From This Day Forward: Developing Your Wedding Ceremony Program

So you’ve secured your ceremony venue, confirmed your officiant, and now you need to… what again is it you need to do, aside from the million things on your wedding checklist…?

Well, you need to develop your wedding ceremony program, you didn’t think it would create itself did you? But have no fear, as always we’re here to help guide you through the process so you can devise a memorable ceremony program filled with some of the standards, a couple of necessities, and a touch of customization where needed so you can call your ceremony all your own.

Wedding Program

Wedding Ceremony Programs

Typically wedding ceremony programs welcome guests to your ceremony and give them something to peruse before the processional begins. They help guests follow the ceremony by explaining the order of the events, list the songs and readings, and name the members of the wedding party.

Couples can use the wedding program as a way to make their ceremony personal. It is acceptable for programs to include songs or poems that have special meaning to the couple. The wedding program itself also gives guests a keepsake of the big day, so it’s important that they are organized nicely. If the couple is having a traditional ceremony, a large wedding, or a particularly long ceremony, wedding programs give guests clear direction on the various events and something to read as they wait.

Details to Include in Your Wedding Program

The most important first step in developing your wedding program is to decide what you want to include as well as the order of events. Traditionally, ceremony programs include:

  • The Introduction
  • Ceremony Order
  • Names of key ceremony people including: officiants, musicians, people performing special readings, etc.
  • Names of the Wedding Party and wedding “VIPs” such as close relatives
  • List of songs and readings

Other details can also include:

  • Memorials – Small tributes to important people who have passed away but were a main part of your lives
  • Explanation of religious rituals
  • A personal thank you from the couple to parents, guests, and relatives

Scriptures or prayers from the bible offer beautiful words honoring marriage.

Popular readings from the Bible include:

  • 1 John 3:16; 4:7-19
  • Corinthians 13
  • Song of Solomon 7:11-12

Readings from poetry are also popular to include in your ceremony program. Try authors like Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Browning, etc.

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Wedding Ceremony Program Format

There are various options for formatting including: a single card, a multiple-page booklet, or a tri-fold, just to name a few. Make sure your wedding program coordinates with the rest of your wedding stationery and that you proofread your programs very carefully before you print them or submit the final order to the printing company.

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The wedding ceremony program cover should include:

  • The wedding date
  • The names of the couple
  • The location and time of the ceremony

Also include an image and a design element, such as a monogram, picture or scroll on the cover.

Distributing the Wedding Programs

Ushers or designated friends/family typically hand out the wedding programs. Give them clear directions on how you want them handed out; for example, at the door of the wedding ceremony venue versus at the head of each row of seats, it’s totally up to you!

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Here’s an example of the order of events in a traditional wedding ceremony program:

  • Processional
  • Welcome Remarks
  • Opening Prayer
  • Reading – Poem
  • Exchange of Vows
  • Exchange of Rings
  • Blessing
  • Presentation of Couple
  • Recessional

Important Note: If your ceremony is in a church, you may be required to use the church’s own standard wedding program template, so make certain to check with them first to see if this is the case, or if, at minimum, ask if you can customize some of the program to your own style and taste.

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