Friday, June 3, 2011

Step 76 - Review Order of Ceremony with Officiant/Create Wedding Program

(2 Months to 3 Months before your Wedding)
For many couples, the wedding program might start out as an unimportant item for their wedding ceremony. It's not realized how important the wedding program is until late in the wedding planning process and that's after finding out after talking to wedding experts such as officiants, wedding planners and parents. It just so happens, the wedding program is just about the only document that serves as a written testament of your wedding.

The wedding ceremony program tells your wedding ceremony story, the time, date and location of your wedding and who were the readers and who was all in the bridal party. The wedding program gets transformed into a special piece of paper. For generations, this simple piece of paper often does not get thrown out when the ceremony is over, it ends up going into the back of wedding albums and to the back of scrapbooks and memory boxes. This precious piece of paper becomes an important part of wedding planning.

A wedding program is typically given out to each guest as they arrive for the ceremony. There is no standard guideline for creating a wedding program. The only thing that matters is the structured order of the wedding ceremony is recommended to be included. Other than that it's up to the couple, they can pretty much design and decorate the wedding program to any style they like.

The couple should first meet with the pastor or officiant before embarking on creating their wedding program. The officiant usually has his own template for how he/she runs their wedding ceremony. Each religion tends to have their own variation of a wedding service and each officiant might apply a slight spin on how to organize their service. Before you discuss the ceremony order with your officiant, you should have what music selections your wedding musicians are going to play and have heard them play it or sing it and you are happy with the sound of their performance. Also, you should have identified what passages your readers are planning. Your officiant might recommend some readings if you have not identified a passage yourself.

You have a number of options to create your wedding programs, you can have your calligrapher create your program, use a professional wedding program company to create your program or you can do it yourself. Many wedding couples opt to do it yourself, for with the technology available today, it's not a hard project to do. The wedding programs can be a simple design and many couples will even color scheme or use clip art to add the wedding theme to the program.

Add a little elegance to the wedding program. Punch two holes to the top left corner. The holes should be spaced about 1 and a half inches from the edge of the paper. You can place the holes side by side or on top of one another. Run a piece of colored ribbon or yarn matching to the color scheme of the wedding and on top tie a pretty bow.

After you are done creating the wedding program, obtain some lined baskets and place the wedding programs in the lined baskets and tie a same colored ribbon or yarn with a bow to the basket. Keep the wedding programs near the wedding couple's guest register table when the programs are not being distributed to the wedding guests.

There are basically five different components that can be incorporated into the wedding program. First you have the program title (it's really the cover page or first page of your wedding ceremony), second you have the "Order of the Service", third you have an "Acknowledgement of the Participants". fourth you have "Messages and Notations", and fifth you have "Wedding Week Activities".

The program title might be set up in the following format:

                              The Wedding Ceremony of

                                         Bride's Name
                                        Groom's Name
                                         Day and Date
                                     Ceremony Location
                                          City and State

Usually the cover page, the font is in large print and can be various ledgeable font types and is generally centered on the page. The program title can be reworded many different ways from "The Wedding Ceremony of" to "The Sanctity of Marriage" etc. The parents and grandparents could be included right after the bride and groom's name and the day and date and time should be displayed in formal English format. The Day and Date should be displayed such as "July Fourth, Two Thousand Twelve" and time displayed "Twelve o'clock in the afternoon". (Not July 4, 2012 or 12:00 p.m.)

The second part of your wedding program is the "Order of Service". Your pastor or your officiant or church secretary usually can provide you with their church's service template or they might have created their own template. You usually can start by laying out the ceremony from their guide. You then add the music selections that you have decided for your prelude, bridesmaid processional, bridal processional, interlude music and finally the recessional. You should include name of the song, the artist, and the performer and the instrument being used.

You also want to include in the program the names of any books used for readings or poems, the name of the author and reader. For any passages in the bible or holy books you should notate the number of passage and what book it was from. Also if hymnal books are used, what hymnal book and the hymn number in the book.

The "Order of the Service" will go something like the list below.

Bridesmaid Processional
Bridal Processional
Welcome and Prayers by Officiant
Readings by Officiant, Family Members, or Friends
Interlude Music
Wedding Message by Officiant
Marriage Rites (Vows, Exchange of Rings, Declaration of Marriage)
Lighting of the Unity Candle by the Bride and Groom
Interlude Music
Wedding Prayer
Lord's Prayer
The Blessing of the Marriage/Benediction

In some wedding programs the "Order of Service" may fit on a single page and include just a summary. For other wedding programs, the service may include all the words of the service, includes all the readings, the wedding vows, poems, and all the information on all the music and the wedding program may be pages long. The other important thing to note, everything must be spelled correctly, the correct spelling of names, the correct book and reading numbers from the Bible, the hymnal book used and hymnal number should show.

