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Category Archives: Wedding Programs

Wedding Vows: A Selection of Wedding Ceremony Vows and Readings

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If you’re thinking of writing your own marriage vows or personalizing your ceremony by reading meaningful passages, explore the world’s treasure trove of beautiful literature. Prose, poetry, religious texts, modern spiritual writing, Hollywood movies, and folk songs can all provide inspiration. Here are several great verses.

From “Invitation to Love,” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, in I Hear a Symphony: African Americans Celebrate Love; eds. Paula Woods and Felix Liddell:
Come when my heart is full of grief,
Or when my heart is merry;
Come with the falling of the leaf
Or with the redd’ning cherry

From “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,” in The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats:
But I, being poor have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

From The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran:
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

From “Somewhere I Have Never Traveled,” by E. E. Cummings in Complete Poems: 1904-1962:
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skillfully, mysteriously) her first rose

From “Sonnet 116,” in Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken

From “How Do I Love Thee?”, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning in One Hundred and One Classic Love Poems:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach

From Beloved, by Toni Morrison:
Paul D sits down in the rocking chair and examines the quilt patched in carnival colors. His hands are limp between his knees. There are too many things to feel about this woman. His head hurts. Suddenly he remembers Sixo trying to describe what he felt about the Thirty-Mile Woman. “She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”
From “A Poem of Friendship” in Cotton Candy on a Rainy Day by Nikki Giovanni:
I don’t want to be near you
for the thoughts we share
but the words we never have
to speak.
From “The Book of Ruth,” 1: 16-17 in The Bible
For whither thou goest, I will go;
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge;
Thy people shall be my people;
And thy God my God.

Wedding Programs: Top 4 Q&As

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Q. We want to design our own wedding programs but aren’t sure where to start. How long do our wedding programs need to be?
A. The general rule is that brevity is best. But we’ve seen all sorts of wedding programs — from single sheets of paper outlining the ceremony events to pamphlets that include song lyrics and full reading passages to bound booklets with special notes to guests, maps, and pictures of the couple through the years. We love all of these ideas! However, keep this advice in mind: Guests should be able to read the program between the time they sit down and the time the ceremony begins, or they should be able to follow along as the ceremony progresses. You don’t want people anxiously flipping through pages as you’re trying to recite your vows — that will be distracting for you, them, and everyone involved.

Q. I am having an outdoor, semiformal wedding. I am wondering if it is necessary (and proper) to have a wedding program. My fiance does not want one, and I personally don’t care. What is the best thing to do?
A. It’s not mandatory to have a program. They’re nice mementos for guests and are good places to list who’s in your wedding party with flora gown, thank parents and other important people, and explain any ceremony traditions guests may not be familiar with. They can be as simple as one page printed from your computer if the time and effort involved is your hesitation. But they are not necessary, so the choice is yours. If you don’t want one, don’t worry about it.

Q. I love the idea of a program, but I don’t know the first thing about what should be said in one. What are the more common uses and contents?
A. Your program can be whatever you want it to be. The opening page generally says something like “The wedding of Maria Jones and Brandon Sullivan, July 30, 2009.” Most couples then list the names of the wedding party with flora gown and any other ceremony participants (readers, ushers, and so on), sometimes including the relationships of these important people to the bride and groom (“Maid of honor: Jill Stevens, dearest, oldest friend of the bride”). The couple’s parents and sometimes grandparents are listed as well. You may also want to print the readings as well as the names of the musical selections that will be performed. If your wedding ceremony comprises any ethnic or religious rituals that some of your guests may not recognize, consider explaining those customs in your program.
Other than these basic points, you can do whatever you want. Include pictures; the story of your proposal or how you two met; a thank-you to your families and your guests; a tribute to a relative who’s passed away — anything that’s important to you. Remember that the program is a wedding keepsake, so really make it your own.

Q. My parents are divorced, and both are remarried. I am close to all of my parents and want them all to feel involved in the wedding. I want my dad to walk me down the aisle, and I asked both my stepdad and my stepmom to do readings at the ceremony. My stepdad said yes, but my stepmom is afraid of public speaking, and I would not want to make her uncomfortable. Can you suggest another way for the guests to know how important she is to me?
A. It’s wonderful that you have such strong feelings for all of your parents and that they all get along and will be happily present at your wedding. If your stepmom is uncomfortable with the idea of getting up and speaking during the ceremony, you’re right to respect her wishes. Make sure she gets an honorary “mom” corsage to wear and consider having her seated right before the groom’s mother as the ceremony starts (traditionally the groom’s mother and then the bride’s mother are the last to be seated before the ceremony officially begins). If you’re having a ceremony program, include something in it about how important all four of your parents are to you.

