101 Fabulous Ideas From Wedding Experts and Brides

Brides and wedding planners give their best tips to make your wedding come off without a hitch.



Planning a wedding isn’t a cinch. Depending on how big you’d like your big day to be, it’s very easy to get lost in the umpteen details-choosing your gown, flowers, invitations, band, maid-of-honor, shoes, etc. Factor in family drama, budget constraints, and a whole lot more, and you may wish you had eloped instead.

But with a little imagination, a dash of creativity, and help­–the sky’s the limit and you can create a day (big or small) that perfectly encapsulates your vision in a matter of months. So where to begin? Below are 101 tips and ideas from brides and our region’s top wedding gurus. So sit back with a cappuccino or a glass of Gurner Veltliner, and ease your mind. Your wedding day will be wonderful!

Don’t Choose Just Any Old Day

1
Have your date reflect the day you met or the day your parents married—any sentimental day in your life that brings good memory is always a beautiful way of choosing a date.
Minoo Hersini,
AuCiel Design Studio in Irvington

2
A Christmas wedding saves you a lot of money on flowers. Our reception was held at Le Château in South Salem, a gorgeous restaurant that was fabulously decorated with beautiful flowers, lights, ornaments, and evergreens for the Christmas season. Of course, we had beautiful centerpieces on the tables, but many of the decorations were already taken care of!
Theresa Pulle, bride
married December 16, 2006 at
Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ardsley

Set the Right Tone

3
Color is more important today. Think bridesmaid’s dresses, the mother’s dress, centerpieces, linens, the room décor—color sets the tone for everything! Black is a magnificent foil—it looks phenomenal—and navy is very formal and elegant. I’m excited about anything gray and silver; if men wear gray suits and the women have touches of gray or silver in their dresses, it’s just a fabulous look with flowers.
Diana Gould,
Diana Gould Ltd in Elmsford

4
Determining the right decor for your wedding can be fun and allows your personality and creative side to shine. Couples can have a graphic designer custom-design a logo for their celebration, which can be carried throughout the entire event. Think of places, activities, and even your favorite colors to help come up with a ‘signature logo.’ If you choose to host a destination wedding, visit the local markets and artisan shops to find inspiration and highlight the local flavor with your flowers, linens, and even menu!
Lisa Light,
DestinationBride.com in Chatham, NY

5
There is something to be said for hosting a small, intimate affair. Given a second chance, I wouldn’t have the wedding I had. I didn’t get to talk to my friends, who are the more important people in my life. I had a truly lavish wedding complete with more than 200 guests, a Cinderella carriage, and trumpeters. I was concerned about entertaining people who weren’t even that close to me. I would rather have had something small with only those people who were important to me there.
Sonya Mendoza-Pantanelli, bride,
married June 11, 2006 at Our Lady of Sorrows Church, White Plains

6
For small weddings, look into interesting, unique venues: an art gallery or a museum, for instance.
Minoo Hersini,
AuCiel Design Studio in Irvington

7
Personalization makes everyone feel close to the bridal couple. I worked with a couple who had photos of all the places they had visited during their courtship as their table numbers.
Debra Thompson,
Weddings by Debra in New Rochelle

8
We had our dog, Harry, walk down the aisle with my brothers, who were both Best Men. The guests loved him! He was sitting up under the Chupah with an entire plate of Challah, which he ate with gusto!
Rebecca Levitt (Levy), bride,
married May 17, 2008 at The Fountainhead
in New Rochelle

9
It is very important that the couple’s life is reflected in their ceremony and their celebration. For instance, if the bride and groom come from two different backgrounds, combine traditions. Another idea: have a relative sing at your ceremony—having your Aunt Mae sing Ave Maria slightly off key is better than the hired Metropolitan Opera singer’s version. However, if a couple starts grabbing at ideas—decor, invitations, location—because they feel the need to be “creative,” the event will feel forced, even formulaic.
Irene Hamburger,
Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills

10
After our first dance, my husband, Paul, originally wanted to talk about our wedding party—his sons, my matron of honor, who was my cousin, all of the people who played an extremely important role in our lives. I wasn’t liking that idea, so we compromised and decided to highlight who they were in our program. This way our guests could read about who was coming down the aisle or coming into the ballroom; and they would know, ‘Oh, they must be Paul’s sons’ or ’That’s his brother, Dave’ or ‘That’s Emilia’s niece and her cousin.’” Our whole theme was to bring people together, and that was a way to start doing that.
Emilia Estrela, bride,
married April 26, 2008 at Trump National
Golf Club Briarcliff Manor

