Pros + Cons to Wedding Programs

Deciding on a whether or not to include a wedding program in the items you give your guests?  Here is a list of pros and cons to this stationery piece to help you choose whether this is an extra something nice to have but that you can skip or something you really should include in the budget.

Pros to Having a Wedding Program

*If you are having a ceremony that incorporates a lot of religious or cultural traditions (such as Catholic, Jewish, Hindu, etc) that many of your guests may not be familiar with, having a program that outlines the ceremony, lets guests know when to stand, kneel, respond back to readings, etc is super helpful for allowing guests to follow along and not feel awkwardly out of place or embarrassed that they aren’t familiar with a certain aspect of your ceremony.  Your Catholic ceremony may seem common sense to you, but to someone who has never stepped foot in a liturgical church, it can be pretty foreign.

*Wedding programs allow you to honor your bridal party and other attendants by showing off their names and wedding roles in print.

*The programs can also multitask stylishly.  If your reception venue is at a different location than your ceremony site, directions and a map can be included on one of the pages for the guests who inevitably forget to bring the original reception card from the wedding invitation.

*Wedding programs give your guests something to do with their hands during the ceremony.  Granted, this should not be your top concern, but there is definitely a psychological plus to having something to hold or fidget with, especially with the emotion and sometimes nervous energy that can accompany weddings.

Cons to Having a Wedding Program

*The cost can be significantly higher than your wedding invitations depending on what you need to include and how many pages that information will take up.  This may be an area that you can skip and funnel those dollars into another portion of your budget.

*While some of your guests will keep the wedding programs for all of eternity (come on now, I know I am not the only one who does this), many will get tossed by the end of the night.  Weddings can produce a great deal of waste, and if your ceremony is straightforward and doesn’t require guest participation or unfamiliar elements, you may opt to offer them a welcome glass of Prosecco as they take their seats instead.

Tips for Having a Wedding Program

*Include all pertinent information your guests should know: ceremony outline, when they should respond to a reading, specific practices regarding communion or other religious rites (is it open to everybody? just church members? etc), when they should stand, sit, kneel, and so on and so forth.

*Plan for one program per couple and one per single guest.  This will help stretch your budget a bit, reduce waste, and most people don’t mind sharing.  Be sure to let your hostesses or ushers know about these numbers so that they don’t hand one to everybody and run out towards the end.

*Have your wedding coordinator set a program on the seats of family members who may be included in the processional, such as mothers, grandmothers, other honored guests, etc before the ceremony begins.  This ensures that they have the program for the ceremony, but they don’t have to worry about carrying it and it isn’t visible in any photos of them coming down the aisle.

Are you including a ceremony program in your wedding?  Why or why not?

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