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What to Include in a Wedding Ceremony Program

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Ever wonder, what goes into a wedding program? We’re breaking down what to include in a wedding ceremony program, what you can leave out, and why wedding program signs are a savvy alternative.


Whether you have attended a wedding recently or time has passed since you last sat in the audience, you were likely presented with a single sheet of stationery or even a mini booklet when you arrived to watch the couple recite their wedding vows. The wedding paper that was presented to you is known as a wedding program.

Similar to a table of contents in a book, a wedding program offers an overview of the wedding ceremony. It notes the date, the couple’s names, and the order of events (among other things). They’re definitely not a must-have at a wedding if you’re looking to save room in your budget, but wedding ceremony programs are typically a fan favorite among guests who like to be in the know about what (and whom!) they can expect to see during the 30-60 minutes in which you will officially become married.

Below, we’re breaking down what to include in a wedding program, what you can skip over, and why wedding program signs work wonders.

What to Include in a Wedding Ceremony Program:

The items that are listed on a wedding ceremony program will vary depending on the type of ceremony you host. For example, a Catholic wedding program will look different than a Presbyterian wedding program which will look different than a Hindu or Jewish wedding program. Below, we’re sharing the most basic details that typically make their way onto programs no matter the religion practiced or not practiced.

  • Your names
  • Wedding date
  • The ceremony’s location
  • Your ceremony’s start time
  • The order your ceremony will follow

At its most basic, a ceremony typically follows the following order. Keep in mind, just like we mentioned above, religion can cause this to change.

Sections of a Wedding Ceremony Program

  • Prelude – The time before your ceremony officially begins when guests are arriving for the festivities. Typically, music will play in the background (look to musicians or a playlist!).
  • Processional – This is when everyone will walk down the aisle, including parents, the officiant, groom, groomsmen, bridesmaids, and the bride.
  • Welcome – The officiant will typically begin the wedding ceremony by welcoming everyone and thanking them for attending.  
  • First Reading – If there is a prayer, book passage, poem, or some lyrics that hold meaning to the couple, they will be read here by a family member or friend.
  • Wedding Message – The officiant will share the main message they want guests to take away from the wedding ceremony.
  • Second Reading – Sometimes ceremonies have one reading, sometimes they have many! If there is a second prayer, book passage, poem, or song lyrics that hold meaning, they will be read here.
  • Vow Exchange – The couple will recite traditional or custom vows to each other.  
  • Ring Exchange – The couple will exchange rings.
  • Declaration of Marriage – The officiant will pronounce the couple as married!
  • Recessional – The now married couple will walk back down the aisle, followed by their wedding party, and parents.

What Not to Include in a Wedding Ceremony Program:

While wedding ceremony programs can be mini booklets, many couples choose to print all of the details onto a single card. In order to save space, you can skip printing many of the following details.

  • The order and names of those who will be part of the processional.
  • Song titles
  • Printouts of readings
  • Explanations of wedding ceremony inclusions, like why you chose your readings. Your officiant or reader(s) can verbally explain the details.
  • The order and names of those who will be part of the recessional.
  • Information about your reception’s location.
wedding program sign

Why to Consider a Wedding Ceremony Program Sign:

Wedding ceremony signs are most often placed close to the door or where guests will enter the wedding ceremony space. The reason is you want guests to take note of them! Signs can serve a few different purposes, so we’re sharing the two most popular below. P.S: Think about propping signs up on art easels!

Act as a Welcome or Share Additional Information:

Some couples will place a sign that says, “Welcome to Our Wedding” or “Welcome to the Wedding of {Name} and {Name}”. The great thing about either of those signs is they can be moved and reused during the reception and even signed as a fun form of a guest book.

Other couples will use a sign to share more about their wedding party. On this type of sign, the names of the couple’s wedding party will be printed along with the roles they are serving. It’s helpful to share this list in the order in which they will appear.

Act as the Program:

If you’re hosting a more eco-friendly wedding day or you’re hoping to save room in your budget, think about using a wedding ceremony program sign instead of printing individual programs. You will note the exact same information on a sign as you would on a printed program. The only difference is the sign will be placed close to wear guests enter, rather than act as something guests can refer to throughout the ceremony.

Just like every other aspect of a wedding, there are no right or wrong ways to share your wedding program. Do what feels right to you! With that in mind, what are your wedding ceremony program plans? Join our community to keep chatting about wedding ceremonies!

Other Wedding Ceremony Resources:


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