Stationery Guide: Stationery for Your Wedding Ceremony


I hope you're making the most of the lovely Autumn sunshine. I always think once we get to October sunlight feels so much more precious, as it might be the last we see for a while!  Today's post looks at stationery for the wedding ceremony itself. It’s a bit wordy, but I hope it clarifies anything you're unsure of and inspires you to include some personal touches.  As always if you have any questions, or ideas you'd like to discuss, I'd be delighted to hear from you.

Image Credit: Bethany Stanley

Image Credit: Bethany Stanley


So, order of service, order of the day or programme?

I'm the first to admit this can be a bit confusing. They do broadly the same job, but which, if any, of these you choose will depend on the type of ceremony you're having.


Order of service

In the U.K. orders of service are traditionally used to guide guests through the wedding ceremony with details of readings and music, and often words for the hymns (to save juggling both order of service and hymn book!).  If you're having a church ceremony, this is what you'll need.

What to include:

Ceremony Details:

  • Your names
  • Date time and place of ceremony
  • Who is officiating?

Ceremony Content:

  • Any music before, during and after the ceremony. Include details of composers and performers where appropriate.
  • Details of hymns (again include credits where possible) Either have the words printed in full, or provide a clear reference to where they can be found in the hymn book.
  • Details of religious and other readings, including who's reading them.
  • Words to any prayers, or other parts of the service guests are expected to participate in.
  • You might also wish to include a note of thanks to those involved in the ceremony and anyone whose help has been invaluable in the run up to the wedding.

Any Other Business

  • Rules on confetti
  • Requests not to take photos during the ceremony
  • A reminder of where the reception is taking place (my family has some epic stories of getting lost in between the two!)

Your vicar or other officiant will advise you on content and appropriate order for your service. They may also insist on seeing the final proof before you get it printed, so bear this in mind when planning your timeline. In my experience, orders of service are the one item that cause more last minute drama than any other.  For a bit more leeway, you may prefer to have order of service covers and print the inserts yourselves.

Order of the day

Better suited to a civil ceremony, Order of the day cards provide guests with brief details of what to expect when during the day. These are especially helpful for elderly or infirm guests, and those with young children, ensuring nobody misses the cutting of the cake or your first dance as Mr. and Mrs.

Think of This as a Timeline of Key Events Throughout the Day:

  • Any welcome gathering before the ceremony itself
  • The ceremony
  • Photographs
  • Canapés or pre-dinner drinks
  • Speeches
  • Wedding breakfast
  • Any particular highlights such as music, fireworks or other entertainment
  • Cutting the cake
  • First dance (If you’re having one. We didn’t and the world didn't end!)
  • Arrival of evening guests / serving evening snacks
  • When do the celebrations finish?
  • Are you having a send-off before the end of the night?


Wedding Programme

In essence this is the American term for Order of Service, though it's less prescriptive in format, often including details of both the ceremony and the day's celebrations.  Include any elements you feel are appropriate from the lists above, or consider the following:

Treat it as a More Elaborate Order of the Day:

  • Include brief details of readings and music during the ceremony
  • Who’s making the speeches?
  • Perhaps include a menu for the wedding breakfast

Treat it as an Order of Service for Your Civil Ceremony

  • Print readings in full
  • Give details of any music
  • If you’ve written your own vows, would you like these printed too?
  • U.S. etiquette is to include a ‘who’s who’ of the wedding party. A particularly nice touch if a lot of your guests don’t already know each other.

Other Elements You Might Like to Include:

  • Directions from ceremony to reception venue
  • A separate card to write advice for the happy couple, or requests for the DJ
  • A small envelope filled with tissues for happy tears, or confetti for throwing.
  • A note of thanks for sharing the occasion with you.
  • A short quote, or a few words to set the tone.
  • Remembrance of loved ones not able to attend.