Wedding Ceremony: 7 Top Wedding Ceremony Tips

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Form a Bond

When you meet with your officiant, be open and honest. If he or she hasn’t been in your life for years, you’ll need to allow him or her to learn about you as a couple in order to include some personal elements in the ceremony.

Speak From the Heart
If you’re writing your own vows, make them funny and warm, but not cryptic or embarrassing: they should reflect the magnitude of the commitment you are about to make. Be concise and get to the core of what marrying that person means to you. Save some words for the toast (and the honeymoon night, of course). Remember, less is oftentimes more.

Combine Cultures
Personalize your ceremony with elements from both your backgrounds. At one wedding, the flower girl wore a black-and-white dirndl and carried a tiny American flag down the aisle while her ring-bearing counterpart toted a German flag, representing two nationalities joining together.

Plan Ahead
When all is said and done, your vows are the most important and meaningful aspect of your wedding. Don’t wait until the last minute to get started. Set aside one to two months to work on them and have the final version ready at least two days before the wedding. Make your promise as beautiful and unique as the love that you are celebrating.

Include Your Whole Crew
The ceremony is a great time to honor important family members and close friends who aren’t in your wedding party. Depending on your type of service, have your moms (or aunts, or uncles, or cousins) light the unity candle; choose several short readings performed by several special readers; or ask a close friend to witness the marriage license or ketubah signing.

Dole Out the Dough
If you’re having a Jewish ceremony and hiring a rabbi from outside your congregation, expect to pay a fee or donation. Discuss this with your rabbi at your first meeting. Because 18 is the number for life, many couples make donations in variations on that number.

Stick to Your Guns
For interfaith marriages, gain the support and respect of your families and do not let anyone tell you what you are doing is wrong. You need to be comfortable and happy with your choices.

Wedding Ceremony: 41 Ways to Personalize Your Wedding Ceremony

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Significant and emotional, saying I do is the most important part of your wedding day. So shouldn’t your ceremony be just as unique as the party? We went right to the experts for the most inspiring ceremonial touches around: that’s right, real couples like you! These brides and grooms turn the standard ceremony into something spectacular.

1. Lemonade Stand
Paige and Marc, who wed on a ranch, chose a lemon theme to ensure a cheery celebration. Just before the ceremony, the couple served lemonade in big glass jars to quench guests’ thirst under the hot summer sun.

2. Unity Sand
At their destination beach wedding(buy flora gown), Lisa and Mike, who both spent many summers under the boardwalk, extinguished the unity candle idea and instead chose to combine symbolic cups of sand from their respective hometowns.

3. Breezy Read
Summer brides, take note: Jennifer and David’s fan-shaped wedding programs did double duty listing the wedding party and ceremony details-and cooling off guests.

4. Hung out to Dry
Guests crossing a bridge to Becky and Aaron’s ceremony had a good chuckle at the couple’s childhood photos strung along a clothesline.

5. Shoeless Suitor
When Suzanne and Tripp’s Jewish ceremony concluded, the “boot boy” presented a barefoot Tripp with yes, a boot, so the groom could smash the glass at their ceremony. Mazel tov!

6. Irish Blessing
Pamela and Tom’s ceremony ended with the blessing of a Celtic cross, brought back from a family trip, which now hangs in their home.

7. Lucky Lady
When it was time for Elisa and David to exchange their self-written vows, the best man flipped a coin to see who would go first (it was the groom!).

8. Bribing the Bearer
Cristina and Mike’s two-year-old ring bearer was a little aisle shy. So the groom did what anyone would-bribed him with candy. From the altar, Mike flashed a bag of jellybeans to coax the young boy down the aisle. Naturally, it worked.

9. Send & Deliver
Blakely and Chris’ gorgeous hand-sewn programs not only included details about the wedding party (including a lengthy children’s procession) and Greek Orthodox traditions, it listed their new contact information for guests to keep in touch!

10. Ceremony Cheers
Take the toast up a notch with a champagne cocktail. At Elaine and Kevin’s wedding(buy flora gown), guests were given glasses of bubbly garnished with strawberries as they entered the ceremony space.

