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Wedding Spring | Summer 2017

his& Hers


Creating personalized vows with heart

dress to be


Picking a gown that’s pretty and comfy

Marine Florists


and Decorators

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Let us create the perfect wedding for you at an affordable price Wedding consultations by appointment only

Wedding Package - $49900 • 1 Bridal Bouquet • 1 Maid of Honor Bouquet • 2 Bridesmaids Bouquets • 1 Flower Girl Basket • 1 Groom Boutonniere • 1 Best Man’s Boutonniere • 5 Boutonnieres (Ushers & Fathers) • 2 Mothers’ Corsages

Princess Package - $99500 • 1 Bridal Bouquet • 1 Throw Away Bouquet • 2 Bridesmaids Bouquets • 1 Flower Girl Basket • 1 Groom Boutonniere • 1 Best Man’s Boutonniere • 5 Boutonnieres (Ushers & Fathers) • 2 Mothers’ Corsages

Ceremony & Reception Decorations • 2 Traditional Altar Baskets on Stands • 8 Pew Bouquets, Flowers & Bows • 10 Centerpieces

Garden Package - $1,99500 • 1 Bridal Bouquet • 1 Throw Away Bouquet • 4 Bridesmaids Bouquets • 1 Flower Girl Basket • 1 Groom Boutonniere • 1 Best Man’s Boutonniere • 6 Boutonnieres (Ushers & Fathers) • 2 Mothers’ Corsages

Ceremony & Reception Decorations • 2 Traditional Altar Baskets on Stands • 8 Pew Bouquets, Flowers & Bows • 10 Centerpieces

Victorian Package - $3,75000 • 1 Bridal Bouquet • 1 Throw Away Bouquet • 4 Bridesmaids Bouquets • 1 Flower Girl Basket • 1 Groom Boutonniere • 1 Best Man’s Boutonniere • 6 Boutonnieres (Ushers & Fathers) • 2 Mothers’ Corsages

Ceremony & Reception Decorations • 2 Traditional Altar Baskets on Stands • 8 Pew Bouquets, Flowers & Bows • 20 Centerpieces • 1 Sweetheart Table

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Celebrate Your Love in Paradise


Capture the memories with beautiful settings like this.


| Wedding Guide


aradise just keeps getting better and better. And choosing the venue for your special occasions gets easier and easier, thanks to the Paradise Catering Hall (51 Avenue U, at the corner of West 11th Street; 718-372-4352). Celebrating your special moments here means having the total attention and expertise of the staff focused exclusively on your affair. But more than this, now is a wondrous time to discover or re-discover this exceptional catering hall. After a stunning re-modeling of their the grand ballroom, management recently spared no expense when they completely re-did the facility’s grand lobby as well as the luxuriously appointed bridal suite, now done up with marble and granite accents for a look of timeless elegance. They match the walls of marble and granite in the ballroom — which itself sports one of the largest chandeliers in all of Brooklyn — giving you just a brief inkling into what they have in store for you and your guests. Come and see the grandeur for yourself. But this is only one reason to choose Paradise. Here, they accept only a single function at any one time. There’s no splitting of the resources between two or three or even more affairs. When you book Paradise, you get the skills and expertise of every person there, on scene and behind the scenes to assure that your event runs flawlessly. This sort of ultimate personalized attention starts the very minute you discover Paradise. At this facility, you don’t deal with some salesman. You deal directly with one of the owners, Hercules, or his son, Mike. And why is this so essential? Quite simply, they have a vested interest in making you happy, not just in making a sale. They know their business depends on word-of-mouth recommendations and on the special days yet to come in your life and the lives of your family. Thus, they will do everything in their power to be certain that the affair you have imagined is transformed into reality under the skilled hands of themselves and their staff. That’s the secret of their longevity

