A wedding is a journey, and a wedding program is the roadmap for the day. With the right landmarks, you’ll be able to guide everyone from wedding venue to reception venue until they’re dancing the night away.
How do you make sure that your wedding program is as special as everything else about your wedding?
Below, we’ll cover:
Welcome to your guide to everything about wedding programs.
Wedding programs outline the narrative of your wedding and help the audience follow along with the events of the day. A good program conveys information and provides structure so that people know where they’re supposed to be and what is happening at any given time. The last thing you want is for anyone to get confused and be taken out of the celebratory moment.
There are tons of ways to tailor the program to reflect your wedding’s individuality, but if you need an idea of how to get started, you can always begin by working on a template. A template provides the bare bones of your program, allowing you to add or subtract anything so that it reflects your wedding’s personality.
Your standard wedding program should cover these these basic points:
That’s just a start. Now that you have the general outline for your program, you can go about gathering relevant information.
Flesh out your program with different details specific to the wedding that you want and the type of ceremony that you’re holding. Consider what you might want to know if you were a wedding guest at your wedding—that will help you visualize what might be helpful or entertaining, and what might be confusing.
There are several options that factor into a wedding program, including (but not limited to):
If there’s anything special or unique that you want to share with the rest of your guests, this is the place for your wedding’s personality to shine.
The outline of the proceedings in wedding programs is especially useful if you have guests from different cultural, religious, spiritual, or even generational backgrounds. With a designated section in your program, you can avoid whispered explanations of the chuppah interrupting the rabbi, and or the awkwardness of premature applause.
The program can also provide an opportunity to celebrate one or both of your cultural heritages. For example:
Naturally, this will vary case-by-case depending on your respective backgrounds and what’s important to you.
Zola Tip: However you want to celebrate your love with your partner, you’ll need a wedding program that will be as beautiful as the moment itself. Zola offers hundreds of wedding programs in an array of styles, colors, and paper types, with the added option of uploading your own images and designs. Your wedding program should be as unique and memorable as your wedding day itself—trust Zola to help you craft a program that will become a keepsake from this incredible moment in your lives.
Anyone who might need a little extra context can find the wedding program useful, but this is the chance for you and your partner to celebrate who you and your family are.
If you’re trying to think of creative wedding program ideas and are coming up empty, we have a list of 15 different creative wedding program ideas to hopefully help inspire one that will feel true to you and your wedding.
Feel free to mix and match ideas until you find the perfect fit for you and your partner.
If your program is like a story outline for your wedding, why not put that story into a tried and true format?
A booklet is the perfect medium to use if there’s a lot about your wedding that isn’t going to fit neatly on a single page. It’s perfect for breaking down all that info into small, digestible sections that look great on the page.
You can have a section for how you met, one for introducing your wedding party, another for explaining different parts of the ceremony, and/or one for “in memoriam.” Use colored tabs and layers to make it easier to flip through the booklet and to add a fun, dynamic design element to your wedding stationery.
Booklets are also a great way to show off any cute candids of you and your loved ones, or to get more use out of your engagement photos. You can also include photographs of your wedding party or artistic renditions for that added illustrative element.
Attach your program to bags filled with flower petals, rice, or biodegradable confetti so that your guests have something to throw in the air during your dramatic exit after the pronouncement. You can dress up the bags with custom-designed stencils, calligraphy, ribbons, or stamps.
If you’d like your guests to synchronize their festive toss, make sure that you include a note with instructions for timing on the program. That way, you can position the photographer to capture the perfect moment in your wedding photos.
Zola Tip: If you and your partner will be showered in flower petals as you exit your ceremony, why not print your programs on one of our gorgeous floral and botanical programs?
Whether your ceremony takes place indoors or outdoors, if you’re anticipating heat, fan programs are a clever way to keep your guests cool.
Simply print your wedding ceremony program on one or both sides of the fan and decorate with your wedding logo, monograms, or with the wedding theme. Fans can take many shapes, from something simple, such as a circle or square, to something more in line with your wedding day theme, such as hearts or leaves.
If you’d like something a bit more elegant and refined, use grommets to create a collapsible fan. You can use each fold to include a different section of the program and easily tuck it away until you need it again.
If you’re planning to have a designated area for your guests to take photos together, your programs can double as photo booth accessories. Use craft sticks to form the base, paste your ceremony program on the back, and now your guests have a fun collection of props to use.
Make sure you choose props that have a wide enough surface for your entire program, such as speech bubbles, funny hats, hearts, or emojis. You can always stock the photobooth with less program-friendly props, such as oversized mustaches or fluffy feather boas.
Downtime is often inevitable during any wedding ceremony. Keep your guests from getting restless by turning your program into a glossy newspaper all about you and your partner. This creative option is perfect if you want to include cute anecdotes and couple facts, a shout-out to a beloved pet, and/or funny quotes and heartfelt messages from your friends and family about you and your partner.
