The Wedding Program

Martha Stewart Weddings, Volume 9 1999

A wedding program is a wonderful little extra that shows the bride and groom have truly tended to all the details. The most basic program is straightforward and purposeful. The bride's and groom's names act as a title of sorts and are typically followed by the date and location of the wedding. The order of the service, often including titles of readings and songs, helps guests to follow along. And listing the names of the members of the bridal party as well as others who have a role in the wedding enables everybody to put faces to names.

Making The Programs
Programs may be booklets, folded cards, or single sheets of paper or stiff stock, as small as postcards or as large as letterhead. They may be engraved or printed to match or complement the invitations, although it's not necessary to order them at the same time.

Having the programs professionally designed and assembled is not the only choice. One way to keep costs down is to have a stationer print only the booklet covers. And because you'll know all the information required for the covers -- the couple's names, the date, and the location of the ceremony -- you can have the covers made along with the invitations, which may reduce printing costs. The inside pages can be created later on a computer and then photocopied. Another cost-saving option is to have the stationer make all the pages but assemble them yourself.

Many couples choose to make the complete programs themselves. You needn't be a designer to come up with something simple and lovely on a computer. When choosing paper, you can't go wrong with thick stock in white or cream, but an art-supply store, a stationer, or even an office-supply store may have something you like even better.

Good-quality note cards with a border or a small image make perfect covers for computer-generated pages; add names, monograms, or any other information with a custom-made rubber stamp. Or have a single program professionally calligraphed, then photocopy it onto good paper. If binding pages together, search out the prettiest ribbon, even tassels and beads, at notions stores. Most important, proofread. Have one or two people who did not work on the program read it over carefully before you have hundreds made.

Handing Them Out
On the day of the wedding, have the ushers offer programs as they greet the guests, or assign the task to another friend or family member. You can also place a program on each seat, or stack them in a tray or basket near the entrance. Don't forget to save a few for the scrapbook. Years from now, this written record will stir as many memories as any photo.

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