Your wedding program can be used in its classic form or you can take this keepsake of your wedding and use it to narrate your day. You can be poetic, informative, funny and inclusive. Let me break down exactly what goes into creating the perfect wedding program.
The Right Format
Your program should represent the wedding you are hosting. The most common format is a single or folded card. But, long and narrow is elegant; large squares are grand; and tied up with ribbons are celebrated. 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. You could even 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.
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.