Traditional Wedding Programs

A traditional wedding program can express your unique personalities as a couple while keepin a classic touch.

Traditional wedding programs are a great way for couples to express their theme and give guests important information regarding the rituals and participants in their ceremony. Because programs don't have years of customs to follow, read the Traditional Wedding Programs Guide for advice on creating a personal, yet classic, program for your wedding.

If you want to keep with tradition on your wedding programs, keep your stationery simple and elegant. One page programs or Oxford folded programs are favorites. Linen papers add weight and beauty for a timeless look. Colored papers can also be used, but keep them simple and understated. Look for rich creams and ivories to highlight your artwork and lettering. Pastels and darker solids are also acceptable, but stay away from bright colors or unusual shades. For example, opt for a creamy ecru shade for your fall wedding instead of an orange or red. Consider a scalloped or sculpted edge for additional detailing.

Front page art should match your invitations and other wedding stationery. Raised lettering or images lend an importance to the program and delicate artwork creates a timeless background. Keep your ceremony time line short and consider centering it on the page. Centered lettering with raised artwork such as a single lily will give an understated feeling of grace and serenity.

Scripted lettering or calligraphy bullets uphold your traditional theme for programs. Keep your ink colors soft and delicate. Make sure your ink colors contrast enough with your papers to be easily read by guests. For the previous example of ecru, consider blue, green or black inks. These colors will show up well and not overpower your paper. Keep the tonal qualities even between your paper choices and your ink colors.

Keep your wording formal throughout your program. Using elevated language and European spellings can add to the formality of your program. Include titles such as "Mr." and "Mrs." To add even more of a traditional touch, list the children as "Miss" and "Master." Include full names and at least a middle initial for all names in the program to keep the tone consistent.

Your choice of papers, inks, artwork and lettering will help carry the elegance of your plans. Try out different combinations for effect. Look into bridal magazines and bridal fairs for ideas and jot down the combinations or designs you like. Play with different styles of detailing such as scroll line breaks and delicate flower borders. Ask other brides and family members for suggestions. Photographers, bakers and caterers all deal with creating traditional looks for weddings -- their ideas on presentation and artistic arrangement can really help.

Traditional wedding programs are about tapping into the solemnity of a wedding. Carrying on the historic feeling of a marriage ceremony appeals to many brides as they follow in the footsteps of their mothers and grandmothers. Honoring the traditions these special women helped create will leave you in some lofty company.

Written by: Caroline Retzer