The Sweet Christian Bride

Reception Programs

by admin on January 15, 2013 in Bridal Party, Budget, Logistics, Programs, Reception Traditions with 3 Comments

Having programs at the reception might seem like overkill if the event is small enough, casual enough, or emceed by a DJ.  Why spend the extra money to print off something that people don’t really need to know upfront?

That’s what I thought too.  Chris and I did not have programs for our reception, and it was a great choice for us to save the money that would have been spent and allot that instead to an aspect of the wedding that we cared more about.

Recently, however, I attended a wedding that did have programs for the reception at each guest’s plate, and it was a very smart decision.  They had about ten toasts that evening, which—in my mind—breaks every rule of party planning, yet they managed to pull it off!  Working against critics like me, they were still able to captivate their audience with every toast because they had spelled out in advance what the guests were to expect.  We could anticipate how long the evening was going to go, how long we would be sitting listening to toasts, and when it would be appropriate to get up for a bathroom or beverage break.  Most of the toasts were intriguing and well spoken too, which greatly helped the guests to remain engaged.

The wedding was also on a Sunday evening.  For most people, it was no problem because the next day was a national holiday.  Chris and I, however, both had to work early that next morning.  We hate leaving weddings early, but we knew we would have to for that wedding.  Having the program was really helpful for determining when would be an appropriate time to leave the wedding; we knew what program elements we would be missing after we left because they were all spelled out for us.  The result was that we actually stayed later than we had originally intended because we wanted to be a part of certain reception traditions, and we knew they would be coming up soon.

If you have a particularly long set of one thing at your reception (toasts, dancing, etc.), or if you anticipate that your guests might have to leave early, offering a program can do wonders for keeping them engaged and for helping them choose appropriate leave times.  Even if you don’t want to print off a program for each person, you can print one per table or have an easel written by the front door.

Other perks of having a program include the space to acknowledge song titles and significance; to introduce the people who are giving toasts; to introduce the bridal party and say a tidbit about each person; to give a shout out to any historical events that fall on the same calendar day; to offer a tribute to a family member who has passed away; to share the bride and groom’s new address; or any other sort of detail that might not be necessary but that certainly enhances the guests’ appreciation and engagement during the evening.

By Lindsay

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