Wedding ceremony programs may be a small detail in the grand scheme of things, but they can go a long way in making your day feel even more special.
Crafting a thoughtful wedding ceremony program will not only engage your guests, but also add a personal touch to your nuptials. So, how can you make your ceremony program as helpful as possible for your loved ones?
From your welcome message to your order of events, read on as we explain what to include in your ceremony program, including some examples to get you started.
What is a Ceremony Program?
Simply put, a ceremony program is a piece of stationery that outlines the order of events during your wedding ceremony. It typically includes details about the couple and the wedding party, along with the key pieces of information your guests may need to follow along with the proceedings.
Ceremony programs come in a range of styles and designs – from simple one page cards to more intricate folded booklets. Your ceremony program design should ideally tie in with the other stationery elements of your day (such as your wedding invitations and RSVP cards) for a cohesive look.
Do You Need a Ceremony Program?
While providing ceremony programs isn’t mandatory, it can definitely be a thoughtful addition to your wedding! A ceremony program can help to set the tone for your special day, while allowing guests to feel more engaged and connected to the proceedings.
Ceremony programs can also be particularly helpful for multicultural weddings, bilingual weddings or religious ceremonies, where guests may not be familiar with certain traditions, languages or rituals. Having a ceremony program will ensure everyone is on the same page and understands the significance of each moment.
Not only do ceremony programs serve as a helpful guide for your guests, they also create a keepsake for your loved ones – allowing them to reminisce about your day long after the event is over!
What to Include in Your Wedding Ceremony Program?
Now that you know the purpose of a wedding ceremony program, what exactly do you need to include?
Remember, your ceremony program should engage your guests, set the tone for your nuptials and provide a helpful guide to your proceedings. With this in mind, consider including the following elements.
Introduction and Welcome Message
The first part of your ceremony program should include your names, wedding date and location. You may want to include some personalized elements on your cover page, like a wedding monogram or custom illustration.
Many couples also include a short and sweet welcome message. For example:
“Welcome to the wedding ceremony of (Name) and (Name). We are so delighted to have you here celebrating this special day with us!”
Order of Events
The order of events will be the most important part of your ceremony program. This is where you’ll want to outline exactly what’s happening during your ceremony, so guests can follow along and understand what to expect.
Your order of events should include the key moments (such as exchanging vows and pronouncing the marriage) along with any particular readings or rituals. You can also add your music selections for your prelude, processional and recessional, too.
An example order of events might look like this:
Canon in D
Exchange of Vows
Unity Candle Ceremony
Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind
Blessing and Exchange of Rings
Pronouncement of Marriage
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Wedding Party Details
Next, introduce the key members of your wedding party so guests understand who is standing by your side! Simply list your wedding party roles together with the corresponding names, including your maid of honor, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl and page boy.
For a more formal ceremony, you may also want to include the names of your parents and the wedding officiant.
Traditions and Rituals
Are there any special rituals or customs taking place during your ceremony? Consider dedicating a portion of your ceremony program to explain the significance behind these traditions.
“Unity candle ceremony: During this ceremony, (Name) and (Name) will each light a candle to symbolize their individual lives. They will then come together to light a third candle, representing their union and the creation of a new family.”
Acknowledgements and Memoriams
Finally, it’s common for couples to dedicate a section of their ceremony program to express gratitude to their loved ones. You may want to give a special shout out to your parents, close family and friends for their support.
“We would like to express our gratitude to our parents for their unconditional love and support over the years, along with our appreciation for those guests who have traveled far and wide to join us today”.
You can also use this section of your ceremony program to honor any loved ones who have passed away, by including their names and a heartfelt message.
Wedding Ceremony Planning
Remember, your wedding ceremony programs can be as simple or detailed as you like. While the above elements are a helpful guide to follow, you can also pick and choose the details that matter most to you.
Need some help pulling together your nuptials? Check out our ultimate guide to planning the perfect wedding ceremony right here!