Are wedding programs required? No. Programs are optional, but they are so nice for your guests to have. Programs are particularly nice for guests of different faiths or if they don’t know your family and friends very well. They make a great keepsake too – so be sure to save one or two for yourselves!
What’s included? In a nutshell, the program is a communication tool where you have the opportunity to let your guests know what will be happening and who’s who. Programs often have 4 parts: the title page (bride and grooms’ names, location, date), the wedding participants, the ceremony order and a brief note of thanks from the bride and groom. In addition, I have had clients include the following:
- an explanation of any traditions, rituals or ethnic customs.
- moving announcement with new address
- directions to the reception
- a poem or song lyrics
- a surprise element that will be included in the ceremony
- remembrance of family or friends that have passed that would have played a big part in your big day
How many programs should I have printed? There are no steadfast rules on this. The determining factors are your budget and the number of people attending. You know that not every person will take a program, but you don’t want to run out. My theory is that the number you need depends on how the programs are distributed. If your ushers are handing them out, you will need a program for each person. If you are putting the programs in baskets or on tables near the entrance(s), my guess is that about 85% of your guests will take one.
When should I order my wedding programs?
Plan ahead! There is usually a little bit of a lull between the time you send your invitations out and the time you start receiving your rsvp’s. Most of your other decisions have been made, so it is perfect timing for planning the ceremony! Work with your officiant and get samples from your stationer for ideas – then put your own personal touches in. Once you have that done, you are ready to order! A good rule of thumb is to give the final okay a month prior to the wedding. This allows time to make sure any specialty stock can be received without expedited shipping, time for the printer and any assembly.
- Programs do not have to match the invitations, but it is a nice touch if all of your wedding stationery can tie in somehow.
- Have fun with the programs! The program is a great place to show your creativity. Pinterest is a great tool for finding program ideas.