What is the order of service for a wedding or civil ceremony?

For your guests to participate fully in your wedding ceremony it is almost essential that you provide them with a service sheet or an Itinerary of the Day. This document, applicable to any religious ceremonies, will guide them through the marriage ceremony as it unfolds around them. It will allow them to engage with all aspects of it, whether by participating in the singing of hymns or simply appreciating the beauty of a reading or delighting in a piece of music.

What format should the Order of Service take?

Depending upon the length of your ceremony the service sheet will usually take the form a small booklet whereas the Itinerary of the Day might fit on both sides of a single card.

what to include in a wedding order of service?

The Service wording is something that you should discuss with the Celebrant or Priest who will officiate at your ceremony. Certain religious denominations can be quite prescriptive about the form of the ceremony. Catholic service sheets can be longer but the priest or celebrant will be able to guide you regarding the essential components of the marriage ceremony and those elements that are optional or variable. Usually you will have the freedom, subject to the length of ceremony that is agreed upon, to choose the wedding ceremony music that will play as you walk down the aisle, as well as any wedding readings and Hymns or wedding ceremony songs that might be sung. You might have seen from some of our service sheet ideas that we have included images of the Church on the front cover? These can be in the form of a photograph or an illustration and should be sent in a high resolution format, where possible as a Jpeg, Tiff or PNG file. 

It is also worth mentioning that you would probably want to keep the document true to the style of your wedding theme. You could take the lead set by your wedding invitation cards or if you have moved away from that item, you could match to the other colours you have chosen for your wedding day stationery such as the style of your wedding menus or place cards. Below is a list of other things to consider for the document:

    • Do you want to print a list of those involved in the wedding party, this would include the Best Man, Ushers, Page Boys, Flower Girls and Bridesmaids and maybe even the ring bearer. This is usually printed on the inside back cover or last page of the document
    • It is not uncommon for the bride and groom to include a simple love quote or something from a literary love quote on the back cover
    • Musical arrangements for the signing of the register
    • The wedding recessional music as the married couple leave the building

Won’t a Hymn book suffice for the wedding music?

Your Service Sheet serves to encapsulate all the elements of the ceremony gathering them in a single document. It provides your guests with a guide to the format of the ceremony as it unfolds around them that will enable them to enjoy and participate fully in the ceremony. It also saves the congregation searching amongst one or more Hymn books for the Hymns you have selected and so removes the disturbance and delay that this invariably causes. Not only that, it provides a lovely keepsake too.

What size should it be?

The most popular size for a service sheet is still A5, which is the equivalent of an A4 sheet folded in half, but smaller booklets are gaining in popularity due to their portability, since they fit more easily into a jacket pocket or handbag. The drawback is that the size of the copy printed inside these portable A6 booklets is perforce smaller and this can reduce their legibility for older guests and in poor lighting. They are invariably slightly more expensive to produce as less text can be fitted on each page, which means that they often require more insert sheets than the larger A5 alternative.

Do you have order of service wedding examples you can send me?

We have many different examples in our London showroom, in addition to the ones we have online. We would be delighted to discuss your ideas and requirements over the phone with you and from there we would be more than happy to post you some examples which we feel might best suit your needs.

How do I send you the content and wording?

Once you have discussed the precise content of the Marriage Service in detail with the Priest or Officiant you should prepare a document in Microsoft Word and send that to us. We will use this to prepare a preliminary setting proof which we will email back to you for your review. To eliminate or reduce the number of authors corrections, for which we reserve the right to charge you extra, please try to check the content carefully before you send it to us. This will hopefully keep the number of proofs to a minimum. We thoroughly recommend that prior to final sign off you ask someone previously unconnected with its preparation to proof read it as they will bring a fresh pair of eyes.

How far in advance should I place the order?

We fully expect that your Service sheet will require at least a couple of proofs before it is fit for sign off so we recommend that you allow two weeks for the proofing process, or longer if time is available, and at least a week for the order of service printing. Ideally come to us about a month before the date on which you would like to take delivery, rather than the date of your wedding. The reason being that if there is a mistake or a problem, such as a last minute change, then there could still be time to rectify this but leave it too late and there is no time for us to be able to carry out the changes.

Can you send the completed order of service to me?

Yes, of course. We tend to be able to ship to almost anywhere on an overnight courier service to all areas of the UK. If you are local to our office in London’s Chelsea then we would be delighted to welcome you here to collect them. If we are sending the documents to you overseas, then please bear in mind that transportation costs are commensurate with their volume and weight and also please remember that this can add up to three or more working days for transit times and custom clearance.

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