How to Make a Contemporary Layered Wedding Program

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7 Steps to Make Your Own DIY Layered Wedding Programs

cream and black metallic tiered program

Modern, Stylish, Made by You.

Layered wedding programs are increasingly popular due to their contemporary style and ability to fit lots of information into one organized, compact ensemble. In this DIY tutorial, you will learn how to make your own layered program like the one shown here, customized specially for your big event.

To make it convenient for you to recreate this design, the following tutorial includes:

  • Materials list
  • Microsoft Word print templates
  • Printing instructions
  • Step-by-step assembly instructions, tips & tricks

We’ve provided you will all the tools you need, and we’ll even let you take all the credit. Read on to learn more!


Note: The instructions below can also be used to create a unique layered invitation that would fit inside of an A9 invitation envelope.


select text weight sheet

Materials List.
Here’s What You’ll Need.

  • Card Stock – for program backer:
    • 8 1/2 x 11 or larger to be cut to 5 1/2 x 9 1/2
  • Text Weight Paper* – for layered insert sheets:
    • 8 1/2 x 11 or larger to be cut to four sizes
  • Scoring Tool – to score card stock backer
  • Large Paper Trimmer – for cutting paper to size
  • Hole Punch – to punch holes through all layers for ribbon
  • Satin or Chiffon Ribbon to tie layers together

*To select text weight paper, be sure to select “Text Paper” in the “Place Order” box, shown right.

Here’s How it All Comes Together.

To give you a better idea of how your layered program will come together, view the graphic below.


graphic of layered program components


Step 1. Cut Backer And Layers To Size

cut program layers with paper trimmerBegin by cutting all of your layers to the sizes detailed above.

  • Cut card stock backer to 5 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches
  • Cut text weight sheets to:
    • 5 1/2 x 8 1/2
    • 5 1/2 x 7 1/2
    • 5 1/2 x 6 1/2
    • 5 1/2 x 5 1/2

Tip: To yield accurate, straight cuts, a paper trimmer with a built in measuring tool, such as the one shown here, works best.

layered program backer scored one inch from the top

Step 2. Score Program Backer 1 Inch From The Top

After cutting your backer, it will need to be scored so that it can be fold over the top of your program layers.

Using your preferred hand scoring tool, hand score your card stock 1 inch from the top of the card, as indicated by the photo below.

Step 3. Download Word Templates For Layers

Now that you have all of your program components cut to size, you are ready to start customizing your programs. Begin by downloading the templates for the four program layers.

  1. Download 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch Word template for layer 1
  2. Download 5 1/2 x 6 1/2 inch Word template for layer 2
  3. Download 5 1/2 x 7 1/2 inch Word template for layer 3
  4. Download 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch Word template for layer 4

screen shot of changing fonts in wedding program

Step 4. Customize Program Wording

After downloading the templates, open each one, and change the sample wording to your own custom wording. Experiment with various fonts and sizes to find the look you prefer for your programs.

Tip: Be sure to keep your text within the allotted margins. Text placed above the top margin may not be readable, as this is the location where the program layers will be secured. Text placed below the bottom margin may be not be hidden by the layer preceding it.

layered program before assembly

Step 5. Print Program Layers

After customizing each layer, you are ready to print. Since your layers are not a standard 8 1/2 by 11 size, you will need to set your print driver to recognize that you are printing documents with custom dimensions. The following video will explain in detail how to do this.

Instructional video: How to print custom sized documents with your home computer and printer

punch holes through all program layers

Step 6. Punch Holes Through Program Layers

Punching evenly spaced holes through all of your program layers is perhaps the trickiest part of this project. The easiest way to get even punches is to:

  • Get an idea of how far apart you want your holes to be
  • Measure for accurate hole punch location
  • Make a small pencil mark where the hole will be punched
  • Place the hole punch so that the pencil mark is in the center of the hole

For example, on the program in the photo, to ensure the punches were evenly spaced, marks were made, and holes were punched:

  • 1/2 an inch down from the top of the program
  • 2 inches in from the left of the program, 2 inches from the right of the program

Tip: Before punching holes in your printed programs, get a feel for how your hole punch works by testing it out on several layers of paper.

open shot of tiered DIY wedding program

Step 7. Tie Ribbon Through Holes To Secure Program Layers

To complete your program, align all of your program layers, run a ribbon though the holes, and tie it in the front into a decorative knot or bow to hold it all together.

