First of all, you certainly do not need a wedding program. Not even Martha Stewart can blame you for going without. However, your guests will definitely appreciate it. Just like grabbing the Playbill before the show, your guests want to know who the main players are, what lovely poem your sister is blubbering through, and — although of course the ceremony is beautiful — how long until they get their hands on a glass of champagne.
If you do decide to go with one, your wedding program can be as thorough or as concise as you want it to be. Give your guests enough information to follow and enjoy the ceremony, but don’t give them a novel to read — you still want them to pay attention while you’re walking down the aisle.
To cover the basics, include your names, the ceremony venue, the time and date of the ceremony, the order of events, and the names and roles of everyone involved (officiant, wedding party, parents, and grandparents).
You can also include details about the ceremony, such as the list of readings or music, or background about any religious or cultural traditions that your guests might not be familiar with. Many couples also include special thank-yous, directions to the reception, or a message in memory of someone who’s passed.
Programs are a great place to request that the ceremony be unplugged, or the total opposite, to promote your social hashtag and invite people to snap away. Note: If you’re using Joy, those kinds of requests can also be sent as push-notifications before the ceremony.
As for the design of your programs, you do you. Go with a traditional two-sided paper program or skip the paper and put the whole thing up on a board instead. Consider attaching some bubbles or confetti to your programs for the end of the ceremony. Make it an infographic, a fan, a bag of popcorn, or really do go with a Playbill. The possibilities are endless.
And, of course, if writing out all that information feels like a drag, cheekiness is always a viable option.