Bride vs programmes


Some people query the point of having wedding programmes. The worry is that like theatre programmes you will let them build up and eventually have to throw them away. But I am a hoarder. I have kept every single wedding programme (along with every single theatre programme & ticket) I have ever been given. They are little mementos of those wedding days and those couples; a reminder of the people involved, the readings chosen and the songs that were sung and the way that we felt. For our wedding, I wanted to create something that would be lasting. Something that would hold up to the weight of that day and wouldn’t forever lie crumpled in a drawer; something you couldn’t throw away.

Hand making and binding 50 ceremony books was by no means easy. All in all, covering each one in fabric, hand stitching the papers and setting the seams took me over 2 months to complete. Each time I made one, I learnt how to better them and by the end had it down to a fine art. I thought it might be fun to share how I went about creating them and if you have any more questions, feel free to email me.


I started with watching this amazing book binding tutorial by Shepherds. For those of you not in London or oblivious to this amazing place, Shepherds have been situated on Southampton Row for years. It is the most beautiful shop with the most spectacular selection of binding tools and papers. Although my budget didn’t stretch to the professional equipment, I found this video to be an invaluable starting point which I then adapted to suit my own process and resources.

To create the base, choose a thick card (I used mount board bought from the amazing 3rd floor of paperchase on Tottenham Court Road) and cut each piece to your desired size, two per book. From memory, mine were roughly 9 by 5 inches. 

I chose to cover mine in Liberty print fabrics but you could use pretty much any material you fancy. I cut out my fabric, on the lengthwise grain, leave a 1cm boarder all the way around. Liberty print is pretty expensive and you could of course use a cheaper fabric. For me, Liberty prints are timeless and nostalgic. The store is my very favourite place in the whole of London and so I knew it would always bring me back to my time in the city.  All in all, I probably spent about £60 on the fabric but when you factor in how much you would pay someone to hand make 50 books for you, I think it was money well spent.

I spent a long time experimenting with different adhesives as the fabric is relatively thin and the glue would bleed through. In the end, I used Craft Mount spray glue. Pricey yes, but by far gave the cleanest and most even coating I could find. I sprayed each board and then pressed it on the fabric, leaving the 1cm boarder all the way around. I then cut the corners of the fabric on the diagonal and coated the boarder in glue before fixing it down. 

To make the spine, I bought some thick binding cord from the amazing Macculloch and Wallis. I was desperate to make them out of leather but the expense was just far too great after the investment in the fabric so I compromised here. To attach the spine, I used a glue gun (clearly my tool of choice!) and lined each one up by eye. The glue dries really quickly so you have to work quickly but once it has set the book is incredibly sturdy. Make sure you leave a small gap between the boards, else your book won’t close.

I then printed out the order of service onto recycled brown paper and hand sewed the pages together. Each booklet was sewn into a piece of folded Japanese binding paper (also bought from paperchase) and fastened with a tiny knot on the back spine. 

I then used spray mount to glue to binding paper to the booklet. If you have measured and cut all your paper to size (perhaps the most time consuming job of the whole process), then your lining paper will fit flush onto the edge of your booklet. If you have a little excess, use a craft knife or scissors to trim the edges.

So there you have it! This project was certainly one of my most time consuming but at the same time, it was one of the few pieces of the wedding that wouldn’t inevitably end up being thrown away. I have mine all tucked away for safe keeping and know that in years to come, it will always take me back to that day and the people I shared it with.

The first and last photographs by  Julie Kim. All the rest were taken by me.   Please don’t  share them without permission, thank you!


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