My personal opinion is that wedding ceremony programs are often necessary to a ceremony. Programs provide your guests with information about the ceremony, and they are a great vehicle for you to provide additional information about your wedding party, you and your groom and other important details about the most important part of your big day – the ceremony. When are wedding ceremony programs unnecessary? When there are no wedding attendants (bridesmaids, groomsmen, etc) or the wedding is very small/short then you probably won’t need a program.
Wedding ceremony programs are especially important if you are inviting guests to your wedding who may not be acquainted with the ceremony or your religion. If you belong to a faith or culture with a more complicated ceremony that your average guests wouldn’t be familiar with, a program is a great way to both educate and keep them in the loop so that they can fully participate in your wedding. Programs are also great even with a “standard” ceremony; they help you to honor the contributions of your bridal party and let your guests keep up with the ceremony timeline. They also make a nice wedding day keepsake for you and the family. Don’t forget to include them in your wedding scrapbook or memory album.
You can create wedding ceremony programs yourself, but if you want them to be a perfect match to your theme and other wedding stationery, I recommend getting them professionally printed. This also takes some pressure off of you and lets you concentrate on the other planning that a wedding necessarily entails. If you are working with a stationery designer to create your ceremony programs, be sure to get the final ceremony outline to the designer at least two months before the ceremony. Ideally, give the ceremony outline to the designer right around the time that you mail out the invitations. This way, they can plug it into your program design, you have time to proof it and approve it, and the designer can get it printed and shipped to you on time. You should make sure that you’ll be getting the finished, printed programs one month before the ceremony. This will give you time to make any changes or corrections if necessary.
Programs are a great way to keep your guests engaged while making your ceremony more meaningful for your guests.