A memorable wedding requires a few key ingredients. First of all, lots of planning, some creativity, and memorable moments. Wedding programs just happen to check all 3 boxes. They’re informative and keep your guests coordinated. In addition, they’re an opportunity to flex your creative muscles. And, they’re a perfect memorable keepsake.
Before we share our best wedding program ideas we’ll have to bring you up to speed on the best plan and structure. If you’re committed to a memorable program, there are a few absolutely needed items and a little room to make it your own. Follow us and we’ll make the process easy and fun!
What To Include In Wedding Programs
As mentioned above, your wedding ceremony programs have some core components. Here we’re breaking them down so that the end result is clear, concise, and helpful to your guests.
The structure of your program is the first stop on the checklist for the bride.
There are always exceptions, but the general framework is:
- The Cover
- The Inside Cover
- Officiant’s Greeting
- Music Credits
- Written Credits
- Vows and Ring Ceremony
- Unity Candle Lighting
- Pronouncement of Marriage
The first things you absolutely must include in your printed programs are the locations and the couple’s names. We point this out first because it’s not unheard of for guests to get confused or show up late. And this is especially true when the ceremony and reception are held at two different places. Therefore, include the addresses, simple driving instructions if needed, and the time your guests are expected to arrive.
These all prepares your guests for what’s to come and allows them to follow along. Including special prayers, vows, and songs will help them recall your special day for years to come.
Finally, the inside of the program should include details about the wedding party. It’s customary to give a shout out to the parents, bridal party, groom’s party, ring bearer and flower girl.
There are a million ways to make this framework your own and we’ll show you how.
How To Pick Up A Perfect Wedding Ceremony Program Design
This is where things get fun! These wedding program ideas will help you choose the perfect style to send to your family and friends.
Identifying Your Style: You’ll no doubt have multiple lists on how to plan your wedding.
All of these combined outline your style. Use these cues to establish a theme.
- Your venue
- Wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses
- Flower arrangements
- And so many other tiny details come together to inspire.
First and foremost, your program is a piece of communication which guides your guests through your experience and establishes a tempo. The messaging is key. The first step in your creative journey is deciding how to present yourselves. Will you go with a classic look or something trendy that will make a splash?
In general, traditional church weddings and classic bridal gowns call for a clean and elegant ceremony program. Or, a rustic outdoor wedding leaves a little more room for some personal flair. Rule of thumb; extend your wedding theme into your wedding program. This is your program’s personality!
Fonts and color scheme usually come next. Support your personality with the right combination of visual options. Fonts and color can have a dramatic effect on how a word feels. For instance, clean white cardstock with an elegant scripted font immediately gives it away as a traditional wedding program while pronounced natural colors are suited for boho bridal themes. Be conscious of this as you make your decisions.
Got Stuck With The Format? Useful Software To The Rescue!
Now that end result is starting to form in your mind, it’s time to start laying it out. There’s tons of software out there that will help you put this all together. Call your printer first to see what file formats they are going to need the best quality results.
The most common apps to use are the entire Adobe Suite, Pages for Mac users, or Google Drive. These are all common in most workplaces and schools so you should be familiar by now. Even if you’re fairly proficient, we still recommend that you browse through a few YouTube tutorials on how to get the most brilliant colors and crisp lettering back from the printers.
We also highly recommend flipping through a few Pinterest boards. There’s no shortage of traditional, trending, and funny wedding programs on full display. We find this helps to inspire your jumping off point or to refine some of your own ideas when you’re getting close to the end.
Stay Tuned For The Latest Wedding Program Trends
One trend that’s here to stay and keeps getting more creative is surprising your friends. Thus, your wedding programs don’t have to be a mirror image of your gown and venue. You can color outside of the lines here.
For example, we ran into a bunch of cute couples drawing ideas that we know you’ll just love! A carefully drawn portrait of each other can beautifully adorn a traditional wedding program.
Why Not Add A Touch Of DIY Creativity?
There are no longer any hard-set rules about the size, shape, and number of pages to include with your ceremony programs. You have the total creative freedom to do what you wish.
However, many couples are printing on (or burning) wood, doubling them as fans for outdoor weddings, and … Couples are also not being shy about going off the sheet. Attaching flowers, ribbons, and lace can be time-consuming. But, this contributes to a lifelong memory and is totally worth it. Printed cards are wonderful, but that added touch of handcrafted is universally appreciated.
This is especially true for non-traditional wedding programs. There’s a certain expectation with chapel weddings. But, Boho, rustic, theme (think Star Wars or SteamPunk), and other types of outdoor weddings leave the concept wide open. You’re only limited by your imagination and comfort level.
If you’re looking for a more modest departure from normal, stick with all of the traditional rules we’re pointing out but be adventurous with your color scheme. White on black is a classy look, and splashes of pinks, purples, and other warm colors do wonders to tie your program into your venue theme.
If you like the idea but not sure which direction to follow, pick up an art history book. Use impressionism for a soft style, or art deco for something pronounced and heavy on contrast and elaborate patterns.
