You know we love all the fun, shiny parts of wedding planning but we also admire what it takes to bring a wedding together and often that is the not so fun & shiny parts. In this case, the power and importance of an accurate wedding run sheet!
As part of this podcast we want to bring you helpful conversations from our vendors that will help demystify the wedding planning process and support you to have better experiences with your vendors.
To talk all things run sheets, today, we’re joined by Vanessa Bragg from The Wedding & Event Creators.
Vanessa started her business 10 years ago, on a much smaller scale, doing a few weddings here and there, and they have since evolved to about 450 weddings a year and growing! The Wedding and Event Creators offer wedding planning, styling, coordination, pack up and also a huge hire range, plus they have a cute side business called The Gelato Bike.
In her spare time Vanessa loves to go to the beach in summer, enjoy a margarita, play board games with her kids, play netball and go to see musicals and movies.
It is a delight to share this conversation with you.
In this ‘Vendor Wisdom’ chat, we discuss:
- What is a wedding run sheet?
- Why do you need one?
- Who should create it?
- Is it a rulebook or a guide?
- What things should be considered when creating one.
- Who should keep an eye on the run sheet on the day?
- And what do you do if the timings all go sideways!
On the question of what do you do when things don’t go to plan, Vanessa shares, ‘Take a breath and roll with it. Seriously, just calm down, take a breath and just be flexible if that happens. So nothing ever goes perfectly. We do 400+ weddings a year and I’m telling you even with a professional there, things change on the day. For peace of mind for you, know that it’s never going to run to perfect timing because there’s so many random elements and there’s so many people. Sometimes we’ll have a couple say ‘we just wanna have a cute little 10 minutes together.’ And we roll with that!’
We hope you enjoyed this episode talking wedding run sheets! We’d love for you to share on your socials and tag @polkadotwedding and help us to share the podcast with more people.
On Instagram: @wedeventcreators
On Facebook: /TheWeddingAndEventCreators
On Polka Dot Wedding:
On her website: The Wedding & Event Creators
We hope you enjoyed this episode talking business! We’d love for you to share on your socials and tag @polkadotwedding and help us to share the podcast with more people.
The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders custodians of the land and pay our respects to Elders past, present & emerging.
Dorothy: Welcome to The Feel Good Wedding podcast, a podcast by Polka Dot Wedding. My name is Dorothy, and I’m your host today. I’m the founder and editor of Polka Dot Wedding and I’m obsessed with weddings. But when I say obsessed, I’m not just obsessed with the pretty, the beautiful, the lovely flowers and the cake, because that stuff is what gets me going. But I also am really passionate and excited by stuff like diversity and inclusion in weddings and the lack of that, what it takes to have an accessible wedding, what it takes to have a wedding if you’re hard of hearing, what it takes to have a wedding if you are not a cis- couple, I really wanna dive into this stuff.
And that’s part of why we’re building The Feel Good Wedding podcast. Can’t wait to take you along for the ride.
The Polka Dot Wedding team is honoured to conduct our work on the land of the BoonWurrung, WoiWorung, Eora and Kuring-gai people. We honour the traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander custodians of the land, and we pay our respects to Elders past and present.
Hello and welcome. I’m so thrilled to have you here today.
And I am so thrilled to chat with today’s guest. Now we love to talk about the aesthetic stuff at Polka Dot Wedding. We love to talk about the dresses. We love to talk about flowers. We love to talk about all the things that you’re probably scrolling and liking on Instagram. It excites us as much as it excites you, but we also know that there’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t get talked about quite as much as it should.
But it is really, really important and crucial to your day. And one of those things is a wedding run sheet. Now, this is the thing that guides your entire day and tells everyone what to do when, and so we invited one of our members, Vanessa Bragg of The Wedding & Event Creators, to learn her expertise. Now Vanessa knows a thing or about run sheets because she’s planned hundreds.
If not thousands of weddings through her business, The Wedding & Event Creators. Plus her side business, The Gelato Bike. So who better to ask today for all the advice, including what happens when your wedding goes completely astray? Who does the wedding run sheet do and who is responsible for it? How much time you should allow for everything – And Vanessa?
I think she’s the perfect one to share her expertise today. And I can’t wait for you to meet her.
Dorothy: Vanessa, thank you so much for joining us today.
