Take your wedding programs to the next level with these fun ideas
by Karly Anderson

Photo by Peaches & Mint via  Style Me Pretty

Photo by Peaches & Mint via Style Me Pretty

Wedding programs are no longer a simple piece of paper that outlines the names of the bridal party and order of the ceremony events. Instead, programs have become yet another opportunity for the bride and groom to showcase their creativity and personalities, allowing guests to feel welcomed and get a feel for how things are going to go throughout the big day.

Although not all couples choose to have programs on their wedding day due to budget or time constraints, they do make not only a useful resource for guests but also a cherished memento that both you and attendees can keep for years to come. Deciding what information to include and leave out in the wedding program is half the battle before choosing a design, so you need to consider the overall feeling and theme of your wedding day, as well as what's most important to you and your spouse to convey to guests when they receive the program. Here's a general outline of what you may want to include in the wedding program:

  • Date, time and location of the ceremony
  • Names of the bridal party - maid/matron of honor, best man, bridesmaid(s), groomsmen, usher(s), flower girl and ring bearer
  • Names of important family members - parents of the bride and groom, grandparents
  • Names of significant figures at the ceremony - officiant, readers, musicians
  • General outline of the ceremony - depending on how formal it is or if you're having a religious ceremony, you may want to include specific titles of readings or scriptures and songs
  • Short thank you letter from the bride and groom
  • In loving memory tribute to deceased family members or close loved ones

If you're having a religious ceremony and/or holding the nuptials in a church, you may have to submit a draft to a staff member at the church for approval prior to getting the programs printed and assembled. This is to ensure that the integrity and solemnity of the religious proceedings are upheld throughout the ceremony. Be sure to check with your officiant or the office at your church for any requirements.

If you’re looking to think outside the box of a simple folded sheet of card stock, take a look at some of these unique wedding program ideas to get you inspired.

Keep Guests Cool with a Personal Program Fan

Photo by  Vine Wedding  via Etsy

Photo by Vine Wedding via Etsy

Especially if you’re getting married during the warmer months or are holding your ceremony in a location that doesn’t have any air conditioning (yes, that does happen – I was the maid of honor at a wedding like that!), consider doubling-up duty with your wedding programs and making them personal hand fans for your guests. Not only will they receive all the important and fun information about your big day, they also will be able to keep themselves cool throughout the day. Sweet Violet Bride offers a comprehensive DIY tutorial on how to make your own wedding program fan, and The Knot provides a few different free templates depending on the style and theme of your wedding.

Go Rustic with a Chalkboard Sign

Photo by Salty Peanut Photography via  The Wedding Chicks

Photo by Salty Peanut Photography via The Wedding Chicks

Thanks to the resurgence of rustic and vintage-everything these days, chalkboard signs are at the top of the popularity list right now regardless of the event. If you’re looking to save money, opt to go with a giant chalkboard sign at the entrance of your ceremony space that outlines the important details, such as names of the wedding party, officiant and a brief order of ceremony events. Magnet Street offers a great tutorial and tips on how to achieve a picture perfect chalkboard sign.

Escort Card and Send-off Favor – All in One!

Again, it’s great when you can have your wedding programs serve multiple purposes as both a budget and time saver. Have your programs serve as that and an escort card – include your guest’s name and table number on one side, and the program on the other. You also could attach it to a ribbon wand to serve as a send-off favor when you’re walking down the aisle with your new spouse or leaving the reception at the end of the night.

Hand Out Program Favor Bags

Photo by  RISEbridal

Photo by RISEbridal

Whether you choose to stuff bags with confetti or rose petals for the big send-off or offer a candy bar with bags for guests to stuff themselves, a favor bag printed with your ceremony program is both fun and functional. RISEbridal offers gorgeous screen printing designs for all your wedding day needs.

Extra! Extra! Create a Newspaper Program

Photo by  Ko Two Designs  via Etsy

Photo by Ko Two Designs via Etsy

Because we live in the digital age, newspapers are slowly taking a backseat to delivering us our news and current events. For a touch of nostalgia, create a wedding program newspaper that offers stories about the bride and groom (how you met, the proposal, etc.), as well as include wedding-themed games, such as crossword puzzles, to keep guests entertained as they wait for the activities to commence. Ko Two Designs on Etsy makes designing this interactive program a breeze.

Design a Glossy Magazine All About Your Wedding

Photo by  Twentypages

Photo by Twentypages

How fun would it be to have an entire magazine dedicated to you and your spouse and your wedding day? Well, Twentypages makes that possible! You can design and fully customize a high-quality glossy magazine for you and your guests to enjoy throughout the big day and in years to come.

Get Graphic with Infographics

Photo by  Yellow Brick Graphics  via Etsy

Photo by Yellow Brick Graphics via Etsy

If you’re into graphic design or art, a bold, fun infographic for your wedding day program may be the way to go. You can include vibrant colors, various fonts and even cartoon drawings of you, your spouse and wedding party. The options are limitless! Yellow Brick Graphics offers several options – or, if you’re good with graphic design, give it a go yourself!

Get Creative with Cootie Catchers

Photo by  Alchemy Hour Designs  via Etsy

Photo by Alchemy Hour Designs via Etsy

A fun and unique game for both children and adults alike, a vintage-inspired cootie catcher will keep all your guests entertained and reminiscing about the days when they used to create their own versions of the popular paper game. Alchemy Hour Designs makes it easy for you to customize your cootie catchers and include all the desired information.

Don’t let your wedding programs be an afterthought or overlooked detail of your wedding day – with a bit of inspiration and creativity, you can create (or purchase!) a program that will be unique and memorable to both you and your guests.

Karly Anderson is a born and raised Midwest girl currently residing outside Milwaukee, Wis. Her blog, Miss in the Midwest, chronicles her take on beauty, life and style in the Heartland. Catch up with Karly on InstagramFacebook and Twitter