Ask the Experts is a weekly column that lets you tap into a panel of wedding professionals to get expert opinions on all your wedding questions.
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Dear Ask the Experts
My fiancé and I are trying to decide whether or not to have wedding programs. Are wedding programs important? Are they necessary? What are some good ideas for making them personal, but not over-spending on them?
From Brandi of All Events Planned
Programs are a decorative way to inform your guests of what is going on during your service. If you are not interested in the additional cost of programs then you should definitely skip them, except in certain circumstances.
If you are having a formal ceremony that will last an extended period, you should give guests a program. This way they are able to follow along with each section of the service. If you are following a religious or traditional ceremony and will want guests to be involved in prayers, kneeling or song, then have the programs available. This will allow guest from all religious backgrounds to understand what is happening in the service as well as to keep them involved in the traditions of your ceremony.
If there will be multiple guests from out of town or guests that will not be familiar with some, or all of your wedding party, then you certainly should have something available for them to know whom you have chosen for such places of honor. If you are having guests that may not speak the same language, then you will want programs printed in languages that are utilized by both sides of the family.
From Heidi of Three Graces Design
Wedding programs are helpful for your guests, especially if they are not familiar with your religious or cultural traditions. Beyond listing your scripture and music, the wedding program is also a means to share other information with your guests. Many couples choose to include a listing of the members of the bridal party and those involved in the service. Sections to remember loved ones, share words of thanks with the guests and provide your new address information can also be included in the wedding program.
Churches will often provide a standard wedding program at no additional cost to you. There are also DIY materials out there to work with. If you would like to leave it to the professionals, a custom designer can create your wedding program. For a wedding program that has one piece of paper with an embellishment (like a ribbon), our charges start at $2.00 per piece.
Brandi Hamerstone is the owner & senior wedding planner for All Events Planned. In her nine years of experience in the wedding industry, she has planned over 300 weddings.
Heidi Ruehle-May is the co-owner of Three Graces Design, a custom-design invitation business in Oak Park, Illinois, Heidi has years of experience in design and event planning.