The primary purpose of a wedding ceremony program is to guide your guests through the ceremony. Most programs include the names of the bride and groom, the members of the wedding party, a ceremony itinerary, readings, and music details. Programs also help your guests feel more engaged. Having witnessed more than my fair share of ceremonies, I can say, without hesitation, that guests pay more attention to the ceremony when they have a program in their hand. If you are hesitant to spend money on something you feel is going to be left on the chair or thrown away, make a point to personalize the program by adding a small paragraph, thanking your guests for attending, or perhaps surprise your parents with a “thank-you” portion written especially for them. Another helpful idea is to add directions to the reception venue.
When my clients ask me if they should include a wedding program, I ask them to consider the following:
Will your ceremony include more than one reading?
Do the majority of your guests personally know the wedding party?
Was wedding stationary on your list of the top 5 most important elements of your wedding?
Do you feel this will enhance your guests experience? (BTW, you will hear me ask this questions a million and one times throughout the blog).
Can this be a “wow factor” opportunity? - We’ll talk more about “wow factors” later.
If you do decide to include a wedding program, make it memorable. It’s the first thing they are given when they walk in the door. It’s your first opportunity to say “welcome” and “thank you for celebrating with us”. In terms of design, they should be cohesive with your wedding stationary and theme. We’ve seen programs printed on tambourines, fans, confetti bags, wooden boxes, photographs, but my favorite trend in wedding programs is binding them with silk ribbon, rayon cord, twine, and leather. Also, consider using handmade paper. Adding a variety of textures and fabrics shows your guests that you were thoughtful in your design, which translates in to making them feel truly appreciated for attending.