Rear view of blonde bride walking down the aisle while guests looking at her during wedding ceremony. Horizontal shot.

Order of service templates and inspiration for weddings

When you've chosen the music and the readings, it's time to write the order of service with a little help from these templates

The order of service, also known as a ceremony programme, is a step-by-step account of what your guests can expect throughout the ceremony. Whether you’re having a civil or religious ceremony, giving a printed order of service to your guests as they arrive will ensure everyone knows what to expect. It’s also a lovely, personal keepsake from the day.

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Once you’ve created your ceremony order of service, you may want to make a reception timeline, to make sure no one sneaks off at a crucial moment (ie, when you’re cutting the cake!). Unlike your ceremony programme, where you have one per guest, your reception running order doesn’t have to be put into individual booklets or cards. You can have it printed onto a large sign – just make sure you display it somewhere prominent.

But before you get to that, let’s get your ceremony order of service sorted!

What is a wedding order of service?

Transparent confetti bag with the order of service for a wedding printed on it
Genius: Wedding order of service confetti bags from notonthehighstreet.com

This is usually a booklet, or sometimes a card, handed out to guests as they enter the ceremony venue. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself. We’ve seen orders of service printed on fans at outdoor summer weddings, so guests can keep their cool and read what’s going to happen all at the same time! And the double-duty confetti bags/orders of service above are another cute idea! Traditionally, distributing the order of service is the job of the ushers, but obviously you can arrange the day how you want – have an order of service on each seat, for example, or displayed on a table by the entrance for guests to help themselves. In order to put together your order of service, you need to choose your readings and your wedding music in enough time to make sure your celebrant is happy with your choices. There may be restrictions – at a civil ceremony, for example, you can’t have any religious content, among other rules.

What do you include in the wedding order of service?

Order of service for a wedding with a pastel-coloured floral design
Fabulous florals: A pretty order of service from notonthehighstreet.com

It’s fine if you want to keep it simple, including only the basic details of the service. Some people like to include the complete breakdown of the service, including the words of the minister or other celebrant and response of the couple. Other details you can include are:

  • The lyrics to any hymns or other songs, if you want your guests to sing along. Check the copyright on these, though, by speaking to your celebrant. You may think printing hymn lyrics is allowed, for example, but if they’re not in the public domain, you need to get the permission of the copyright holder
  • A who’s who of the bridal party
  • A welcome and thank-you message to guests for joining you
  • Thank-you messages to anyone who’s played a special role
  • The reasons behind your song and hymn choices

If you’re having a booklet-style order of service, you’ll normally have your names, ceremony venue and wedding date on the cover.

We’ve created two easy templates, depending on what type of ceremony you’re having, to help you set out your order of service. We’ve also found some beautiful examples of orders of service, to suit different wedding styles.

Wedding order of service for a religious ceremony

Front page

  • Name of place of marriage
  • The marriage of ……. (bride and groom’s names)
  • Date and time

Inside

  • Entrance music for bride. Not sure what to play? Here are our suggestions for processional songs
  • Hymn/song (words)
  • The marriage
  • Prayers (optional)
  • Reading (optional)
    Text name and author
    Read by …
  • Blessing (optional)
  • Hymn/song (words)
  • Reading/blessing (optional)
    Text name and author
    Read by …
  • Signing of the register
  • Exit music for bride and groom
Wedding Invitations UK

Wedding order of service for a civil ceremony

Front page

  • Name of place of marriage
  • The marriage of ……. (bride and groom’s names)
  • Date and time

Inside

  • Entrance of the bride – you’ll need to decide which order to walk down the aisle in, too
  • Welcome and introductions
  • Reading (optional)
    Text name and author
    Read by …
  • The marriage ceremony
  • Reading (optional)
    Text name and author
    Read by …
  • Signing of the register
  • Exit of the bridal couple
Gold unicorn-shaped place card holders on a pink tablecloth

Wedding order of service style and design ideas

“Stationery is a special part of your wedding story, especially the order of service,” says Christina Forman, Creative Director of Papier. “It’s part of your on-the-day stationery and should work with the overall look and feel of your big day. Lots of couples choose matching menus, place names and orders of service to tie their day together.

“When choosing your design, consider how much detail you’d like to include. Some couples choose to add lyrics & poems inside the booklet, whereas others just include key moments. If you’re planning lots of text, it’s best to keep it simple design-wise.

“The order of service is used during the ceremony, so couples often reference key flowers they’ve chosen for their service in the design, or the colour theme of their day. Florals and delicate blooms are always very popular and recently so have more tropical prints for destination weddings. Minimal typography is also trending right now.”

We love this delicately pretty Blue Hydrangea design from Papier.

White order of service with a blue hydrangea design encircling the couple's names

Think about whether you really do want a booklet, or whether you’d be better off with a sheet, like this Pastel Floral Chalkboard style from Norma & Dorothy. If you have lots of information to include, a booklet works best, but if you’re keeping it simple, consider a sheet.

Black order of service card with chalkboard style writing

If you love bold, beautiful styles, don’t be afraid to embrace these at your ceremony with a vibrant order of service – like this Bright Flowers design from Lucy Says I Do. Part of a full stationery suite, this is available to buy as a cover – you can print the contents yourself as inserts. It’s a brilliant budget-friendly way to have an order of service that matches the rest of your stationery.

Order of service with multicoloured floral border
For something particularly personal, consider commissioning a bespoke illustration of the two of you, like this beauty from Ananya Cards. You can use it throughout your stationery.
Illustration of an Asian couple in wedding attire

This design from EYI Love shows that you can have a stationery style that’s both personal and pared-back.

Pale pink order of service on a gold tray
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Want more ceremony inspiration? Make sure you check out our guide to making your wedding aisle look beautiful.