Wedding programs are one of the few things brides and grooms are unlikely to interact with on their wedding day. For that reason, it’s easy to overlook them or phone-in the design choices.
But it’s important to steer clear of this pitfall. There are so many ways to make the most of your wedding programs so guests can keep up with the details of the event and walk away with a sentimental keepsake.
Learn all about the three main types of wedding programs and which type is best for the wedding you have in mind.
Simple, elegant, and sophisticated, tea-length wedding programs are arguably the most formal of the bunch. Set up vertically and sporting a long, narrow shape, these programs make it easy for guests to follow the flow of the days’ events. You’re able to add content on both the front and back; use the main space to introduce your wedding party and detail any songs or readings, while the back is perfect for a personal message, such as a note of thanks or a mention of loved ones who have passed.
Check out some of our favorite tea-length programs:
- Enchanting Crown: This suit is fit for royalty, with the centerpiece of the design consisting of a monogram ringed by a swirl of foliage.
- Dark Blooms: Bring the drama with a tea-length program emblazed with richly hued watercolor blossoms.
- Our Beginning: Geometrical shapes and color blocking come together for a design that expertly combines retro and contemporary aesthetics.
Perhaps the most instantly recognizable option, half-fold wedding programs are literally a standard rectangular-shaped piece of paper (really nice paper, in this case) folded in half vertically. The book-style structure provides a ton of space for sharing all your wedding-day info, and with four separate panels to work with, it automatically divides up content without requiring the use of design elements like boxes or lines to show where different sections end.
With a half-fold program, you can create a gorgeous cover that’s all about the happy couple. Then, the inside cover continues the introductions, perhaps incorporating the wedding party this time, and sets the scene for page three. Now it’s time for your readings, songs, and perhaps a quote or two that’s particularly meaningful to you and your betrothed. Finally, the back cover offers a range of possibility — it can be left blank, of course, but you could also add a simple statement-making monogram, or share a message of love and hope with your guests.
Half-fold programs are available in a plethora of designs running the gamut from a modern take on bright blue waves to peacock illustrations and chalkboard-inspired graphics.
Here are a few of our favorite half-fold programs:
- Love Is in the Air: The artist behind this suite took inspiration from vintage postcards with sketches of hot air balloons, clouds, and ribbons dancing across a kraft paper-like background. The subtle monogrammed banner on the back is an extra special touch.
- Made For Each Other: The black backdrop adds mega drama, while built-in photo frames put the focus on the happy couple, right where it should be. The inside is left unadorned (the better for guests to easily read and follow the text), while the back goes for a modern motif with geometric shapes and contrasting colors for maximum impact.
- Patterned Billy Ball: Sweet, brightly colored flowers breathe life into an otherwise stark background. Your chosen color weaves its way through the otherwise unfussy design for a finished product that’s feels as warm and welcoming as a sunny mid-summer day.
Outdoor weddings are awesome for a million different reasons. Getting married under a bright blue sky just feels magical somehow, as does saying “I do” while barefoot on the beach or surrounded by your nearest and dearest in your parents’ backyard. The downside? Alfresco events always run the risk of tiny gate crashers (yup, we’re talking about bugs) or unexpectedly hot and humid weather that can leave guests panting. Fan-style wedding programs provide the perfect solution by offering up important info as well as an opportunity to cool down as needed.
Fan programs fall into one of three categories based on the shape of the fan itself. The square and rectangular programs are self-explanatory, and the third category, shell program fans, speaks directly to destination weddings and beachfront affairs or if you just crave an unexpected design.
Cool down with these fan program favorites:
- Pristine Beauty: Subtle floral sketches and off-center text blocks make for an attention-grabbing program.
- Elegant Marble: Just as the name suggests, this design has a faux marble background topped with an art deco-inspired frame that keeps the spotlight on your name, wedding date, and venue details.
- Rustic Antler: A favorite of outdoorsy couples and those getting married in the mountains, in a forest, or at their lakeside cabin, this fan program design is a warm and welcoming salute to nature.
If you’re throwing a formal wedding…
There are no hard-and-fast rules about choosing programs for your wedding, so all three options would work here. Still, tea-length wedding programs probably have the edge because of their innately elegant design. The shape just feels graceful and refined — like you just got a menu for afternoon tea or a mouthwatering culinary experience at a 5-star restaurant.
If you need a program to match a fun, whimsical, or super-creative theme…
Start your search by looking at folded wedding programs. Four pages worth of space and the uncomplicated bi-fold design provide a generous canvas for splashes of watercolor, bold lines and shapes, as well as illustrations of beaches, florals, and your personal photos. You’ll likely find the most options in this category, so consider starting here — it could help you get inspired to explore wedding ideas that stray from tradition and embrace your more playful side.
If you have a lot of information you want to share with guests…
To pack in the maximum amount of info without sacrificing all your white space, choose a bi-fold wedding program. You get four panels to use, and the natural separation comes in handy when it’s time to figure out what to put where. You can split the difference, too, by leaving the front and back covers relatively unadorned and then going all out with text and a few embellishments inside.
If you’re set to say your vows outside…
Wedding program fans seamlessly merge form and function. A sturdy handle gives attendees a way to hold onto their manual cooling system, while the paper fan is both their guide to the event and a way to drive off flies and generate some much-needed air. It’s a great way to help keep guests comfortable so they can concentrate on your vows rather than waging war against a bunch of bees.
If you’re looking for a keepsake…
All these options make for wonderful mementos, but knowing how you want to preserve your program could influence which style you ultimately choose. The streamlined design of tea-length programs makes them ideal for framing. You can show off just the front, where key details like your names and the date are most likely to appear, or put two programs in the frame side by side with one reversed to ensure the entirety of the text is legible.
Half-fold programs are a bit trickier. You’ve got four panels to account for now, and that means either using four frames or exploring other methods of preservation. One option is to cut apart several programs to make a complete display in a much larger frame or a scrapbook.
As for wedding program fans, the handle makes framing rather difficult, but it’s perfect for stowing in a shadowbox. Use the fan as a sort of backdrop, then layer smaller elements like your bouquet (or a piece of it), a photo, a copy of a reading, your hair clips or cufflinks, and so on.
Not sure which program is right for you? Order MagnetStreet’s free samples, and see how your design choices look in person before committing to a larger order.