11. Exceptional Pets
Who says weddings aren’t for the dogs? Animal lovers Clayton and Andrew asked the bride’s mom to escort two four-legged friends, outfitted with flowers, down the aisle.

12. Homemade Huppah
From the handcrafted woodworking of Meet the Parents fame to treasured heirloom quilts, our brides get pretty crafty with the traditional Jewish huppah. Our favorite sentimental touch? Joanna and Scott sewed together old handkerchiefs from all eight of their grandparents to create their wedding canopy.

13. Baker’s Duo
Andrea and John gave rise to a new tradition: Several days before their Catholic ceremony, the couple got busy in the kitchen and baked the communion bread themselves.

14. Welcome Committee
In lieu of a receiving line, Maribeth and Erik threw tradition out the door and greeted guests arriving at the church. Even though many were surprised to see the bride before the ceremony, it helped calm Maribeth’s down-the-aisle stage fright.

15. Personal Petals
Elizabeth honored her deceased father, a huge University of Tennessee fan, with a bouquet of bright orange roses-the school’s signature color.

16. Holiday Spirit
Ebenezer Scrooge definitely didn’t make the cut on this guest list. Before the start to Amy and Shawn’s Christmas celebration, guests were welcomed into the barn where the ceremony was held with hot cocoa, holiday cookies, and Christmas carols.

17. Fountain of Youth
Emily and Sean stocked a child’s red wagon with monogrammed water bottles and tied a glass to every seat at their outdoor ceremony.

18. Not-So Empty Nest
For their intimate garden-theme wedding(flora gown), Joiye and Gino’s rings were nestled in a delicate bird’s nest woven with pale peach roses and green ribbons.

19. Bug Off
Rachel and Chris made sure guests were well equipped for the outdoor ceremony with a welcome basket filled with bug spray.

20. Exit with a Pop
Following a performance by a quartet of professional singers, actors Kendra and Eric exited the church in a shower of rather fitting theater popcorn. At Lauren and Scott’s ceremony, guests were handed personalized kazoos and party horns to blow on the steps of the church.

21. Floating Flowers
Gerbera daisies given to guests at Julie and James’ ceremony were later released into the nearby river. Throughout the outdoor celebration, the bobbing blooms meandered down the lazy river.

22. Paper Magic
To adorn the ceremony space, Ko’s mother (despite arthritis problems) folded 1,001 white paper cranes-a traditional Japanese gift symbolizing her special wishes for the couple-over the course of his and Pamela’s two-year engagement.

23. Heirloom Detail
Elizabeth asked her mother, a renowned florist, to delicately weave the bride’s deceased grandmother’s handkerchief into the wrap around the stems of her bouquet.

24. Seasonal Sprinkle
Be sure to greet the season. Perfect for Lourie and Carlos’ October wedding, the flower girl scattered dried oak leaves to pave the way for the bridal party.

25. Streaky Cheeks
Kristine and Andrew prepared for emotional wedding tears and provided guests with tissue packages wrapped in vellum that was printed with inspirational quotations.

26. Tandem Takeoff
After exchanging vows, creative couple Erin and Peter circled loved ones on an old red Schwinn tandem bike decorated with roses-before riding off to the reception two miles away!

27. Signature Sounds
Who says you have to stick with classical ceremony music? Kristyn and Joshua walked down the aisle to the opening song from Edward Scissorhands. At Irene and Matthew’s wedding, the bride’s grandmother played “Amazing Grace” on the saw.

28. Recycle the Aisle
Savvy budgeters Ava and Sean reused their ceremony aisle markers-bright bouquets of peonies, blue hydrangeas, and Anna roses in moss cones-for reception centerpieces.

29. Crowd Pleaser
After their ceremony, Lee and Jeff asked all the guests to linger for a group photo that was later used as the cover for the couple’s thank-you cards.

30. Wise Words
Mandy and Chris borrowed something pretty big for their wedding-they recited the same personalized vows that her parents had exchanged 40 years before.

31. Relay Race
And here’s the handoff…along the winding ceremony path, Shyra’s three brothers and her father stood at various intervals, waiting to escort her to the gazebo altar one by one.

32. Shady Ending
At the end of Sandra and Kevin’s seaside service, all the women were given ivory Japanese parasols to shade them from the sun. Sandra carried a square-shape version, hand-painted with cherry blossoms.

