Something that can be super easily overlooked when planning your wedding is creating a run sheet for your big day. Not only will having a run sheet make your wedding day run smoothly, but it can also mean details won’t be overlooked in the lead-up to your wedding. Run sheets are perfect for you, your vendors, your photographer, and your family to ensure your day goes off without a hitch, and you have more time to soak it all in and the time of your life! And it just so happens the Art Nouveau Styling team has the ultimate wedding ceremony and reception run sheet you’ve been looking for!  Don;t forget! We’ve got our own run sheet template available to purchase PLUS a podcast chat with wedding planner Vanessa Bragg on this very subject! 

First things first, there are no rules when it comes to planning your wedding day. It should be centered around what is most important to the two of you. We are here to offer our hints and tips to ensure the day (night, weekend, whatever!) is everything you hoped and dreamed it would be! Before you tackle the timeline or run sheet, there are a few things you should have locked in. For example…

Are you eloping or having a wedding?

Are you more into daytime festivities with a boozy afternoon session or bring on the moody nighttime vibes?

You should also make a hit list of what YOU really care about, as that will pave the way forward.

Are your hearts driven by your belly and you want a full day of grazing or a sit-down feast?

Are you obsessed with capturing cinematic photos and video, so you’ll be taking time away from the party to create magic?

Is it all about the party, quick ceremony only, and then dance the night away with food trucks & fireworks?

Now you know what type of wedding you’re planning, it’s time for the run sheet! We are going to break this down by how long components take rather than specific times of the day. This is totally dependant on the above questions and really is a personal preference based on what matters most to you.

Here are our recommendations!

Pre Ceremony Photography 1 – 2 hours

This is the BEST time to get in some of those classic portraits with the wedding party and family members. If this works in with the timing of your ceremony, do as many before the ceremony, so the rest of the day can flow naturally.

Ceremony 30 minutes – 1 hour

Your guests should arrive approx. 30 minutes before the ceremony starts and if one of you will be waiting down the aisle we recommend you pop down there about 10 to 15 minutes before start time.

Pro Tip: Do some sort of rehearsal with your celebrant to know what you will be doing and when. It’s important this flows and everyone knows their part. We also recommend the grand exit back down the aisle with a quick transition into the rest of the family photos. There will be plenty of time for hugs and kisses during the rest of the festivities.

Cocktail or Pre-Reception – As long as you need it to during your portraits!

This is for your family and friend to mingle while you get some beautiful, memorable portraits done! If you have already had some family portraits done before the ceremony, this should make this pre-reception and mingle time less which is great leading into the reception.

Pro Tip: Have your celebrant or MC inform people where to go and what is happening as this will avoid any confusion.

Family Portraits 30 minutes – 1 hour

This is dependant on how well behaved everyone is, how many you managed to get before the ceremony and how many people there are to wrangle. Giving yourself more time will make this run a bit more smoothly, however you don’t want to take up too much time that could be dedicated to lovers’ portraits or being with your guests.

Pro Tip: Work with your stylist and photographer to set up a portrait area, as this will not only look amazing but will also make it a lot easier to get everyone in the right spot quicker. Think Vanity Fair Portraits! Yes, please!

Wedding Party Portraits 30 minutes – 1 hour

Again, if you have an area set up, this can be quick and painless to get all the money shots. Then you can spend a bit of time getting some more candids.

Pro Tip: Have your photographer (or do it yourself!) scope out some photography locations close to the ceremony and/or reception venues so that you know exactly where you’ll need to go on the day, and exactly how long it will be to get travel anywhere. This is so you are able to add in any travel time and aren’t caught out by how long it takes you and your photographer and wedding party to get to these locations.

Lovers Portraits – Totally up to YOU!

We’ve done anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours, we’ve also just shot at different intervals throughout the evening to get various light and settings. Take time to think about what kind of shots you are after and invest in a photographer that is on the same page.

Pro Tip: Talk to your photographer about adding in a bit of spice, with smoke or petal canons or even some champagne showers. This can really take your session to the next level!

Reception – Party on lovers…

If you are sticking to any traditions, try to put them in a logical order to keep the vibes up. Keep the speeches short and in between courses so you don’t lose the crowd. Cut the cake early so your caterer has time to plate it up and group all the dancing together.

Pro Tip: Have your Celebrant or MC take care of the “Order of Events” so you can kick back and enjoy the show. You’re there to celebrate, not direct a production! You want to remember as much of your day as possible, and to really enjoy it, so running things should not be on your to-do list on the day. 

There are a few things to consider when putting together a run sheet but it can be the difference between a stunning event or a shambles. Take the time to do it and consult with your vendors – they will provide the best advice to suit your type of event.

Final Pro Tip: Your wedding planner, celebrant, photographer, and/or videographer are the MVPs (most valuable players) of your wedding celebrations. Invest in them and trust their industry knowledge!!

Want more?

Polka Dot Wedding Run Sheet Template

How To Write Your Own Wedding Run Sheet

The Feel Good Wedding Podcast: Episode 4: How To Write A Wedding Run Sheet With Wedding Planner Vanessa Bragg

All images courtesy of Lili & Pearl & Art Nouveau Styling

About Art Nouveau Styling: Art Nouveau Styling is a collaboration of two creatives, dreaming up elegance & swooning over old-world luxury. Boutique Weddings & Events are our happy place, but honestly, we are up for anything!