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 sexier-than-normal bridesmaid dresses, the coterie can try on designers like Costume National, Azzaro, Collette Dinnigan, and Marc Jacobs. Shoes from Manolo Blahnik and Giuseppe Zanotti are on the fourth and seventh floors. For guys, Barneys offers a wide selection of trendy tuxedos—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). Grooms-to-be will find Etro ties in limitless colors. Barneys doesn’t carry the traditional prong-set ring, but those looking for cool, contemporary engagement rings should check out bold designs by Linda Lee Johnson and feminine floral ones by 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 a shopping trip and help with everything. Customer service is the focus here; there is always someone ready to assist. Brides who really want to stand out on their day should take a look at gowns by Ines Di Santo, Elizabeth Fillmore, and Reva Mivasagar. For stylish veils and tiaras, Tia Mazza’s classic designs are sure to please. The bridal party should head to the fourth floor for wedding-friendly evening wear 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 lines are laid out near their accompanying clothing collections on level two; mid-priced lines like Kors are on five. On the seventh floor, couples will find luxe, everyday necessities like engraved or thermographed stationery from Bernard Maisner, William Arthur, and Thornwillow. Menswear is in a separate storefront across the street. There, grooms will appreciate designers such as Valentino and Armani. Bergdorf also has a full line of made-to-order tuxes—the most popular 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
The bridal service at Bloomingdale’s offers supportive consultants to ease planning for the big day. Though they don’t carry wedding gowns, the second-floor shoe department is stocked with affordable styles from Marc by Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors. Check out the smaller (and calmer) designer department on the fourth floor to find white and silver shoes from Stuart Weitzman and Chanel. Wedding consultants are happy to help with grooms’ needs too: ties, cuff links, and accents to fit the wedding vision. With hundreds of suits and sports jackets to browse, 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 like a set of sterling-silver-and-enamel plaid Colibri cuff links. Wedding invitations are in-house, too. Bloomingdale’s offers a fresh collection of over 25 theme-based wedding invitations by high-end letterpress designer Janet Kim of RSVP Press. The store also features stationery by C’est Papier, Julie Holcombe, and Dauphine Press. 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 brides are 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, including everything from streamlined BCBG dresses to elegant gowns from Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, and floor-skimming A.B.S. gowns. Silk Caparros and embellished Nina sandals are the perfect inexpensive shoe choice to accompany a variety of gowns. The small range of suits—including Ted Baker and Joseph Abboud, and even a few tuxedos in a lower price range—makes the trip worth the husband-to-be’s time as well. Brides doing their own makeup should stop by the beauty department for wallet-friendly products (ask about promotions)—they can also request a complimentary consultation for wedding-day makeup tips.
151 W. 34th St., nr. Seventh Ave., 212-695-4400; macys.comA Macy’s wedding specialist will roll up her sleeves—scour the dresses, analyze fits, comb for the right sizes—while brides try them on. The venerable department store opened its huge new bridal salon in 2005—complete with a walkway platform lined with mirrors—and the service is still one-on-one. Ride the escalators to the eighth-floor Bridal Salon, where customers will find practically everything they 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 gown-fittings, brides 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 the way down to the basement (for kitchenware and appliances), brides should stop by the expansive two-floor shoe department. They can also find sleeker designs on the fifth floor, including Charles David slides and BCBGirls stilettos. This well-priced store also has one of the biggest suit offerings in town; guys can 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. Brides can load up on fuss-free and romantic lingerie; 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 special, stop by Domenico Spano’s Custom Shop for a bespoke fit. Then shed all of that wedding-prep stress with a massage at Saks’ spa.
The Wedding Library
43 E. 78th St., nr. Madison Ave., 212-327-0100; theweddinglibrary.com
The masterminds behind this research boutique, Claudia Hanlin and Jennifer Zabinski, have an entire brownstone dedicated to all things bridal. Aside from their full-scale planning and referral services, they have dress specialists that help outfit the bridal party. The Wedding Library only carries a few wedding gowns (from Thread, starting at $700, exclusive to them), but the first and third floors are dedicated to bridesmaids’ dresses. They carry Amsale, Badgley Mischka and Jim Hjelm ($220 to $500) to name a few—many of which can be ordered in ivory for a less-expensive wedding dress. They have a carefully curated selection of accessories—chandelier earrings and wedding-friendly clutches—and clients can head to the fourth floor for headpieces and veils from charming Bride’s Head Revisited.