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60 Comments

  1. charlene says:

    What size vellum would i need to use for the layered program?

  2. Kristen says:

    Hi Charlene,

    If you are placing a vellum overlay over just the top layer, you would need to use a 5 x 5 sheet. If you would like to place a vellum overlay over all four layers, you would need to use a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 sheet.

  3. Betsy says:

    Do you offer any additional templates if I wanted to do 5 layers instead of 4?

  4. Kristen says:

    Hi Betsy,

    Unfortunately the Word templates for layered programs in this post are the only ones we offer at this time. However, if you want to create a five layer program, it is simply a matter of determining how much space you want between each layer, then creating a Word document, or template, for each. For example, you may choose to use five layers that measure:

    5 1/2 x 6 1/2
    5 1/2 x 7
    5 1/2 x 7 1/2
    5 1/2 x 8
    5 1/2 x 8 1/2

    This video thoroughly explains how to create a custom sized Word document for each individual layer:

    How to Create Your Own Custom Sized Word Templates

    I hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any questions.

  5. Meadow says:

    Thank-you so much for the easy to use instructions and templates! I found it easy to modify to my specifications (I made a 6-layer program). I did two mock-ups today, and they turned out wonderfully. In addition, they were cost-effective at less than $1 a piece! Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you!

    • Jessica says:

      Do you have the template you used for the 6-layer program. 4 layers isn’t quite enough for me and I think 6 would be great! Please email me the template if you have it. My email is jess29woodward@gmail.com. I’m getting married in 2 months and am ready to get started. Thanks.

      • Kristen says:

        Hi Jessica,

        Unfortunately we do not have a template for a six layered program, just the templates for the four layer program as found in this tutorial.

        If you would like to create a six layer program, you have two options:

        1 – The layers on the program as it is seem now are in one inch increments, and measure as follows:

        5 1/2 x 5 1/2
        5 1/2 x 6 1/2
        5 1/2 x 7 1/2
        5 1/2 x 8 1/2

        You may wish to create 2 additional layers; one measuring 5 1/2 x 4 1/2, one measuring 5 1/2 x 3 1/2.

        2 – If you find the top two layers are too small, you may also reduce the size of the increments between each layer to 3/4 of an inch instead of one inch, creating six layers that measure:

        5 1/2 x 4 3/4
        5 1/2 x 5 1/2
        5 1/2 x 6 1/4
        5 1/2 x 7
        5 1/2 x 7 3/4
        5 1/2 x 8 1/2

        It is quite easy to create your own template that is the correct size. Please find detailed instructions for doing so in the following video:

        How to Create Printing Templates & Print Invitations at Home

        Please let us know if you have any questions.

        • celeste law says:

          I would like to know what card stock paper was used for the layered program. I can’t tell from the picture. I would like to order some.

          • Kristen says:

            Hi Celeste,

            The card stock is Stardream Onyx and the text paper is Stardream Opal. In the beginning of the post, you will see links to these products in the materials list.

  6. Tawana says:

    Hey, Kristen

    By chance do you sell the backer all ready cut to size in a malibu color or silver?

  7. Kristen says:

    Hi Tawana,

    Thank you for your interest in the layered program design! Unfortunately we do not offer the backer pre-cut or pre-scored, but we do have a few silver card stocks, and a custom cutting and scoring service, if you are interested. If so, please give us a call and we would be happy to tell you more about it.

  8. Kristen says:

    Hi Meadow,

    You are very welcome! I am pleased to hear your found the instructions and templates helpful, and that you were able to make your own programs for less than a dollar a piece – that’s excellent, and what we like to hear!

  9. Sandra says:

    Is there any reason why the paper could not be printed on first before cutting? Since you can get two layers per paper (two 5.5 x 8.5 for example) I don’t think it would be very difficult to setup templates (using either columns or a table format) that would allow for this. Just curious if I could tweak the directions and perhaps save myself from having to create a custom document setting in my print driver.

  10. Sarah says:

    What would be your suggestion for what type of text paper to get in not a bright white but not a yellow cream for the layered inserts so that way you will not be able to see the page that is behind it and not take away from the page you are looking at?