11
Change the format of your wedding and create your own traditions. A wedding I just designed featured the following timeline: cocktails, dinner with toasts, the ceremony, dessert, and finally dancing. Guests loved the change in expectations! This is a fun way to make your wedding unique and also to create a memorable wedding experience for your friends and family.
David Tuteraa,
David Tutera Inc., Mamaroneck and New York, NY

Create a Budget and Stick to It

12
Have a frank conversation with your parents, your fiancé, and perhaps his parents about the budget. People underestimate their budget all the time. Once you set the budget, cushion it by adding an additional 25 percent to it. You most likely will need the extra.
Minoo Hersini,
AuCiel Design Studio in Irvington-on-Hudson

13
Weddings have gotten out of control. You’ve got to keep it simple. We’re in a recession! Go to the beach, have your friends there, get a justice of the peace, a minister or rabbi, and make it happen. Take the money you would have spent on a huge wedding and put a down payment on a house—it’s a much better investment.
Robert Rimberg,
Robert Rimberg and Associates, a CPA firm in Yonkers

14
The best place to cut out a major expense is on favors, which can have a price tag of anywhere between $2.50 and $10 per favor. You’re doing your budget a big favor by cutting this expense from the picture. If you want to do something good for the community (and get a tax benefit), donate $1 per guest to a local charity and write a little note at each place setting informing your guests of the charity a donation was made to.
Sarah Lusardi,
NY Engagements, LLC in White Plains

Choose the Right Music

15
A bride who loves Shakespeare requested that we arrange two pieces of music from the movie Shakespeare in Love to be played by a quartet for her ceremony. The bride used the music as her processional and recessional music, and also wove the sonnets of Shakespeare throughout her ceremony.
Maura Molloy,
Maura & Co. in Tuckahoe

16
I like different types of music for the different parts of an event. Music creates mood and atmosphere. One of our brides had an acoustic guitar trio pre-ceremony, a gospel choir during the ceremony, a DJ for cocktails, and a dance band during dinner.
Elyssa Feldman Most,
A Most Creative Affair in Tarrytown

17
If you treat the musicians like “the help,” they will act like the help. For a few hours, you are their boss, and if you want your temporary employees to go the extra mile, treat them like professionals. A few kind words (and a few morsels of food and drink) make all the difference in creating a “motivated workforce.”
Aaron Minsky,
Castle Dream Music Productions in
Bedford Corners

 

18
Use a reggae band or mariachi music for the cocktail hour! It gives your affair exotic flavor and excitement.
Lee Loil-Cea,
Le Château Restaurant in South Salem

19
Hiring musicians through an agent has drawbacks. Often, neither the bride nor the performers have time to speak to each other before the wedding, and a lot of times you don’t even know who is going to be performing! Whenever possible, hire the performer directly. You can discuss the style of music you’d like played and the performer will be able to suggest musical selections that work well for their specific instrument or ensemble. Other details like song requests, amplification, and even dress code are more easily arranged when dealing directly with the performer.
Debra Whitman,
Harpist, Larchmont

20
A great way to put your own personal touch on your ceremony is to use music from your heritage. I had a wedding where the bride was Indian and the groom was American and we used a sitar. I’ve done weddings where a dulcimer was used for a Southern feel and for a Jewish ceremony, I used a Klezmer band. Just be sure to find musicians who are well versed in the music of your heritage and are passionate about playing it!
Maura Molloy,
Maura & Co in Tuckahoe

Select the Right Flowers

21
Keep in mind the season you’re getting married in. If you really want a particular type of flower, then you probably need to schedule your wedding date around the season that your florals will be in bloom.
Stephanie Kaplan, Ms. & Mrs., makers of the Wedding Day Survival Kit,
sold at Target in White Plains

22
Be flexible about the floral decor. Be open to a variety of flowers that are within your color palette and style of your wedding. Though you may love specific blooms, they may not be available or be too cost-prohibitive, so allow your floral designer to be creative and come up with amazing florals that you may have never imagined.
Elyssa Feldman Most,
A Most Creative Affair in Tarrytown