You also must pay special attention to the music selections. Many classical musical selections often have tricky spellings and it is easy to miss an apostrophe or write the wrong number selection. Include the names of all the participants in the readings and wedding music, be sure to also include the names of authors and music composers. Have the wedding program double checked for order and spelling by an officiant or church secretary. Be sure the program is checked thoroughly by multiple sets of eyes.

The third part of the wedding program is the "Acknowledgement of the Participants". This includes a listing of all the participants of the wedding.

The "Acknowledgement of the Participants" will look something like this below:

The Wedding of "Bride's Name" and "Groom's Name"
"Date and Time"

Participants and Witnesses

Parent's of the Bride                                                                          Name
Parent's of the Groom                                                                        Name
Grandmother of the Bride                                                                   Name
Grandfather of the Bride                                                                     Name
Grandmother of the Groom                                                                Name
Grandfather of the Groom                                                                  Name
Minister                                                                                             Name
Maid of Honor                                                                                   Name
Bridesmaid                                                                                        Name
Bridesmaid                                                                                        Name
Bridesmaid                                                                                        Name
Best Man                                                                                          Name
Groomsman                                                                                      Name
Groomsman                                                                                      Name
Groomsman                                                                                      Name
Flower Girl                                                                                        Name
Ring Bearer                                                                                      Name
Program Attendant                                                                           Name
Usher                                                                                               Name
Usher                                                                                               Name
Wedding Director                                                                             Name
Church Secretary                                                                              Name
Organist                                                                                            Name
Soloist                                                                                               Name

In the wedding programs you want to be sure you have included everyone's full name including first, middle, and last names. Include Mr., Mrs., Ms., and Miss in front of all the parents and grandparents names. You want to use the full title of the Officiant's name such as Reverend, Rabbi, Doctor, Bishop, Captain, etc. before his formal name, if they have a special doctorate include that too. If one of the parents is a doctor use the Dr. instead of Mr. or Mrs. Be sure to verify the full name of all the wedding participants. Many people use their second name or use their nickname. Often it happens, you think you know a person's name, you've heard the same name used for many years and are totally shocked when you find out it's not their formal name.

The fourth piece of the wedding program is the "Messages and Notations". This part of the wedding program often the bride and groom write a personal note thanking everybody coming for their special day. They may include some acknowledgements of things some people have done or thanking individuals for being part of their life. They may also mention loved ones that are dearly departed. They might include special thanks for somebody paying for their flowers. This section may also be used to plug some of the wedding vendors, this helps in some cases to provide contacts for some of the wedding guests who may be looking for wedding contacts some day in the future.

You also may provide some information, such as the place and time of the wedding reception will be and provide directions how to get there. If the directions are simple have a short note, if the directions are complex, you should create a separate page with wedding directions or have a map created. You can use Google Maps or Mapquest off the internet to help create a map. Make the map simple if directions come out complex.

The fifth part of the wedding program is for "Wedding Week Activities". Many wedding couples choose not to add this piece, but the wedding program is ideal to get the word out for those that want to get their message out. A section of the wedding program can be used to advertise a fun wedding week activity. Events like joining the Bride and Groom on a hot air balloon ride, or go white water rafting, joining them in a round of golf, going to see a dinner show, or going to see a ballgame together. The wedding program can show the rehearsal schedule and where the rehearsal dinner will be, any cocktail hour celebration for the out-of-town guests, the wedding ceremony, the wedding reception, and join the family in a brunch and see the wedding couple open gifts the morning after the wedding.

If the wedding couple decides to create a wedding program from companies or programs off the internet, the companies below can help create you a beautiful wedding program.

There are also wedding sites that can help you with different aspects of the wedding program. There are sites for wedding poems, readings, special prayers, wedding verses, wedding quotes, readings for civil ceremonies, humorous wedding readings, religious readings, and wedding song lyrics.

Your wedding ceremony reading should be a personal selection, there are thousands of beautiful readings to choose for your wedding, you will want to identify a reading that fits you and your beloved. Some recommended web sites for readings are listed below.

Often, weddings are held on hot days, could get warm in a church or a church hall and many weddings are held outdoors. A great favor to help compensate for the heat at a wedding, wedding programs are sometimes created into a wedding fan. Wedding fans are created into fans into the shape of a heart, tree, or a folding Chinese variety. The wedding fans include the programs, help with the heat and sometimes are used to take home and decorate a wall. There are programs on Youtube that instruct how to create a Do-it-Yourself wedding fan. Some companies that can help you create a wedding fan are listed below.

You may even consider asking your calligrapher to create a wedding fan, he may be happy to create one for you and add another product to his/her repertoire. So wedding programs are really important documents that end up being a keepsake for your wedding and often are a reference of who participated at your wedding. You should target creating a wedding program that are enough for each of your guests. Also put some extra wedding programs aside for your wedding party. They may not be able to claim one at the wedding ceremony. Remember, not to overdecorate your wedding program, don't use too much clip art or stamps. Don't let it to become too tacky, use simple designs rather than get too elaborate.

Create a beautiful wedding program for your wedding, be sure to review it with your officiant before printing your supply out! See you on the other side!


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