33. All Aboard!
Suzanne and her bridal party set sail for the lakeside ceremony with the groom’s mother at the helm. Once they docked, the women rang a cowbell to signal their arrival and waited for the groomsmen to ring back that they were ready for the procession to begin.

34. Artsy Aisle
Alyson knew she was at the right church as she walked down the aisle on a runner, beautifully hand-painted with flower vines-as well as her and Michael’s names.

35. Sentimental Stones
Each guest picked up a small stone before the ceremony that Piper and JJ hand-selected from meaningful places-where they met, where they live now, and where they married-and held it during the service to make a special wish. The couple later collected the stones in a large glass vase to display in their home.

36. Home Grown
Megan and Lance, who exchanged vows under a big maple tree at her childhood home, lined the grassy aisle with flowers collected from her grandparents’ garden.

37. Cool Cultures
In a nod to Sarah and Mark’s diverse backgrounds, the groom carried a grain of wheat in his pocket (representing good luck and wealth in Germany) and wore a traditional lei in honor of their Hawaiian heritage.

38. Blazing Saddles
Forget the white limo! Emily’s father and friends arrived at the ceremony grove on horseback, followed by the bride and her mother in a more gown-friendly horse and carriage.

39. Refrigerator Art
Jenny and Scott’s ceremony programs honored a treasured attic find-they featured a picture that Scott had drawn when he was five of the mountains that coincidentally overlooked their outdoor wedding site.

40. Up In Arms
With only one parent (the bride’s mother) between them still living, Michelle and Leland thought it would be great to start and end the ceremony arm-in-arm-the couple walked together over the vast lawns of the ceremony site and down the aisle of the tiny chapel.

41. Surprise Kiss
When it was time for James to kiss his bride Zoe, her sister pulled a popgun out of her knee-high stockings and shot a burst of confetti at the newlyweds just before a release of butterflies marked the end of the ceremony.

Wedding Ceremony Music: 55 Interlude Selections

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Musical interludes are a great way to add symbolic meaning or dramatize important moments (like lighting the unity candle or signing the ketubah). Here are 55 vocal and instrumental suggestions:

1. “Adagio” (Felix Mendelssohn)
2. “Andantino” (Cesar Franck)
3. “Arioso” (Johann S. Bach)
4. “Cantabile in B-Flat Major (BI 84)” (Frederic Chopin)
5. “Ch’il bel sogno di doretta” (from La Rondine) (Giacomo Puccini)
6. “Clair de Lune” (Claude Debussy)
7. “Flower Duet” (from Lakme), (Leo Delibes)
8. “Lento con tenerezza” (Enrique Granados)
9. “Love That Will Not Let Me Go” (Albert L. Peace)
10. “Meditation” (from Thais), (Jules Massenet)
11. “Minuet” (from Berenice), (George F. Handel)
12. “Minuet, Melody” (from Orfeo ed Euriduce), (Christoph W. Gluck)
13. “O mio babbino caro” (from Gianni Schicchi), (Giacomo Puccini)
14. “Romanza” (Ludwig van Beethoven)
15. “Salut D’Amour” (Sir Edward Elgar)
16. “Still, Still With Thee” (Felix Mendelssohn)
17. “The River Is Wide” (Tune: “Waly Waly,” traditional English)
18. “Through the Eyes of Love” (theme from Ice Castles), (Carole Sager & Marvin Hamlisch)
19. “Verset,” (Leon Boellmann)
20. “Wedding Song (There Is Love)” (arr. by Richard Bradley)
21. “Where e’er You Walk” (from Semele), (George F. Handel)
22. “Whither Thou Goest,” (Thomas Dewey)

Traditional Alternatives
23. “Barcarolle” (from Tales of Hoffman), (Jacques Offenbach)
24. “Pavane” (Gabriel Faure)
25. “Reverie” (Claude Debussy)
26. “The Call” (Vaughan Williams)
27. “Unconditional” (Will Ackerman)

28. “A Simple Song” (Leonard Bernstein)
29. “Annie’s Song” (John Denver)
30. “Benedictus” (Simon & Garfunkel)
31. “Grow Old With Me” (John Lennon or Mary Chapin Carpenter)
32. “Kind & Generous” (Natalie Merchant)
33. “One Hand, One Heart” (from West Side Story), (Leondard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim)
34. “Take My Breath Away” (Tuck & Patti)
35. “Thank You” (Led Zeppelin)
36. “The Water Is Wide” (James Taylor)

