The Insider: Event Planner Lynn Easton Shares Her Wedding Essentials
From providing top-level transportation for guests to kicking off your party with a 20-minute dance set, here's what the pro thinks every celebration should include.
If you're in the thick of wedding planning, you've likely already discovered the importance of prioritizing a select few vendors or details. This priority list, of course, varies by couple. The same is true for the vendors who actually bring weddings to life-they have priority lists of their own. The difference? Theirs come backed with years of industry experience. To help you shape up your own big-day musts, we've tapped the biggest names in the wedding sphere-from planners and photographers to florists-to share their three wedding must-haves. Follow along with The Insider to learn which wedding-related details professionals can't live without.
Are you currently planning your wedding? Then there's a very good chance that you know exactly who Lynn Easton is. She's solidified herself as one of the country's leading event planners, and she has the high-profile clientele (and the next-level portfolio) to prove it. Luckily, the industry favorite took some time to share her the big-day details she considers essentials. Now, you can plan a Lynn Easton-approved celebration even if you can't have her in the room.
In addition to her must-haves, Easton also shared one item to avoid at all costs: "Do not have a black-tie optional dress code. Never, ever do it!" she says. "Everyone is wrong. Half of the people in black-tie feel like idiots; they look at their dates and say, 'Why did you make me wear black-tie? And then the other half turn to their dates and say, 'I can't believe you didn't tell me it was black tie!'" Ahead, what you should have on the big day, according to Easton.
Always provide transportation for your guests.
While providing efficient, safe transportation options for your guest is a big-day must, says Easton, you also need ensure that their travels from point A to point B flow as smoothly as possible. "It has to be executed really well, because it is the very first impression that your guests have of your event," she explains. Easton has a foolproof way to guarantee this: "We always have a transportation manager on each bus; they greet the guests, help them onto the bus, tell them where they're going, and explain when the shuttles are going to come back. That's a high touch—it's not usually astronomically expensive, but it's a really high touch."
Another foolproof way to make this process as seamless as possible? "For us, we always do a dry run with our transportation managers. No matter where you are, one of your bus drivers will inevitably make a mistake—they'll blow past the entrance, for example. So that's important."
Bring an element of surprise to your big day.
There are endless ways to incorporate an element of surprise into your event, but the pro says best surprises are those that generate a moment of connectivity. "It should be something that makes people laugh and smile—it should create some emotion, some texture," says Easton. "We do weddings where the bride will actually write notes to each guest within an escort card, which is really special."
Planning a destination wedding? Listen to the locals.
If you've hired local vendors for a destination wedding, you've tapped into a whole different set of resources that go beyond flowers, décor, or food: They're a wealth of knowledge on any area that you've only visited for a brief period of time (if that!). "If you're meeting with local people, ask questions. How hot is it really in July? Are the bugs really bad? What time does the sun really set in this area? It might say 6:30 on your timetable, but if the sun sets behind a mountain, that could mean you lose the light an hour earlier. Rely on your locals to get that kind of intel," she adds.
Start the reception with a 20-minute dance set.
"We love to kickstart an evening with a dance set," says Easton. There's a good reason for this: You walk in, have a band up on stage, and a stage full of equipment—but if you don't get the music going right away, "there's no juice to the evening. There's no fun," she explains. "After the guests walk in, we welcome them to the room, and do the couple's first dance. Then we do a 20-minute dance set, and everyone is so energized—it's so much fun."