One of our favorite portions of the wedding ceremony is the pre-wedding arrivals. Guests trickle in, polished shoes, freshly powdered faces, gleaming with jewelry and the anticipation of the ceremony. Hugs are exchanged and long-lost friends greet one another.

That preamble is also the time when wedding attendants offer up a wedding program—a written agenda of what guests can expect from the ceremony and beyond. Letting one or two people hand out the programs makes the perfect opportunity to involve someone else in an active role in your wedding. Plus, wedding programs make nice mementos for guests long after the ceremony.

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Not sure what you should include in the wedding program wording? We’re here to give you some ideas.

On the program front:
Keep it simple and clean. Include the couple’s name, the wedding date and location. If desired, include a small graphic such as a monogram, a small icon—scrollwork, floral—or a small photograph of the couple.

When you open the program:

List the order of the ceremony, which may include, for example:

  • Prelude
  • Reading or readings
  • Prayer
  • Exchange of vows
  • Benediction
  • Presentation of bride and groom as husband and wife
  • Recessional

It’s nice to provide a specific list of the music used in the ceremony as well as the source of the readings.

Acknowledge the wedding party

Provide a list of who’s doing what in the wedding. Include:

  • The parents of both the bride and groom
  • The grandparents where applicable
  • The names of both bridesmaids and groomsmen
  • Any flower girls or ring bearers
  • Any readers
  • The officiant
  • For religious ceremonies, anyone carrying up a bible or handing out communication, or playing any other role in the ceremony
  • Ushers
  • Greeters
  • Musicians

Provide more information as space allows

Want guests to sing along to ceremony music or follow along with the readings? Consider including the lyrics and reading text in the program.

Consider acknowledging those that can’t be there for your wedding in an “In Memoriam.”

If desired, include brief biographies of the bride and groom (or groom and groom, or bride and bride) or a paragraph about how they met.

For religious-based ceremonies, you may want to include an explanation of rituals. If, for instance, half of your guests aren’t religious, but you’re holding a Catholic wedding, consider explaining the kneeling and the Communion process.

Where should your guests head post-ceremony? Consider including information about the reception—a map or directions and any parking information guests need to know.

Here’s a sample program wording to get you started:

The wedding of
Patrick Stephen Williams & Elizabeth Claire Kennedy
Saturday, June the tenth
Two thousand sixteen

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church
St. Louis, Missouri

Inside Page 1:
Reverend Joseph Vath

Parents of the Bride
Mr. and Mrs. Randolph and Colleen Kennedy

Parents of the Groom
Dr. and Mrs. Robert Williams

Maid of Honor
Catherine Kennedy

Best Man
Jack Williams

Lauren Byrd
Jenny Little
Marta Wells
Eliza Grace

Michael Orr
Scott Williams
Christopher Mann
James Roland

Richard Coco
Paul Yelton

Ring Bearer
Jesse Miles

Flower Girl
Emma Williams

Paul Johns

Niamh Winston

Mary Huso and Heidi Kennedy

Rachel Marin
Charlotte Tate

Gift Bearers
Lauren Nolan
Deborah Blanco

Inside Page 2:

Order of Worship

“Air,” Handel
“Spring” from the Four Seasons, Vivaldi
“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” Bach

Seating of the Mothers and Grandparents
“Canon in D,” Pachelbel

Bride’s Processional
“Clair de Lune,” Debussy

Opening Prayer

First Reading
Genesis 1:26-28, 31

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 145: Our God is Compassion

Second Reading
1 Peter 3:1-9

John 15:12-16


Sacrament of Marriage

Exchange of Vows

Blessing of the Rings

Prayer of the Faithful
Response: Lord, Hear Our Prayer

Presentation of the Gifts

Nuptial Blessing

“How Beautiful,” Paris

Final Blessing

“Trumpet Voluntary,” Clarke

Reception to be held at The Club
From the church: Turn right onto LaSalle. Go three miles and make a left into the parking garage.
2345 Chase Avenue