37. “All Things Bright and Beautiful” (traditional hymn)
38. “Amazing Grace” (traditional)
39. “Ave Maria” (Johann S. Bach/Charles Gounod)
40. “Ave Maria” (Franz Schubert)
41. “Dodi Li” (traditional Jewish)
42. “Erev Ba” (traditional Jewish)
43. “Erhame dich” (from St. Matthew’s Passion), (Johann S. Bach)
44. “In This Very Room” (Ron & Carol Harris)
45. “Jerusalem of Gold” (traditional Jewish)
46. “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (traditional hymn)
47. “Let the Bright Seraphim” (George F. Handel)
48. “Love Divine, All Love’s Excelling” (traditional hymn)
49. “Morning Has Broken” (traditional)
50. “Panis Angelicus” (Cesar Franck)
51. “Sanctus” (Gabriel Faure)
52. “Shalom Alechem” (traditional Jewish)
53. “Simple Gifts” (traditional Shaker hymn)
54. “The Prayer” (Andrea Bocelli & Celine Dion)
55. “Yedid Nefefsh” (traditional Jewish)

Wedding Ceremony Music: 35 Wedding Recessional Songs

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flora gown

After your officiant pronounces you husband and wife, you’ll want to follow up with a triumphant fanfare. Your wedding ceremony recessional music should inspire your wedding(buy flora gown) guests to stand up and cheer you on as you make your way down the aisle. Here are 35 favorites:

Traditional/Classic Recessional Wedding Music
1. “Allegro Maestoso” (from Water Music Suite), (George F. Handel)
2. “Brandenburg Concerto No. 1,” Allegro, (Johann S. Bach)
3. “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4,” Allegro, (Johann S. Bach)
4. “Coronation March” (from Crown imperial), (Sir William Walton)
5. “Fugue in E-Flat Major” (from St. Anne), (Johann S. Bach)
6. “Hallelujah Chorus” (from The Messiah), (George F. Handel)
7. “Hornpipe” (from Water Music Suite), (George F. Handel)
8. “Ode to Joy” (Ludwig van Beethoven)
9. “Spring,” Allegro, (from The Four Seasons), (Antonio Vivaldi)
10. “The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba” (George F. Handel)
11. “Toccata” (from Symphonie 5, opus 42), (Charles-Marie Widor)
12. “Trumpet Tune and Bell Symphony,” (Henry Purcell)
13. “Tuba Tune in D” (Craig Sellar Lang)
14. “Wedding March” (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream), (Felix Mendelssohn)

Traditional Alternative Recessional Wedding Music
15. “Badinerie” (from Orchestral Suite No. 2), (Johann S. Bach)
16. “Concerto grosso in D Minor,” Op. 2, No. 3 (Presto), (Francesco Geminiani)
17. “Rondeau” (from Abdelezar), (Henry Purcell)
18. “Rondeau” (theme from Masterpiece Theater), (Jean Joseph Mouret)
19. “Sonata in G Major” (Giuseppe Tartini)
20. “Triumphal March” (Edvard Grieg)
21. “Variations on the Kanon by Pachelbel” (George Winston)

Contemporary Recessional Wedding Music
22. “Anthem” (Suzanne Ciani)
23. “Beautiful Day” (U2)
24. “From This Moment On” (Cole Porter)
25. “Linus & Lucy” (Peanuts Theme), (Vince Guaraldi)
26. “Little Martha” (Allman Brothers Band)
27. “Oh! You Pretty Things” (David Bowie)
28. “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” (Stevie Wonder)
29. “Sunshine of My Life” (Stevie Wonder)
30. “The Long and Winding Road” (The Beatles)

Religious/Sacred Recessional Wedding Music
31. “Exultate, Jubilate” (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
32. “Joy” (George Winston)
33. “Now Thank We All Our God” (Johann S. Bach)
34. “Now Thank We All Our God” (Sigfried Karg-Elert)
35. “Psalm 19” (Benedetto Marcello)

Wedding Ceremony Music: 35 Wedding Processional Songs

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Don’t worry if “Here Comes the Bride” (Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus”) isn’t your speed for your wedding processional song — you have plenty of alternatives. Here are 35 wedding processional ideas to accompany you, and everyone else in your party, as you walk down the aisle:

