From an on-site seamstress to a next-level bar program.

By Sarah Schreiber
February 21, 2020

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.

Celebrity wedding planner Laurie Arons jumped into the industry feet first. "The very first wedding I planned was for a friend of a friend in Key West, Florida. Not only was I kicking off my new career, I was doing so with a destination wedding, no less," she tells Martha Stewart Weddings. "I had to be so thoughtful on everything—no assuming, no winging it, and no letting balls drop." She didn't leave anything to chance: "Doing an advance site visit was key to making sure I had a plan in place to execute the day. It went really well and was an incredibly fun wedding!"

Her successful debut event would be one of many to come—and soon, the celebrity sphere took notice. "Planning the wedding of Sofia Coppola to Spike Jonze was a stand-out for me, to work alongside such talented, creative visionaries on their special day," she says. "It was a bit surreal to be 'directing' the wedding and rehearsal with the legendary Francis Ford Coppola as the father of the bride! But it was such a wonderful occasion and an inspiring affair, for sure." Ahead, the lauded creative shares her top wedding essentials, a curation of the details, vendors, and moments she particularly loves.

Related: The Insider: Celebrity Event Planner Lisa Vorce Shares Her Top Wedding Essentials

An on-site seamstress.

"An absolute must-have for me on the day is an on-site seamstress who specializes in bridal attire to steam, press, and prep the wedding dress, as well as the bridesmaids' dresses, men's suits, and family clothing," says Arons, adding that this vendor has "saved the day" more times than she can count. "This expert will not only ensure everyone looks their best in photos, but she can troubleshoot any last-minute fit issues or address any clothing details needing attention."

A great cocktail roster—and minimal bar lines.

A fun party begins with a next-level bar program, she says. This includes "one or two specialty cocktails that reflect the couple's tastes, crowd-pleasing bar wines, and quality alcohols and mixers." Just as important as the drinks themselves, however, is ensuring that guests have proper access to them. "Make sure there are plenty of bartenders to keep lines down," adds Arons. "I always insist on about one per 40 guests, so guests can grab a drink quickly and head back to the party.

A thought-out first dance.

"The first dance is such an intimate moment for the couple, and a memorable one for their families, but a well thought-out first dance also creates special aura over the entire room," she says. That's why she always advises her couples to invest in a lesson or two, "so that they feel comfortable dancing with all eyes on them."

Assigned seating for every guest.

Considering skipping the seating chart? Think again, says Arons. "This is a must-have at every sit-down dinner reception, because it removes the anxiety and chaos that can come when guests are left to search for their own seats," she explains. "When you take the time to seat guest where, and with whom, they will be most comfortable; they can relax and enjoy the event with their friends and family. It also enables the bride and groom to have their most important people around them and in their line of sight through the night."

Plenty of children.

"This one might be controversial, but I personally believe weddings are important events for all generations of a family," explains Arons, noting that "children add such a beautiful energy to the occasion, whether they be processing down the aisle, or having a ball on the dance floor." They're also winners in your big-day keepsakes, too: "Their sweet little faces also result in some of the most endearing photos from the day. This may not suit all couples, but if you're on the fence whether to include them, I say yes!"

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