23
Having a wedding around Valentine’s Day or other holiday that typically involves purchasing flowers? Your flower expense will be much higher due to inflated prices at the wholesale end. So, what’s typically a $3 to $4 rose on any other occasion could go up to $8 or $9 around Valentine’s Day. If possible, choose a time of year that does not compete with a major holiday—January and March typically are very slow—to help save you big bucks!
Sarah Lusardi,
NY Engagements, LLC in White Plains

24
Using tones of color—light to dark tones of a specific color—over a solid palette adds more interest and dimension. For example, if you want pink rose bouquets, use a range of pinks from the softest blush to a more ballerina pink, even adding shots of bright pink.
Elyssa Feldman Most,
A Most Creative Affair in Tarrytown

25
When choosing your bouquet, don’t let it overwhelm your dress. If your dress is ornate and has a lot of details, your bouquet should be subtle and simple. Consider using stephanotis, Dutch mini calla lilies, Vandella roses, or Sahara roses. A dress that is very simple should be accented with a bouquet that is bright and colorful. I suggest different types of Dendrobium or Mokara orchids. There are also dahlias and ranunculus, and they come in a lot of different colors.
Danny Spilios,
Westchester Floral Decorators in Pelham

26
The carnation is coming back and it’s not terribly expensive—you can get an incredible look for a lot less!
Diana Gould,
Diana Gould Ltd. in Elmsford

27
Consider alternating reception tables with high and low centerpieces. Walking into a room with flowers at different levels is breathtaking!
Danny Spilios,
Westchester Floral Decorators in Pelham

28
Placing petals down the aisle is very expensive. Most people don’t realize how expensive it is! You’re paying for each rose and you’re paying for the labor to remove the rose petals. Then you’re paying a delivery charge and for the florist who goes on-site to scatter the petals down the aisle. You can save money by getting freeze-dried rose petals—a good alternative.
Sarah Lusardi,
NY Engagements, LLC in White Plains

Find a Fab Photographer

29.
If you want to save money, see if your photographer will give you a price break for not printing the proofs. You may also be able to bargain if your wedding is on a Friday or in an off-season month. I am virtually booked every Saturday beginning in May through October. You may also get a break if there are less than 100 guests because you only need one photographer, and that photographer is going to take fewer shots, possibly in less time.
Joseph Pregiato,
Arbor & Ivy Photography in Eastchester

30.
I always tell my clients that they must feel comfortable with the person they hire. The photographer will be following you around for at least eight hours, and it is difficult to be photographed all day. If your photographer irks you in some way, or is annoying, he or she can contribute to a miserable memory for all.
Lisa Forman,
Lisa Forman Photography, inc., in Piermont, NY

31.
Take your couple and family pictures before the ceremony begins so you can really enjoy your ceremony and the guests instead of being pulled out of your party all night long.
Emilia Estrela, bride,
married April 26, 2008 at Trump National
Golf Club, Briarcliff Manor

32.
Schedule an engagement photo shoot with your chosen photographer. It will give you an idea of how your photographer works with both of you, give you an idea of how the photographer’s work comes out, and it will give you some practice being in front of the camera for a longer period of time.
Kristina Kavey-Di Carlo, bride, and Joseph Di Carlo, groom, married October 28, 2006 at the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco

33.
Announce at the church that you will be greeting your guests at the cocktail hour. A receiving line after the ceremony, although traditional, can be a huge waste of time, photographically. That 20 to 30 minutes can cut into our beautiful light to make those awesome romantic couple photos that I know you would much rather have.
Lisa Forman,
Lisa Forman Photography, Inc., in Piermont, NY

34.
Know what you’re looking for and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Do you want someone who is good at black-and-white or color? Do you want a video camera? Are there going to be two cameras? How soon will you get to see your proofs and how soon will you get the album? I’ve heard stories in which it’s a year later and the couple still doesn’t have their pictures.
Lara Collazo, bride,
married May 5, 2007 at Ramsey Golf & Country Club, Ramsey, NJ

Say It with Stationery

35
Order 25 more invitations than you think you’ll need to cover addressing mistakes, invitations that get lost in the mail, or to send to extra guests you might consider inviting at the last minute. It’s much cheaper to order 25 extra with your invitation order than placing a new order for invitations later down the road!
Sarah Lusardi,
NY Engagements, LLC in White Plains

