How to print your own wedding programs at home
July 18, 2006 10:33 AM   Subscribe

How can I go about printing my own programs for my wedding?

I want to print my own bi-fold or tri-fold programs for my wedding ceremony in October, and I'm hoping I could do this with my little inkjet printer at home. However, I can't find anything in the way of program paper for sale either here (in Milwaukee, WI) or on the internet. There's lots of resources for wedding invites, but not for programs!

Does anyone have any experiences with printing programs at home? Resources? Advice for making my own graphics and layout to print on paper if I can't find program paper? Any input would help!
posted by christinetheslp to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I printed our wedding programs (back in 1997)... I just used a heavier cream colored paper for the outside and lighter white paper for the inside...
posted by Lucinda at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2006

What is "program paper"?

I'm making my own programs for my wedding. I opened a Microsoft Word document, and set up the number of columns I wanted -- two for us, because we're going the bifold route (I guess --I don't really know program jargon).

I'm using a graphic on the cover, which I found free on the internet and altered a little using PhotoShop. I imported the image into Word. Then I typed the text of the program into the appropriate places in the columns I had set up.

When I'm ready to print, I just hit "Print" and out it comes. Magic!

I don't have a double-sided printer, so I then have to flip the sheet of paper over to print on the back. And then I fold it in back.

I'm using slightly heavier cardstock paper in ivory. It's available at any office supply store -- Staples, Office Depot, Office Max, Kinkos, whatever.

Our program is only in black and white (well, black and ivory), and I quickly determined that it would be cheaper to use Kinkos ink than my own.

So I took a print out of the program to a Kinkos self-service photocopier, loaded my own paper into the paper feed tray, and made all the double sided copies I needed.

It took about five minutes and cost less than $8 for 40 copies. Then I've just got to fold them.

Kinkos also has color copiers, which cost more per copy. These are probably also less costly than printing from home.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:44 AM on July 18, 2006

I printed my wedding programs at home-- on 8.5x11 lavender card stock from Papersource, folded once for 5.5x8.5 programs.

I layed it out in InDesign and printed it on my inkjet printer.

Do you have access to InDesign?
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2006

Paper Source website.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:47 AM on July 18, 2006

I am a pastor, and always encourage couples to print their own bulletins, because it is so cheap and easy to do so, and ti keeps their expenses down.

Here are some blank bulletins (some other stuff is on their site too, like candles, etc.):

Then, all you have to do is design your service as you like in something like MS Word with two columns and the page orientation set to landscape and print it (or better yet, use a copier) on your nice paper.

I can send you some templates for weddings I have done, if that helps. Just send me an e-mail at dforrester at gmail dot com.

Also, that company I linked to (Cokesbury) is easy to work with, especially if you call one of their retail outlets.

Good luck.
posted by 4ster at 10:51 AM on July 18, 2006

I did the same thing as croutonsupafreak. I made the layout and everything in MS Word, printed out a "master", then took it to Staples. There, I chose some cream-colored resume paper and copied the master on to the paper to make the programs. Along the way, I learned not to make more than 10 copies at a time, in case something goes wrong with a batch.
I also ended up using their paper-slicer to trim off some of the bottom of the paper, which gave it less of that regular-paper-folded-in-half look.

At a FedEx/Kinkos, you could bring the master copy to the counter, and a sales person will help you get the right paper and they'll do the copies for you.

If you don't want to build the program from scratch, Microsoft has a template.
posted by Sprout the Vulgarian at 11:01 AM on July 18, 2006

I noticed that you mentioned using your inkjet printer. If you're not printing color and you can get your hands on a laser printer, it will probably look about 10,000 times better. I've seen a lot of inkjet prints, and I've never seen any as crisp and clear as the prints from my 8-year-old (parallel port only) Brother HL-1040 laser printer.

We had our programs and invites printed professionally, but we printed our rehearsal dinner invitations on cardstock using that printer, and we printed the map inserts for the invitations on vellum through that printer as well. We got compliments on both, and several people even asked where we had them printed!
posted by cebailey at 11:18 AM on July 18, 2006

If you're wondering about a template (which you could figure it out but it's easy enough to show you), for a single fold program made from a letter-size page, it should lay out like this.

