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An Affair to Remember

Bridal-industry insiders reveal the unique details of some truly outstanding parties.


"My son was recently married and he loves my dog, Ruby—Ruby is a West Highland white terrier—so we put a replica of Ruby on one of the five tiers on the wedding cake. Right there on top, a little sugar dog. My son and his wife still have it, they didn’t eat it.”
Serena Bass, event planner and owner, Serena Bass, Inc.

"For the first time, I’m doing individual wedding cakes. There will be a large dummy cake with two real tiers, one to cut and one to take home. Instead of being served from some once-frozen leaning tower of Pisa, each guest will receive a two-tiered mini-cake that tastes fantastic.”
Tim McLaughlin, executive chef, Catering by Restaurant Associates

“One couple chose to marry in a Christian ceremony, then change clothes for a traditional Thai tea ceremony at the reception. The groom was American and the bride was Thai. It was exquisite as the guests, one by one, filled a large shell with water and poured it into the couples’ hands to symbolize their blessing.”
Elizabeth Ryan, florist and owner, Elizabeth Ryan Floral

“To create a unique escort card, we wrote the name of each guest on a polished Japanese river stone and placed the stones in a bed of sand that had been raked into a stunning pattern. This Zen garden was set with bonsai trees on a large table where the guests entered.”
Ellen Weldon, stationer and owner, Ellen Weldon Design

“For one wedding, we created a tented Moroccan village for about 60 guests. I know normal people don’t create a village, but they can have a gift in their guests’ hotel rooms waiting for them. Things we remember from our youth are fun, so if you’re at the beach, include a plastic water gun. I don’t think anyone needs another fake silver tchotchke.”
David Stark, co-founder and creative director, Avi Adler

“The invitations for a recent Palm Beach wedding requested the guests wear light colors. The creams, whites, and beiges against the green lawn created the most beautiful effect. It felt like The Great Gatsby. Dark suits are formal, but in the end, you don’t always want to be wearing somber colors.”
Beth Blake, bridesmaid dress designer and co-owner, Thread

“The best lighting I have ever seen incorporated clear bell-jar lamps lit with pillar candles, suspended above the reception tables at different lengths, and low centerpieces with candles on the tables."
Tanya Arianne Malott, photographer and owner, Tanya Malott Photography

“At a small wedding I attended, the guests were photographed upon arrival with an HP camera, the kind that you can instantly print a photo from. When it was time for the reception, our photographs were on the tables as place cards and everyone took theirs home as a memento.”
Preston Bailey, CEO, Preston Bailey Design

“One couple was tattooed at the altar. The priest was also a tattoo artist and he tattooed the bride and groom’s names on one another’s ring fingers.”
—Ali Smith, photographer and owner, Alice-N-Weddingland

“By adding one instrument, you can really enhance the flavor of an ensemble. Recently we played for a couple that wanted a calypso feel, so we added a steel-drum player to a Brazilian percussion-and-guitar ensemble. It created a real upbeat Caribbean feel without the couple having to hire an entire steel band.”
— Joe Bonacci, president, Manhattan Swing Orchestras

“I had a bride and groom who created CDs comprised of the music played at their wedding—everything from before the ceremony started to the father-daughter dance. The CD was given out at the end of the night with a lotto ticket and a note that said in remembrance of this evening and future good luck.”
— Carla Ruben, owner, Creative Edge Parties

“One couple took inspiration from an Art Deco motif on a William Arthur invitation. Couples like to put their stamp on a wedding, usually with a monogram, but this was a beautiful Deco design—three tulips in a rectangle. They put it on everything: the place cards, menus, and the cake. It really stood out .”
— Laurie Savino, wedding planner and owner, the Bride’s Choice LTD.

“ Couples can engrave a meaningful poetic or religious quote directly onto their invitation, envelope, or a sheet of translucent wrap. Incorporating a quote adds a personal touch and sets the tone for their commitment to each other.”
— Allison Williams, creative director, Claudia Calhoun

“One bride, who did not have attendants, placed family members and people dear to her along the sides of the aisle. During her procession they each handed her a flower, so by the time she reached the alter she had a full bouquet. It was intimate and romantic, and everyone remembers it .”
— Marianne Bennett, partner, Starlight Orchestras

“ I am doing a cake for a client who wants deep colors. It has a very Indian feel and mixes many different designs. I was worried that it wouldn’t work, but it turned out wonderfully. Come with pictures and designs you like, and don’t be afraid of intense color .”
— Ellen Baumwoll, owner, Bijoux Doux Specialty Cakes

“ My brother was married in January, and he and his wife gave everyone in the bridal party a bottle of their favorite wine. It was special and personal, not just some flask with your name engraved on it. It’s those simple touches Mark [Badgley] and I love when we attend weddings .”
— James Mischka, designer, Badgley Mischka

“For a fashion-forward wedding at a New York City loft, we plan to replace the standard escort-card table with a large black chalkboard mounted on the wall. Inspired by a Louis Vuitton bag, the guests’ names and their table numbers will be written with brightly colored chalk in a graffiti-like style for a modern, edgy result .”
— Jung Lee, owner, fête

From the Fall 2005 New York Wedding Guide

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