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How To Write Your Wedding Order Of Service

Published date: 18th October 2020 | Author: Hollie Bond


A well written order of service at a church wedding or a civil ceremony will help the most important part of your big day go without a hitch.

No idea where to start when it comes to writing your wedding order of service? We’ve put together the ultimate guide to compiling the perfect order of service to help your wedding ceremony go as smoothly as possible. We’ve included templates for both church weddings and civil wedding ceremonies as well as ideas for designs and hints for little extras you might want to include too.

While orders of service aren’t strictly necessary at a wedding, they can be a lovely addition to your stationery to help guests know what’s going on during the ceremony and also to have as a keepsake after the big day. If you’re having special readings or hymns at your wedding then it can be lovely to look back at your order of service and remember what they were and who read them too.

If you’re working to a tight budget or want all your stationery to match perfectly you might want to start thinking about writing your wedding order of service quite early in your planning journey. That way you can order all your stationery, including invitations, place cards and the order or service to match in one bulk order that’ll cost less than ordering each item separately. If you want a bespoke illustration of your church or venue or something really specific like fit-stamped stationery or a letterpress order service then you will have to allow plenty of time for these to be created too.

What Is a Wedding Order Of Service?

How To Write Your Wedding Order Of Service wedding sign 1

Still not sure whether you need orders of service at your big day? Simply put a wedding order of service is a small booklet that contains all the details about the wedding ceremony. It acts as a running order for guests so they know when they need to get involved (for example in hymns at a church wedding) and also how long the service is likely to last. You can keep it really simple with just a few lines about each stage of the ceremony or you can go to town with more details like who the members of the bridal party are (with pictures or illustrations!) and fun facts about you as a couple.

If you want to create a wedding order of service that is really detailed, you can also include the lyrics to the hymns (which removes the need for any hymn books to be given out), the words to any readings and the titles and composers/ artists of the songs you’ll have playing as you enter, sign the register and leave the ceremony. Make sure to give the most important moments the space and prominence they deserve though… the vows and exchanging of the rings should really stand out so that your guests know which bits to make sure they don’t miss/ keep any kids nice and quiet for!

Before you put pen to paper (or email over your final words to the stationer) however, it’s really important to talk to the officiant of your ceremony (registrar, vicar, priest or celebrant) to check that they are happy with the running order and that everything is correct. It’ll cost a lot of money and time to keep making edits so you need to make sure you’re 100% happy with everything you’re including. Ask a friend who is good with words to proof read it first too, just to iron out any typos you may have missed.

Wedding Order Of Service Template For a Religious Ceremony

How To Write Your Wedding Order Of Service Church alter stock 2

An order of service at a wedding in a church or religious setting is usually a bit more involved than a non-religious ceremony as the service is usually longer and includes hymns, readings, prayers and maybe a sermon from the officiant. So it’s likely that your religious order of service will be several pages long in a booklet form rather than simply an A5 sheet, although it is possible to make it short and sweet with minimal details if you prefer.

Here’s a template you might want to follow for an order of service for a wedding in a religious setting:

  • COVER
  • The marriage of… (your names)
  • Name of the church (and address/ village name)
  • The date and time of the service
  • FIRST PAGE AND ANY SUBSEQUENT PAGES…
  • Entrance of the bride, plus details of the music for the processional
  • First hymn (name of hymn and words if you want)
  • Welcome by priest or vicar
  • The marriage ceremony
  • Prayers
  • First reading (name of the reading, author and which guest/ member of the bridal party is doing the reading)
  • Blessing
  • Hymn
  • Second reading (name of the reading, author and who’s doing the reading)
  • Signing of the register (you might want to include names of witnesses)
  • Recessional with details of the music (name of song plus composer/ artist)

Wedding Order Of Service Template For a Civil Ceremony

How To Write Your Wedding Order Of Service civil ceremony 3

If you’re getting married in a Register Office or by a Registrar in a licensed venue, both the actual service and the order of service to go with it are likely to be shorter. That doesn’t mean your ceremony can’t be full of meaning and emotion, it’s just likely to be less structured than a religious ceremony and without hymns, prayers and a sermon there’s naturally less to include.

Here’s a template to give you an idea of what to include in your order of service for a civil wedding ceremony:

  • COVER
  • The marriage of… (your names)
  • The name and location of your ceremony venue
  • The date and time of the ceremony
  • FIRST PAGE AND ANY SUBSEQUENT PAGES…
  • Entrance of the bride with details of the music (name of song and artist)
  • Welcome by Registrar
  • First reading (name of the reading, author and which guest/ member of the bridal party is doing the reading)
  • The marriage ceremony/ vows/ details of any special ceremonies like a candle or sand ceremony
  • Exchange of rings
  • Second reading (name of the reading, author and which guest/ member of the bridal party is doing the reading)
  • Signing of the register (details of background music)
  • Exit of the bride and groom (with details of the music)
  • BACK PAGE – can be left empty or be used to thank people or to include a nice quote that means something to you as a couple.

If you’re having a celebrant-led ceremony, for example a humanist wedding, you can include anything you like on your order of service and create something very personalised. Talk to your celebrant about what they suggest and any examples they’ve seen that they’ve particularly loved.

Wedding Orders Of Service Ideas And Inspiration

You can have a lot of fun and get really creative with your wedding order of service with lovely options for personalised illustrations and stunning designs to match your wedding day theme. We’ve rounded up some of the prettiest options that you might want to use for your own big day wedding order of service.

Lavande Order Of Service

Wedding order of service

From £18.50 for 10, by Papier

Map & Kraft Wedding Order Of Service

Wedding order of service

£76 for 40, by Norma Dorothy

Illustrated Order Of Service

Wedding order of service

£10, by Natalie Ryan Design at Not on the High Street

Mint Romance Wedding Order Of Service

Wedding order of service

£2.60 each, by Project Pretty at Not on the High Street

Spring Wildflower

Wedding Order Of Service

From £0.52, by Utterly Printable

Rustic Winter Wedding Order Of Service

Wedding order of service

Prices on request, by Littlebird Weddings

Grey Elegance Order Of Service Booklet

Wedding order of service

£3, by Eliza May Prints at Not on the High Street

Love Grows Order Of Service

Wedding Order Of Service

From £1.30, by Rosemood

Winter Order Of Service Booklet

Wedding order of service

From £2.50, by Pear Paper Co

Golden Art Deco Order Of Service

How To Write Your Wedding Order Of Service Cartalia 4

From £2.75, by Cartalia

Confetti Sparkle Foil Order Of Service Concertina

Wedding Order Of Service

£2.50 each, by Tree of Hearts

Map Order Of Service

Wedding order of service

£1 each, by Paper and Inc at Not on the High Street

HB

Written by

Hollie Bond

Hollie is a lifestyle journalist with over ten years’ experience working in the wedding industry as Lifestyle Editor for You & Your Wedding magazine Also a Regional Editor for Muddy Stilettos, Hollie has written for Square Meal magazine, Family History Monthly, BBC History magazine and Homes & Antiques. In her spare time you can find Hollie in a dance studio practising ballet…

Learn more about Hollie Bond

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