Make your newspaper interactive by including a crossword puzzle featuring fun facts about you and your partner, or a word search featuring the names of your wedding party.
Keep your guests well-hydrated by printing your programs on water bottle labels or on the sides of cartons. Place them at each seat so that your friends and family will always have hydration and information at hand.
Let your programs do double duty and attach them to pouches or packages filled with goodies and small wedding favors.
Are you hosting your wedding al fresco in the sun or at the beach? Stock your package with supplies for outdoor emergencies during the ceremony and after, such as:
Your guests will thank you for your thoughtfulness and foresight when your discreet band-aids save their blistered feet from their shiny new shoes.
Zola Tip: If your programs are accompanying small gifts or favors, a little sparkle can make the entire package feel special. Gold foil elevates any kind of wedding stationary, from Save the Dates to wedding programs. Do you have a specific design in mind? Zola’s wedding experts can help create custom foil details to add even more shine to your wedding.
If you’re hosting a destination wedding, a passport-themed program is a creative way to show your audience where you’ve been and where you’re going. Include charming travel-themed details, such as a stamp with the location and date of the wedding event and the names of you and your partner.
If you decide to personalize the passports to each guest, you can include their pictures and fond memories you share in a small bio section of the page dedicated to them. This is the perfect keepsake to thank those who traveled, no matter how far or long, to be with you two on your special day.
Give your guests a way to express their energy on the big day by handing them a program they can wave excitedly at all the right times. Emblazon one side with the names of you and your spouse and the program on the other, or decorate according to your wedding colors.
For an extra pop of drama that’ll look fantastic in the photos, tie streamers or ribbons to the stem. If you love it when your friends make some noise, attach small bells so that they can serenade your grand entrance.
Is there anything more perfect for a garden wedding than a popcorn box with red and white stripes? Keep your snacky guests content by sliding your wedding program into the side of the box so that they have something to read and eat while they wait for the music to start.
If the idea of setting up individual programs for every one of your guests feels like too much work, you can always go with a large banner display set up by the entrance of the venue. No need to worry about lots of little papers blowing away in the wind. Just make sure that your banner is secured into place and prominently displayed.
Use heavy paper or a fabric such as canvas to give the banner weight and elegant gravitas, and decorate with string lights, foliage, and/or ribbons to match the rest of your wedding decor.
Add a bit of rustic charm to your program with a big chalkboard display that shows off all the important details in your wedding in black and white. Chalkboards are easy to use and can be set up on easels or installed against a picturesque backdrop of exposed bricks and ivy.
Hire a chalkboard artist to deck out a giant blackboard with an artistic design that’s both functional and beautiful. Or, if you prefer to go DIY, you can achieve the same neat lines by using stencils or templates. Like to color outside the lines? Don’t let us get in the way of your creativity—it’s your special day.
Framed wedding programs are incredibly versatile, because frames come in all types of sizes, shapes, colors, and materials. Depending on how you combine them, frames can provide the perfect statement piece for your wedding. A heavy vintage frame can be an excellent match for a more elegant and formal wedding, while a weathered wooden frame is perfect for a woodsy wedding out in nature.
The fun doesn’t have to stop there—you can abandon the paper program altogether and write directly on the glass of the frame for something different and unique. Just make sure that you display it against a contrasting background so that the letters show up clearly. Mirrors are a clever option if you want to use a frame display, but don’t want to bother with finding something to frame.
If you and your partner are big fans of cinema, why not emulate the glamour of Hollywood on your special day and make your wedding program look like a giant movie poster? This eye-catching display is perfect if you’d like to include your wedding party in the credits, while still showcasing the leading actors—the two of you.
For a touch of old school charm, evoke the silver screen by using felt letter boards so that your wedding display looks like a big movie marquee.
When in doubt, go with classic.
If, after exhausting all other options, you find yourself turning back to the classic program format, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The traditional single-paged program is well-loved because of its efficiency, but also because of its versatility and customization. A classic wedding program can shapeshift itself to uniquely suit your wedding occasion with just a few tweaks.
Play around with the typography by switching up the font and calligraphy styles to reflect whether your wedding is more elegant and formal, or relaxed and laid back. If you have a themed wedding or an established color palette, you can use those elements to match the program with the rest of your wedding stationery.
Zola Tip: Did designing and printing your wedding programs get pushed a bit close to your wedding date? Don’t worry, Zola’s got your back. With free shipping on wedding stationary and expert design advice at your fingertips, you’ll have gorgeous wedding programs in no time.
Whether you go for a clean, minimalist look or a more elaborate and intricate design, your program provides a fantastic canvas to work off of. Looking for something a little special to give your programs some extra shine? Add some gold foil or embossing to elevate your wedding to a new level of class.
Whatever look you’re aiming to achieve, Zola has the tools to help you get started.
With hundreds of templates and different colors, fonts, illustrations, and designs, Zola can help spark inspiration for wedding program ideas and more.