Even though it’s been over three months since I made our ceremony programs, I haven’t forgotten all the hard work put into them, particularly by my bridesmaid Caitlin who helped me with the whole process! I got the idea for them from Ann at http://thedomesticdomicile.blogspot.com, to whom all the credit for such a creative idea is due! She has written her own posts with step-by-step instructions and a template she provided for anyone to use, but because we ended up doing several things differently, and I want to remember the fun we had making them, I thought I would post my own rendition before I forget!

The layered look of these programs, with a different sheet for each section, was something I had never seen before. I used Ann’s instructions for my materials and dimensions, but changed her template to fit all that I needed to say. The formatting was a little complicated with the separate sheets, but with Photoshop help from Caitlin, we were able to get it done and personalize it without too much headache!

I used paperandmore.com for my cardstock, per Ann’s suggestion, and I actually used the same turquoise color for the cardstock backing that she used. I had Kinko’s do all of my printing and cutting, which was a great decision. Paying a professional to do the cutting so that I did not have to worry about messing it up was definitely worth it in my opinion, and Kinko’s charges a very small fee for it on top of printing. They will let you bring your all your own paper (with a few size limitations), and black and white printing comes out to only about 11 cents per sheet!

I bought a sand-colored pack of regular copy paper at Office Depot to use for all the text, but when we printed a test page on it in Kinko’s, the colors ended up looking so different (in a bad way) that I knew we would have to do something different. I decided to switch to their regular white paper and waste the pack I had just opened. 😦 You win some, you lose some.

I had Caitlin create a pretty monogram graphic with our names for the cover page while I wrote up the other three pages – acknowledgements, the order of the ceremony, and the wedding party. After lots of editing on my part and playing with different fonts and colors with Caitlin, we had four images we were happy with. We then had several rounds of test printing and re-formatting at home until I was pretty positive it would print correctly at Kinko’s. (I tried to limit the leg work as much as possible.) Caitlin duplicated the text in Photoshop for each file so that each one had the information repeated side-by-side. That way I saved on paper – each sheet of paper had two copies on it and was cut straight down the center.

I took the files to Kinko’s as pdfs, which print text better than jpegs do. Things went relatively smoothly at Kinko’s, considering all the complications of the project I brought them! We had an issue with the printer cutting off the edges of some text because it was so close to the margins. The lady helping us was able to work some magic on the computer with two of the sheets, and we were able to print the other two in landscape rather than portrait to keep them from being cut off.

The worst feeling came when I realized I did something really smart at the beginning of this process, and then totally ignored it when printing. The width of each text sheet was 4.25”, meaning two fit perfectly on a standard 8.5 x 11” sheet of paper. I wanted a little of the colored cardstock to show on each side of the layers, though, so I ordered enough 8.5 x 11” sheets of cardstock to use only one per program. However, when telling them what to do at Kinko’s, I totally forgot about this and told them to cut each sheet in half! Which then meant I had double the amount of cut cardstock I needed, and the color didn’t show on the sides. 😦 It at least still showed a little bit on the bottom, though, since the longest sheet of text paper was 10″.

Once all the printing and cutting was complete, we were ready to assemble! I tried the look of both 0.25” and 0.5” ivory ribbon (from A.C. Moore) and decided I liked the thinner ribbon better.  Ann used an X-ACTO® knife to cut slits on the top to thread her ribbon through, but I found that extremely difficult to do quickly. I used a hole punch instead. I found a width that worked well, and then adjusted a 3-hole punch to this width. I worked on my own a couple nights and with my bridesmaid Crystal, and then knocked out the rest the next night in just a couple hours with a wonderful assembly line! My mom, dad, both sisters, my brother-in-law and Caitlin all pitched in. It was really fun with everyone working together – the work seemed to fly by!

Here is the order of tasks we used for our assembly line:

  1. Gather the four sheets of text paper and place in correct order.
  2. Place stack of text papers on cardstock about 0.5” from the top, then fold the cardstock down over the text paper and firmly crease the edge.
  3. Slide top of program into hole puncher and punch. (I found a hole punch was much easier and faster than cutting slits with an X-ACTO® knife. The fastest method is with a 3-hole punch – just adjust two of the holes to the appropriate width.)
  4. Cut ribbon to appropriate length.
  5. Thread ribbon through holes and tie. And you’re done! We didn’t find it necessary to use any glue to keep the cardstock folded down at the top or to keep the ribbon in place.

Below are my step-by-step instructions for making these yourself from start to finish!

  1. Decide what information you want to include on each of your four layers, and what to title each page. In order for some cardstock backing to show at the bottom, make your longest layer no longer than 10” (unless you use cardstock larger than the typical 8.5 x 11”). I followed Ann’s instructions and made each sheet 1” shorter than the sheet underneath and made them all 4.25” wide.
  2. Set up four files with the correct dimensions – this is where Photoshop came into play for us – it’s easier to manipulate this kind of setup with Photoshop, but Word also works.
  3. Write up your information for each sheet, playing around with fonts and sizes until you like what you see and get it to all fit within the margins. Don’t forget the titles at the bottom of each page. Pick a pretty script font for your and your groom’s initials on the cover page, and decrease the opacity if possible to give it a softer effect. Make sure your text isn’t too close to the edges so that it is not cut off when you print! You will need to leave about 0.5” of space at the top of each sheet for the cardstock backing to fold over.
  4. Choose a solid-colored cardstock for your backing. If you want edges of your cardstock to show on the sides, order enough to use only one 8.5 x 11″ sheet of cardstock per program (unless you figure out how to get your text to fit on less than 4.25″) – this is what I forgot to do!
  5. Choose a text paper for the four layers. You will want to decide this in accordance with your text colors, as ink colors can change drastically depending on paper color. Do some sample printing at home with the paper you choose before you nail down an ink color.
  6. Take your paper and files somewhere to be printed and cut, or set up an assembly line at home and do the printing yourself. If your files are jpegs, convert to PDFs beforehand, as text prints better this way.
  7. Find ribbon in a color and thickness you like to tie all the papers together at the top.
  8. Have an assembly party! (See tasks above)

Final product!

You can find the instructions I used from Ann here: http://thedomesticdomicile.blogspot.com/2011/08/diy-wedding-revisited-programs.html

And the template she provided here: http://thedomesticdomicile.blogspot.com/2011/08/diy-wedding-revisited-programs.html