If you've decided to pass out ceremony programs at your wedding, but are unsure of what to include, our wedding etiquette experts are here to give you the scoop in our daily post.
What are we supposed to include in the ceremony program?
While they're definitely not mandatory, providing guests with a ceremony program is always a thoughtful idea. They're a good way to let guests know what to expect during the wedding ceremony, and they're also a place to list the names of your wedding-party members, thank your parents and other important people for their support, and explain any ceremony traditions guests might not be familiar with. They can be as simple as a single page printed from your home computer to more elaborate booklet-style programs. Sometimes couples choose a design that doubles as something functional guests can use during the ceremony, like a cardboard fan printed with the ceremony details—perfect if you're exchanging vows outdoors.
The opening page or cover of the program usually says something like, "The wedding ceremony of Cassandra Jones and Marcus de la Cruz, September 4, 2014." The following pages can list the order of the events, names of wedding-party members and other ceremony participants (readers, ushers, musicians, etc.), sometimes describing the relationship of these people to the bride and groom ("Bridesmaid Stacey Morgan was the bride's roommate during their freshman year of college"). The couple's parents and sometimes grandparents are listed as well. You may also want to print the readings so guests can follow along, as well as the names of the musical selections that will be performed. If your ceremony includes any ethnic or religious rituals that some of your guests may not recognize, you can explain those customs in your program.
Once you've included those basic details, the rest is up to you. You can include pictures from your travels, the story of how you met and/or how the proposal happened, a tribute to relatives who have passed away, the wedding hashtag you've come up with for guests to use on various social media sites, directions to the reception venue—any important information you'd like to share. Just remember that the program is a wedding keepsake, so personalize it and really make it your own.