• HELPFUL HINTS: A guide to programs

    Posted on October 8, 2012 by in Helpful Hints, Program


    Guide to Wedding Programs
    As all ceremonies are unique there is no clear and concise template to follow for organizing your program.  Your biggest resource will be your officiant who will help you word the order of ceremony correctly. Below is a list of the typical items listed in a program, you can include as much or as little as you would like:

    • Order of Service
    • Processional & Service Music Selection
    • Translations
    • Text for group prayers or readings
    • The wedding party & participants (relationship to bride & groom optional)

    o Officiant
    o Parents of the Bride & Groom
    o Grandparents of the Bride & Groom
    o Maid/Matron of Honor
    o Best Man
    o Bridesmaids
    o Groomsmen
    o Ushers
    o Soloists
    o Readers
    o Altar assistants
    o Organists
    o greeters

    • Thought of thanks, love and in memory
    •  Explanation of symbolic meaning of service components
    • Explanations of any unusual or different liturgy or ritual that guests may not understand. Especially helpful for ceremonies that have a mix of religion or cultures.
    • The story of how the bride & groom met, engagement story
    • Make them more personal with poetry or quote.

    These are some items that may seem like a good idea to include in a program, but generally are not a good idea and probably should be excluded.

    • Avoid Biographical write-ups of the bride, groom, family or attendants.
    • Advertisements for wedding service providers such as florists or consultants.

    I know a lot of brides are always looking for suggestions on how to word thoughts of thanks, and in memory so below are a few of my favorites that you may use as inspiration! 

    Thoughts of thanks to guests suggestions:

    • To Our Guests…We would like to thank everyone for joining us in Atlantic City for this momentous event in our lives.  Our wedding experience would not be the same without the love and support of our closest friends and family.  We hope that you enjoy this beautiful evening as much as we will.
    • We would like to thank every one of our family and friends for joining us.  Having all of you here celebrating our special day  means so much more to us than you will ever know.
    • We thank all the family and friends that joined us today, in some cases from far away. Thank you for making such an effort to share this special day with us. We feel very blessed to have each of you in our lives.
    •  To Our Family and Friends…We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all who have joined us today, in some cases traveling from far away.  Thank you for making such an effort to share this day with us.  We feel very fortunate to be surrounded by so many loved ones.  Having you here to celebrate our love and commitment makes this day even more special.

    Thoughts of thanks to parents suggestions:

    • To Our Parents…Your love and encouragement throughout our relationship has helped us get to this day.  The strength, patience, and unconditional love in your own marriages are what we aspire towards in our own.  You have set the ultimate example for us to follow on this new journey, and we cannot thank you enough for showing us the way.  We are eternally grateful to you for all that you have done for us.  We love you more than words can express.
    • To our loving parents, Max and Thelma, we would like to give you a special thank you.  Your continued love, support and generosity throughout all the years have been more than we could ever ask for.  We are both truly blessed to have such special people in our lives.  We love you always!
    •  To Our Parents…Your love and support go beyond any we have ever seen and more than we could have ever asked for.  Throughout our lives, you have given us all that you could, and then, amazingly, more.  Thank you for everything you have done to make this day so special.  We love you with all of our hearts.

    In Memory suggestions:

    • In loving memory of those who could not be here with us today, but we know are here in spirit.  We are always thinking of you and miss all of you deeply.  We pray that we will be joined once again in heaven.
    • On the most important milestone in our lives, we wish to lovingly remember those close to our hearts who are no longer with us. we know they are here with us in spirit.
    • Today, we remember our loved ones who are not able to be here with us.  You are in our hearts today and always.
    • “A butterfly lights beside us like a Sunbeam and for a brief moment its glory and beauty belong to our world. But then it flies again and though we wish it could have stayed…we feel lucky to have seen it.”

    Thanks & In Memory Combo Suggestions:

    • We would like to thank all of our family and friends for coming together and sharing in our joy on our wedding day. We would especially like to thank our parents who have given us the utmost love and support throughout our lives. This day would not be possible without their help, guidance, and patience. We love you all. We would also like to remember in a special way our grandparents. They may not be here with us today, but we know that they are in our hearts watching over us and continuing to bless our lives every day.

