Smart additions to your wedding ceremony, programs provide useful information to help your guests follow the proceedings, and they also make nice mementos from your big day. Ceremony programs can be as simple as a homemade one-page leaflet or as elaborate as a custom-ordered bound booklet. Arrange them in a basket at the ceremony entrance, or ask a close friend or family member not already a part of the wedding party to hand them to guests upon arrival.

What to Include
Wedding programs typically contain three parts:

• Introduction - The ceremony program introduction is a summary of the basics; full names of the bride and groom, wedding date and location.

• Ceremony Proceedings - The ceremony description serves as a step-by-step guideline of the service, from processional to recessional. Elaborate on any special customs or traditions that will take place, and list any special readings and/or poems.

• The Wedding Party and other VIPs - The last section lists the wedding party and their relation to the couple (i.e. Mother of the Bride, Best Man, etc.). Don't forget to include your officiant and ceremony musicians in this section.

Other items you may include in the wedding program: a thank-you to both sets of parents or to all the guests, memorials of deceased loved ones.

What NOT to Include
• A biography of the bride, groom or attendants - programs are not a forum for personal profiles.
• Advertisements for wedding vendors. One word - TACKY.

Trends & Ideas
Ceremony programs provide a great opportunity to customize your wedding ceremony and tie in a special theme or design element from your wedding. Here are some fun ideas:

• Center your ceremony program on the color, theme, and/or season of your wedding

• A clever and classy way to keep your guests informed and cool at the same time during the summertime is to have your ceremony programs made into fans.

• Have them shaped into a heart, flower, or seashell to reflect a theme.

• For an outdoor wedding ceremony , find something fun to weigh down the programs on the seats like a beautiful stone or piece of beach glass.

• Place programs in a beach basket at the entry-way of your oceanfront wedding ceremony.

• For a winter wedding, have your program made into an ornament or attach an ornament to the binding.

• Use warm colors for a fall wedding and feature a colorful leaf pattern in the background.

• Tell the story of how the two of you met or about the proposal, and include pictures from when you were dating.

• When introducing your wedding party, describe their role in your relationship, such as being the one who introduced the two of you or someone who was supportive while you tried to maintain a long-distance relationship. Not only is this the perfect opportunity to share details of the journey that led up until your special day, but it allows your guests to feel more connected with you and the other guests.

• Create a wedding program for the reception as well! Here you can outline the father-daughter dance, special toasts or meal details, and your guests will feel more included throughout the entire event.

For a complete guide to planning your wedding stationery, visit Elegala.com's Wedding Invitations and Stationery guide.