36
Skip the middleman. I went into a local store, found what I liked, wrote down all of the information from the book, and went online and found the exact same thing. The online companies still send you a proof, so you know what you’re getting. This is especially good if you are looking at higher-end invites.
Lara Collazo, bride,
married May 5, 2007 at Ramsey Golf & Country Club in Ramsey, NJ

37.
If you can’t afford calligraphy, take a calligraphy class (at least a year before you sit down to fill out your envelopes) or have a relative who does calligraphy do it for you—that’s a great way to personalize the invitation.
Anne Tascio,
Benedicite Art in Brewster, NY

38.
If you don’t choose hand calligraphy, which ranges from $3 to $6 per outer envelope, machine calligraphy is a good alternative—if you choose an experienced, qualified stationer who is meticulous. The average price for computer calligraphy is $1.25 to $2 per outer envelope. Make sure to look at samples to see that the output is clean, centered, and the ink is a good match.
Staci Rahamin,
Sincerely Staci in Pleasantville

39.
If you get a calligrapher, the calligrapher will need extra envelopes not only for mistakes he or she may make, but most calligraphers always have a couple they re-do simply because they want the envelope to look nicer! What can I say? We calligraphers are very nitpicky about our lettering. So order plenty of extra envelopes—at least 20 percent more.
Anne Tascio,
Benedicite Art in Brewster, NY

Thinking Inside—and Outside—the Box: Favors

40.
Instead of buying favors, we made chocolate truffles! My mom, her best friend, and my sister, who was my maid of honor, and I made them. We had an assembly line in the kitchen. We made 500 chocolate truffles and boxed them up in brown boxes with bright yellow bows. It was very old-school: all the girls getting together to cook and prepare and gossip and connect for eight hours non-stop. It was really nice.
Alyssa Snow, bride,
married May 10, 2008 at Castello di Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue, NY

41.
Go to your local nursery and purchase small plants in individual flowerpots to be placed on each table as part of your centerpiece. Invite guests to take them home at the end of the night.
Maria Casella,
Harrison Brides and Babies, Inc in Harrison

42.
Favors usually range from $1 to $10 per person, but the price is dependant on the wedding budget. It is common practice to allocate about 5 percent of your wedding budget to favors and gifts for your wedding party and out-of-town guests.
Julia Juarez,
Charming Favours in Pleasantville

43.
Send people home with sweets. I had a vintage candy bar with different plates, vases, and silver platters containing everything from jelly beans to candy sticks. This was neat because we had our reception at a castle, the church was a very old church, and having an old-fashioned feeling—with platters of candy­—was a nice way to carry the theme all the way through.
Katherine P. Frattarola, bride,
married September 9, 2006 at
Resurrection Church in Rye

Prepare Your Guest List

44.
There are many ways to expand your invitation list while keeping your head count reasonable. When necessary, a “B” list can be very effective. It should only be utilized as a last resort as it can often cause hurt feelings. The easiest thing to do is to communicate with relatives, out-of-towners, and other “must invites,” and get a feel for whether or not they are planning on attending. This will allow for closer estimates of attendees and allow you to expand the list of invitees—but on average between 10 percent and 15 percent of invited guests will be unable to attend.
Richard Koh,
Royal Press in Hartsdale

45.
If you have a lot of out-of-town guests staying at a hotel, it's good to have a list of everyone's names and room numbers so guests can contact each other in case of an emergency.
Sherry Thomas, bride from Yonkers,
married April 19, 2008

Staying Sane

46.
I was really organized, but I was worried about how everyone was going to be seated. I found a computer program called perfect tableplans.com, which allowed me to create my tables, place my guests where I wanted, and avoided the whole "don’t-seat so-and-so next to so-and-so" drama.
Caitlin Hogan, bride,
married September 9, 2006 at
St. Patrick’s Church, Newburgh, NY

47.
If you don’t have a wedding planner, choose one or two people who are closest to you to help you make the decisions. Too many opinions will make you go crazy!
David Tutera,
David Tutera Inc., in Mamaroneck and
New York

48.
Spread out your planning over a year; it really takes the pressure off.
Lara Collazo, bride, married May 5, 2007 at
Ramsey Golf & Country Club, Ramsey, NJ

49.
Learn how to fight before you get married. We have several soon-to-be-wed couples in our kickboxing class and Krav Maga, which is an Israeli system of self-defense. As a couple, it’s fun to set a goal together and help each other reach that goal. Besides helping you look fit and vibrant at the wedding, the intense cardio will actually de-stress you both.
Steve Sohn,
JuJitsu Concepts Krav Maga training center in Scarsdale

