Wedding Programs Defined – Part I

We are grateful to two people this week. M. Shannon Hernandez at Sage & Time Designs for her insight and expertise on wedding programs and to Heather of Invites by Design for providing us with a sample of some beautiful stationary. Thank you so much ladies.

Trying to think of everything that must go into a wedding program is quite a daunting task.  Don’t let this last minute item get you in the dumps.  Instead, look at your wedding program as a way to honor those in your ceremony, help your guests to feel involved in the ceremony itself, as well as explain the personal touches you have added into your ceremony.


Purpose:  The purpose of a wedding program is to identify and honor everyone who is taking place in your wedding day.  It is also a great keepsake, and many guests will take it home and tuck it away in their treasure chest.


The Anatomy of A Wedding Program 

  The cover:  The cover of the program typically includes the names of the couple, as well as the wedding date.  It could also include the venue, city, and state, as well as the time that wedding is taking place.  Many couples opt to also include a design element of some sort which ties into the overall theme and color(s) of the wedding itself.

Order of events:  If the couple did not choose to include venue, time, date, and their names on the front of the program, putting it just before the order of events is necessary.  The next item to attend to is the order of the events.  Couples should list what will be happening during the ceremony.  Aspects to include are processional music, greeting, readings, spiritual elements, vow exchange, ring ceremony, candle ceremony, marriage pronouncement, recessional music, and any other music happening during the ceremony.  Your order of events doesn’t have to include all of these elements, but the most important aspects you decide to include should list the events in the order in which they will take place. 

  Members of the bridal party:  This part of the program is a simple list made up of each person’s name and role in the wedding ceremony.  For example:

            Officiant:  Markus Wilson

            Parents of Bride:  William and Celia Macon

            Maid of Honor:  Meghan Dominguez

            Pianist:  Chelsea Mako

            Readers: Justin Livin and Gabrielle Moss


Personalizing Your Wedding Program

Now that the necessary items are laid out appropriately, it is time to have fun with the program and share with others some of the personal touches and/or interesting tidbits of information that make the ceremony special and unique. You may consider including:

  Explanations of special ethnic or religious traditions

  Personal message to the wedding guests

  Significant poems or quotes

  A short sentence about each of your bridesmaids and groomsmen.


  Thank you recognition

  Reception location and directions

It is important to note that NOT having a wedding program is as acceptable as having one.  There is no written etiquette rule on this topic, but a program definitely is a nice way to add a personal touch to your ceremony. 


A final note for Part I–It is very important that wedding programs are one of the last items printed, once everything is in place for the ceremony and the order of events has been finalized.  Stay tuned for Wedding Programs, Part II in which I will be discussing assembly and production tips, as well as wedding program presentation ideas.


M. Shannon Hernandez, owner and lead designer of Sage & Time Designs, is a stationery designer in Brooklyn, New York.  She works closely with clients and event planners across the world to design handcrafted and custom stationery for their personal and social lives.  All products are handcrafted and designed specifically for each client, ensuring truly unique and customized products which help set the tone for the important events in our lives.  You can learn more about Shannon on the Sage & Time Designsblog, on Facebook at Sage & Time Designs, and Twitter @SageTimeDesigns.

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