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Wedding Programs 101

The wedding programs can be a creative detail that also helps guests feel like active participants in your wedding ceremony. The opportunity for creativity and personalization are endless, but here are a few tips on how and why to create wedding programs:

What They Should Say:

Ultimately, what you do or don’t include in your wedding programs is up to you. Some couples opt for a simple, one-page list of the wedding events, while others use wedding programs as an opportunity to get personal and creative. Consider adding some or all of these details when creating your wedding programs:

  • Full names of the bride and groom, along with the date and location of the festivities
  • A full list of the members of the bridal party with the option of including a short bio, sweet or humorous, about the person’s relationship to the happy couple
  • A personalized note of thanks to the bride and groom’s families, as well as a message to all of the guests in attendance
  • Include a special mention, letter, photo, anecdote, or poem dedicated to any deceased loved ones
  • Order of the wedding ceremony, including details about specific readings or music selections
  • Explanation of traditions, rituals, or customs being performed during the wedding
  • The bride and groom’s new address
  • Favorite quotes, poems, song lyrics, or religious scriptures
  • Photos of the happy couple, the bridal party, or late family/friends that you’d like to honor

How They Should Look:

Like every other detail of the wedding, the programs should be unique and complementary to the theme. Consider adding fun embellishments or photos to them to personalize them, or get creative and think outside the box. Try making paddle fan programs for outdoor weddings, scrolls in bottles for a beach affair, or craft paper booklets for a rustic event. Use stamps, ribbons, unique papers, and colored card stock to add personalized touches.

How They Should Be Made:

Wedding programs are a great DIY project that is easy and can help you stick to your wedding budget. Ask everyone to pitch in by scheduling an arts-and-crafts night for a group of creative girlfriends. By creating specific stations and an assembly line, you can get all of your programs made in no time. If you’re looking for something slightly more structured, consider purchasing a print-at-home kit from a local paper or craft store with guided instructions on how to design and assemble programs. Lastly, if you don’t have the time or energy, you can pay to have programs designed and made at most stationery stores.

How They Should Be Distributed:

How you arrange and hand out programs is yet another opportunity to be creative and thoughtful. Assemble them inside baskets, tucked into wooden crates, laid along trays, or sticking out of pails—whatever complements your wedding theme. Having a close friend or family member pass them out as guests arrive adds a personal touch and allows you to incorporate another person into the wedding festivities. You can also have programs laid out on seats when guests arrive.

Ceremony Music Tips

Ceremony Music Tips

Ceremony Music Tips

Hiring Your DJ to Play During Your Ceremony Makes Sense and Saves Money. A string quartet will run you between $300 and $500 per hour. Your DJ will charge you between $100 and $300 to run your ceremony.

When it comes to planning your wedding, a lot of attention is paid to the reception part of the day, but there’s also quite a bit to be considered when it comes to the ceremony itself.  One key question you may be asking yourself is, “Who will be providing the music for the ceremony?”  If you are having your ceremony at the same site as your reception, chances are your DJ will gladly provide music of your choice for your ceremony for considerably less (or at no charge) than it would cost to hire a string quartet or other musicians.

Live music is beautiful, but when you are on a budget, prerecorded high-quality digital versions are just as effective.  Your DJ will also have the microphones needed for your officiant and any readings you may have during your ceremony.

In terms of the music, you have unlimited options.  Some couples prefer traditional music and others prefer more contemporary options that reflect their personal taste.

The following are some examples in Ceremony Music Tips:


Traditional

Canon in D
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Ave Maria
The Four Seasons: Spring
Lohengrin: Bridal Chorus
Midsummer’s Night Dream: Wedding March

Contemporary

Storybook Love from the movie “The Princess Bride”
When I’m Sixty-Four: The Beatles
Over the Rainbow: Israel “IZ” Kamakawiwoʻole
All I Want Is You: U2
Lovers in Japan: Coldplay
Lucky: Jason Mraz
Into The Mystic: Van Morrison

For a great mix of traditional meets contemporary, look into the Vitamin String Quartet.  They perform classic string versions of music for hundreds of artists – from The Beatles to Guns ‘N’ Roses.

Also, be sure to check out Fred Benedetti for some great instrumental guitar selections.

To make your ceremony easier to envision, the following is a sample of a timeline including notes where a special song is typically played.

Ceremony Timeline

Guests arriving and seated by ushers (ushers distributing programs) Prelude music playing

Ceremony begins

1. Groom and officiant processional Select a Song
2. Grandparents then parents processional (Select a song – usually same song as number 1)
3. The parents will light the candles (if you decide on a unity candle)
4. Bridal party processional Select a Song
5. Bride’s processional Select a Song
6. Bride and groom give flowers to the parents (optional) Select a Song
7. Readings (this is not as popular these days)
8. Vows
9. Unity candle or sand ceremony Select a Song
10. Bride and groom recessional Select a Song