How to Write an Order of Service – by White Crafts

It’s time for Kelly’s latest post – yay! (Missed her other posts? You can find them here!) She’ll be here every fortnight, talking about all things wedding stationery related – this week she’s giving us tips on how to write an order of service :)

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Order of Service: What the heck are they and what the hell goes in them?!

order of service

 The Order of Service is a step by step account on what your guests can expect throughout your ceremony.

rustic order of service

It’s always best to check with the person conducting the ceremony to make sure that everything is covered, but today we’re just giving you some rough guidelines on things to look out for when sorting your Order of Service.

Church Weddings

Photo credit Ellis Photography

Photo credit Ellis Photography

If you’re having a church wedding, here at White Crafts we always ask you to start getting the wording for your Order of Service sorted sooner rather than later!


You might find you have your friends and family volunteer to perform a reading then bicker over which reading they want to do then drop out and have to replace them at the last minute.

Readings should be stated in the order of service and who is reading them, but please try and refrain from putting the whole reading in there. It can put off the person doing the reading as everyone is looking down and following the words and they feel like no-one is listening (plus if they have a little slip up EVERYONE knows)!

Popular church readings are:

  • Corinthians Chapter 13 (verses 1-7)
  • Colossians 3 (verses 12-17)

Just on a side note PLEASE consider what your friend or family member is going to read from to recite their reading. It’s quite unsightly to see them approaching the front of your meticulously designed and beautifully decorated church with a piece of screwed up paper and with what looks like tea stains on the reverse (exactly to section the whole congregation can see while they’re performing their reading) We want them to be listening and enjoying your reading dedicated to you on your wedding day, not playing guess that stain!

Other Messages

Some couples like to leave a little message of thanks to their friends and family for taking time out to share their special day with them. Others like to introduce the bridal party (although if you’re a White Crafts bride you can do this before hand on your web page)

Try and keep your order of service down to 4 pages. This doesn’t over whelm your guests and yet holds all the information they need, remember they don’t have to follow the service word for word they just need a basic guideline of what’s going on and the words to your hymns.

rustic Collage order of serviceAbove all make sure you use a font that your guests can actually read! It’s all very well it being pretty but if they can’t read it then it’s totally useless!

kid order of serviceHymns

Include your hymns in your order of service to save fussing about with hymn books as well as your order of services. Your hymns might change daily as certain songs start to whiz you back in time and force you to recall that frightful time when you were 8 and standing in church at the Harvest Festival when you accidently knocked over the whole display of collected fruit and veg (who’s stupid idea was it to tower them anyway)!! OK – Maybe that one is only me :)

You find out that your Aunt (who you don’t talk to anymore & is now divorced) had that hymn at her wedding, and you’ll be darned if you’ll be having it at yours. Or your sister made that passing comment of ‘isn’t that a funeral song’ Anyhow I think you get the idea, everyone starts having an opinion of what hymns you should or shouldn’t have so just pick the hymns YOU like and feel are fitting for you as a couple. Good sing along hymns (which most of us were forced to sing in school, so we all know them) tend to go down well, such as

  • ‘Give me Joy in my Heart’
  • ‘Guide me O Thou Great Redeemer’
  • ‘Amazing Grace’
  • (you just sang a little bit of these –didn’t you :))

These are all common wedding hymns, the typical number of hymns for a church service is between 2-3.

lace order of service

Procession & Recessional music

If you want to keep this a surprise for your wedding guests then you might not want to include it in your order of service however if you going with one of the traditional one’s then it’s a good idea to pop it in there. If you have a choir, string quartet, organist or harpist playing throughout the ceremony it is also nice to give them a mention in your order of service.

Typical Procession music is:

  • ‘Te Deum Prelude’
  • ‘Conon in D’ Pachelbel
  • ‘Bridal Chorus’ Wagner

Typical Recessional music is:

  • ‘Wedding March’ Mendelssohn
  • ‘Trumpet Tune’ Purcell

Order more than you think you’ll need

Now I know this is coming from a stationer but it’s true! You’ll always use more than you think. Remember churches are open to the public so anyone is within their right to come and see you wed (and they do)! Your Vicar will have one (and the Vicar’s helper, there is always at least one), you and your partner will have one each, your bridesmaids, and ushers are likely to not be sitting with their partners so they’ll take one each (instead of usually sharing).

If you have a choir, string quartet, harpist or organist they will have at least one, and if you have bell ringers they will want one too to know where in the service you are! Ordering half the number to you have guests just doesn’t work with Orders of Service.

yellow order of service

Civil Ceremonies

We are seeing HUGE increase in couples planning a civil ceremony still having an order of service, as it helps to bring some more formality to the proceedings. Obviously these needn’t include so much information but just give guests a more basic outline.

For example:

  • procession music
  • readings (which can be funny poems or stories, such as ‘Yes I’ll marry you’ by Pam Ayres)
  • declaratory words
  • contracting words
  • signing of the register
  • and recessional music (which needn’t be the traditional type but can just be one of your favourite songs)

Again if you have anyone performing any music then it’s good to include in this as well.

mini order of service

Brides and grooms have also used these to include a run down of the rest of the day as well, letting guests know when and where drinks and canapés & the wedding breakfast will be served, where and when throwing of confetti will take place, when & where a group photo is going to be taken etc. This allows any guests who need to nip off to get cash out or get changed from any wardrobe malfunction to do so without missing all the best bits!

photo credit ALS Photography

photo credit ALS Photography

Are you having a church wedding? What hymns have you chosen? What readings are you having? Have you got any more tips? Join the discussion below!

If you have more questions or need to order your order of services then just drop us an email on :)

Signing off for now

Kelly :)

One thought on “How to Write an Order of Service – by White Crafts

  1. Pingback: Alternative Order of Service ideas | Cwtch The Bride

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