Visit one of these department stores and check off multiple items—including your gown and accessories—from your wedding to-do list.
Barneys New York
660 Madison Ave., at 61st St.; 212-826-8900; barneys.com
Even though Barneys has phased out its bridal department, adventurous types who tend toward avant-garde styles love this alternative to typical bridal salons. For dresses that are sexier than normal bridesmaid frocks, your coterie can try on designers like Costume National, Azzaro, Collette Dinnigan, and Marc Jacobs. Show off your style cred with shoes from Manolo Blahnik and Giuseppe Zanotti on the fourth and seventh floors. Barneys offers a wide selection of trendy tuxedos for grooms—from a two-button, grosgrain-notch-lapel jacket and flat-front trousers from Isaia ($2,995) to a one-button tuxedo with peak lapels from Battistoni of Rome ($3,295). You’ll find Etro ties in limitless colors. You won’t see a traditional prong-set ring here, but if you’re looking for cool contemporary engagement rings, we love bold designs by Linda Lee Johnson and feminine floral ones from Cathy Waterman. In addition to Barneys’ signature collection of cuff links, the store is well stocked with Suzanne Felsen and Longmire lines as well.
754 Fifth Ave., at 59th St.; 212-753-7300; bergdorfgoodman.com
Bergdorf’s Art Deco wedding salon employs a team of wedding specialists who’ll tag along on your shopping trip and help with everything. Customer service is the focus here; there will always be someone to assist you. The atmosphere is more modern than frilly (raw silk-covered walls, zebrawood doors, polished nickel trim) since the renovation four years ago. To really stand out on your day, take a look at gowns by Ines Di Santo, Elizabeth Fillmore, and Reva Mivasagar. Bridesmaid dresses aren’t sold in the bridal suite, but head to the fourth floor for evening garb from Carolina Herrera and Marchesa. Dresses by Nanette Lepore and Rebecca Taylor are cute alternatives to black-tie bridesmaid regalia. Rene Caovilla and other up-market European footwear lay near their accompanying clothing collections on level two, while mid-priced lines like Kors are spread out on five. On the seventh floor, you’ll find a nook with everyday necessities like engraved or thermographed stationery from Bernard Maisner, William Arthur, and Thornwillow. The menswear is in a separate storefront across the street, and your fiancé will appreciate the cosmopolitan flair and designers such as Valentino and Armani. Bergdorf also has a full line of made-to-order tuxes, the most popular of which is a three-button notch, and it’s the go-to resource for chic, inventive cuff links.
1000 Third Ave., at 59th St.; 212-705-2000; bloomingdales.com
Cut your hassle factor in half with Bloomingdale’s bridal services, which provide wedding consultants to help with the big day. Bloomingdale’s doesn’t carry wedding gowns, though the second-floor shoe department is great for affordable styles from Marc by Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors. The smaller (and calmer) designer department on the fourth floor is a different world, but depending on the season, you should be able to find white and silver shoes from Stuart Weitzman and Chanel. And don’t forget to mention your man to the wedding consultants—they are happy to help with ties, cuff links, and accents to fit your wedding vision. With hundreds of suits and sports jackets to browse through, the store is excellent for guys who like to mix and match. Groomsmen can pick up tuxedos by Canali, Hugo Boss, or Armani for more formal moments, along with high-end accessories such as a set of sterling silver-and-enamel plaid Colibri cuff links. Wedding invitations are in-house too. Judy Paulen Designs, introduced to the sixth floor of Bloomingdale’s in 2004, has more than 25 years of experience creating wedding-invitation designs. The store features work by C’est Papier, Julie Holcombe, and Dauphine Press. And navigating this famously frenetic store with kids in tow can be a challenge, but the children’s department offers reliable options for flower girls.
Lord & Taylor
424 Fifth Ave., nr. 39th St.; 212-391-3344; lordandtaylor.com
The stately Fifth Avenue mainstay isn’t as glitzy (or bustling) as the other one-stop shops, but you’re likely to stay within budget at this quieter and smaller department store. For bridesmaids, Lord & Taylor is a good place to source inexpensive, all-American alternatives and traditional apparel. The second- and third-floor selection includes everything from streamlined BCBG dresses to elegant fare from Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, and floor-skimming A.B.S. gowns. Silk Caparros and embellished Nina strappies are the perfect inexpensive shoe choice to accompany the gown of your liking. A small range of suits—including Ted Baker and Joseph Abboud—and even a few tuxedos in a lower price range make the trip worth your husband-to-be’s time as well. If you’re doing your own makeup, stop by the beauty department for wallet-friendly products (ask about promotions) and request a complimentary consultation for wedding-day makeup tips.
151 W. 34th St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-695-4400; macys.com
The venerable department store opened its huge new bridal salon in 2005—complete with a walkway platform lined with mirrors—and the service still remains one-on-one. Let a Macy’s wedding specialist roll up her sleeves—scour the dresses, analyze fits, comb for the right sizes—while you try them on. Ride the escalators to the eighth-floor Bridal Salon, where you’ll find literally everything you’ll need: gowns from the Demetrios wedding collection, bridesmaid dresses from classic labels like Bill Levkoff and After Six, and mother-of-the-bride’s attire. Macy’s puts most of its stock out on the floor instead of tucked away in the back.Ask about their scheduled trunk shows, which include discounts on special alterations. After your gown-fitting, you can count on the extensive lingerie department for plenty of basics—bras, panties, girdles, and nighties in every conceivable combination of Lycra and lace. All the usual mainstays are represented, from Warner’s to Ralph and Calvin. On your way down to the basement (for kitchenware and appliances), stop by the expansive, two-floor shoe department. Find sleeker designs on the fifth floor, including Charles David slides and BCBGirls stilettos. To boot, this well-priced store has one of the biggest suit offerings in town; you’ll find tuxedos from Lauren by Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss.
Saks Fifth Avenue
611 Fifth Ave., nr. 49th St.; 212-753-4000; saksfifthavenue.com
Brides fly in from all over the world to check out the gowns at this posh bridal salon (by appointment only), boasting swank labels like Reem Acra, Elizabeth Fillmore, Vera Wang, and Ulla-Maija. Bridesmaids will be happy to forgo an unflattering “one-style-fits-all” dud in favor of a red strapless gown from A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz or a black-and-white number from BCBG Max Azria. Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Christian Louboutin, and Jimmy Choo can all be found in the comprehensive fourth-floor shoe department. If you need a fuss-free bra and a plain cotton thong for the big day, but you also want more romantic options, Natori and Chantelle hang alongside Donna Karan and La Perla. Send the groom off with a Fifth Avenue Club personal shopper to put together his look from makers like Hugo Boss and Canali. But if he’s after something really special, stop by Domenico Spano’s Custom Shop for a bespoke fit. And then shed all of that wedding-prep stress with a massage, facial, and mani-pedi at Saks’ spa.
From the Summer 2008 New York Wedding Guide