details and colors of your invitation.
The Order of Information
Information should follow the logical order of your wedding so that your guests can follow along. There are no hard-and-fast rules. Some couples have a beautiful knack for communicating; they enjoy the opportunity to share themselves with their guests in a candid and heartfelt way. Others prefer just to give an outline of their day and save the sharing for toasts.
What to Include
Weddings can be a fantastic opportunity to bridge cross-cultural and religious divides. Letting your guests in on religious rituals and traditions you’ll be incorporating in your ceremony will allow them to enjoy them more. The program is a fantastic vehicle to inform your guests about the particulars of your day. It is usually the first printed item your guests will see on your wedding day, and it sets the tone for what’s to come.
When writing about rituals and traditions you will be including in your ceremony, lean on the many tools at your disposal to get a definitive paragraph on their history, origins and meaning. Then be a good editor, keep it brief, and interesting make sure to add your own personal touch to it — for example, why it is meaningful to you? A great writing tool, visualthesaurus.com, can help brings words to life.
Reception information is unnecessary in your program unless you missed something in the invitation or if you need to give your guests a heads up about new information. But, it is a place you can put a map or directions to the reception venue.
Who to Mention
Your bridesmaids and groomsmen can be a simple list of names to acknowledge their participation, or it can be a printed photo op so your guests can easily recognize them. And while you are at it, why not include a line or two describing their most endearing qualities or why you have chosen to have them stand up with you?
Some couples choose to thank their parents and or grandparents during their toasts, but even if it seems a little redundant, a few words of heartfelt thanks — in print, that they can read and look at over and over again — is priceless. Your program is also a beautiful place to acknowledge any deceased loved ones. Find an uplifting poem, song, or verse that encapsulates your love for them.
If you had a friend do your flowers or bake your cake, it’s a nice touch to acknowledge them in your program. As far as the officiant, couples today have a say in choosing who will marry them; it could be a Judge, a friend or family member. For many, it is the clergy they grew up with, so a listing of who this is and what this person means to you is a lovely gesture.
How to Personalize It
A few fun ideas we’ve had couples add: Wax seals, dried pressed flowers, stitching, ribbon and cording, handmade paper, painted details, photo collages, photo booth strips, badges, and modern monograms. Some couples add small packets of bird seed to toss or bubbles for after the ceremony.
Finding the Right Fonts
Font choices have never been more interesting or diverse. Choose something fitting for your occasion. You wouldn’t use a Western-style font for a formal wedding, nor is a flourished script font the right choice for casual event. Look at various font options and see what reflects your wedding style. It’s often helpful to use more than one font; this will help you highlight various portions of your program. Choose a stylized font (or the same or similar to your wedding invitation) and mix it with a very clean and simple one. Use the stylized fonts for names and the simpler font for the body of the text. Give your program some more pizzazz! You don’t get married every day. Just be careful about not overdoing it. The first rule in design is to be legible.
The Back Cover
A joke, a puzzle, a photo, and a sweet “thank you for joining us” message from the bride and groom are popular options. Youc an also use your wedding logo.
How Many to Print
Depending on the size of your wedding and your budget, you can either give every guest a program or give one per couple. To keep costs down, plan for two to a family if you’ve invited children.
Who Distributes the Programs?
This is where you put your bridal party to work! They can hand them out at the door. This is especially helpful if you need to be mindful of how many you are handing out. Other options are to place the programs on each seat, in a basket at the entrance, or have your groomsmen hand them to your guests as they escort them to their seats.