Programs are great for outlining the ceremony and explaining cultural traditions and rituals. They're also perfect for sharing additional information about yourselves and your event. Be sure to discuss the ceremony with your officiant before writing your program.
How many do I need?
Some couples allow one per guest, but most print 1/2 - 3/4 of the number attending. Many guests share.
How long should it be?
Lengths vary. You can keep it short and sweet on one little card, or get very detailed in a multi-page booklet.
How do I distribute them?
Having an usher hand out programs is a good idea, especially if you don't print very many. Otherwise, you could place them in pretty baskets, boxes, or trays.
What do I write in the program?
Parts of a program include: Title, Ceremony, Traditions (sometime integrated into the Ceremony Section), Excerpts and Translations, Wedding Party, Thank You, Remembrance, and Directions/Other Information.
This can simply be your names, date, and location, or you can add introductory words.
Welcome to the Wedding of
The Marriage Celebration of
The Marriage Ceremony of
The Wedding of
Elizabeth Marie Kane
George David Croft
October 9, 2013
Ralston Hall Mansion
Every ceremony is unique. Some couples also describe cultural traditions within the body of the Ceremony, while others explain rituals in a separate section.
Here's an example of a ceremony:
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring, by Johann Sebastian Bach
Canon in D by Johann Pachelbel
Greeting and Prayer
Pastor Thomas Holmes
Blessing for a Marriage, by James Dillet Freedman
Read by Valerie Kahn
Exchange of Vows
Exchange of Rings
Declaration of Marriage
Presentation of the Couple
The Raiders March by John Williams
* some also include Seating of the Families, Procession of Attendants, and Procession of the Bride
It's helpful to explain rituals so that guests may easily follow along. For instance, you could write a short paragraph about the Tea Ceremony, The Ketubah, The Koumbaros, etc. Guests unfamiliar with your traditions or culture would probably appreciate this.
Excerpts and Translations
Some people enjoy sharing the passages being read. If your ceremony is in two languages, it's also nice to include some translations of what's being said.
It's nice to mention the names of your wedding party in the program. For many guests, like your college friend's partner whom you're meeting for the first time, this is an opportunity to "get to know" who people are.
You can simply write titles and names, or you could add relationships, too.
Maid of Honor
Anna Wallace, Sister of the Bride
If you have room, a little description might be nice.
Best Man, David Brown: David is one of Nick's closest friends from college. He "accidentally" introduced Nick to Danielle at Dan's Tiki bar the night they met.
Example of a Wedding Party:
Parents of the Bride
Parents of the Groom
Grandparents of the Bride
Grandparents of the Groom
Maid or Matron of Honor
Officiant or Celebrant
Some people list readers, musicians, and other participants here, too.
Include a heartfelt note of thanks to your friends and family.
Remembrance or In Memoriam
This is a place to acknowledge loved ones who have passed on, but who join you in spirit.
You have a great opportunity to provide specific information for your guests in the program.
Please join us in the Tully Room immediately after the ceremony for cocktails.
The shuttle will transport guests back to the W Hotel at 9 pm and 10:30 pm.
In lieu of favors, we are making a donation to an organization dear to our hearts, St. Jude's Children's Hospital.