50.
On the day of my wedding, I wanted to be alone and I did not take any calls. I reflected and meditated about being a wife and the marriage itself—that’s more important than the party.
Sonya Mendoza-Pantanelli, bride,
married June 11, 2006 at
Our Lady of Sorrows Church, White Plains

51.
I wish I had taken an additional day off before the wedding. I took Thursday and Friday off, and I think it's important for a bride, particularly if you have out-of-town guests and you have a lot of festivities ahead of the wedding, to have a little more time. I felt a little squished for time.
Katherine P. Frattarola, bride,
married September 9, 2006 at
Resurrection Church in Rye
Entertaining your guests

Crafting Your Menu

52.
The menu should reflect the time of year, like climate, foliage, and what is available in the market place. I wouldn’t do a sweet-potato purée or a béarnaise sauce in the summer. I would use what is available in season. In spring/summer, fruits and veggies are at their peak; use them when they are fresh and waiting to be plucked. Pears, apples, figs, and squash all can be used in the fall seasons.
Lee Loil-Cea,
Le Château Restaurant in South Salem

53.
A wedding-day menu should be fun and approachable. When crafting a menu, it’s important to take into account the bride and groom’s palate with consideration for the guests’ palates as well. Creating a menu that has many unique dishes and foreign flavor will leave a lot of full plates—and hungry guests.
David Tutera,
David Tutera Inc., in Mamaroneck and New York, NY

54.
One wedding food trend that seems to go over really well is a tapas bar. A tapas bar is a station at a wedding, which is set up with lots of different small appetizers, and a chef takes an order from the guests and places their items on small, interesting shaped plates. The items can range from empanadas with tomatillo to mushrooms topped with sautéed spinach and pumpkin seed encrusted salmon. Tapas are small enough to allow for a taste of a variety of items and guests find it fun to actually see a chef plating the food.
Sharon Snyder,
Standing Room Only in Scarsdale

55.
It’s vital to have healthy choices at a wedding, whether it’s a vegetarian plate or a plain salad. Also, if you’re doing a wedding, know in advance if certain people keep kosher or certain people can’t eat dairy or can only eat garlic- free foods—we all know what our friends and family eat, so make whatever arrangements beforehand.
Harriette Rose Katz,
Gourmet Advisory Services in New York, NY

56.
Keep the energy going! Instead of a sit-down dinner, we decided to make the menu “cocktail-hour food” all night long—just one big party will keep those lulls from happening when everyone stops dead to enjoy the salad course. We want energy, dancing and lots of party, party, party!
Joanna Rothschild of joanna rothschild makeup, One Love Yoga, and bride-to-be in Hartsdale

57.
Have a signature drink during the cocktail hour. Ours was a pear martini. We used a pear theme in a number of ways during our wedding, and it was another fun way of bringing in our love of pears.
Kristina Kavey-Di Carlo and Joseph Di Carlo, bride and groom, married October 28, 2006 at The Presbyterian Church of Mt. Kisco
Be the Entertainment

58.
Since we were going to be dancing in front of people, we took dance lessons at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in the City [there’s also Dance Connection in New Rochelle] about two or three months ahead of our wedding. It was an amazing experience and it was nice to spend time with each other!
Rebecca Levitt (Levy), bride,
married May 17, 2008 at The Fountainhead in New Rochelle

59.
Serenade her! My husband was taking guitar lessons leading up to our wedding—he learned how to play Ben Harper’s “Not Fire, Not Ice.” At our wedding, he played guitar, while his dad sang.
Katie Cowart, bride,
married November 4, 2006 at First Baptist Church of Tarrytown, Tarrytown

Let Them Eat Cake

60.
More and more brides today are tapping into the Southern tradition of the groom’s cake, which usually ranges between $5 and $15 a slice. Originally, a groom’s cake was sliced and boxed and given only to the unmarried ladies at the wedding. They were supposed to take their slice of cake home and place it under their pillow and dream about their future husband. Now, it’s a great way to have a fun cake depicting the groom’s hobby, favorite team, college, or profession, or as a means of offering a different flavor other than the wedding cake’s. It can be served along with your wedding cake or it can be packed up in little individual boxes and given to your guests as a parting gift.
Melisa Imberman,
The Event Of A Lifetime, Inc., in Millwood

