Day-of Stationery: Do I Need Wedding Programs?

Planning Tips

In trying to save money for your wedding, or being able to take something off the to-do list, have you asked “do I need wedding programs”?

I think a lot of brides go to day-of paper when thinking about where to make cuts. Your invitations are essential, but is the stationery at your wedding frivolous? As I’m in the thick of day-of paper designing for my fall brides, I’ve been thinking about all the nuance that comes with this phase in the wedding stationery process. Not only are there multiple elements needed for each wedding (typically my standards are programs, menus, table numbers, and escort cards, with many more elements that can be added), but each piece is not a one-size-fits-all. At this stage in your wedding, you may feel the urge to simplify. I get it.

But the truth is you’ve but a lot of time, effort, and creative energy into your wedding. I always find it such a shame when couples have this beautiful look-and-feel for their big day: they’ve planned the centerpieces down to the smallest bloom, they’ve thought about how to tie the napkins, and they’ve paid extra for gorgeous textured linens. Then they have a very basic-looking menu at the table. Seems like such a shame to spoil all the beauty just to save a little moola!

So I thought starting a series of blog posts all about day-of paper—breaking down each element in its own post—will show you how you don’t have to spend a ton or add stress to your life to have pretty wedding paper.

So let’s break it down, and for today let’s tackle wedding programs, shall we?

Programs are one of those day-of paper items that some couples ask when trying to cut back on costs, “Do we really need them?”

Keep in mind, even if you’re not having a religious ceremony, even if the ceremony is short, it’s still incredibly important. It’s what the rest of the day is all about: getting married! So if the traditional folded program isn’t your thing, consider a simpler two-sided piece, or even a large sign at the entrance for guests to read.

Think about your priorities. Do you want to celebrate the parts of the ceremony, the people standing up there with you, loved ones who have passed, or all of the above? Once you know what you want to communicate to your guests, it’ll be much easier to think about the best format for it. Below is the text layout for a traditional wedding program.

*Not Shown: a note honoring loved ones who have passed. This is very popular to put on the back cover along with a thank you to parents, or all guests.

Hamptons Watercolor Crest Wedding Program 3.jpg

Hamptons Watercolor Crest Wedding Program 2.jpg

Another element to consider is how you’ll distribute your programs. You can simply have them in a basket or on a table at the ceremony entrance, or you can have ushers. Ushers are a great opportunity to include important loved ones in your wedding ceremony that don’t fall into the “bridesmaid” or “groomsmen” category. It’s a pretty simple gig, but you want to make sure the guest(s) don’t mind greeting people at the entrance!

Whatever format you choose, a ceremony program is a great memento to have from your big day, and there is an option out there for every couple’s budget + wedding style!

BONUS TIP: Order a quantity that is 75% of your guest count. Lots of couples just take 1 anyway!

Click here for the menu post in this day-of stationery series. If you’re looking for more wedding stationery tips, check out this super-helpful post about how many invitations to order. And don’t forget to visit the real wedding section for the most recent design inspiration!

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