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Fifteen Great Ideas

4. Don’t play broken records.
Planner Claudia Hanlin of the Wedding Library remembers, “for the recessional, one bride had a 40-voice children’s choir sing the ‘Flower Duet’ from the opera Lakmé (from $8,000 with piano, through Elan Artists; 718-388-2901;” Or, do theme music during the cocktail hour. Raggs & the All-Stars is a 1940s-style band that can segue into other genres during the reception (from $10,000 through Elan Artists). And don’t discount the virtues of an unexpected, lively first dance. “I had a couple who went from Michael Bublé to Rihanna,” says planner Karen Bussen.

5. Personalize your booze.
“Every culture has a special beverage,” says planner Xochitl Gonzalez of Always a Bridesmaid. So ask yourself what great-great-grandpa would drink. “For a Nordic groom’s wedding, we served glogg, a spiced wine from Scandinavia. For an Italian-Puerto Rican couple, we passed limoncello shots on the dance floor.” Or dress up the obvious: have a specialty beer bar. “Serve locally-brewed beers, or brews from your guests’ home states,” says JoAnn Gregoli of Elegant Occasions.

6. Lighten up.
Lest you forget, weddings are supposed to be joyous, fun affairs. “Bring in a snow cone machine for the cocktail hour,” suggests Peter Fazio of Sterling Affair Caterers. Bartenders spike them with margarita or cosmo flavors (additional $5 per person to bar bill, from Sterling Affair Caterers; 212-686-4075; For a wedding at the Central Park Zoo, Fête’s Lee put a waiter in a polar bear suit. “This guy wore the suit during all of cocktail hour while he passed appetizers. Guests loved it,” she says.


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