The Insider: Celebrity Event Planner Lisa Vorce Shares Her Top Wedding Essentials
The pro also touches on some of her most high-profile clients to date—including John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.
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.
Lisa Vorce plans the kinds of weddings and events that make the news—the result of a 20-year-long career rooted in hard work, and one that was born in the celebrity sphere. "I got my start by designing an intimate birthday party for George Clooney's mother, Nina, as a favor to my uncle who is a dear friend of hers. I dove into the event industry with zero training or experience. My education within the field has all been self-taught," she tells Martha Stewart Weddings. Natural talent and an incredible eye booked her another high-profile celebrity client—one of many—years later: Vorce helped execute Chrissy Teigen and John Legend's Lake Como nuptials back in 2013. She recalls an incredible moment from their reception: "Stevie Wonder spontaneously got up a sang a few songs for them during dinner. It was a perfect evening! Dining al fresco, under the stars, being serenaded by one of the greatest musicians of all time. I remember turning to one of our team members and saying, 'This is pretty special.'"
Having planned several of the most elaborate events in the world, Vorce is a wealth of knowledge—knowledge she's shared ahead, after being asked what her dream event, one she'd throw herself, would look like. Here, Vorce's top wedding essentials, from prioritizing ambient lighting to crafting a schedule that allows for real moments to happen.
Look at the space's lighting first.
"When I'm designing an event and transforming spaces, I look at lighting first. We all look better in pretty light, right? It's the same thing for an event," explains Vorce. After understanding a room's lighting capabilities—or establishing what you will have to do to make sure good lighting happens, which might involve enlisting the help of an external vendor—consider adding in plenty of candles for a romantic ambience. "A well-lit room, even with minimal décor, will be stylized and stunning. Don't forget that you can also use lighting edits to help with transitions throughout the evening. For example, if you're moving from dinner to dancing, have a shift in lighting for a new vibe—dim the overall lighting, but increase the lighting on your DJ or band," she says.
Give guests as much information as possible.
Communication with your guests is key, says Vorce, and it's something that begins long before your wedding day arrives. "Wedding websites are the easiest way to keep guests updated on the details of your wedding," she explains, noting to include unexpected details as granular as the "type of terrain to expect and potential shifts in weather." "We compile every detail and make a full itinerary for every event, from the obvious information like event start time and location, down to parking information and group transportation schedules and suggested attire," she notes. "We also send an email to all guests about a week prior to the wedding reiterating the important details. They will thank you for it!"
Prioritize your attendees' comfort.
"Guests who are comfortable and taken care of are happy guests and will enjoy and remember the event," shares Vorce, who advises taking stock of how you can create a seamless guest experience during the planning process. Asking your loved ones to walk on a gravel or grass path as they transition from the ceremony to the party? Provide heel protectors. Expecting a temperature drop? Have blankets or parkas at the ready. "Our most used comfort essential by far is definitely flip flops or inexpensive ballet flats—guests can kick off their heels and hit the dance floor all night," she adds.
Don't over-pack your wedding weekend.
Focusing on quality, not quantity, and creating an achievable schedule is the key to creating an incredible wedding weekend—for both you, the couple, and your guests, says Vorce. "Many clients want welcome receptions, rehearsal dinners, beach days, cocktail parties, after-parties, after-after parties, excursions, and so on. Focus on a few core events and execute them well," she advises. It's just as important to "provide guests with curated information on local activities, things to see and do, and local restaurants," she explains. "Give them enough information so that, when they have downtime, they can either choose to get a little R&R, or embark on those activities or excursions."