Now, before we start, we know you very well. Having worked with you for many years at Polka Dot Wedding, but I’d love for you to introduce yourself and tell me all about The Wedding & Event Creators.
Vanessa: Awesome can do. So our business is The Wedding & Event Creators. So we’re based on the south coast of New South Wales here in Australia, we offer lots and lots of types of services from sort of full wedding planning, through to coordinations, styling, set up. We also have a big hire range and do pack up services.
So like a clean up service when people are hungover and don’t want to have to do that the next day. Always a popular add-on. So we also have a little cute Gelato bike, which sells yummy local gelato as well. So that’s a bit of an add-on. So we, I guess, specialise in a lot of more DIY-style weddings. So like we live in a fairly rural space. So there’s a lot of marquee barn, farm, sort of weddings. So rather than your typical function centre, you know, those other sort of weddings, you need a lot more support. So I guess that’s where we specialise in.
I started the business about 10 years ago, but it’s been very full on probably the last five. And so I think we do about 400 weddings a year, plus, which is, sounds insane when I say it out loud, but yeah, that’s a lot of weddings, so about, you know, quite a few, midweek on the weekends. It’s, pretty crazy. So, but yeah, we love it. Love it, keeps us very busy.
Dorothy: And with 450 weddings, which is ridiculous. For your team, you must know a lot about what we’re talking about today, which is, as we said, very boring, but something that is absolutely critical to a wedding day, which is the wedding day run sheet. Can you tell me a little bit about what exactly is a wedding day run sheet and why is it so important on a wedding?
Vanessa: Yes. Awesome. So I love this topic, not boring to me. I think it’s so important and probably the most important topic, because it’s the glue, the run sheet is the glue that holds all of that planning together on like the actual day. So, essentially I guess in a nutshell, like a wedding run sheet, it’s basically a timeline for your wedding day, right?
So a good run sheet should really outline all of those key timings, the tasks, who’s actioning those. So for example, you might note things like 11 o’clock for setting up the chairs. You might note that the band arrives at one o’clock. So it’s all of the sort of set up timings through to the actual on the day things.
So when the wedding gets underway, it’s things like when the guests are arriving, your ceremony start time. So for myself as a wedding coordinator, it’s the most important document that we use on the day. I’ve got it stuck in a little bum bag or in my back pocket or something that we hold onto. It keeps track of everything, making sure that all of your suppliers and all those key people just know where they’re supposed to be.
And when you’ve spent so much time planning, you know, for months and months and years and years, your wedding day, it’s just making sure that that’s all executed correctly on the day. So, you know, all of your suppliers through to your makeup artist, your caterer, your band, they’re all on the same page with those timings as well.
So I find it really (helpful), having a good quality run sheet. You know, it stays true to timings on the day and make sure that no miscommunication occurs, the timings don’t blow out. So you miss that fun dance floor time, and yet it’s really important for your special day to keep everything on track.
Dorothy: So I know a lot of photographers will say that they’ll build it for you. And obviously, if you have a wedding planner, you would hope that that that would be part of their service, that they would build the run sheet for you, but who ultimately is responsible. If I’m engaged and want to plan my wedding, who’s responsible for the wedding run sheet? And who do I need to talk to?
Vanessa: Yep. Great question. So I do find that sometimes a lot of the suppliers do have their own what I call mini run sheets. Right? So yes, a photographer, maybe a caterer’s got like a little they call it an event order so they will create their own. But when you actually delve into that and look at that, it’s very specific to that supplier only.
So it’s not showing a holistic run sheet of the day. It doesn’t have every other supplier noted in there. It doesn’t have the stylist set-up time. It doesn’t have, you know, exactly when the cake’s going to be served or when, you know, certain timings are, it might just not have a general overview. Ceremony this time, dinner this time.
So it’s just really basic. And it’s only relating to them because they’ve got their own systems and processes, I suppose. So, for us, like when we say coordinating, we actually create that run sheet for you. So you are, if you’ve got a wedding coordinator or a planner, even if you’re at a function centre, maybe you’ve got like a venue manager, I find that they’re generally the person in charge of the, what I call master run sheet and keeping track of all of those suppliers on the day.
