Wedding programs: are they really needed?

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Sure these programs are hip AF… but do you NEED them?

Are wedding programs really needed?…Seriously! Are they? Our ceremony will be 20-30 minutes long max. And if my partner could get his way, it'd be done in 5. There will be some talking, some vows, the wine box ceremony, kiss, done.

I'm just wondering if I need a program with the wedding party info and all that. Will I miss it during and after the wedding or years down the road?
-vjmendi

[related-post your-programs-paper-airplanes]There's no right answer to this question. For some folks, your programs = paper airplanes doomed for the recycle bin. For others, they're an amazing opportunity to crack your guests up.

While there's absolutely no reason you have to do them, there are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you want to give guests something to look at while waiting for the ceremony to begin?
  • Is it going to be hot, and do you want to give your guests something that doubles as a fan?
  • Do you want to explain some back-story on ceremony components your guests might not be familiar with, like the wine-box ceremony?
  • Are you making a point to do a big thank-you for your wedding party in other ways?

If you decide you DO want to do programs, man have we got some inspiration for you.

What do you guys think? Are wedding programs worth the effort? What are you doing for yours? Show ‘n' tell, please!

Wanderlust Wedding Program Minibooks
These really are cute programs though, aren't they?

Comments on Wedding programs: are they really needed?

  1. We did programs because we’re having a Quaker ceremony and wanted to explain it to our guests. They’re very simple: I designed them myself with text only, two on an 8.5×11 page, and printed them at Kinko’s and finally cut them in half.

    • I would love to see your program! We are planning a Quaker ceremony and would love to see what you put in the program.

  2. We didn’t have a wedding program. Instead, we bought a cheap chalkboard, set it up on a chair at the entrance to our ceremony site and wrote out who was in the ceremony (officiant, musician, readers, bridesmaids, groomsmen). I figured that’s all people would look at the program for anyways.

    My thing is…if you are seriously questioning or doubting if you need a program…then you probably don’t need one.

  3. We had one, but only because we had a significant amount of audience participation (we only had 10 guests, and they each picked their own reading to share–all of which were printed in the program). The only other reason I think you’d “need” a program is if you were concerned about people not being able to hear what was going on.

    That said, I totally agree with Lauren, if you’re questioning it, I really don’t think you need a program.

  4. We did not have programs, and everyone was still able to figure out what was going on. 🙂
    I actually designed the program, twice. I didn’t print any, though, because we didn’t know if my husband’s brother was actually going to come and be the best man or not. If we’d had programs, I would have had to print two sets and then figure out which one to use the night before.

    I didn’t feel that anything was missing, and no one has commented on the lack of programs. Chose what’s important and focus your energies there. If the program isn’t important, skip it.

  5. We are doing a program because we are having a Catholic mass with some Filipino cultural elements and many of our guests may not be familiar with the mass and/or the Filipino elements.

    I think if you’re doing a fairly basic ceremony that doesn’t require much audience participation, you’re probably in the clear not to do them!

  6. We will probably do one–we are having a fairly offbeat ceremony with a very traditional family. Some things will need explaining so that it won’t just seem like weird for weird’s sake (as I’ve been accused of in the past 😀 )

    • This is pretty much exactly why I’m planning to do programs. I’ve started work on them, though as another poster mentioned, the last of FH’s groomsmen is still a bit up in the air, so we have to hold off on printing them (no big, wedding is still better than 2 months out), but we, too, come from traditional roots and have pretty much chucked them all out the window. I do not want the larger part of my family writing off the wedding as being “weird for weird’s sake,” as I have ALSO been accused of in the past, so I will be detailing the significance of the parts of the ceremony and the colours the honour party are wearing/carrying, as well as who’s who.

  7. I WANTED to…but of all the projects I was working on, it got left until the end. It wasn’t necessary, and if I am honest, I know it was probably just another thing I intended to use to wow people with my creativity, as I had a kick-arse, so ME idea. I don’t think any guests noticed. Prior to the wedding, we put up information about our wedding party on a wedding website (they had access to this the moment we gave them the address on our save the date). I figure most people who know me and US will know that my mom walked me down the aisle, that my long-lost sister was my officiant, and that the ring bearers and flower girls were kids of my bridesmaids. If not, it was an opportunity for communication. They can ask us or ask around. The same is true of the music we chose or vows. I’d be glad to tell people about those if needed. Overall, I mourn not getting to execute my awesome idea, but I couldn’t have squeezed any more energy out of myself in those last days. And I had family and friends to visit with, so there’s no way I’d let that take priority.

  8. We skipped programs, and everyone was able to follow along with our very offbeat 30-minute ceremony just fine. We did make sure that our officiant explained all of the things that happened that people might not know about, like our Japanese tea ceremony and the ring warming. Nobody got confused 🙂 We also only had two people in our wedding party who were outgoing about introducing themselves during the reception and also had bios on our wedding website, so I didn’t feel like we needed to put names in a program.

  9. I play in a string quartet and we play lots of weddings (17 for this year).

    Most weddings we play have a program, and it’s really helpful for people like me. Even if there wasn’t one for the guests, if you have vendors (photographer, musicians, etc…) then they KNOW what is happening in what order. Super helpful if you need a cue telling you when the next thing is going to happen.

  10. No programs at all for us–our ceremony was about 10 minutes long (most guests stood for it) and I had no interest in making programs. I decided, our friends and relatives are smart…they can figure out what’s going on. It helped that we had a fabulous, experienced celebrant who explained the ring warming during the ceremony so people didn’t get confused over that.

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