Monday, May 5, 2008

D-I-Y Ceremony Programs

This week I wanted to do a blog series dedicated entirely to DIY (do-it-yourself) wedding projects. Today we are featuring ceremony programs - one of my favorite DIY wedding projects! If the thought of spending hundreds of dollars on paper alone for your programs makes your cringe, you're not alone! Let's face it, custom ceremony programs are expensive and often times run just as high as your invitations if you choose to order from a printing or wedding stationary company. My advice? Create them yourself at home!

First things first, let's discuss what actually goes into a ceremony program:

  • Full names of both the bride & groom, wedding date, and the city/state where ceremony is taking place

  • Basic elements of ceremony including music selections, composers, and any performers

  • Titles of any readings, including authors and reader names

  • Wedding party members, including both sets of parents (It is also proper etiquette to list the officiant's name in this section as well)

  • Lastly, a thank you note to both sets of parents, as well as guests.

Other items you may wish to add:

  • A memorial page honoring deceased loved ones

  • Any lyrics or poems that are especially meaningful to you

  • Information about the reception

  • Any traditions or ethnic customs that may be unfamiliar to guests

Next, let's discuss how to create them at home:

Paper selection is very important when deciding to create your own programs at home. You probably don't want the thin, flimsy, and practically see through paper that many churches offer for their ceremony programs, or else you would just go directly to them to create your program for you, right? However, on the other hand, you need to pay close attention to the thickness of your paper as well. If you choose a paper that is too thick, you may have difficulty running the paper through your home printer. One of my favorite papers for programs is linen card stock. This is what I used for my own wedding and I recommend to all of my clients. Paper and more is an excellent online company for ordering paper. The quality is top notch and best of all, the prices are very reasonable! For example, Bright white linen card stock #80 (8 1/2 x 11) runs $15.99 for 100 sheets. The same exact paper at Michael's runs $.79 per, if you plan to invite 200 + guests to your wedding... well, you do the math!

Here are a few examples of relatively simple programs you can make at home:

1. Booklet Ribbon Tied Programs - One of the easiest ways to create programs yourself. Paper and ribbon selection should match your wedding colors. Don't be afraid to try other paper colors besides white; however, do keep in mind your printer's ability to print in colors other than black. At home printers do not always print in white, so be careful when choosing dark paper colors.

2. Ribbon Tied Programs (cont.)- Same idea as above; however, ribbon is instead placed at top of program. Some may find it easier to create this type of program rather than the booklet ribbon tied program above.

3. Layered Program - I personally like this style a lot (although I would tie a ribbon at the top instead of the paper boarder). This isn't something you see very often, so if you are looking for uniqueness, give this one a try! This takes a little more time and skill to create this type of program, so plan ahead and start experimenting least 2-3 months in advance.

4. Fan Programs - These are very popular for outdoor or summer weddings. Often times many churches do not have air conditioning, so these are a nice gesture to keep your guests cool while following along during your ceremony. Many websites have instructions and templates for creating these types of programs. I also have templates and instructions for this type of program, as well as all the above types. Email me if you'd like me to send you any.

After you've decided on paper and a specific style, it's time to think about printing them. Most of the time, you can easily print your programs at home. You may go through an ink cartridge or two, but you'll save in the end! If you are not comfortable printing them at home, another option is to head to a printing shop like Kinko's. Kinko's is very reasonably priced for their printing services and the best part is most Kinko's are open 24 hours a day!

Lastly, it's important to make a sample FIRST, before ordering large amounts of supplies for your programs. You don't want to get home with 100 + sheets of paper and 100 yards of ribbon only to realize you don't like the way they turned out. Prepare in advance and experiment with color/paper combinations and you'll be well on your way to creating your own programs at home!

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