Wedding advice: Wedding program etiquette, as well as tips and ideas for creating a great program for that special day
Wedding program etiquette tips
A wedding is many things. A wedding is a joining of two lives, a celebration of love and commitment, a bringing together of families, and is a special day for the new couple. A wedding is also a theatrical production of sorts. There is an audience, staged movements and words, and everyone involved in the wedding party is a type of performer. This being said, it is only natural that the wedding production should include a program to keep the audience involved and informed. Wedding programs are a perfect way to help the audience to know things such as what rituals are being carried out and why, the names of those taking part, and the title and creator of any special music or poems being incorporated. Aside from this, wedding programs make great wedding keepsakes.
Once you have decided that a wedding program is right for your ceremony, ask yourself, “What type of program is best for our wedding? Should our programs be formal and elegant, or more casual looking? Should we have them made, or can we make them ourselves?” Perhaps the simplest way to answer this is by thinking about your wedding as a whole. Is your wedding extremely traditional and formal, or is it more laid back? Generally, the tone of the program will match the tone of the ceremony. However, this certainly does not have to be the case. Maybe you are having a black-tie ceremony, but you want your programs to be more of a fun, reminiscent element, such as one featuring both of your baby pictures on the front that tells the hilarious story about how the two of you first met. Perhaps you and your partner think it would be fun to set up an arts-and-crafts workspace and make the programs together. There is an enormous amount of wedding software out there for those who wish to purchase it for creation of invitations, programs, thank you notes, etc., and most greeting card software can accommodate a project of this kind. On the other hand, you may want your programs done by a stationer to match your invitations. There are really no formal rules as far as tone is concerned. Your own creativity is the only limit.
However you choose to make your wedding programs, there are definitely guidelines as far as what to include in the program. You should strive to include in your programs: the names of the wedding party members and their relationships to you, a list of the ceremony’s traditions, the names of musical selections (and musicians, if they are relatives or friends), and the titles of the readings and names of the readers. If there is a chance that many guests will be unfamiliar with the culture from which some of your wedding traditions come, include explanations of these. This way, your guests will not be left scratching their heads because the couple is jumping over a broom, breaking a glass, or lighting a Unity Candle.
Do not forget either to post someone at the door before the ceremony to hand out the programs, or to place them on a table out front. Guests should be able to read the program in its entirety between the time they sit down and when the ceremony begins, so it should be as brief as possible while still including the important elements. Many guests will want to follow along as the ceremony unfolds. If this happens, you will know that your program is doing its job, keeping the guests involved!
Again, be creative with your program. Among things often included are pictures, favorite poems, quotes, a thank you to parents or grandparents, memorials for deceased relatives whom you would still like to include in the wedding, and the list goes on. Programs can match the theme of your wedding or can stand alone. They can be a single sheet, folded page, or a booklet. They can be any shape, size, and color. Have fun with the program, but give yourself adequate time to create it. The program is a chance to truly connect with the audience during the wedding ceremony. A good program not only facilitates this connection, but is a perfect keepsake for that unforgettable day.