1. “Air” (from Water Music Suite), (George F. Handel)
2. “Bridal Chorus” (from Lohengrin), (Richard Wagner)
3. “Canon in D” (Johann Pachelbel)
4. “Procession of Joy” (Hal Hopson)
5. “Rigaudon” (Andre Campra)
6. “Spring” (from The Four Seasons), (Antonio Vivaldi)
7. “Te Deum” (Marc-Antoine Charpentier)
8. “The Prince of Denmark’s March” (Jeremiah Clarke)
9. “Trumpet Tune” (Henry Purcell)
10. “Trumpet Voluntary” (Jeremiah Clarke)
11. “Trumpet Voluntary” (John Stanley)
12. “Wedding March” (from The Marriage of Figaro), (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Traditional Alternatives
13. “Canzon V” (Giovanni Gabrieli)
14. “Coronation March for Czar Alexander III” (Peter I. Tchaikovsky)
15. “Overture” (from Royal Fireworks Music), (George Frederic Handel)
16. “Promenade” (from Pictures at an Exhibition), (Modest Mussorgsky)
17. “Romeo and Juliet Love Theme” (Tchaikovsky)
18. “Sinfonia” (from Cantata No. 156), (Johann S. Bach)
19. “Toccata” (from L’Orfeo), (Claudio Monteverdi)
20. “Trumpet Tune in A-Major” (David N. Johnson)
21. “Sonatas for Organ, Op. 65, No. 3 (con moto maestoso),” (Felix Mendelssohn)
22. “Winter,” Largo, (from The Four Seasons), (Antonio Vivaldi)

23. “Appalachia Waltz” (Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, Mark O’Connor)
24. “Sunrise, Sunset” (from Fiddler on the Roof), (Sheldon Harnick & Jerry Bock)
25. “The Look of Love” (Dionne Warwick/Burt Bacharach)
26. “The Vow” (Jeremy Lubbock)
27. “To A Wild Rose” (Edward MacDowell)
28. “Flatbush Waltz” (Andy Statman)
29. “Wedding Processional” (from The Sound of Music), (Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein)

30. “All People That On Earth Do Dwell” (“Old 100th” hymn)
31. “Dona Nobis Pacem” (16th century hymn)
32. “Hanava Babanot” (A Love Song), (Neeman)
33. “St. Anthony’s Chorale” (Franz Joseph Haydn)
34. “Hymn Fanfare from The Triumphant” (Francois Couperin)
35. “Scalero de Oro” (traditional Sephardic)

Wedding Ceremony Music: 15 Wedding Ceremony Postlude Selections

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It ain’t over ’til it’s over. Planning a postlude — continuous music that plays as guests exit the ceremony space — is optional. If you have a large guest list, however, you might want to account for about 10 minutes worth of music following the wedding ceremony recessional (although you probably wouldn’t list it in your ceremony program). The aim? Making sure your guests exit quickly and elegantly to the sound of music rather than rustling feet. Try to keep the mood upbeat and celebratory. Here are some options:
1. “Allegro Maestoso for Organ in C Major” (Felix Mendelssohn)
2. “Carillon de Westminster” (Louis Vierne)
3. “Feelin’ Alright” (Joe Cocker)
4. “For The Beauty Of The Earth” (traditional hymn)
5. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” (William M. Runyan)
6. “Harp Concerto in B Flat Major: Allegro Moderato” (George F. Handel)
7. “La Rejouissance” (George F. Handel)
8. “Musette’s Waltz” (from La Boheme), (Giacomo Puccini)
9. “Now Thank We All Our God” (Sigfried Karg-Elert)
10. “Oh! Had I Jubal’s Lyre” (George F. Handel)
11. “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” (Sergi Rachmaninoff)
12. “String Quartet in C Major, Op. 76, No. 3: Allegro (Austrian Hymn)” (Franz Joseph Haydn)
13. “Trumpet Voluntary” (Jeremiah Clarke)
14. “To God Be the Glory” (William H. Doane)
15. “When the Saints Go Marching In” (traditional)