A good tip as well. Say you are, you don’t have any of those people. You’re doing more of a DIY wedding where you’re doing everything yourself. When you do create your own run sheet, a really good tip is to create multiple, print multiple copies on the day and hand them out to all of those suppliers, just so that everyone’s got that one central run sheet that they’re working off. So whether that’s your caterer, bar, like your MC, musician, that sort of a key family member, that’s helping you on the day. I think that’s a really good tip is just making sure that they’ve all got that one run sheet in printed form. So everyone’s got the most updated copy as well.
Dorothy: That’s a really good idea because you don’t want to be trying to navigate telling everyone where they should be.
Vanessa: Yes. Yes. And it just makes sure they might have their own personalised ones. Like you mentioned, you know, a photographer or something, but it’s just bringing it back to making sure all the other little details that are the in-between moments aren’t missed. When everyone just swept up in the day it’s easy, so easy for timings and things to blow out or a miscommunication because no-one’s looking each step ahead at that run sheet. So yes.
Dorothy: So how long before the wedding, should I look at building my wedding run sheet?
Vanessa: Yeah. Cool. So for us, we create our run sheets about 10 weeks before the wedding, you can do that anytime. So like you could create what I call just a general, I guess, really base draft one, at any point that’s got your main timings in there, but I find any earlier, you just don’t have all that information to fill in the gaps with all the nitty gritty details.
So I find, we create ours about 10 weeks before the wedding, we then email that out to suppliers about five weeks before the wedding. Again, any earlier than that, they’re not ready to lock in arrival times and ready to look at that because they’re already in other weddings’ head space. So sort of too early, anything too, like late, you know, two weeks before is just too late because you don’t have time to then gain their feedback, finalise, follow up with your suppliers. So I think sending it to your suppliers about five, six weeks before the wedding and, and creating a really tight run sheet about 10 weeks before is a really good, time guide.
Dorothy: I was about to ask you whether I should send it to my suppliers once I’ve got my draft?
Vanessa: What do we actually do is so we have a template, right? And we, we put in each supplier, but then leave a gap on the left side of the time for them. So we’ve got all the other timings. We are pretty comfortable, you know, we know the ceremony time and when we want cake cutting and things like that, but say there’s a florist arrival time caterer, arrival time band, arrival time, we actually leave that blank.
definitely is up to that supplier or vendor to dictate when they wanna. Arrive, of course, they know best when they need to arrive to set up and do their job. But sometimes we’ll slot in templated timings again, because we’ve got a lot of experience. I know a lot of certain suppliers arrive, you know, the bar arrives one-hour pre-service time.
So we sort of know timings and we ask them to check. But I think if you’re doing it by yourself, to avoid any confusion, leave it blank and, and then you’ll know easily. Who you haven’t heard from, if you still see that slot blank, you haven’t heard back from your florist for their time. So it’s a good way to check in as well to make sure that you’ve crossed everything off.
Dorothy: So we have a really great example of this because you’ve written a blog post for us on Polka Dot Wedding that, talks all about our run sheet. So you’ve got a layout there of how to build it, but can you talk to the listeners of the podcast about how we start building this? What should be included? How do we lay it out?
Vanessa: Yep. Sure. So I find that for us, we have a template that I was referencing before that we sort of use as a base. If you are DIYing that is really easy, I guess, the starting point is to go online and just start Google searching. Lots of different run sheets and then pick apart pieces to create your own and create a base format that you are comfortable using.
So you might like to literally cut and paste elements from other run sheets that you’ve Google stalked online, to then create your own base. So for us personally, we use literally just a word document, but we do pop that into a Google drive folder. So we share that link with our couples and also with the vendors.
So that any time any of us can jump in and see it live, I think that’s really important rather than downloading and sending the edits. It’s a really long-winded way of getting to the same end game. So I find if we have it in drive, everyone can access it and know that those are edits that somebody has made alive.
You can pair that back and sort of make sure that maybe if you don’t want suppliers to edit directly, that’s fine. You can permit their access. But if it’s myself and our couples, we can jump in and, and edit stuff as we go. So I think. Creating a template that you are comfortable using that’s user-friendly for you in terms of what’s in a run sheet for us.
We laid out with timings on the left side. What the action is. So for example, 6:00 PM prep, reception space, and then who’s managing that. So it might be the coordinator or the particular supplier’s name, so that when that supplier looks down at the run sheet, they can clearly see their name and know.