61.
If you choose a cake that is a little above your budget, ask if the bakery can make your designed cake a little smaller and give you a cutting cake with the same flavors for the kitchen to cut. Since no one would see the “cutting cake,” you needn’t pay for a decorated cake for that amount of servings.
Rosanne Rush,
Magnificent Edibles in White Plains

62.
One bride I know wanted desperately to wear her mother’s headpiece, but fell in love with a new one. She decided to buy the new headpiece and use her mother’s tiara as part of her cake topper. The point: be creative.
Maria Casella,
Harrison Brides and Babies, Inc., in Harrison

63.
The temperature inside and outside can affect a cake, so be careful! For example, carrot-cake frosting is made of cream cheese, so it may not be a good idea to let the cake sit at room temperature for a long time. If your cake is delivered at the start of your cocktail hour or before, and dessert isn’t served until an hour before the end of your reception, that’s a long time for a cake to sit out. And, again, if your reception is outdoors and in the middle of the summer, a ganache icing will melt off the sides of your cake.
Sarah Lusardi,
NY Engagements, LLC in White Plains

Get your look

Your Dress…& Your Bridesmaids' Dresses

64.
I found my dress at a bridal shop called Bridal Garden in New York where the dresses are donated by designers and individuals. Every dollar I spent on the dress goes to a local school, and after my ceremony, I can donate the dress back to the shop and get a tax write-off.
Cheryl LoMaglio, bride,
married September 20, 2008 at Macari Vineyard in Mattituck, NY

65.
In the bridal suite, cut off all the loops on the inside of the gowns and dresses, lest they sneakily show up in your photos. The likelihood is you’ll never really worry about hanging these dresses again.
Joanna Rothschild of Joanna Rothschild Makeup and bride-to-be in Hartsdale

66.
Consider comfort. Though some brides fantasize about the princess ball gown with the extra-long train, the reality is that such a dress will be very heavy, and not very comfortable to party in. Remember: your ideal dress may not be what ends up looking good on you. Many brides find that their ideal dress shape or style isn’t always the best fit for their body types.
Stephanie Kaplan, Ms. & Mrs.,
products sold in Larchmont

67.
A perfect dress is the one dress that makes you feel and look great. A dressmaker is one of the best ways to go. It may cost a bit more, but you can find the fabric you love and a style that suits you and have it made exactly to your specifications.
Minoo Hersini,
Au-Ciel Design Studio in Irvington

68.
I always advise brides to try on any dress that appeals to them, even if they never considered that style. Often the dress you think won’t work, turns out to be “the one.”

Elyssa Feldman Most, A Most Creative Affair Wedding and Special Event + Fine Stationery Studio in Tarrytown

69.
When choosing a dress ask yourself if you think you will love that dress 10 to 20 years from now. Don’t pick anything too trendy; you may regret it a few years from now.
Dawn Norris,
dnOriginals, in Peekskill

70.
A bride typically thinks she should wear a corset and stockings, but it’s actually very uncomfortable. Body concealers made from stretch fabric are very comfy and can be worn all day. With super-advanced spandex, a woman’s body can be gently reshaped and she will feel fantastic—and enjoy herself, and not be tugging. There’s nothing worse than when you see a bride tugging at her dress.
Gena Lisanti,
Lillies & Lace in Armonk

71.
Don’t choose floral tones for the bridesmaids’ bouquets that match their dresses exactly—the colors will just wash out and fade into the dress. Use the bridesmaids’ dresses as a canvas to display the bouquets, using flowers that compliment the dress and colors that really “pop” against the backdrop.
Sarah Lusardi,
NY Engagements, LLC in White Plains

72.
Don’t buy a dress with the expectation that you will lose several dress sizes by your wedding day! Be more realistic and buy a dress that is your current size or one size smaller. Remember, dresses can always be taken in, but they are not so easy to let out!
Katie Cowart, bride,
married November 4, 2006 at First Baptist Church of Tarrytown, Tarrytown

73.
After you're done with the wedding, donate your gown. There are some good charities such as Brides Against Breast Cancer. It will help a woman greatly
Sherry Thomas, Yonkers bride, married April 19, 2008

