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Chapter 9: Wedding Ceremony Programs

Wedding ceremony programs welcome guests to your ceremony and give them something to peruse before the processional. Programs also give couples a way to creatively express their wedding day theme – wedding programs could be elaborate with ornate touches like ribbon and scrolling script or more sleek and modern. The style of the wedding ceremony programs is completely up to the couple and an opportunity to show the playful side of a wedding ceremony.

Wedding programs also give guests a keepsake of the big day, so it's important that they are put together nicely.

What to Include in a Wedding Program

Wedding programs explain 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 more personal. It is acceptable for programs to include songs or poems that have special meaning to the couple, as well as listing the bride's "something old, something new" trinkets and heartfelt sentiments "in memory of."

Inserts may include directions from the wedding ceremony to the reception, lyrics to a song, or even explanation of ceremony rituals, if the majority of guests are of a different faith than the couple.

Details to include

  • The introduction
  • Ceremony order
  • Names of officiates, musicians, wedding planners, etc.
  • Names of the wedding party
  • List of songs and readings


Storkie Tip: Be sure to get program
insert samples from the same source
if you think you will need inserts.

Details to include

  • Memorials
  • Brief biographies
  • Readings/quotations
  • Song lyrics
  • Explanation of rituals
  • A thank you to parents, guests, and relatives
  • Fun Sentiments:
    • Short description on how you two met or a humorous anecdote about your first date

Wedding Ceremony Program Format

There are many different options for wedding ceremony program formats: a single card, a multiple-page booklet, or a tri-fold, among others. 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.


Storkie Tip: A very formal wedding
would require the program to have
the date written out, not numerical.

The cover includes the date or names of the couple, location and time of the ceremony, along with an image and a design element, such as a monogram, picture or scroll.

Elegant Swirls Wedding Programs

Wedding Program Etiquette

Most wedding etiquette books will not insist on a wedding program, but for certain types of ceremonies, programs are more necessary than others. 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.

Who receives a wedding ceremony program

The rule is to order one program per couple and one per single guest. Most people don't mind sharing, and this reduces waste and costs. Also consider that not every guest that attends the reception will attend the ceremony.

Who hands out wedding programs

Ushers or designated friends 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 venue versus at the head of each row of seats.

When to Order Wedding Programs

It is recommended that couples order wedding programs at the same time as the invitations. Many couples also make their own wedding programs using a computer template and printer –this saves money but can cause headaches if the couple is not particularly artistic or technical. Click here to find our wide selection of Wedding Programs at Storkie.

Popular Wedding Program Wording

Writing out the date is an option for very formal weddings but it's not necessary.

Formal wedding program wording

(LEFT SIDE)

The Marriage Ceremony Uniting
Shannon Nicole Harris
and
Joshua James Peterson

on Saturday, July 21, 2010
at three o'clock in the afternoon
St. Paul's Church
Hillsboro, Kentucky


Prelude

Seating of Grandparents and Mothers .......... "In This Very Room" by Harris
Attendants' Processional .................................. "Canon in D" by Pachelbel
Bride's Processional ....................................... "Bridal Chorus" by Wagner
Greeting .......................................................................... Dr. Hamilton
Prayer ............................................................................. Dr. Hamilton
Unity Candle - Parents .................................... "Parent's Prayer" by Davis
Scripture Reading - I Corinthians 13 ................................... Dr. Hamilton
Exchanging of Vows and Giving of Rings ............................. Rev. Dove
Unity Candle - Bride and Groom ........................................ Rev. Dove
Prayer ............................................................................ Rev. Dove
Pronouncement and Benediction ........................................ Rev. Dove
Presentation of Husband and Wife ..................................... Rev. Dove
Recessional ......................................... "Wedding March" by Mendelssohn

(RIGHT SIDE)

The Wedding Party

Parents
Mr. and Mrs. John Harris
Rev. and Mrs. Jon J. Peterson

Grandmother of the Bride
Mrs. June Bern

Grandparents of the Groom
Cdr. and Mrs. Christopher C. Hilton
Mr. and Mrs. Edward Peterson

Bridesmaids
Miss Kim Mendel
Miss Emma Bradford
Miss Dakota Peterson, Groom's sister

Groomsmen
Mr. Jon Taylor, Bride's cousin
Mr. Vlad Peterson, Groom's brother
Mr. Mason Peterson, Groom's brother

Flower Girl
Miss Aliya Hilton, Groom's cousin

Ring Bearer
Mr. Steve Pappas

Ushers
Mr. Alex Bern, Bride's cousin
Mr. Robert Peterson, Groom's cousin

Officiating Ministers
Dr. Jeff Hamilton
Rev. Douglas Dove

Pianist
Mrs. Joyce Carol Lee

Wedding Director
Mrs. January Taylor, Bride's aunt

Guestbook Attendants
Mrs. Susan Taylor
Ms. Tanya Taylor

Casual wedding program wording

The Marriage Celebration of
James G. Newberry and Belinda Beecher Wellsey
September 25, 2010
St. Patrick's Cathedral, Raleigh, North Carolina

The Wedding Party
Parents: Mr. and Mrs. Gregory Newberry
Mr. and Mrs. Christopher Wellsey
Matron of Honor: Lucy Cunningham
Best Man: Nathanial Newberry
Bridesmaids: Jessie Clouden and Miranda McDonald
Groomsmen: Ralph Thatcher and Lee Jorgensen
Officiant: Reverend Joseph Carrington
Music: The Raleigh String Quartet

The Wedding Ceremony
Processional, Canon in D, Pachelbel
Welcome
Opening Prayer
Poem “The Feast of Love," Barbara Wells
Exchange of Vows
Exchange of Rings
Lighting of Unity Candle
Blessing
Presentation of Couple
Recessional, Symphony No. 4, Beethoven


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