You know where they’re meant to be doing certain things. And then on the right side, I put very little details. So, you know, real nitty gritty details that we need to note. So, it might be 2:00 PM handout rose petal cones, the coordinators doing that, and we’re handing them out on guest arrival. So it’s like, everything’s very, very neat in the box template before.
Dorothy: So the nitty gritty part, which is, we know weddings go over, everything goes over. And the things that we don’t take into account, like the congratulations, hugs, and never take it into account in the timelines that I often sort of see couples who haven’t had the experience and don’t have the knowledge do.
So how much time should we allow for this basic stuff? Like the getting ready, the ceremony, the congratulations, all that stuff, because it’s so hard to come up with that when you haven’t been through it before.
Vanessa: Yes. And the biggest tip is to overestimate your time. Everybody forgets the midway time in between all those things. And so they bump things so tight, then it’s unrealistic. And then there’s that panic of we’re running over when if you just leave yourself that really flexible buffer time, in between those formalities, I find that it’s very true to time your run sheet, but in terms of general timings, every wedding of course is, is different.
But most ceremonies I find, we do typically not church ceremonies, that civil ceremonies go for about 30 minutes. So, you know, you will allow 40 minutes, because there’s a congratulations at the end and you know, the general chit chat and things like that. I find with photos, so like wedding party photos typically go for about an hour or so.
It depends, of course, if your photographer’s taking you offsite or onsite or maybe the couples like we just want a real quick 30-minute thing – “I’m not interested in photos”. Other sorts of things that you might want to include in the run sheet are things like a group shot after your ceremony. So the big group photo, might be family portraits.
Another really good tip for family portraits is to create a shot list, to streamline that really boring, awkward time where like – where’s Aunt Beryl, where’s Uncle Joe. Like no one can find everyone and you want the certain photos. I find like, if you create a shot list; so photos of exactly who you want, and a helpful family member that can gather those people that quickens that process up, you might also duck away for like little sunset photos during the reception.
That’s like maybe 15 minutes or so in terms of speeches, that’s something, I think that’s really important, again, to be quite realistic for. I find, if you ask your speakers to do maybe a three-minute max limit, so you don’t get someone rambling on for 45 minutes and just ruining the vibe, so give them a time limit.
So that, you know, it doesn’t go for too long, but actually allocate 10 minutes per speech. That’s what we do in our run sheet. So we allow for that time where people get up, clap, walk over, fumble with their paper, do the actual speech, sit back down, get introduced. It’s all that random stuff in between that.
They can blow out. So 10 minutes per speech is a good guide. The other thing is we often cluster formalities a little bit. So you might have your cake cutting that rolls into a first dance or speeches that roll into the cake cutting or something so that you’re not sort of like getting everybody up and your attention and then it only goes for five minutes and they sit back down, then drawing their attention again, if you cluster some of their formalities and group them, I just find that it sort of flows a lot better. So yeah, things like your cake cutting and first dance, you only need to allow about five minutes for those.
They’re pretty quick, formalities and, you know, cutting a cake is only a couple of quick snaps. So yeah, I think that’s a couple of brief overviews of timings. Yeah, I think just being a little bit more realistic, it’s better to just add those extra five, 10 minutes in, rather than, you know, finding that like the main meals are getting cold because your speeches ran over.
Dorothy: Are there things that we do on a wedding day? So like first looks or even getting married in winter with sunset being so much earlier compared to everything else that would really change that timeline that you’ve just suggested.
Vanessa: So definitely, yeah, winter and summer, I find they’re very different timings. So at the moment, we are into winter weddings. So I’m finding a lot of our ceremonies are around that 1:30, 2:30pm mark. And then summer weddings are more like the three or 4:00 PM because it’s too hot earlier in the day and that you get much more daytime light.
I’m finding with our winter weddings, people are cold and a little eager to get inside and warm by like 5, 5.30, whereas yes, summer, they’re happy to just have a champers outside and enjoy the sunlight, much later. So I definitely think be very mindful of your seasons, and your guest comfort, whether it’s heat or coldness when you’re creating that run sheet as well.
And yeah, definitely, first looks are quite a popular thing at the moment. So you just need to be mindful of that when you are working out your photographer, timings and makeup and hair timings, because you’re going to need to be ready a lot earlier. So it’s really just sort of whatever timings you’re popping in, being two steps ahead of looking in and around what’s happening around that time to be realistic, I guess, as well.