Two print areas, landscape page orientation. You can do it servicably in Word.

That's based on my wedding program. But I only left the first page. Those are our real names.
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:26 AM on July 18, 2006

I do a lot of home layout on Adobe PageMaker. InDesign and Quark are industry standards, so PageMaker stuff is usually available for a song -- or less. I wouldn't want to use PageMaker professionally, but for stuff like this, it's just fine.

Please don't use MS Word or MS Publisher. It may take you a little while to catch onto PageMaker (although not too long, I think), and once you know what you're doing, it'll save you from the petty hassles.
posted by booksandlibretti at 11:33 AM on July 18, 2006

Please don't use MS Word or MS Publisher. It may take you a little while to catch onto PageMaker (although not too long, I think), and once you know what you're doing, it'll save you from the petty hassles.

For christ's sake-- she's planning a wedding, not trying to abide by your pretentions by avoiding apps that don't require a skill set.

christinetheslp, use Word if that's what's available to you and you get results that you're pleased with. It's fine for a one-off if that's what's convenient. Your wedding prep will keep you plenty busy without learning a new application for one project just to keep booksandlibretti from wrinkling her nose.

Mayor Curley,
former professional print designer
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:55 AM on July 18, 2006

I'm not like, "Oh my, how dare she use Word -- my delicate sensitivities are appalled"; it's along the lines of "I think it would actually be less work to use one program than another, because, in my experience, using Word for design layout can be more of a pain in the ass than it's worth."

She can do whatever she likes, obviously. I suggested PageMaker because it's cheap/available, easy to learn how to use, and not a pain in the ass -- again, in my experience.

not really Todd Lokken,
layer-outter of various newspapers as well as home productions
posted by booksandlibretti at 12:17 PM on July 18, 2006

I just finished making my invitations at home, and have been working on a mockup of my wedding programs as well.

I found it really easy and convenient to use Word to create my invitations, response cards, etc. I also used an inkjet photo printer because I was using colored ink on textured cardstock (Bazzill Basics, which you can buy from Joann crafts if you are looking for really excellent cardstock), and laser printers do not print as nicely on textured cardstock.

You shouldn't need any special "program" paper to create a program. With 8.5"x11" or 12"x12" cardstock, a paper cutter, a ruler, and a bone folder you should be able to create beautiful programs at home.
posted by tastybrains at 12:49 PM on July 18, 2006

Also, here's a link to the Program Bio from TheKnot. It has some great information on DIY wedding programs. You also might check out the forums at the Knot since lots of Knotties are making their own stationery and may have advice.
posted by tastybrains at 12:52 PM on July 18, 2006

Paper source, an ink jet printer, some funky scissors, and those bolt thingies that you have to hammer together led to this fan-like wedding program, especially good for a hot day.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:28 PM on July 18, 2006

onlyconnect: That is the most beautiful wedding program I have ever seen. Well done.
posted by 4ster at 3:54 PM on July 18, 2006

Word or OpenOffice is perfect for this kind of layout - I've done all sorts of more complicated layout on both, but I also did our simple 1-fold wedding program, in OpenOffice. (Would have used word, but the hubby doesn't have a copy).

Collumns are your friends (even if I can't spell it), though text boxes might be easier.
posted by jb at 6:03 PM on July 18, 2006

I will echo the recommendation to use stuff from Paper Source. I did all the invitations, reply cards, rehearsal dinner invites, table cards, menus, programs, and any other "stuff" you can think of using their papers.

Their text-weight "super fine soft white" is your friend. Beautiful "not quite cream" color, takes colored inks well (I used a deep green for font color).

I downloaded a few templates from the Microsoft download site (searched on "wedding programs") and found one in MS Publisher that I messed around with -removed some stuff, used my own graphics, so forth, and was quite quite happy with it.
posted by ersatzkat at 4:22 AM on July 19, 2006

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