Bling, His Ring, and Other Accessories

74.
Do not automatically say “no” to wearing a headpiece. I’ve seen too many brides come in at the last minute looking for a headpiece because they finally realized they want one! The perfect headpiece can make your dress even more amazing and, since most of your photos will be from the waist up, a headpiece is an important accessory.
Maria Casella,
Harrison Brides and Babies, Inc., in Harrison

75.
Yellow gold, rose gold, and anything oxidized are new trends in jewelry. Also, consider using eternity bands or stacking bands as the actual wedding band.
Sarah Maren Mass,
Desires by Mikolay in Chappaqua

76.
Bring the blusher veil back! We’re getting away from tradition. Even if you’re living with a guy, removing the blusher is one of the only things the father of the bride does, besides paying the bill—why take that away from dad?
Debra Thompson,
Weddings by Debra in New Rochelle

Do Not Overlook Your Feet

77.
Consider wearing a second pair of shoes for the last few hours of the party. By changing the height subtly, you’ll feel refreshed and your feet will too!
Jo Pearlman,
Chiara Scura in Mount Kisco

78.
Buy two pairs of identical shoes with one pair a half size larger. If you’re a seven, also get a seven-and-a-half, because with all the dancing, standing, and voguing for the camera, your feet are going to swell and you’ll be really sorry that you didn’t have a bigger shoe.
Harriette Rose Katz,
Gourmet Advisory Services in New York, NY

Beauty and the Big Day

79.
I know many brides today want to be showered and surrounded by their bridesmaids on the wedding day, but brides-to-be, have your own makeup artist and hairstylist; don’t share! Sharing causes much unnecessary stress on you. Enjoy this moment; be pampered. And alleviate the scurrying about on your wedding day by having the artists come to you instead of going into a salon on your wedding day. It will help make things less stressful.
Debra Thompson,
Weddings by Debra in New Rochelle

80.
Be sure to have straws in your bridal suite so you can re-hydrate without ruining your lipstick.
Joanna Rothschild of
Joanna Rothschild Makeup and bride-to-be in Hartsdale

81.
Bring a picture of your gown to the consultations. Your bridal hair and makeup should complement and balance your dress for a look that is consistent.
Rosemarie Pomilla,
NY Prostyle in Dobbs Ferry

82.
Always use a crème concealer. Paint on concealer with a brush, blending by patting it in with a sponge or finger. Liquid Concealer is a waste of time as it will never provide long lasting coverage. My favorite shades for bridal makeup include Nars blush orgasm, Chanel japour gloss, Lancome lipliner natural mauve, Clarin's concealer, Laura Mercier loose transluscent powder, and Stila eyeshadow kitten.
Kimara Ahnert, NYC makeup artist with long list of celebrity and Westchester clientele

83.
Wear a top that is a similar shade to your wedding gown to the makeup consultation to see what your colors will look like against your dress.
Rosemarie Pomilla,
NY Prostyle in Dobbs Ferry

84.
If you’re doing your own makeup, there are certain foundations like NARS Balanced foundation, which is really easy to use and harder to make mistakes with because it lets your skin breathe and it's easier to maneuver. My two favorite brands are Make Up For Ever and NARS; the consistency of the glosses are rich and creamy and the pigments of shadows are really dense.
Joanna Rothschild of
Joanna Rothschild Makeup and
bride-to-be in Hartsdale

85.
Go batty with fake lashes, but don’t use an entire strip. Instead cut the strip in half or into sections. This allows for easier application and a more natural look.
Kimara Ahnert, NYC makeup artist with long list of celebrity and Westchester clientele.

86.
Never let your fiancé see your makeup before the wedding day. You don’t let him see the dress, the shoes, probably not the hair, so where is the surprise if he sees your makeup?
Piera Canu, makeup artist in White Plains

87.
Take care of your skin! Makeup will look horrible if you have breakouts, blotchiness, or dry skin. A proper skincare regimen should be followed at least six months prior to getting married. That means using a cleanser, moisturizer, and eye cream twice a day. Also, consider getting a facial. It will help makeup stay on, essentially creating a clean palette for the makeup. If you are planning to have a facial, that should be done at least seven to 10 days before your wedding day, not a day or two before, just in case you have any reactions.
Kathryn Weinberger,
KathrynEllen Makeup Studio in Mount Kisco