Dorothy: Yeah. And I know we sort of touched slightly on this earlier, but if a vendor is already coming to me and saying, well, I’ve got a run sheet for you, you don’t need to create one, would you still suggest that I do one? You know, align everything all into one and make my own, or would you suggest I leave it with everyone else?
Vanessa: Yeah. So definitely create your own, your own master run sheet. Because as I mentioned, I think they are more customised to their own specific vendor needs. so they’re very specific to their timing. So I find they’ll be, you know, we might have 50 line items in our run sheet, and they’ve got four, it’s just the base timing.
So they have their own process and systems, that supplier that, you know, they’re working towards. And so the, the other biggest tip I would have for that is, and I’ve had this happen before where a supplier like a photographer’s got their own run sheet, but not bothered to, to check ours or, or whatever.
So I think if your supplier does give you one, just take that little extra step of cross-referencing that their run sheet timings marry up with yours because you wouldn’t want them to have slotted in the wrong ceremony time or main meals, time or something. So cross referencing and doing due diligence in that regard, I think is important.
But yeah, I highly recommend doing your own run sheet that is that holistic wedding approach.
Dorothy: But I presume the one situation where that wouldn’t apply and I could get away with not doing my own is when I’ve hired an external, not a venue coordinator, but an external wedding planner who’s hopefully doing that?
Vanessa: Yes. That’s it. We will definitely, cross reference that and make sure that they’re ticked off neatly that they’ve you know, given us the correct timing and that we’ve matched up any of their timings with ours. But yeah, definitely. Definitely. Yeah. If we are doing that, we’ll certainly be monitoring that.
Dorothy: Another point for the mental load of wedding planners, taking it off the couple.
Vanessa: That’s totally true.
Dorothy: So I have my run sheet and I’ve done it all out and everything. What’s next? What do I do with it on the day? Because as the couple I don’t want to be going, oh my gosh, it’s two o’clock I’m supposed to be here. Like I want to pass that off to someone.
So what do I do with the timings and all that kind of thing on the day?
Vanessa: Sure. So I think by that point, you’ve, you know, if you’ve got a venue manager or like a wedding coordinator running the day, you shouldn’t have to worry about a thing by this point, all of the timings we know about. And then our role on the day as a coordinator is. Just staying one or two steps ahead of the game, making sure everyone’s arriving at the right time.
So for us, like a typical day for us would be we set things up, but we’re also monitoring that run sheet sort of, it gets to 10, 20 past 10, and that florist was meant to arrive at 10 o’clock. I start to go, Hmm. Where are they? What’s going on? And then I might need to be checking in with that supplier.
And they’re just a bit late or they’ve gone to the wrong venue or some crazy thing, then we’re managing all of that without you knowing. But, yeah, I find that it’s just keeping everything on track in terms of the arrivals. And then once the day’s underway, it’s just keeping everything, everybody moving from one space to the other and communicated with.
So for example, if your reception’s going, the speeches are on, they’re running a bit over. We are going between each supplier and letting them know that that’s happening. So I’m going to the caterer.and letting them know the speeches are about 15 minutes over, so they can then keep the mains warm or communicate with their serving crew that right.
We’re ready to go in 10 minutes and be ready, you know, action station sort of thing. So I find it’s just really communicating and. And having all parties cohesive, I guess, as well, rather than just working alone and not knowing what’s going on. The same as saying you have speeches coming up before we cue a speech.
What do we need to do before that? We need to make sure people have their glasses topped up ready for a toast. Has the dad done his wee, is he ready to come back in and do his speech? Has he got his actual speech or has he left it in the room or something. So it’s like, what do I need to be able to manage that?
So I think that’s, well, that’s a beauty without sounding like a salesman, but having a good quality coordinator and look, those things may flow. Okay if you are DIYing, I find a lot of that role will probably fall back onto your MC who then just needs to really make sure they’re on top of that rather than drunk and just doing like the weird, you know, speech moments.
So yeah, I think it’s just important to, to look at. Be a couple of steps ahead and just keep liaising with everybody to keep those timings on track. But there’s no point in having a run sheet if nobody’s then actioning that on the day. And the worst case scenario is the timing gets so out of whack, and so no one’s like tightening all the timing’s up that then you have no dance full of time.
