Top Tips: Wording your Order of Service

An Order of Service also known as a wedding program is normally a folded card or a flat double-sided card that shows your guests the format of your ceremony. It acts as a guide for your guest so they know what is happening throughout the ceremony.

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The first or front page of the Order of Service is normally kept similar no matter what type of ceremony you're having.

  • Welcome note

  • Couples Names

  • Ceremony Date

  • Ceremony Location

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Following on from this there will be a brief introduction which should include details on; 

  • The Bridal Party

  • Celebrant 

  • Participates in the ceremony 

  • Musicians

The content will then vary depending on the type of ceremony you will be having, religious or civil ceremony.


Religious Ceremony

A religious service will generally follow the following format;

Introductory Rite


Lighting of the Candles

Penitential Rite

Opening Prayer

Liturgy of the word

First Reading

Responsorial Psalm

Second Reading

Gospel Acclamation

Gospel Reading


Rite of Marriage

Declaration of Consent

Blessing and exchanging of the Rings

Lighting of the Marriage Candle

Prayer for the Newly Married Couple

Prayers of the Faithful

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Offertory Procession

Preparation of Alter and Gifts

The Eucharistic Prayer

Communion Rite

Lord’s Prayer

Nuptial Blessing

Sign of Peace

Holy Communion

Communion Reflection

Prayer after Communion

Concluding Rite

The Blessing

The Signing of the Register


This guide can be adjusted accordingly to suit your own ceremony and we would always advise that you confirm the structure of your ceremony with your priest or reverent. They may have a particular structure which they feel works best.


Civil Ceremony

A civil service will usually include the following format;

Entrance of the bride

Introduction & Welcome


Definition of Marriage

Wedding Vows

Exchanging of rings


Lighting of the Unity candle

Declaration of Marriage

The Signing of the Register

Closing Words


Often couples will like to list the names of readings and songs that they will use in the ceremony. Again we would advise that when you choose a civil service, it is always a good idea to work closely with your Celebrant to decide on the structure of your wedding ceremony. Many civil ceremonies choose to have something to mark the marriage such as Irish Hand Fasting Blessing or Sand Blending, if you are having one of these make sure to add it to your order of service.

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Optional Ideas

Usually, we find that the back cover of the order of service is a great place for couples to make and extra special mark, some of our favourite ideas are;

  • Including a heartfelt thank you note to thank your guests for sharing in your special day and to those who helped in all of the wedding preparations!

  • A community blessing, which will be read by your guests to the newlyweds during your ceremony.

  • A poem or prayer to remember loved ones who aren’t able to be at the wedding.

  • If you are getting married somewhere a little bit unique, historic or with special meaning to you a short paragraph on about the ceremony venue would be a lovely idea!

  • Including one of your favourite love poems or quotes will add some romance to your day!

  • Adding a fun timeline of your wedding day is an increasingly popular addition.

  • A custom map from your ceremony venue to your reception venue another idea growing in popularity!

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All of our Orders of Service can be printed in the same design as the rest of your wedding stationery so it carries through your theme. Another alternative option is to get your Order of Service printed on a large foam board which can be put at the doorway into your ceremony venue.


See our full selection of Orders of Service here.

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