A Wedding Running Order is an essential document for any wedding – big or small.
With so many elements, suppliers and people requiring coordination throughout the days, not having a Running Order is like trying to drink your favourite cocktail with a paper straw….. it will be ok at the start, but after a while it will all fall apart (yep, not my favourite part of being environmentally conscious!)
What is a Wedding Running Order?
A Wedding Running Order is essentially a timeline that outlines what is happening at any given time and day, in order to make your wedding what you want it to be.
This document should cover:
- any preparation in the lead up to the day
- on the day of your wedding
- and after the day for clean-up related activities.
Why You Need a Running Order
- Creating a Running Order allows you to brain dump the timing of all the parts of your wedding day into a document.
- It allows you to see what is happening at any one time and how all the pieces will fit together to create your day.
- It helps you foresee any potential issues that may arise throughout the day and make changes to avoid this situation.
- It assists everyone involved in your day to know what they are required to do, where they need to be and what they are responsible for.
- Having the information as to what is happening when, allows suppliers to deliver the very best product or service to you.
- When people and suppliers know what they need to do, means that you can enjoy your day without having to micro-manage everyone.
When Should You Start Creating Your Running Order?
You should start creating your Wedding Running Order as soon as you begin booking in suppliers.
Ask your suppliers about the time that they will require to carry out their tasks / services and pencil these in straight away. Understand that this document will be amended oodles of times along the way, but keep working on it until all the puzzle pieces are captured in that document.
Who Needs A Copy Of Your Running Order
You will require at least 3 versions of your Wedding Running Order, which will need to be distributed to different people.
- The full version – this is the complete document that has everything on it for you. It is also worthwhile passing on a copy to someone who will be heavily involved in the day and / or is the initial point of contact should something not go to plan (this is so that you can actually enjoy your day rather than dealing with problems). This may be a parent, Maid of Honour / Best Man, Venue Manager or On The Day Coordinator.
2. The parent and bridal party version – as these people are likely to have some tasks and appointments that they need to attend to in the lead up to and on the day, having a version for them to follow is important so they don’t miss a thing! This will be events such as:
o Social events – meet and greets, pre-wedding dinners
o Appointments – nails, tans, makeup, hair, suit collection
3. The supplier version – the final version must be specific to your suppliers, and this includes your venue. They don’t care when you are getting your nails done or where your family dinner will be!!! However, they will want to know:
o Where they are supposed to be and when.
o Who else will be there at the same time.
o The timing of your activities during your reception eg. ceremony, speeches, food & drink service, games or entertainment, first dance, cutting of the cake, photos.
o What time they will be finishing their service and also leaving.
o What time pack up or collection of items is the next day.
When creating version 2 and 3 of this document, go through your full Running Order and take out anything that doesn’t affect that group of people.
What To Include In Your Running Order
As mentioned above, your Wedding Running Order must include all activities that are involved in making your day what it is. That means it needs to cover all preparation activities, on the day events and tasks, and then pack-down activities.
Creating a table-style format (whether this is in “Word” or “Excel”) will allow you to amend it along the way and should contain the following pieces of information:
· Time (in order throughout the day)
· What is happening
· Where is this happening
· Whom is actioning this or who is involved
How To Create Your Running Order
Creating your Wedding Running Order can feel like you are throwing spaghetti at the wall. Thus, I always suggest that you start by writing down the time of your ceremony. It’s fine if it just a rough guess in the early stages, as like I said, this document will be amended a zillion times before your day finally arrives.
Once you have your ceremony start time listed, begin to work backwards through your day until you get to your “get out of bed” time. I have seen some brides demand that they have a sleep in on the morning of their wedding but not realise they have 4 days’ worth of appointments and activities to fit in before the “I do’s”. This process will avoid that.
Once you have finished the start of your day, turn your attention to everything after your ceremony. Work step-by-step from the ceremony finish time right through to the end of your wedding to include all the pieces for this part of your day.
Now look at the tasks and timings for the days prior to your wedding day, and for the pack up afterwards.
Whether you are having a big wedding or small wedding, and regardless of whether you are a detailed-focussed organising machine or a total fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants person, a Wedding Running Order is an essential document that will be required by a number of people to ensure that your day runs smoothly and is truly amazing.