That’s probably the most important thing for our couple is they want to have heaps of time and heaps of fun on that dance floor. So the ultimate goal is behind the scenes, keep it all. – tighten together the best that we can, it is a wedding, but, yeah, so that they do have that dance full time, which they want.
Dorothy: Yeah. And that was going to be my next question. I know that if you’re not having a wedding planner. I know that with the reception, the MC can really hold the timeline close and keep things running smoothly. But what would you suggest if you’re not having a wedding planner for the rest of the day, would you suggest a wedding party member or a friend or, I mean, I, I don’t recommend ever the couple doing it themselves, I suppose because I feel like it’s so stressful.
Vanessa: Yes, I think, the MC often their role doesn’t start in my eyes to that reception sort of start time. But normally most MCs are like a family member or friend at the moment. Uncle Joe or whoever. It’s not that many times it’s a professional MC. If it was a professional MC that might be your DJ, right, that’s toggling us doing the microphone parts, they’re professional. They know what they’re doing. They’ll often sort of add on that extra role of liaising with your suppliers, including and what they do. But yeah, typically if you don’t have somebody, that’s, that’s an actual supplier in that role. It’s just making sure that you’ve communicated with your MC what your expectations are of them. So, you know, some of them have, I’ve seen it all. I’ve seen some that are very, very, like, really great OCD tendencies that want to keep the timing on track. Want to have a really strong role and other people that just want to have fun and thought they were just meant to introduce people when they were prompted.
So, yeah, making sure that you’re clear on what. Their role is because yeah, if we are not there a coordinator’s not there. You definitely need somebody there doing it. I mean, sometimes a good quality caterer will have a front of house manager that sort of has to step into that a little bit more closely if there’s nobody else doing it.
So you might find it sort of between your MC, your DJing, your caterer sort of comes to the middle ground and works fine. But yeah, I think you should allocate somebody and obviously try not to make it Mum, or like a really important person, because they’re just going to be so in their head space, thinking about it and taking on that responsibility that they actually don’t enjoy the day and get really stressed, because it’s also for a family member or friend it’s very personal for us.
It’s like we got a bit more of a business professional head on, so it’s sort of, we’re not as close to it. And emotional as like a family member would be as well. And obviously there’s a level of experience that they don’t have.
Dorothy: Do you think then the most important part of the run sheet is that reception timeline, like everything, obviously it’s important for the pre-reception stuff, but reception’s often always six o’clock start, blah, blah, blah. Is it more important than the reception run to time than perhaps the getting ready? And if you run a little bit over with that kind of thing?
Vanessa: I think so. I think you can sometimes make up for that time by shortening a smidge of the canapé cocktail hour. So if your ceremony ran over; a lot of those things you can’t control. So I, I find even if the makeup and hair artist is. As got the wedding squad, you know, ready to go; perfect timing. All it takes is like they’ve left a bride or someone has left a bouquet in the car or they’re, you know, fluffing around getting photos for too long.
Like there’s so many random elements. That just easily 15, 20, 30 minutes start to blow out. So I find, and those photos that I was mentioning before the, the, you know, direct family photos, that’s again, another moment that time gets away. So I find you can, even if you’re a bit delayed with ceremony, formalities, you gain that time back and reset for reception because you can sort of massage the canapé cocktail hour timings and yeah, but I think probably the most important food thing is the food timing.
They can’t just keep 120 plates of food hot because your speeches went over for 25 minutes. So I think giving yourself way more, extra time and around that dinner time to make sure that that runs perfect. And the rest doesn’t matter as much, if that makes sense, because it’s just geared by our own; we made 8:00 PM as the cake cutting. That’s not a big deal. We can move it to 8:20 or something. Yeah. So I think like, as long as the food timing, you keep that as close to time that you can, the rest you can adjust and look, you have to be super fluid and flexible on the day and just roll with things that happen as well.
Like you just have to roll with it. And if something’s late, you sometimes have to off the cuff, just go, right. We’re going to bump that speech till later, because we don’t want the mains to be late. So you might need to shuffle and adjust things sometimes and be a little bit flexible with that as well, so be open to it.
