Let me start by saying, I love wedding programs, but maybe not for the reason you think. Sure, it’s nice to see who is involved in the ceremony and how the ceremony will unfold, but my main reason for liking programs is that they serve many purposes. One purpose is, of course, to list out the couple getting married and their wedding party (and even sometimes the wedding officiant).
Another purpose the wedding program serves is the reason I love them so much. A nice sturdy program can act as a fan and sun shield on a hot summer day! I’ve experienced some really hot wedding days here in Maine. On those blistering hot days when the sun is shining brightly a wedding program is a godsend. Trust me, your guests will be so grateful for the impromptu fan!
Other Purposes the Wedding Program Serves
Gives your guests something to read while they’re waiting for the ceremony to begin
Provides useful information about the wedding
Helps your guests get to know you and your wedding party better
Personalizes your wedding day even more
Acts as a souvenir of your wedding day
So, now that you’re convinced you should provide a wedding program to your guests, here is the most complete list of items to consider putting on the ceremony program.
What Items to Include on the Wedding Ceremony Program
#1 The name of the wedding couple
This one seems pretty obvious, doesn’t it?
#2 A heartfelt thank you
This is a lovely opportunity to thank your guests for attending your wedding. Other than a speech you might give later in the evening, there really aren’t too many options on wedding day for relaying your thanks. So, add a line or two thanking them for making the journey and being there to witness this moment of your lives.
#3 Unplugged ceremony announcement
If you’re having an unplugged wedding ceremony (and I strongly recommend you do!), your wedding program is a great place to add a kind message asking your guests to put down their cell phones and cameras and inviting them to be active witnesses to your marriage.
#4 Order of ceremony
Most officiants break the wedding ceremony up into sections to help with the flow, so work with your wedding officiant to get the wedding ceremony outline. A typical order might be:
Acknowledgment of parents
Reading or other interjection like a song
Introduction of the couple
#5 Wedding party including flower girls and ring bearers
Naming each member of your wedding party is a lovely way to acknowledge them and their contribution to you wedding day. I’ve even seen a short bio of each wedding party member and how they’re connected to the wedding couple. That’s especially nice if your guests don’t know who they are and how much they mean to you.
#6 Song choices
Listing your wedding processional songs and recessional songs can be a nice touch.
#7 Officiant, musician/DJ, florist, wedding planner
Consider giving credit to the wedding professionals who are helping your wedding ceremony come to life. It’s very common to list the officiant and musician(s), but I like the idea of giving credit to the rest of your wedding ceremony team.
#8 Family members: grandparents, parents, siblings
It’s also common to list the parents of the wedding couple, but I’ve also seen wedding programs that include grandparents. It’s a sweet way to acknowledge them and the impact they have made on your lives. I suggest adding the names of your siblings, especially if they’re not in your wedding party or if you’re not having a wedding party.
Similar to the latter idea, you might also want to add a section to highlight those family members who have passed. A remembrance section is a lovely way to acknowledge your ancestors and those who are there in spirit.
You have two options when it comes to readings: you can simply add the title and author of the reading and the reader’s name in the order of the ceremony, but consider adding the entire reading to the back of the program so your guests can read along and really digest the meaning of the poem.
#11 Song lyrics
Another option is to include the lyrics of a song that either a guest will be singing during the ceremony or the lyrics of the processional/recessional songs that have special meaning to you. I officiated a wedding where there was a mid-ceremony sing-a-long so the lyrics to that song were included in the program.
#12 A meaningful quote
If you have the room on the program and you’re not sure what else to add, consider adding a quote that has special meaning to you both. Maybe it represents your collective feelings about marriage, or maybe it’s a funny quote that you and your sweetie say all the time.
#13 Fun facts about the couple
This is a great thing to include and gives your guests who arrive early something fun to read while they’re waiting for the ceremony to begin. Adding fun facts also helps your couples feel closer to you and helps personalize your wedding day even more.
#14 A game
Consider adding tic-tac-toe, a word find, a crossword puzzle or some other easy game to help your guests pass the time until your ceremony begins. For an added personalization, make the game related to you and your honey or make it about your wedding locale.
#15 Date, venue and location
Wedding programs often double as souvenirs, so considering add the date, time, wedding venue and town in which you’re getting married.
#16 Useful information about the reception
A wedding program is a great opportunity to share information about the reception, especially if it’s in a different location. You can provide driving directions or just the address (for GPS) of the reception venue. You can describe where cocktail hour will take place and warmly invite your guests to move to that location following the ceremony.
#17 Order of events for the rest of the wedding day
Along the same lines as the last idea, you can use the program to list the order and time of events for the rest of the wedding day.
#18 Your wedding hashtag
Don’t forget to include your wedding hashtag on your program!
I’ve created a Pinterest board for wedding program inspiration that you might want to check out. It has many creative ideas. Have fun!