In the event world a run sheet is a detailed minute by minute schedule which outlines everything that will happen on the day of your wedding. This ranges from set up/bump in times for your suppliers, times photographers and cars arrive, to speeches and bridal dances. However, a run sheet needs to be not only well thought out, but timed perfectly and approved by your various suppliers.
And WHY you ask?
It is an A-Z plan of how the day will run. ALL the day’s details should be in this run sheet so everyone involved in the day knows exactly what is going on. Your wedding has a lot of moving parts and it is important that everyone is aware of what is happening and when. Your day as a bride will be totally stress free if you have this document finely tuned. Without this at my wedding I’m certain things would not have happened when they should have or as smoothly.
I’ve heard countless stories of brides who have missed capturing their first dance on camera because their videographer or photographer had already left by the time it actually happened on the night.
Use this as a tool to project manage all your suppliers, deliveries, negotiations and the flow of the day.
To be clear a Runsheet is different from a wedding Timeline. A wedding Timeline outlines all the tasks you need to complete from engagement to wedding day, a Run sheet is the tasks on your wedding day.
What’s in it?
- Arrival times of your suppliers – when they bump in, how long they will set up for and when they bump out
- Clear outline of where each person needs to be and when, such as make up times and ceremony arrival times
- Ceremony breakdown: set up times, arrival times of guests, music start time, groomsman arrival, bride arrival, speakers and celebrant details…
- Reception breakdown: music times, photos duration, cocktails, bridal party arrival, meal times for guests and suppliers, speeches, cake cutting, dances, bouquet toss…
- Contact details of ALL your suppliers
- Notes of importance, for example, if there is a surprise dance, how to pronounce names, or a special seat is needed to be placed out for your garter toss
- Back-up plan details, such as additional contact numbers, where umbrellas are stored, alternative photo shoot locations and distance timed from your venue…
Open a brand new excel spreadsheet and start your run sheet now! The sooner you start the easier it will be to manage your wedding plans. Most importantly this is a work in progress. It will evolve and change throughout your planning process.
To start, create an easy to follow day schedule listing the times starting in hour chunks. You will break it down further as you start planning out the day.
- A column for the time slot, a column for the action (e.g. piano arrival);
- A column for who is responsible (e.g. groomsmen or florist); and
- A final column for extra details (contact numbers or delivery areas).
When booking a supplier, document their times and any notes you need everyone to be aware of. Don’t book any supplier until you know if they can work in with your run sheet and other suppliers already logged. This is a juggling act, believe me!
It is also a tool to work out how long you need your supplier actually for. If you have a photographer who is working 5 hours, you might want them to start when you are getting ready and finish just after the first dance. Therefore you need to make sure everything you want him to capture happens somewhere in between. Just think of the money you’ll save getting this right!
Once it is up and running, share it with your venue coordinator and/or room stylist. You will need to workshop all the times to make sure they are happy and then bounce back to your suppliers if any slots are conflicting. In my experience, some venues require that goods be out on the night whereas others prefer everything leave the next morning. Some venues also have restrictions on what you can and cannot bring so its important to make sure this is documented.
Try to have your run sheet finished at least 1 week prior to the event. Inevitably there will be some changes coming through, but you don’t want to be stressing about this the day before and have suppliers on your back as they are not sure what’s happening. It will be a magical tool for making sure that nothing goes wrong. It will need to contain everything about the running of the day. So your biggest challenge will be to make it easy for everyone to follow. Think clear fonts, colour coded, white paper. A significant amount of time needs to be invested in refining your run sheet.
Provide everyone who is involved in your wedding a copy prior to the event. My suggestion is to share your run sheet with all your suppliers as soon as they are booked (think dropbox, google docs) and update them periodically of any changes made. Ask them to bring their own copy on the day. Make a copy available for your MC and Venue Coordinator so they can add their own notes in prior to the day. And, print out a copy for your bridal party or any helpers. Trust me. They are going to be nervous and will want to know what is going on.
A little added plus for your hard work…
You won’t be a Bridezilla. Sit back and relax in the lead up to the wedding knowing that your day will run smoothly. You’ll enjoy it a hell of a lot more if you don’t have people calling asking what is happening and when! And, you’ll be 100% sure everything you want done can be done and on time. Imagine if you arrived at your reception and only had half a stage for your band all because you didn’t allocate enough time for the set up! Sounds far out, but it happens I can assure you.
If you are particularly savvy, try to use your run sheet as a bargaining tool. Our wedding was on a long weekend which meant that most event companies would charge higher delivery costs. I used this knowledge to my advantage and negotiated with companies that were prepared to reduce the delivery costs or extend their pick up times so that we were not out of pocket. Any company that is really determined to get our business will find a way to offer cheaper delivery or more flexible collection times.
It also helps your suppliers work more efficiently together. They will know where everyone is and when and will try not to get in each others way.
If you need some ideas or advice on what you should include in your run sheet, PM me and I’ll give you my two cents worth.