  11. Sonya says:

    LOVE this idea!!! I am thinking of using this concept for my invitations. I did a trial one and used a 2-hole office punch to make the holes line up even. It was so much easier to do! Do you recommend a size and type of ribbon that you carry for tying the top?? Thank you again for this amazing idea!
    Sonya

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Sonya,

      You are very welcome! We are glad you liked the idea and used it to design a unique project of your own!

      Thank you for sharing your idea of using a multiple hole punch to create the holes for ribbon. I am sure it is much easier, and certainly more convenient than measuring, marking, and then punching.

      As far as ribbon goes, if the hole punch you are using is a standard size, then 1/4 inch double face satin ribbon would be best. This is the ribbon that is pictured in the example program. Although 1/4 inch ribbon still leaves the punched holes visible, the next size up (7/8 inch) is a bit too wide to fit. 1/4 inch is also a nice size to work with when it comes to tying; not too thin or too wide, and it falls nicely.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions, and please feel free to share a photo of your finished invitations. We’d love to see it!

  12. Nichole says:

    Can you tell me what to fonts you used? I’m having a hard time picking out fonts that go together. Thanks

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Nichole,

      The fonts used on this program are as follows:

      The non-script, all caps text (Claire and Rob, for example) is in Trajan Pro.

      The script (date, layer titles, monogram D) are in Edwardian Script.

  13. Nichole says:

    One more question, probably silly but I have no idea about these terms. After I score my program backer do I fold the score inside (inside crease) or outside (outside crease)? Thanks 🙂

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Nichole,

      That isn’t a silly question at all, and in fact, it is quite common!

      After scoring, fold the card stock on the outside. After scoring, your crease will be on the reverse side of your stock, so simply flip it over, and fold.

  14. Nichole says:

    Hi Kristen,
    So… I’m trying to get all my paper for this project and wanted your opinion or help I guess. My backer that is Royal Blue is 65lb cardstock the only place I could find the color I need was Michaels. I have asked everyone to help me with “text weight paper” and everyone looks at me like I’m crazy. So, I decided I would just order it off this site per your recommendation in a post above. After looking at it, it’s 91lb. Should I really have heavier paper then the backer for the main part? What do you think? I’m not familiar with all the terminology, is text paper lighter then cardstock even though the weight is higher or is weight , weight no matter the paper? Sorry hope I didn’t confuse you too bad. Thanks for all of your help.

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Nicole,

      Paper weight and density terminology can be very confusing, so you question is well warranted, and a very common one!

      In a nutshell, text and cover weight papers are considered two different types of paper, and are measured on two separate, completely unrelated, scales. Text weight papers are thin, light weight pages similar to the pages of a book, or ordinary office paper. Cover weight papers are heavier weight, durable sheets commonly referred to as card stock. Within each scale, the weight of the paper is determined by a number; the higher the number, the heavier the paper.

      To answer your question, since text weight paper is thinner and lighter than card stock in general, a 91 lb text weight paper is still lighter weight than a 65 lb cover sheet (card stock). Any of our text weight papers will be lighter than the 65 lb royal blue card stock you purchased.

      If you are interested in learning more about how paper weight is determined, please view the following video:
      Text Weight Paper, Card Stock Paper – Paper Density Explained

      You might also find this article helpful. It explains the paper weights we carry in more common terms:
      Weight of Paper Explained – A Quick Guide

      Your questions are welcome, so if you have any more, let us know! I also want to mention that we’d love to see your finished result!

      • Nichole says:

        Morning Kristen,
        Thank you very much and that makes sense. I knew you could help! So, few more questions…. I want to order the text paper from this site and I seen earlier you recommended the Old World Blanco Matte text weight paper for a not bright white or ivory look, do you think this will be okay to look at in the sun and not blind ppl? Also, is it thick enough to where you won’t see the next paper through it since it’s a layered program? And last but not least do you think it will look nice against Royal Blue?
        Thank you for all of your help. I do promise to share it when I am finished, would I just post the picture in with the text or do I need to upload it a certain way?

        Nichole

        • Kristen says:

          Old World Blanco Matte is a great choice; one of my personal favorites, actually! This is one of our thicker text weight papers, so the layer below certainly won’t show though. This paper is a really nice shade of white – not bright white, but not ivory either – that will look nice against a royal. One last perk, it prints beautifully in my experience because it has a slightly roughened finish, like an eggshell.

          You can share a picture on the LCI Paper Facebook page, Twitter, or just shoot us an email, whatever you prefer.

