I don’t think they’re necessary, though I do like having them at weddings so I can follow the ceremony, especially at religious weddings where the traditions are foreign to me. I love seeing my guests looking at them in our photos from before the ceremony got started, and I also kept several as keepsakes.
I think if you do decide to include them, they’re relatively easy to do yourself for cheap. All you need is paper, a printer, and any computer program for creating documents. I created programs with multiple pages (they can just be one page of 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock folded in half) and printed them at home. To bind them, I punched two holes in each and tied ribbon through the holes.
What we included by page:
1. Cover page w/our names and the place and time of our ceremony
2. Names of the bridesmaids, groomsmen, maid of honor, best man, and parents
3. Ceremony order so guests could follow along (processional, declaration of intent, vows, etc.) plus the music selections
4-5. The address of the reception location, directions for how to get there from the ceremony, cocktail hour begin time, and a simple map
6. An “in loving memory” page dedicated to departed family members with their names and a note
7. A thank you to all of our family, wedding party members, and friends for coming to our wedding, supporting us, and being part of our lives