Five Tips to Nail Your Wedding Day Timeline

A timeline, runsheet, schedule; whatever you want to call it, is an important part of your wedding day. No matter how big or small your wedding may be a runsheet is crucial to ensure everything runs smoothly and everyone knows where they should be and when. The run sheet is the culmination of all the hard work that has gone into choosing your dream team of vendors and eliminating any miscommunications resulting in a late floral delivery or the cake ending up at the wrong address.

1. Include as much detail as possible

Everything that’s in your head that you’ve arranged for the wedding, it’s time to dump it all into an excel spreadsheet and make some kind of sense of it (see my downloadable template below). Every single detail, no matter how small. A timeline can never be too detailed but it can be too simple. You want everyone to be on the same page and have a clear understanding of their responsibilities on the day. The point of a good timeline is to eliminate all the stress so you don’t have to worry about being late or details being forgotten and can just enjoy the day.

For example:

8:30 am – 11:30 am – Hair and Makeup Artists (Lily -0432 323 876 and Bridie 0411 092 387) to arrive at Bride’s house – 8 Valencia St, Mayfield. (Note: Photographer has asked the hair and makeup team to set up next to a window if possible)

11 am – 12 pm – Floral delivery to Reception Venue – Olivia (Blooming Lovely – 0402 519 590) – Delivering: 5 x floral table runners, 5 x small table installations, bridal table installation, flowers for the bar. (Note: Access is through the back of the building)

11:30 am – Cake delivery to Reception Venue – Rachel (Cake Creations – 0432 876 999) – Delivering: Wedding cake and decorated cookies for grazing table. (Note: Cake does not need to be refrigerated but should be out of the sun)

11:45 am – Limo driver, Dave (0465 898 656) to arrive at Bride’s house

12:00 pm – Bridesmaids, Bride and parents to leave for the ceremony.

2. Add in buffer time

We’ve all heard the cliché that the bride is always late, 5 to 10 minutes can be nice to make sure all your guests and any latecomers are seated and ready with their confetti. But you don’t want your guests standing around (in the sun if you’re having an outdoor ceremony) for 40 minutes because hair and makeup too longer than anticipated and there was no allowance for traffic on the way to the ceremony.

A good rule of thumb is to add 5-10 minutes between each task. For instance, allow 15 minutes for greeting your guests after the ceremony and add 5 minutes of buffer time before beginning family portraits. The amount of time needed for family and group photos will depend on the size of your families and the number of guests at the wedding, but generally 30 minutes is a good allowance.

For example:

3:30 pm – Ceremony concludes – greeting and receiving guests (15 minutes)

3:45 pm – Buffer time

3:50 pm – Family portraits (30 minutes)

3. Decide whether to have a second timeline

Timelines can get kind of long, and complicated, so you should decide whether you want one master timeline that all vendors and the bridal party will receive or whether you also want a shorter, simplified timeline just for the bridal party. I suggest having two timelines and leaving the wedding coordinator or nominated person to ensure the master timeline including all deliveries and set up is being followed without a hitch. That means you get to focus on the parts you will be present for such as hair and makeup, travelling between venues and photo locations.

The second timeline would be something like:

7:30 am – Wake up and shower

8:00 am – Parents and bridesmaids arrive at the bride’s house for breakfast and champagne. Maid of honour bringing breakfast grazing

8:30 am – Hair and makeup artists to arrive and begin to set up (note: photographer asked if they can please set up next to a window if possible)

8:45 am – Bridesmaid 1 – Makeup. Bridesmaid 2- Hair.

9:15 am – Bridesmaid 2 – Makeup. Bridesmaid 1 – Hair

9:30 am – Photographer to arrive

4. Ceremony Set Up

Coordinate with your vendors and schedule the timing on the runsheet to ensure they will be finished setting up for the ceremony at least 40 minutes before it is due to start. This ensures that the florist has placed all finishing touches, the band have done a soundcheck and everything is picture perfect as guests start to arrive. Guests often start to arrive from 30 minutes before the start of the reception, so you want everything to be ready to go. This gives your guests plenty of time to appreciate the ceremony styling as they grab their confetti, find their seats and get their tissues ready.

5. Speak to your vendors

There are no rules around the order you need to do things, however, your vendors will be able to guide you on how to time things to create a great flow to your day. Especially for the reception when the timing of speeches, serving of meals and first dances can all seem impossible to arrange perfectly. Speak with your venue and caterers to see what they recommend with the best way to arrange the formalities around the food service. Everyone you’ve hired knows how long it will take them to do their thing and when you gather all that info together you can put it together to work best for you.

I hope these tips have helped and you’re feeling more confident about putting together your runsheet.

Use my free template to customise your own timeline



Written By:

June 6, 2022

Miajane Kelly

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