          • Nichole says:

            Okay, thank you again for all of your help.I couldn’t have done this without you. I’ll email the finished product and then you can post it. I don’t have facebook or twitter 🙁

  15. Keisha says:

    Thank for making your site so informative and user-friendly.

    I downloaded your templates and added a artistic detail to it — a Victorian swirl — in the bottom left hand and top right hand corners, of each page. However, when I print a sample, it keeps cutting off a part of the swirl. I tried adjusting margins to see if it would make a difference, but it doesn’t and I cannot figure it out can you help with this?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Keisha,

      I am pleased to hear you find the site helpful, and you are very welcome.

      Pertaining to your printing problem, all printers are made differently, each having a margin that is unprintable because that is the location where the printer initially grabs the paper to feed it through. That being said, I have three suggestions for you. Hopefully one will work for you and your printer.

      1. In document/page set up, set your printable area margins (not your document margins) to 0.0 all around. It may be default to cut off printing at a certain point.

      2. If #1 doesn’t seem to work, you can “trick” your printer into printing in its cutoff area so that the full swirl prints. To do this, keep your document size the same (correct dimensions), but set the size in your print driver to a slightly larger size. For example, if you are printing on the 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch layer, set the size in your print driver to be 5 1/2 x 6, or 6 x 6 (depending on the location of swirl cut off). This way your printer assumes it is sticking to the printable area of the larger document even though it printing on a smaller sheet.

      3. If the first two suggestions do not work, you can always print multiple up to an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet. Of course to do this, the templates would have to be altered. If you go this route and need help, please let us know!

      I hope this helps, best of luck!
      Kristen

  16. kadisha says:

    Good Morning..I was working on my layered program but I seem to have alot of information that will not fit on the template provided. Is there a certain font or is there a way we can make the page a tad bit longer?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Kadisha,

      You can certainly decrease the margins on the bottom (file, page set up, margins) and sides a bit, but keep in mind that most home printers are not capable of printing all the way to the bottom of a sheet.

      You might also add a layers to the program, decreasing the space between the layers to 3/4 of an inch instead of 1 inch. This would give you 6 layers measuring:

      5 1/2 x 4 3/4
      5 1/2 x 5 1/2
      5 1/2 x 6 1/4
      5 1/2 x 7
      5 1/2 x 7 3/4
      5 1/2 x 8 1/2

      For step by step instructions on how to make templates for these sizes, please view the following:
      How to Print at Home with Your Computer and Printer

  17. Jenn says:

    What size ribbon is shown in the photo? Is it 1/4″ or 1/8″? Could you recommend number of yards needed per, say 100 programs made? Thanks!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Jenn,

      The ribbon in the photo is 1/4 inch.

      The amount of ribbon you need will vary with how large you want your bows and tails to be; but to estimate, you will probably use about a foot per program, or 1200 inches total (12 x 100 programs). Each roll of 1/4 inch ribbon has 100 yards, or 300 feet — 3600 inches.

      You will have more than enough on one roll of ribbon.

  18. Brianne says:

    Has anyone made these? I love them and am wondering about how much it ended up costing per program?

    • Amie says:

      Hi Brianne,

      I made these this weekend for my wedding in June. They are really easy and came out beautiful! I suggest you have some help and setup an assembly line as it does take some time, but very simple. My 11 year old daughter helped me.

      Cost is really is going to depend on how much you spend on card stock and paper. I ordered a special card stock from LCI because it was a wood grain pattern and I am having an outdoor wedding. I ordered paper from them as well and went for a little pricier linen paper. I was only making 50 programs too, so I figured splurging a little wouldn’t be so bad. For each program, you will need 1 piece of card stock and 2 pieces of paper. You can get 2 layers out of each piece of 8.5 x 11 standard piece of paper. I ordered card stock that was $25 for 50 pieces and paper that was $10 for 50 pieces. I tied my programs with jute which I purchased for $1 for 10 yards. My programs ended up costing me 95 cents per program (plus the ink to print them, which I didn’t even use a whole set of cartridges in my 10 year old printer!). For my 50 programs it ended up costing $47. If you buy cheaper card stock and paper, your prices would be lower. It just all depends on what you get.

      Hope that helps a little and good luck!

