Pimp Up Your Wedding Ceremony Program to the Max

by Jennifer Cram - Brisbane Marriage Celebrant © (04/05/2021)
Categories: |  Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Planning }
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Program cover reddish
                    brown hearts and lines on pinkish cream background
                    witht he word ProgramMost wedding programs (the printed "menu" for your wedding ceremony) are pretty boring. The standard program, for which templates abound, is basically the order of events in the ceremony, plus the supporting cast list (wedding party, parents, and celebrant),  with a title that identifies the marrying couple, and where and when the ceremony is being held.

Often there will be a thank-you on the back, and sometimes a memorial note to acknowledge loved ones who have passed away may be included, and that's it. Is it any wonder that it is not unusual to find many of them left behind when the guests leave the ceremony?

Occasionally a couple might also include some details about their music choices (very much recommended), ceremony readings (not a good idea), or their vows (a very bad idea).

However, there are many ways to make your program an exciting guide to your wedding, something that guests will want to keep.

Why have a program

A printed wedding program can serve several purposes
  • It acts as an enhancement to the ceremony itself
  • It answers the who and what questions that guests may have
  • It gives the guests something to read before the ceremony
  • It gives the ceremony a keepsake
  • It is a great place to include a reminder about venue policy regarding confetti or other tosses

Make your program something worth keeping

Think outside the box. Lean in to your guests' natural curiosity. Use your program as a complement to your ceremony, not just a signpost to it.
  • Music choices
    What is played and when it will be played is the usual information. Ramp up the interest level by sharing why you chose each piece,a what it means to you
  • Information about Cultural or ritual inclusions
    Where your guests may be unfamiliar with some aspects of your ceremony, your program is a great place to include a few words of explanation
  • More than their names
    Share a little about your wedding party, why they are so important to you
  • Your story
    Recounting the delicious details of your love story for your guests to read before the ceremony starts achieves two very important things - it allows your ceremony to focus more on the present and your intentions and plans for your future together, and it fills in the blanks for those who are not across the details of your relationship
  • Memorial to loved ones no longer with us
    A few well-crafted words in remembrance of loved ones is a significant way to honour them.
  • Your wedding hashtag
    Include your wedding hashtag to facilitate crowdsourcing photographs taken from the perspective of individual guests
  • Your wishes about Social Media
    A note in your program is a good way to reinforce your wishes about Social Media (for example if you would prefer guests not to post photos of your wedding)
  • Your dream team of vendors
    It takes many people to deliver the wedding of your dreams. Acknowledge all of them. Your photographer/videographer, live musicians/DJ, your Hair and Makeup Artist, your florist, your cake maker, your celebrant, of course, and any others
  • Thank yous
    It is the rare wedding that happens without the (unpaid) help of friends and loved ones. Thank them. If you drove to ceremony in your uncle's pride and joy vintage, or muscle, car. Thank him for that. If your best friend's nana spent hours making the cookies for your favours, thank her for that. And so on. Everyone likes to be appreciated and acknowledged. And they will treasure your program. You might even have to print a few extras. As the local newspapers used to say, every name printed in the paper sells at least two copies.

Pimp your program up to a full-blown guide to your wedding

Gone are the days when the only option for a printed program was the services of a commercial printer and a very restricted selection of formats. While a basic wedding program tends to be printed on card, either as a single sheet or a folded card, the availability of a wide range of DIY stationery and home office printers makes it easy to produce multiple-page programs, removing the necessity for brevity.

The challenge has always been three very simple things
  • Designing the program
  • Finding the right paper
  • How to fasten multiple pages together

Not a problem in 2021! You have plenty of choice in relation to design, everything from digital print suppliers that provide a wide range of predesigned templates so you can input your details and order printed copies, to designers who will supply you with a digital file so you can print your own to bespoke designers and printers who'll do it all for you, to going 100% DIY. Long arm staplers are cheap. And there is always the option of stitching the pages together with ribbon, twine, or a sewing machine, or tying them together with a ribbon or menu tassel.

When you are going multi-page ...

A multi page program in reality is usual only 8 sides. With modern printers it is easy to use the bookfold option to print on A4 which will then fold down to A5 size. The most common size for blank cardstock covers available from places that specialise in DIY supplies for wedding invitations.

You might want to swap out the usual front cover title Program with your names and the date for something like Your Guide to our Wedding which gives you the option of including more information about what is going to happen after the ceremony, for example
  • Information about post-ceremony photography, including group photographs
  • A reminder about the when and where of your reception
  • Whether there is a bar tab or not, and what drinks will be available.

You could also include the menu, and the reception timeline.

COVID information

While COVID restrictions and requirements remain in place, your program is a good place to remind people to sign in. With the agreement of your venue for the ceremony, you could even print the QR code in the program, which will remove the line-up to sign in the ceremony space.


Three cheers for double-sided sticky tape, and glassine envelopes. Instead of having separate cones or bags for dried petals, attach them to the program. Or you might like to substitute a small pack of tissues.

Three things that you should never include in your program

Your program serves as a guide to your ceremony, an introduction that adds to the anticipation and excitement. It should not "give the game away" and ruin what should be memorable moments by sharing them beforehand ...
  • your vows
  • your readings
  • anything that will be repeated in the ceremony

Thanks for reading!

Jenny xxx Let's talk soon
                        about how you can have the best ceremony ever

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