The Sweet Christian Bride

Turning Conventionality into Creativity

by admin on April 25, 2013 in Budget, Logistics, Programs with No Comments

Programs are usually a last-minute item in the wedding planning by nature of containing later decisions such as music choice and Scripture readings.  The result is that they can feel burdensome to spend time on.  It’s easy to skimp here on the budget and assume that people will end up throwing them away anyway.

That may or may not be true, and you can certainly make excellent, low-budget programs, but programs can be an unsuspecting moment of promise for your guests.  They will likely be expecting a traditional leaflet or paper text itemizing the agenda and won’t think less of receiving just that.  This means that anything you do above this baseline expectation will surprise them and pique their excitement for your wedding.

Think about how you can tie your programs into your theme or into the location and weather. For example, if you are having a summer wedding, you can print your program on stiff cardstock, cut it into a pleasing curved shape, and attach a handle to it—it’s a fan!  Your guests will be so grateful for your thoughtfulness to protect them from the heat.

I recently went to a wedding where the bride and groom used the fan idea for their programs.  Their fan, however, had four, long, rectangular pieces of cardstock that were tied together at the bottom.  You could spread them out into a fan or you could retract them into a bookmark.  I was impressed by the cleverness of their design and grateful for its functionality given the heat in the chapel.

Maybe your wedding is regally elegant and you can roll your programs into scrolls with monogrammed seals holding them closed.  Or that same concept, but for a beach wedding, could turn a scroll into a message in a bottle for each of your guests.

If you want to go for true functionality, you can print your program on the label of a water bottle so your guests don’t get thirsty.  It saves the hassle of another item to keep up with while also turning a standard water brand label into something personal.

Or if you are putting blankets on your guests’ chairs as their favors, tie a thick ribbon around it and print your program basics on a card tied to the ribbon.

To be totally cost-effective, you can skip programs altogether.  If you do this, make sure you plan with the guests in mind in the other aspects of your wedding so they don’t feel neglected.  Guests like to know what’s going on, and they are extremely receptive and grateful for decisions you make that increase their enjoyment.  One or two missed amenities will be graciously overlooked by your guests, but more will make them feel like they don’t matter to you.

You can address this concern by printing one or two portrait-sized programs and displaying them on standing easels somewhere near the seats.  That will save on copying and materials but will still allow your guests to know what the ceremony entails.

When in doubt, stick with the traditional booklet.  They are beautiful and reliable!  But whatever you decide to do, do it in line with your and your fiancé’s personalities.  The very nature of receiving something that is done in your image makes the guests feel invited and let-in.  And whether your guests pick up on it or not, your personalities are in the image of Christ, so they are seeing an authentic glimpse of how God has chosen to reveal Himself in you and your fiancé.

Photo © Gary O’Kane

Article was originally published on March 4, 2011.

By Lindsay

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