Everything You Need to Know About Your Wedding Program

wedding programs
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Regardless of whether you’re going strictly formal, or all out casual, here’s an overview of the basic structure of a wedding program. Wording or inclusion/exclusion of any and all parts are a matter of preference and style. Formal weddings are likely to include all elements, modern more contemporary are apt to keep it short and simple. Pick and choose what’s right for you!:

The Introduction

The introduction is the first thing that you’ll see on the wedding program. This is the only section that no matter what style you choose, it remains pretty much the same! Here are the must-haves for yours:

  • WELCOME: Consider “Welcome to the Wedding Ceremony” or “We are Gathered Here Today For the Wedding Of” or keep it simple with “The Marriage Ceremony of” or “The Wedding Of”
  • NAMES: Both the bride and the groom’s first and last name. If you are opting for a more traditional route, wedding etiquette will suggest you to include the middle name instead of the last name for the bride.
  • DATE: Month Day, Year (ex: November 24, 2016) or for a more modern approach, mm/dd/yyyy works as well! The date is important because it’ll be a perfect addition to your wedding pictures and memorabilia and your scrapbooking family and friends will love it!
  • START TIME: Let’s be honest, no one likes waiting around. A start time will be much appreciated by all of your guests and will keep you accountable to stay on track.
  • CEREMONY VENUE: Ok, it may not be totally necessary as your guests are obviously already at the venue, but again, perfect for the out of towners that weren’t able to make it and wanted something from the ceremony, and for all of your scrapbookers and photographers.

wedding program intro

Photo Credit: Amanda McKinnon Photography

The Order

  • Prelude (also known as the formal entrances of family)
  • Attendant’s Processional
  • Bride’s processional
  • Greeting/ Opening Prayer
  • Readings
  • Wedding Message
  • Exchange of Vows
  • Unity Ceremony
  • Presentation of the Couple
  • Recessional

Consider adding the names of the songs for the prelude, processional, and recessional and the names of the parties speaking for the rest of the program.

wedding program order

Photo Credit: Michael + Anna Costa Photography


  • Officiant
  • Parents of Bride
  • Parents of Groom
  • Maid of Honor
  • Bridesmaids
  • Best Man
  • Groomsmen
  • Flowergirl/ Ringbearer
  • Personal attendants
  • Ushers

In consideration of space, put the names of the bridal party next to each other. It will give you more room to work with on the programs, and your guests will better know who is paired together walking down the aisle.

wedding program participants

Photo Credit: Ashley Davis Photography

Final Message

  • Thank you from the bride and groom
  • Honoring the deceased

This is your opportunity to give thanks on the day of and before all of your thank you cards are sent. Also, it’s a great chance to honor those who can’t be there and who are looking down upon you from Heaven.

wedding program

Photo Credit: The Edges Wedding Photography

Make Your Wedding Program Stand Out

This is not mandatory but highly suggested. Add a special touch to make it less about logistics and more about you and your fiance and the beginning of your marriage together! Here are some fun ideas:

  • Are you planning a green wedding? Are you focused on having a budget-friendly wedding? Either way, a sign is a great way to save both kinds of paper — trees and money! A chalkboard is a great multi-use option that can be utilized during your wedding and then reused in your new home together as an interactive piece of art.

chalkboard wedding program

Photo Credit: Sarah Joelle Photography

  • Are you planning an outdoor wedding? Is your venue going to have AC? Is there a chance that it might be hot at your wedding? Make your wedding program into a fan and all of your guests will love and thank you!

wedding program fan

Photo Credit: Jessica Burke

  • Add a puzzle, or game on your programs to keep your guests entertained while they wait. Make the crossword puzzle or game about you and your almost hubby so the guests can see how much they know about you or even learn a fun fact in the process.

wedding program games

Photo Credit: Christian Oth Studio

Indoor or  outdoor, formal or informal your wedding programs are a perfect place to utilize some of your creativity. Think of your style and your guests and what they would love to see, as they are the ones that are going to be getting the most use out of them. At the end of the day, this program is a menu for your guests to follow as you walk down the aisle and marry the love of your life. Enjoy every moment of the planning process, but get excited to say “I Do” before you know it!

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