Making the most of a wedding program booklet

Weddings can be stressful – there’s no doubt about it. A wedding program or booklet can be just one more task to add to that stress. But it is NOT essential to have one. This is a topic I’ve written and spoken about often, but bears repeating: the program Booklet – if you really want one – make the most of it.

If you have the time and inclination, a wedding program can be a nice addition. It can also serve multiple functions, and it does not have to take up a lot of your time and energy. You can create it yourself or give the information to a designer, or printer to put on the finishing touches.

Fabulous Booklet by one of 'my' couples!


Here’s what I think you shouldn’t do: list the order of the service. I discourage this approach because it merely encourages people to anticipate what is happening next in your ceremony, possibly even distracting them from what is happening in the present moment. Processional: check. Opening Remarks: check. First reading: check. Your guests will follow along, and mentally check off the elements as they happen. What is the value of this?


Another great program handout.

Instead, approach the booklet as a chance to expand, rather than outline.  Your printed program can add to the experience for your guests. While your guests are waiting for the ceremony to begin, they may even enjoy reading it. Imagine that?

Here are some suggestions to help you create something special.

The bridal party – explain who they are, your relationship with them, some little cool details. People travel far to attend weddings. You can show your appreciation of their time and effort by making mention of it.

Yet another great example.

Use photos  – of yourself, your family and friends. Even your pet, who unfortunately, was unable to attend, but sends best wishes!

The look – the program can be made to look like a theater playbill, a menu, it can be in different shapes or colors.

Explain any rituals that are being performed during the ceremony. Give historical, cultural or religious background on it, and share why it is being used. This is true for religious or secular ceremonies. Remember not everyone is versed in your traditions and will appreciate learning about them.

Readings, poems, lyrics – just as with rituals, explain why you have chosen them for your ceremony, especially if there is particular story to accompany it. Or, include a poem, song lyric, or other writing that you could not fit into the ceremony.  But I discourage including text that someone will be reading.

Give music credits – details on what songs or selections were played.

Who's who in the wedding.

If your ceremony is in a unique location – explain why you chose it.

Anecdotes, such as how you first met, the proposal, or any story you feel you guests would enjoy, are fun to read, but don’t duplicated what’s included in the ceremony or the DJ may be doing.

Honor departed family members with a tribute to them by using a meaningful quote with their name – explaining that they are missed today.

For multilingual families, have translations of the entire ceremony or selected readings.

If children are involved in your wedding have them create the cover or write something special. They might help by assembling or distributing the booklet. Don’t forget to credit children for any role they play in the wedding, and thank them for their support of the marriage. They will appreciate the sentiment, and love seeing their names in print.

Thank you – list and thank all the people who helped you make your wedding day special.

Don't forget the Thank You!

If you have the time and energy, I hope you can make your program booklet special, but if you are stressed, too busy, or simply cannot take on one more task – don’t do it! While your guests may be delighted to find a program booklet full of surprises, truly, no one will be disappointed that there is no program book at all.

Be true to yourself, and give yourself a break. I hope your wedding planning is fun and not a burden.



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