Wedding Program Etiquette

Learning good wedding program etiquette accomplishes several things. A properly constructed program makes guests feel more involved with the wedding. It not only reviews the basic progression of your wedding but also shares unusual customs and traditions with which some guests may be unfamiliar. Better still, it acts as a keepsake for everyone in attendance.

Now, wedding etiquette doesn’t require a wedding program; however, there are many reasons for considering one. It gives you a space where you can introduce your wedding party and even write some thank you notes. Wedding programs need not be complex, and they don’t represent a huge investment.

wedding program etiquette, wedding etiquette

The basic elements of a well-constructed wedding program include a cover with the name of the couple, date and location of the wedding, and some type of design element that ties into the ceremony’s theme. Second, akin to a play’s program, this item lists the order of events in the ritual from beginning to end. Third, you want to list the members of the bridal party including the Officiant, parents, and anyone reading quotes or readings. These three elements make up the simplest form of a wedding program.

For an expanded program, wedding program etiquette suggests explaining unusual elements in your ritual. If there’s a lot of movement that the audience is expected to follow include those instructions (sing, sit, stand, etc.). For individuals who are missing a family member due to death, the program can include a memorial with an explanation of the relationship between that person and the bride or groom. Two more good additions to your program are an explanation about your wedding’s theme, and directions to the reception along with a phone number should people get lost.

wedding program etiquette, wedding etiquette

A highly detailed program might also include bios for each member of the wedding party, information on your musical selections including meaningful lyrics, and thank you notes to the parents. No matter what, keep each aspect of the program personalized. For example, if you’re having a medieval theme wedding, use parchment paper as the media for your program so it fits the atmosphere (you could even do it as a scroll).

Once you’ve determined what information goes into your program and get them printed, the next question is how to present them? Wedding program etiquette gives you lots of wiggle room here. Some people use baskets while others put them on pews or chairs individually, and others still use ushers to hand out programs as guests arrive. All three approaches are perfectly suitable.

After the wedding you can send extra programs to anyone who could not attend so they have a keepsake too. This is wholly optional but a really nice gesture particularly for people who took the time to RSVP with a reason. It’s practical recycling at its best!

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