You’ve planned and planned and planned.And now you are taking care of the loose ends in the final month of your wedding day journey. You’re still as busy as ever with work, family, finances, fittings, etc. Will you allow yourself enough time to create a beautiful wedding ceremony program?

For those who may think that their wedding guests don’t pay attention to ceremony bulletins, think again! What is the first thing that your family and friends are handed upon arriving at the ceremony site? You guessed it–the ceremony program!

“You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.”

The first impression that your guests will have about your wedding day will come from the first peek at your program. What will your bulletin say to them? Will it have the “Wow!” factor? If it does, it may be their first ‘glimpse’ into the beauty that the rest of the day will bring!

You don’t have to be a graphic artist to make a lovely wedding bulletin. Pay attention to detail. Ask yourself several questions:Is the font “wedding beautiful,” and is the size of the font easily readable? If you’re using a font color other than black, is that font color too light to read without squinting? Is the more important information emphasized by a larger font size? (Your names should be larger than the place or city of the wedding). Is information properly centered? (Often times it looks like it is on your computer, but once it’s printed, it becomes off-set). Are you including too much information making the program look cluttered? (You can easily omit information such as the composers of the music, the less important parts of service, and your relationship to the bridal party participants).

Not all of us have an eye for detail. For example, it always looks more professional to have separate pages for different categories. (Keeping all the bridal party members names on one page, and putting your ‘order of service’ on another is more pleasing to the eye than the same information spilling on to the next page). Think about spacing.(If you have an entire page on the back of the program free to dedicate to a deceased loved one, are you using the space so that it is aesthetically pleasing? Could you have included a more lenghthy tribute, a beautiful poem or perhaps a favorite photo of you and that person?)

The internet offers today’s bride a myriad of choices of bulletins–from the simplistic design on the front with the remaining pages empty, to purchasing the bulletins that match your wedding invitation, to beautifully-designed, one-of –a-kind-looking programs–that can cost as much as your invitation—if not more! (Should you decide to spend the extra money, consider only printing enough to give-one per couple.)

Know your limitations. Leaving your program up to the ‘church secretary’ may not be your best bet. Many companies that you find on the internet will not only sell you the bulletin, but will do all your set-up and assembly as well. (The more they do; the more you pay.) If you are doing them yourself and having them professionally printed, always get a proof. But before you get that far, have someone else not familiar with your information proof read your copy. It’s always more difficult to see your own mistakes and omissions. Somehow our brain tells us that it’s there when it isn’t!

Wedding programs are a wonderful memento. The more professional they look, the greater chance that your guests will keep them for years to come as a lovely keepsake of your wedding day. Remember, first impressions are everything!

By Gerra Gembarosky