Dos, Don’ts, and Other Awkward Moments

88.
Involve your father in the planning. My dad was the one who went with me to pick out my flowers, not my mom, and he actually enjoyed being part of the process, besides just paying for it.
Lara Collazo, bride,
married May 5, 2007 Ramsey Golf & Country Club, Ramsey, NJ

89.
It’s nice to pay tribute to your parents by playing their wedding song.
Melisa Imberman,
The Event Of A Lifetime, Inc., in Millwood

90.
If your parents are divorced, they may feel uncomfortable standing in a receiving line together or being part of the bridal-party introductions. If you anticipate tension, recognize your parents from their separate tables during bridal-party introductions, or suggest that they visit each table during the reception to greet and say thanks to your guests.
Sarah Lusardi,
NY Engagements, LLC in White Plains

91.
When dealing with parents who are either getting in your way or are less than helpful, it is best to assign them a job or responsibility that is not too important but will make them feel useful and keep them busy!
Lisa Light,
DestinationBride.com in Chatham, NY

92.
My groom was happy to be involved in some decisions, but not all of the decisions. For instance, he did not care about each species of flowers in our centerpiece, but he did care about the wine and food. At the beginning, we went through all of the things we needed to do and decided where he would take the lead or where I would take a lead on planning, so we had a clear delineation.
Katherine P. Frattarola, bride,
married September 9, 2006 at Resurrection Church at Rye
On your big day

A Few Pointers from the Pros

93.
I encourage my brides and grooms to sneak away and enjoy a few moments to themselves right after the ceremony. I prepare an assortment of hors d’oeuvres from the cocktail hour that they are inevitably going to miss while taking pictures and/or greeting their guests.
Melisa Imberman,
The Event Of A Lifetime, Inc., in Millwood

94.
We wanted something different, so we used a photo booth as our guest book. Our guests went into the booth, chose either black and white or color photos, and came out with six pictures of themselves. There was a little table next to the booth and the guest cut their photos and placed the pictures into the book and wrote a message. The line for the photo booth was longer than the line for the bar!
Caitlin Hogan, bride,
married September 9, 2006 at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church, Newburgh, NY

95.
Consider planning a special dance with your bridesmaids for your groom. I had a friend choreograph a dance to Christina Aguilera’s song, “Ain’t No Other Man” for me and my bridesmaids. That was really neat and everyone really loved it!
Katie Cowart, bride,
married November 4, 2006 at First Baptist Church of Tarrytown, Tarrytown
Inviting the Tiniest of Guests?
96.
If a couple plans to invite children to their wedding, I like to be proactive and come up with ways to occupy them. Make age/gender appropriate goodie bags that they can quietly play with at their seats. Depending on the number and ages of the children, consider hiring babysitters or entertainers.
Melisa Imberman,
The Event Of A Lifetime, Inc., in Millwood

Photo by Craig Paulson

97.
If children have a job or assigned task, typically, they will be better behaved as they feel a sense of pride in being included. Some great ways to incorporate children: have them do a procession with colorful ribbons at the ceremony or reception, have them head down the aisle in an old-fashioned Radio Flyer wagon, or even a little boy on a tricycle makes for a fun moment!
Lisa Light, DestinationBride.com in Chatham


When it’s all said and done...

98.
Honeymoon registries are a great way for the couple who “has it all” to provide an opportunity for guests to still bestow a gift on them, and it helps destination-wedding couples with the budget for their honeymoon!
Lisa Light,
DestinationBride.com in Chatham, NY

99.
We scrapped our honeymoon until one year later. Although we really wanted to go to Hawaii for our honeymoon, because of expenses and just being so tired from the wedding, right after we got married, we went to Lake Placid for four days and just decompressed; we were so exhausted. Had we gone to Hawaii, we probably would have sat on the beach, which isn’t a bad thing, but there was a lot we would have missed out on. Instead, we rested and spent 11 months looking forward to Hawaii.
Katie Cowart, bride, married November 4, 2006 at First Baptist Church of Tarrytown, Tarrytown

100.
Pay attention to the world economy before you pick your wedding destination or honeymoon spot. Latin America is popular now because the American dollar is very weak and the exchange rate in Latin America makes a party there affordable; partly because people are realizing there are great destinations with colorful culture, food and entertainment.
Lisa Light,
DestinationBride.com in Chatham, NY

...and most important of all

101.
Marry the right person. This one decision will determine 90 percent of your happiness in life.
Martin A. Badinelli, The Canyon Club, Inc., in Armonk

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