    Wedding Custom Explanations:

    Including an explanation of customs and traditions is helpful to include if most of your guests are unfamiliar with your religion.  I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common customs with explanations below that you may include in your program.
    • Ketubah הָבּוּתְכּ marriage contract signed by the Bride, Groom, Rabbi, and two witnesses before the ceremony. It outlines the responsibilities of the Bride and Groom, and confirms that Nora and Seth willingly accept each other.
    • Badeken ןקעדַאב The veiling of the bride.  After the Ketubah is signed, Seth lowers the veil over Nora’s face to acknowledge that he is marrying his beloved. This tradition dates back to the patriarch Jacob who married Leah, rather than his true love, Rachel.
    • Chuppah הָּפּוּח The wedding ceremony takes place under the Chuppah, a canopy supported by four poles.  It symbolizes the new home Nora and Seth will create as husband and wife. The four sides are open, recalling the tent of Abraham and Sarah, which was always open to visitors.
    • Encircling the Groom When the couple first enters the Chuppah, the Bride circles the groom seven times, representing the seven wedding blessings and seven days of creation. This demonstrates that the Groom is the center of her world. To make the ancient tradition reciprocal, Seth and Nora will circle each other.
    • Kiddushin ןישודיק   The kiddushin, or betrothal ceremony, begins with a blessing over the wine, a traditional Jewish symbol of simcha (joy). Nora and Seth will share their first cup of wine; symbolic of the simchot they will share in their marriage. Then Nora and Seth will exchange rings.  In Jewish law, the ring is placed on the right index finger, which stems from the ancient belief that the right index finger is directly connected to the heart. An ancient Aramaic phrase is recited.
    • Nissuin ןיאושינ The second part of the ceremony recites the Sheva Brachot, or seven blessings.  The blessings include a blessing over the wine, the creation of the world, and for the bride and Groom as individuals and as beloved companions, united in joy and gladness, laughter and song, dancing and jubilations, love and harmony, peace and friendship.
    • Breaking the Glass The custom of breaking the glass has many interpretations. A broken glass cannot be mended; likewise the promise made by Nora and Seth is irrevocable. The glass also symbolizes the destruction of the second temple in Jerusalem. In popular culture, it is the official signal to shout, “Mazel Tov!”
    •  Yichud דוחיי  After the bride and groom leave the Chuppah, they spend a few minutes alone in seclusion, known as Yichud. These few moments will give Nora and Seth the opportunity to recognize the sanctity of their new life together.
    • Festival Meal It is considered a mitzvah (blessing) to rejoice with the Bride and Groom on their wedding day. The meal begins with the Hebrew blessing over the challah (bread).
    • Kippah הָפּיכּ Commonly known by its Yiddish name, Yarmulke, the Kippah is the skullcap worn as a humbling reminder that G-d is always above us.
    • Our Chuppah Judaism is not only defined by the commandments we live – it is rich with history, custom, and symbolism. So too is our Chuppah. The center needlepoint-beaded-star represents our Jewish life, the center of our being. The concentric stars around it symbolize the generations. Those who marry under this Chuppah will place their names on a leaf, which represents Jewish continuity and its passage to generations that follow.  Every newlywed will thus be surrounded by those who came before them. The golden rays of ribbon signify Judaism radiating on the burgundy circle of life. The poles & frame represent the strength and support of our family and friends, which we could not live without. The poignant Hebrew phrase translates, “I have found who my soul loves”.  The tenets of Judaism have shaped our lives: close connection and support of family, friendships based on honesty and caring, valuing education and developing our intellect, and always being encouraged to follow our dreams. The pursuit of our individual journeys has led us to each other, as we come together today to celebrate our marriage.  It is with loving hands that this Chuppah was created. There is a special place in our heart for Nora’s Aunt Millie, who lovingly made the needlepoint. The Chuppah was hand made by Nora’s mom. Our appreciation to Ray and Millie Ortiz for engineering a design that sturdily supports our Chuppah.


    • Thirteen Gold Coins: Thirteen gold coins which represent abundance are exchanged between Maricel and Ryan.  They represent the commitment they have for one another to provide for each other’s needs.
    • Clothing of the Veil: The veil, which clothed us before at baptism, symbolizes a life of purity and joy in the Lord.  Maricel and Ryan are once again clothed in this precious garment.  They are joined as one under God’s loving protection.
    • Binding of The Cord: The cord symbolizes the love of God, which binds Maricel and Ryan together.  It represents God’s perpetual love showered upon them.


    Below are previous programs we have designed that may be helpful to use as a guide and/or template for your wedding program.


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