Big Wedding, Small Budget

Wedding Programs

This past week, I broke my rule of sticking to my to-do list timeline and started working on our wedding programs. I mean, when inspiration hits, you’ve got to stop what you’re doing and follow it, right? So that’s what I did. It’s actually been a lot of fun playing with font, design, and layout. DIY on the computer is my favorite kind of DIY, apparently, and it makes me excited for some of the other projects I have planned to do for the wedding.

In the big picture, programs are pretty minor, I think, but in our wedding, they’re actually fairly important. Since we’re having an intercultural wedding, there will be many guests who have not attended a Jewish wedding before and are totally unfamiliar with the traditions. I don’t really want our officiant to have to introduce every step of the ceremony (that would take forever), so it’s easier and more helpful to just put it all in the program. It’s also a way to introduce our non-traditional wedding party, since the bridesmaids and ushers won’t be walking down the aisle or standing up front (just our families will be doing that). And finally, we’re having a lot of (hopefully) unique touches at the reception, and the layout isn’t traditional. So, I want to make sure that the guests find and sign the guestbook, know that we have lawn games, and sample the dessert. None of those elements will be happening in the traditional way, so the program serves as a kind of “guide” to the reception as well.

Putting together the program has also amped up the excitement level exponentially. For the first time, I saw our whole wedding laid out, written down on paper. Every step, every special element was there. Things are coming together, and the program highlighted all of the decisions and plans that have already been made. It was so much to fun to picture all of the things I was writing about!

Although I already have the design for our program done, I wanted to highlight some of the fun ideas I have seen out on the interwebs. Sources listed below the pictures, as always!

Remember those folded paper fortune tellers we used as kids? It would be so fun to have them as a wedding program! From Alchemy Hour Designs on Etsy.

Having an outdoor wedding and worried about it being hot? Combine your program and giving some comfort to your guests. From A Cool Breeze.

This might be my favorite wedding program ever. It’s the Daily Prophet! This is Offbeat Bride; if you click the link, you can actually see the context and text of the program.

I think the scroll programs are classy, but still a little unique. From

This may not look like much, but in the Offbeat Bride world, it’s considered to be the mother of all wedding programs. It’s worth clicking the link to read the content; it’s hilarious.

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Guest Books

I definitely want to have a fun guest book at our wedding. I don’t want just a book where people write their names; I want something we can look over later, something we’ll enjoy looking at and remembering all of the people who came to our wedding. There are lots of creative ideas out there! Here are a few (as always, sources are listed below pictures):

Linda Carol Arts

A wedding sign in board would provide us with something fun and pretty to hang up, and it does give each guest the chance to write a message. But I’m sorry; it just reminds me too much of my bat mitzvah, even without a photo on it.

Must Love Weddings

One of my friends did the Polaroid guest book at her wedding. I think it’s such a fun idea; it’s like getting a bonus photo album of your guests! But with 250 people, I think it would get too expensive and too bulky. Also, I worry that the line to take photos would be too long and people would just give up. Even though our wedding is in Orlando, it isn’t Disneyworld, after all; we’d like to minimize lines.


I love the idea of a photo guest book; it’s a great way to share our lives with those guests that we don’t see or talk to very often. I’ve liked looking through these at other weddings I’ve been too. Also, a photo guest book would be easy to pass around tables, so there would be no waiting in line. And I love making Shutterfly albums, so that would be fun!

TexturedInk on Etsy

A poster-sized map would serve as a great guest book for our wedding. Our guests are coming from near and far, and I think it would be really fun to have guests sign in on the place where they live. But poor New Jersey would fill up really fast! And, so would Florida. So I’m not sure how practical this actually would be. But I think it would look really cool hanging up in our house.

PuzzledOne on Etsy

I am totally in love with this puzzle guest book! It’s available in several different colors, and I just think it’s so pretty! But the bigger ones are pretty expensive. I guess we could ask for one piece per family, but that seems pretty nit-picky and controlling. Also, I’m not sure how we would display it. I guess we could glue it and get it framed, but I think that process might be too expensive as well. It’s worth investigating, though.

Mendocino Weddings

The Jenga guest book is an idea I have seen popping up all over the wedding blogs. Steve and I do love some Jenga (and we love to play it with Emily), so it would be really cool to have the guest sign blocks. I think it would be so much fun to play a game of Jenga and chuckle over our wedding at the same time! Of course, with 250 guests, we’d have a couple of Jenga sets, but who cares? Plus, it would be really affordable, so obviously, I like that.

As with most things wedding, there are so many ideas out there. These are just a few of the guest book ideas I’ve come across. Who knows what else I’ll find?

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