Dorothy: Well, you’ve just basically answered my last question, which was, what do I do if it all goes out of whack? If the hair and makeup artist is late, for some reason, or I’ve forgotten my bouquet or dad’s forgotten his suit pants or whatever it is. What do I do? If my timeline has completely gone out of whack and I’m overwhelmed and about to have a panic attack, because, oh my gosh.
Vanessa: Take a breath and roll with it. Like, just calm down, take a breath and just be flexible if that happens. So nothing ever goes perfect. We do 400 and something weddings a year. I’m telling you even with a professional there, if, for peace of mind for you, you know, it’s never going to run perfect to timing because there’s so many random elements and there’s so many people and you know, sometimes we’ll find a couple, like we just want to have a cute little 10 minutes together.
Cool. Let’s add that in and we just have to go with things, you know? So like you, you just have to be very, very flexible with that. A run sheet is a guide only. It’s not to the minute we’re not in the military, like it’s a guide. So I feel like, you know, yeah, definitely, exactly. Like you’ve mentioned, I’ve been in so many of those situations that have happened to me on a regular occasion, that throw the timings off and it’s perfectly normal. It’s fine. That’s part of the fun of it is that it doesn’t have to be all perfect. So be prepared to rejig things and recognise it’s not the end of the world. And then, you know, maybe when you arrive back late from like bridal party photos or something, you might need to adjust the speeches a bit later.
I’ll bump the cake cutting a bit further on, so that’s fine. So that’s probably going to happen, you know, 50% of weddings and, and yeah it’s not a big deal. Sometimes you don’t even know what’s happened. Like we’ll quietly come up and be like, we’ve just moved that little speech. Oh yeah, no worries. Cool. It’s all good. So, yeah.
Dorothy: I feel like that’s golden advice that the wedding run sheet is a guide and not like, a “has to happen” because I keep thinking, oh gosh, okay. It’s two o’clock, I’m not here. I’m not there. And I would get very panicked because that’s the kind of person I am. So it’s really good to know that it’s just a guide and it’s just supposed to help us and not like, you know, has to be be at this time.
Vanessa: Yes. If you think it’s got to be like perfect, you’ll always feel like you are late and it’s not running correctly. If you sort of, you know, it, it should definitely be a guide. A guide only. Yes, totally.
Dorothy: Wonderful. You shared so much amazing advice for us. Do you have any last tips about run sheets for us?
Vanessa: I think I probably, I could talk on this topic for so long. It’s really important to me. I feel like I’m super passionate about run sheets. I think we probably create about 15 a week at the moment, and I feel like every single one, we find a new way of doing things. So a couple of little final tips, I guess you’d say, would be remember, you can customise it to your own needs. You don’t have to do what everybody has always done in terms of the layout or timing. So if you want to have your cake cutting after your ceremony, we’ve done that. Do that. You want to have cake at the wedding party photos, do that. You don’t have to do it exactly neatly where everybody’s traditionally done it.
So I think I’m loving seeing at the moment, everybody’s just going, not against traditions, but they’re more personalising the timeline to suit what they actually want to do. So my advice would be to sit down as a couple and be like, what have we seen at weddings or that we’ve attended that we loved, or really didn’t like, and then create a run sheet around that.
That would be my biggest tip is that I just think that you can, you don’t have to go against the natural progression of how things used to go. We’ve had first dances on entry, so like you do your wedding party entry and that leads into the first dance and cake cutting. Whereas traditionally that’s at the end of the evening, because they wanted it over and done with and wanted that buzz of a first dance to kick things off in their reception. So yeah, definitely, play around with moving things around. Thinking outside the box a little bit with your timings. And I think you’re just going to create a very personalised, beautiful run sheet that reflects both of you as a couple.
Dorothy: That sounds perfect and such really good advice on something that I do admit it’s not boring. It’s just something that you don’t really want to spend a lot of thought process on. It’s much more fun to do styling things. So, but it’s so critical and it’s such an important part of the day. So I’m really thrilled that we were able to use your expertise to talk on it today.
Vanessa: Oh, thank you.
Dorothy: Thank you so much for joining us.
Vanessa: Thanks for having me. It was fun.
Dorothy: Thank you so much for tuning into today’s episode. If you loved it, we have all the goodies for you. We have all of Vanessa’s links, including how to book her and a full written transcript of today’s episode, over on polkadotwedding.com/podcast. We’ve also built a wedding day run sheet template that you can purchase in our shop. We’ve linked that over there.
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