An order of service is a crucial piece of wedding stationery for any wedding, no matter how big or small. Its purpose is to tell your guests exactly what’s going to happen during your wedding ceremony, and when. It also makes a lovely keepsake for you and your loved ones to take home afterwards!
You can easily design your own wedding order of service - either from scratch, or by editing a template. This guide will talk you through exactly what an order of service is, what information it contains, and why you need one. We’ll also explain how to go about designing the perfect order of service from start to finish.
What Is an Order of Service?
An order of service is, essentially, an itinerary for a wedding ceremony. It’s printed on card, typically A6 or A5 in size. It outlines the various different parts of your ceremony, such as the entrance of the bride, the hymns, readings and vows, and in what order they’re going to happen.
If you’re having hymns or songs during the ceremony, the order of service will also contain the lyrics, so your guests can sing along. The order of service might also list the names of your wedding party, and what roles they have, as well as a message of thanks to guests for attending.
Some wedding orders of service also contain information about what’s going to happen after the ceremony. They might list the time that the wedding breakfast will be served, for example, and what time the evening reception will start. If it contains this information, it’s usually called the “order of the day” rather than “order of service”.
You have two main options when it comes to handing out the orders of service. You can either send them in the post (along with your wedding invitations), or have your ushers hand them out on the day as they seat your guests.
Why Do You Need an Order of Service for a Wedding?
Weddings are long, involved affairs, and guests can get antsy if they don’t know the timings of the day in advance. They might be sitting there thinking “how long is this going to go on for? When am I going to have something to eat?” And that can distract them from the beauty of the ceremony!
Orders of service are traditionally meant for religious ceremonies, as they’ll have hymns, prayers, readings from bible passages, and religious vows as well as (or instead of) statutory ones.
Civil ceremonies typically only last around 20 minutes, so there’s less of a need to explain what will happen and when. However, they can be useful if you’re having non-religious readings or songs as part of the service.
How to Design an Order of Service
So, how do you go about designing the perfect order of service for your wedding day? Follow these simple steps to learn how to create a beautiful and practical order of service that will suit your celebration down to the ground.
1. Finalise Your Ceremony Timings
Before you start designing your order of service, you’ll need to know exactly what’s going to happen during your wedding ceremony, and in what order. Make sure this is set in stone before you send your order to print!
If you haven’t already decided which (if any) readings or hymns you’d like as part of your service, now is the time. Speak to whoever is officiating your wedding – such as your vicar, priest, or celebrant – and they’ll be able to give you some suggestions. They’ll also let you know how long everything is likely to take. Remember there will be parts of the ceremony that are mandatory (such as the declaratory vows in a civil ceremony) while other parts will be optional.
2. Choose a Wedding Order of Service Template
Do you have your wedding ceremony details and timings finalised? Now you can get onto the fun part: picking a template for your order of service!
Bride and Groom Direct have hundreds of wedding order of service templates to choose from, and they’re all fully customisable. Have a look through and choose one that matches the tone and theme of your wedding. Our designs come in many different colours, so you’ll be able to find one to match your
Some of our designs even have matching wedding invitations and thank you cards, so all of your stationery will look great together. For example, our Ribbons Order of Service matches perfectly with our Ribbons Wedding Day Invitation.
3. Input Your Ceremony Details
Once you’ve decided on your template, simply press “Buy Now & Start Personalising” to begin the customisation process.
The first thing you’ll need to do is to input all the details of your wedding ceremony. You can type this line-by-line. Here’s an example of how this may look.
The Wedding of Jane and John
Exchange of Vows
Exchange of Rings
Presentation of the Bride and Groom
It’s up to you whether you include the events that are going to happen after the ceremony, such as the wedding breakfast.
If there’s enough space on your chosen design, you can also list the names of the wedding party, if you like. It’s also nice to include a thank you message to your guests for attending.
4. Choose the Perfect Font
Each template has a default font that was chosen to match the overall aesthetic of the design. However, if you’d like, you can press “open font options” to customise the typeface according to your own personal preference.
Choose from dozens of different fonts, adjust the size to your liking, and select a font colour. You’ll want to pick something clear and easy to read, especially if there’s a lot to fit on, as the text will be smaller. We’d suggest a simple serif or sans serif font for most of the text, while if you prefer, a loopy cursive typeface can be used for the heading (e.g. “The Wedding of Jane and John”).
At this stage in the process, you can also upload your own artwork to use on the design (if applicable for your choice of template).
5. Check the Preview
You’re almost there. You’ve input all of your details, customised the font to your liking, and you’re almost ready to place your order. The crucial final step is to press “update preview”, and make sure that everything looks right!
Make sure that everything fits onto the page, and that it’s all in the right order. Check that the font you’ve chosen shows up well against the background colour. Finally, double- and triple-check your spelling (because we’ll print your design exactly how you’ve typed it). If you find any errors, correct them and then “update preview” again.
6. Place Your Order
If everything looks good, it’s time to place your order! You’ll need to order a sufficient number for all of your guests to have one order of service each. However, we’d strongly recommend ordering more than you think you’ll need.
Ideally, add on an extra 10% to the final number. For example, if you’re having 50 wedding guests, order 55 copies. This will give you some spares in the event that any get damaged, lost or dropped (either before or on the big day).
We print all of our products to the highest standard, and we always aim to dispatch every order within 5 working days. But just in case, always place your order with plenty of time to spare (especially around busy times of the year, such as Christmas). We offer a flat shipping rate, so while you’re at it, why not order the rest of your wedding stationery at the same time?