Although we love the tradition of weddings, we adore seeing new and amazing ideas come to life.
How It Was? Old-fashioned Approaches To Wedding Invitations
Couples are having a lot of fun updating simple wedding programs with retro designs. Taking the old-fashioned layouts and styles and adding a modern twist has great results. Picture a sunbleached envelope and weathered card stock. Picture classic fonts and simple layouts. Now add a modern infographic and a touch of lace or ribbon. This comes together as a beautifully complete look.
If infographics aren’t your thing, look to an ornate texture or pattern. Framing traditional words with illuminated borders is a definite nod to tradition. The history of this style goes all the way back to before the printing press was even invented. Bible and manuscripts were handmade, and to make them beautiful producers added oversized first letters, gold and silver leaf, brilliant colors, and painstakingly elaborate line details.
With the help of software, this task is much quicker today but you’ll have to consult with your printer about the gold leaf. However, if you’re really dedicated to this project making your wedding programs by hand would be an excellent investment of your time. Pro tip for the Groom: it’s never a good idea to derail your bride-to-be’s wedding ceremony dreams, but she absolutely wants you to contribute. Handcrafting the programs based on your fiancé’s design shows her that you’re into this as much as she is. Each program will take 15-30 minutes of your time, so pace yourself appropriately.
If you want to compromise on old-fashioned and modern convenience, track down a printer with an old press. You can still design everything using software, but the old style press has an unmistakable fingerprint and is sure to produce the retro look you’re after.
No Room For Mistakes: Church Program Ideas
Generally speaking, traditional church program ideas are simultaneously the easiest and most difficult to produce. On the easy side, the rules are black and white. However, there’s no room for mistakes. On the difficult side, the rules are black and white. There’s very little room for interpretation.
Here are the hard and fast rules along with the areas where you can get creative:
- Front Cover
- A Celebration of Marriage – You can personalize this message.
- Bride’s name and Groom’s name – You can use initials or the entire name.
- Date and Name of Church or Chapel – be precise and clear.
Inside Page 1
Parents of the Bride – First and last name, father listed first.
Parents of the Groom – First and last name, father listed first.
Matron of Honor – First and last name
Best Man – First and last name
Ushers – First and last name
Ring Bearer – First and last name
Flower Girl – First and last name
Organist – First and last name
Soloist – First and last name
Musicians – First and last names
Inside Page 2
Prelude – Processional song and composer
Bride’s Processional – Song and composer
Liturgy of the Word
First Reading—Book of the Bible Chapter: Verse, reader’s name
Responsorial Psalm: Name of Psalm, reader’s name
Second Reading—Book of the Bible Chapter: Verse, reader’s name
Gospel Acclamation—Book of the Bible Chapter: Verse, reader’s name
Inside Page 3
Sacrament of Marriage – Exchange of Vows and Blessing and Exchange of Rings
Unity Candle – Name of Song and Singer’s name
Prayer of the Faithful – Reader’s name
Response: Lord Hear Our Prayer
Presentation of the Gifts
Liturgy of the Eucharist
Sign of Peace
Communion – Name of song and singer’s name
Presentation of flowers to the Blessed Mother – Name of Song and Composer
Recessional – Name of Song and Composer
This is your best chance at putting your personal touch to a traditional Catholic wedding program. It’s common to place your words of thanks but there’s no expected format or particular people to say Thank You to. Therefore, we recommend thanking the Chapel for all of their hard work and participation, but feel free to shout out to the person that fills in this blank. “And a special thank you to _. All of this wouldn’t be possible without you”.
Many Tips To Impress With Unique And Fun Wedding Program
You’re all set! You have the theme, the color palette, the design options, and the paper guidance. With the right software and printer, you’re good to go!
However, if you’re still looking for that ‘extra something’ before the project is complete, consider this: Step outside of the expected. Mockup your program to appear like something else. For example, simulating a blockbuster movie poster or following the layout of a restaurant menu are adorable ways to inform your guests.
Otherwise, instead of printing a program for each guest consider a common large one. We’ve seen gorgeous programs printed with chalk on large sandwich boards, or etched into the glass of a mirror. The downside is that your guests won’t have the keepsake to take home. But, you’ll have an additional point of interest for your wedding album and an extra memento to keep for yourself.
All in all, these types of ideas create very cool programs that your guests will talk about. If this is your style, don’t be shy! Thus, take it a step further with lace, glitter, or a custom nuptial logo. Make your program a part of your wedding like, mentioned above, using them as fans for outdoor weddings or printing them on bubble bottles for your guests to blow (replacement for tossing rice) as you rush out of the chapel towards your honeymoon.
Just like every other moment leading up to the big day, your wedding program has the potential to be stressful. But that’s why we’re here. With an appropriate amount of time, helpful guidance and structure this will be pure pleasure.
Come back often so that we can help you with everything that goes into a beautiful ceremony and reception. We love to make you happy.