The larger the event, the more important the need for a Wedding Day Run Sheet. Contrary to the belief of some Brides and Grooms, everything will not just fall into place without a plan.
Without thoughtful event coordination, decisions that should have been made prior to the wedding, rise to the surface on the day. This spells exasperation and frustration for the decision makers (i.e. the Bride and Groom) who should be rejoicing the best day of their lives as the Stars or the show.
Consider other patrons who may have a same day booking for the same venue or same service. For instance, if the ceremony commences more than 20 minutes late, the Celebrant has the right to depart for another ceremony.
Having attended hundreds of weddings, the jubilant Brides and Grooms are the ones who enjoy 100% of their time in the knowledge that everything is taken care of in a simple Run Sheet.
The following considerations are based on personal experience from attending hundreds of weddings. Another aspect is that this advice is general and skewed towards large weddings.
Who is the Run Sheet for?
A Run Sheet establishes the responsibility for each activity:
- When and where to set up the reception marquee, portaloo’s, plants and flowers, tables and chairs, caterer, lighting, band/DJ, generator, etc.?
- Location for ceremony?
- Who’s call is it if the weather is threatening an outdoor event and what time is the decision made?
- Inclement weather set up – Plan B?
- Coordination of the caterer?
- How do the Photographers and Videographers know what to do and where to be without a timeline?
- Photo list for the group and family shots?
- Checking on the hair and makeup?
- Delivery of the bouquets and button holes?
- What about transport and accommodation?
- Arrival, storage and placement of the wedding cake?
- Organisation of celebratory drinks for the wedding party at the ceremony?
- Has the MC got a reception plan (meal courses, speeches, cake cutting, first dance, garter throw, bouquet throw, farewell, etc.)?
Without a Run Sheet, the Bride and Groom are faced with coordinating on the trot. Good luck with that!
How much time is needed for each activity?
If I was planning a wedding and I wasn’t sure, first I would review sample Run Sheets on the net. For a large wedding, I would make additional allowances for crowd lag.
Pulling family members together for a group shot is like herding cats. Note that the Photographer is there to take photos, not run down people he/she has never met.
Here is a sample Run Sheet which is by no means complete but gives a general idea:
Sample Wedding Day Run Sheet
or maybe meet up an hour or so prior to the ceremony to get some great shots and take the pressure off later when you want to be with your guests!
Delegation, Delegation, Delegation
In addition to the importance of a Wedding Day Run Sheet, is the delegation of responsibilities for decisions that may need to be made on the day. The Bride and Groom should not be bothered with decisions about whether to wait for Aunt Agnes to start the ceremony or who is controlling those kids throwing cake at guests. That is unless you’re stress magnets, try to think of all the possibilities and allocate someone else to do the stressing.
There are no brownie points for doing stuff yourself that an experienced professional will do better.
Some of the key Service Providers will have a major impact on your wedding. If you want a boring wedding, get a boring Celebrant. An entertaining Celebrant ensures that the celebrations to kick off from the get go.
Ask Aunt Mary to do the cooking, if you want stodgy food .
Out of Control
There are some things that are out of your control so it is good to be prepared for :
- The weather. It can be a gamble. If you haven’t got a good plan B then at least be prepared for some disappointment if the heavens are disagreeable.
- Late arrivals. Think of what could happen if someone has their times mixed up, e.g. Grandma is travelling from interstate but didn’t take the Daylight Saving difference into account. Can the ceremony be delayed for an hour? Will everyone have a parking ticket on their car when they return from the ceremony? Can the guests suffer an extra hour of sun exposure? Is there a reliable up to the hour weather forecast? Did the invitation make it clear that Daylight Saving time applied? Maybe Guests or Services Providers will arrive late because the address was ambiguous? If the invitation invited everyone for drinks 1 hour before the start of the ceremony, few will be late.
- Crying babies. This one is not much of a gamble. These little ones have their attention radar fully on and as soon as the interest from mum or dad wanes, boom. It happened to us right in the middle of my vows which I had spent a week memorising. Guess who stumbled through their vows trying to block out the squealing. Push baby owners to hire a babysitter.
- The maxim ‘Never work with kids and animals’ rings a bell. I can quote so many occasions when kids have lost the plot. One little thrill seeker stripped naked in front of the wedding party during the ceremony. Another one managed to bar the Bride and Groom from getting too close during the ceremony. Dogs are man’s best friend but when they get their muddy paws all over the wedding dress, the pecking order can change. Some couples are not bothered by these incidents, some are.
Gary Patterson Photography