Whilst I feel leaving your wedding run sheet to the experts, like your wedding planner or coordinator is best, as they are experienced in timing and details, the reality is that some couples don’t have the option but to DIY their run sheet or timeline of the day if they don’t have a planner or day-of coordinator to help them on this.

I can’t express how important having a timeline guide, made up in advance and sent around to all your key suppliers is. It’s going to make sure all of your vendors, from makeup artists, and caterers to the band, are all on the same page with timings and also keep timings in check on your wedding day.

It is so easy for timings to get blown out when everyone is swept up in the atmosphere, so having a reference point to keep things in check is really important.
On that note, at the risk of sounding like an advert, I have to say this is totally why you need a coordinator, at least for the day. Your ‘day of’ coordinator will keep your timing on track, make sure nothing is forgotten and keep an eye on all of your wonderful suppliers too – invaluable!

On the wedding day, our run sheet is our little bible. As a coordinator, we have it on our person at all times, constantly cross-checking what formality or job is coming up next so we are always 3 steps ahead of the game.

Image by Ashleigh Sky Photography via Jodie & Tim’s Romantic Margaret River Garden Wedding 

Here are a few tips for writing your own run sheet:

Find a template

When writing your run sheet, it’s super important to find a template you are comfortable with (you can google some basic ones online) and then input or override that info to personalise it. Working with a template, or perhaps checking out a couple and finding the parts that best apply to your wedding, means you have cut out a portion of the work and can then just customise all the timings and specific details to your wedding.

Overestimate time!

This is super important, I find that couples or people that don’t do run sheets day in and out, always underestimate the time it takes to do things at a wedding. If you think a group photo after the ceremony will take 5 mins, you are wrong! It can take 10-15 mins for guests to congratulate the newlyweds, and another 10 mins just to coordinate guests into a group, literally it’s like herding cattle. So, allow extra time for everything! If you are running on track (which trust me no wedding EVER does), then you can always bump timings forward as you go.

Image By Tenille Fink Via Astrid & Nick’s Dreamy Destination Wedding In Capri 

Add in every little detail

I can’t stress this enough – you can’t have too much information on a run sheet and as long as it is laid out clearly for your vendors, details are really helpful.
In our run sheets, they are quite detailed. It’s important that all your timings are added in, a few examples include; set up times of vendors, arrival times of buses or guests, group photos, in-between times where guests move from ceremony to reception space or guests are invited to sit down and you might allow 10 mins just for those little roles. We add in all food and bar service times, and all announcements. Your formalities, such as speeches, first dance, cake cutting, bouquet toss, sparkler exit and so on. There is actually quite an art and I’ve learnt from experience! It’s basically taken me 5 years of doing this to nail it.

A clear layout is key and people’s duties allocated

So we have a column for the time, the task, and the person responsible and then notes or further details. So, for example, we might have ;

Consult with your vendors and suppliers

They are the ones executing the timings on the day, so it’s important they site the run sheet and give their advice on what may need to be readjusted or whether timings need to be bumped out or moved around due to logistics.

Image Daniel Brannan Via Jess & Brendan’s Classic & Rustic Tanglewood Estate Wedding 

Remember a run sheet is a time guide only

As mentioned, the timing never ever goes to plan. As much as we try and keep everything in check there is always something that throws timing off – and that’s not a big deal and perfectly normal. Be prepared to rejig things and recognise it’s not the end of the world. Maybe you arrive back late from bridal party photos, so speeches need to be adjusted to later as the main meal is being served, or bump cake cutting to a later time. That’s normal and all totally fine!

Bear in mind, it’s a guide only. Sometimes you need to adapt and be flexible on the wedding day.

We hope this post has helped you in the right direction in writing your own wedding day timeline or run sheet- good luck!

Ms Zebra Says: I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to run a wedding, ensure that each vendor and supplier are on board and then the herding of people and guests is something else all together! Thanks, Vanessa for this great piece on the way to putting a Run Sheet together for a smooth and enjoyable wedding day!

This blog is written by Wedding Planner Vanessa from The Wedding and Event Creators