  19. Kate says:

    I love these and think it’ll be perfect for my black and white wedding. But I’m curious what color black card stock you used for this specific picture? Your website has multiple colors and types of black cardstock.
    Thanks !

  20. tammy says:

    Kristen I love these programs..just one question please. as I started to download and look at the template to page one. I can not figure out out to replace the Big D in the middle of the page. I need a W in there. plus cant figure out how to put the names ober the big D like you have it. Can you help? I would so appreciate it

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Tammy,

      I’m pleased to hear you like the program design!

      The “D” is in a text box, so all you have to do is select the box then highlight the text to change it. Just click around the general area until you see a blue outline. If it helps, you can move the box to edit it, then put it back.

      The monogram “D” and the date are in the font “Edwardian Script” and the names are in Trajan Pro. You can change the color of the monogram as well, if you don’t want it to be gray.

      Let me know if you have any other questions please!

  21. Andrea says:

    Hi Kristen!

    I LOVE these programs! My bridesmaids and I are making them this week. Our color is David’s Bridal Guava and I bought white shimmer paper and white card stock. I am having a really hard time finding a match to DB Guava, the best match is 1/2″ ribbon. Will this work in this program? I found some organza that’s 3/8″, but I just don’t care for it.

    Thanks!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Andrea,

      I’m glad to hear you like them! You can use any size ribbon you like, so long as you punch holes large enough to accommodate it. Although the featured program was made with 1/4 inch ribbon, half inch would look nice as well. It is not so wide as to overwhelm the program, and will look nice as a punch of color.

  22. Kenyatta says:

    I love these programs! I want to know how much paper will I need to make 150 programs?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Kenyatta,

      I’m glad you like them! To make 150 programs you will need:

      150 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 card stock (for backers) – 1 backer per sheet
      300 sheets of text paper (at least) – 2 of each size layer per sheet

      I would recommend ordering an extra pack or a handful of extra samples of everything, as you will want room for error.

  23. Mary Jane says:

    I loved your layered program and I am actually using your templates. In your covered, I was using it but, the I want to change the initial to N. how do I change it? I’m computer savvy.
    Please help on the cover templates.

    Thanks

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Mary Jane,

      The initial on this template is in a text box. To edit it, click on the text box until you see the blue outline, then you can edit the text in the box.

  24. Kara says:

    About how long will it take me to make 250?

    • Kristen says:

      After printing, cutting, and scoring, and once you get the hang of it, probably just a couple of minutes per program. If you have lots to make, perhaps you can enlist the help of your bridal party 🙂

  25. Arnita says:

    I have all of my infomation in the templates, but when I print the words at the bottom are not lined up. How can I fix that?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Arnita,

      Alignment may shift when you add information, change fonts, etc. You just have to play around with it a bit to make everything align again.

      If you do not want to waste your cut paper to test print, you can cut pieces of plain copy paper to size and test that.

  26. Vanessa says:

    I am having 7 bridesmaids and my fiance has 7 groomsmen. When I put there names on the word document it does not fit the page. I am afraid if I make the font smaller it will be too difficult to read. How can i fix this?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      You might try entering the names in in columns so that the names can sit side by side and take up less space, rather than making one large long list.

  27. Kate says:

    Hi there,

    Just curious if these invitations will require extra postage? In Canada a normal stamp is required for anything under 30 grams.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Kate,

      Due to the fact that they are made from so many layers, they likely do. However, we always recommend bringing a finished piece to the post office before mailing to be certain.

  28. MIchelle Moreno says:

    Hi I want to leave a small border on the each side of the program for the color to show I know for the width I can just do it 6 inches instead of 5 1/2 but what about the length? since it is being scored at one inch how long would I need to cut the cardstock to have the 1/2 showing at the bottom?

    thank you

    • Kristen says:

      Cutting your backer to 6 inches wide would give you a 1/4 inch border, which is what you would want to mirror at the bottom. However, once you add all the text weight layers in and tie them to the backer, they push down 1/16 an inch or so (depending on the paper you use), so to get a 1/4 inch border on the bottom of the backer, you would need to add 5/16 inch to the length (1/16″ push + 1/4 inch border). This means your backer needs to be cut to 9 13/16 (9.83).

  29. Tenesha says:

    Where do I go to download the template?

    • Kristen says:

      Hello Tenesha,

      The templates are under step 3 – there are four different links there for the four template sizes.