Reform Jewish Wedding Program

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Front Cover
Wedding of Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name
Temple Name
City, State
Inside Page 1
The Wedding Processional
Name Bride’s grandmother
Name Bride’s grandfather
Name Groom’s grandmother
Name Groom’s grandfather
Name Relation to the Bride
Name Relation to the Bride
Name Relation to the Bride
Name Relation to the Bride
Name Relation to the Bride
Woman of Honor
Name Relation to the Bride
Name Relation to the Groom
Name Relation to the Groom
Name Relation to the Groom
Name Relation to the Groom
Name Relation to the Groom
Best Man
Name Relation to the Groom
Groom’s Name will walk to the huppah with his parents, Father’s Name and Mother’s Name
Bride’s Name will walk to the huppah with her parents, Father’s Name and Mother’s Name
Optional Jewish Reform Ceremony Explanation
Inside Page 2-3
Wedding Ceremony
A Jewish wedding is not merely between two individuals, or their families and circle of friends; it is a cause of celebration for the entire Jewish people. A wedding is not just about two people finding happiness; it’s more about the potential of this couple to make the world a better place by the virtue of being together as one.
It is a Jewish belief that when two people who are destined for each other get married, they complete one another.
The marriage of Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name was blessed at Temple Name on Date in a ceremony called aufruf during which Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name were called to the bimah and given honors before the Torah.
Prior to the ceremony, the civil marriage license was witnessed and signed by Witness’ Name and Witness’ Name. The ketubah (Jewish marriage document) was witnessed and signed by Witness’ Name and Witness’ Name. The ketubah was traditionally a revolutionary concept, protecting the bride’s rights and obligating the husband to look out for her welfare. Today, the ketubah reflects the equality of bride and groom and reflects their mutual obligations to each other.
The wedding takes place under the huppah, symbolic of the home Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name will build together. The huppah has no walls; the marriage begins with just a roof, and Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name will build the walls with love and friendship, based on a foundation of respect and trust. The huppah is open on all sides so that family and friends will always feel welcome.
A blessing of krikat erusin, or betrothal, is recited over the wine, followed by another in praise of God, who brought Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name together. Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name drink from the same cup of wine to represent the life that they will share from this day forth.
Next comes the giving and accepting of rings. Jewish custom requires that wedding bands be made of a single piece of metal with no adornments breaking the circle, representing the wholeness achieved through marriage and the hope for an unbroken union. Groom’s Name will place the ring on Bride’s Name’s right index finger to represent that marriage is an act of law, saying, “Behold, you are set apart for me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.” After reciting his vow, he will transfer the ring to its permanent place on her left ring finger to represent that the marriage is an act of love. The bride does the same to the groom. The ketubah is then read and presented to Bride’s Name. After the chanting of the seven marriage blessings — shva b’rachot — the couple drinks from a second cup of wine.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Groom’s Name will step on a glass and break it. This ancient practice has many interpretations. One of the most traditional is that it reminds us of the destruction of the holy temple in Jerusalem and the many losses that have been suffered by the Jewish people. Another explanation is that love, like glass, is very fragile and must be protected because, once broken, it is hard to put back together again. A more contemporary interpretation is that the sound travels through time and space to share their joy with all who have loved them, both those who are separated by distance and those separated by time. Immediately following the ceremony, Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name will leave the huppah and spend their first few minutes as husband and wife alone together in a private place. This is called yichud, or seclusion.
— Special thanks to Rabbi Paul Swerdlow, Northport, New York

Quaker Wedding Program

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Front Cover
A Meeting for Worship
To Celebrate the joining of
Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name
In Marriage
Date and Time
Meetinghouse Name
City, State

Inside Page 1
Explanation of the ceremony: A member of the meeting will explain the Quaker ceremony traditions to wedding guests.
All in attendance participate in silent worship and meditation.
When the couple feels moved to do so, they will rise, take each other by the hand, and exchange vows and rings before God and their friends.
The couple then signs the marriage certificate (to be presented and read aloud by Groom’s father).
Return to silent worship from which all are welcome to share as they are moved, leaving a period of silence for reflection between messages. Brief, heartfelt words are often best; songs, poems, and even humor are acceptable. You may find you are called to speak of the joys, challenges, and richness of married life.
Bride’s Name and Groom’s Name signify the end of the meeting by shaking hands with each other and with the wedding guests.
All present are asked to sign the wedding certificate as witnesses.
Optional Note for Back Cover
All are welcome to a reception immediately following the wedding.
[Directions to the reception site]
Thank you for all of your love and support!
— Groom’s Name and Bride’s Name
[switching the order from the front, indicating that they are equal partners]