and of their success. The lavish party room, which can be made intimate enough for parties of 100, or grand enough to host a spectacular of up to 400, is marked by a central chandelier that will take your breath away. It is the focal point for a magnificent space done up in sophisticated pinks and reds, with mirrored accents that lend a touch of infinity to the already expansive area. The re-done, picture perfect bridal room is large, romantic and very feminine, accommodating up to 15 in easy comfort, with wall-to-wall mirrors. Ideal photographic locales are assured in this world of environments, which also includes an intimate private garden area, a uniquely designed water fountain, as well as a host of fine, white wrought-iron work. Can even Paradise become better? Of course it can. And they proved that when they totally renovated the large lobby area, adding a regal touch to this space, as well. Whether it be the wedding, engagement party or any other affair, plan it at Paradise and the bottom line will put a very big smile on your face. Our service is top flight, with the uniformed staff a longtime part of the Paradise family. These are full-time professionals who know their business; not weekend teens learning the trade. And when it comes to the food, the chefs are world class. Whatever you can find in the cookbooks, they can serve at the table. They offer an added expertise in all manner of ethnic cooking. Add to that everything is cooked from scratch right on the premises to assure the highest in quality control. Don’t you want to celebrate those once-in-alifetime days in Paradise? The catering office is open Tuesday through Sunday, 1 – 9 p.m. Note that the facilities are also available during the weekdays for all types of social meetings and functions. For the further convenience of your guests, Paradise also can provide free valet parking.


Wedding Spring | Summer 2017



Creating personalized vows with heart



Picking a gown that’s pretty and comfy

CEO Les Goodstein President and Publisher Jennifer Goodstein Publisher Clifford Luster VP Advertising Ralph D’Onofrio Art DIrector Leah Mitch Editor Vince DiMiceli Copy Editor Courtney Donahue

Advertising sales Laura Cangiano Jeanne Eisenhardt Rami Hauzenberg Andrew Mark Lebert McBean Jay Pelc Sherri Rossi Stephanie Stellaccio Len Vigliotti Kathy Wenk

Cover photo from

Stylish and Hip Weddings Photography

Wedding GUIDE

Main Photo: Srah Tew Photography


Production Staff Arthur Arutyunov Gardy Charles Earl Ferrer John Napoli Mark Ramos

Published by

24 Real weddings


42 Creative flair Artistic couple plans a stylish NYC wedding on a budget

18 When the gang’s all here Incorporating stepfamilies into your wedding

46 For the love of Brooklyn This couple brought the borough to Maryland

20 Getting dad involved Finding a new role for the father of the bride


22 Mom and he Preparing for a special mother-and-son dance

12 Making the list Trimming your invitees to a manageable number 14 Beyond ‘I do’ How to create your personalized vows 16 Keeping it low-key How to throw a casual wedding to remember

style 32 In bloom Try these creative ways to use flowers in your wedding

Courier Life Publications 1 MetroTech Center N. • 10th Floor Brooklyn, NY 11201 (718) 260–2500


34 Net worth How the right veil can complete your look

24 A dress that truly fits you Selecting a lovely, comfortable wedding gown 28 Now & forever Seven ways to recycle your wedding gown

Details 30 Don’t get sabotaged by your shoes Secrets to preventing wedding day foot pain

Extras 8 Wedding checklist

36 Dream dresses Picking something perfect for you

Spring | Summer 2017



Floral Decorators

Wedding and Event Decor

8103 Fifth Avenue • Brooklyn, NY 11209

800.543.6797 • 718.238.3838

Henry’s Floral Florist Decorators has been proudly serving Brooklyn over 90 years. We are a family owned and operated florist since 1929 serving the Brooklyn and Tri state areas. We are committed to offering you only the finest artistic Wedding floral arrangements, backed by professional services that is friendly and prompt. At Henry’s Florist Floral Decorators No detail Job is too small, no request too large for our professional courteous staff. At Henry’s Florist Floral Decorators you’re not just our client, you’re our family. We would like to offer you a free complimentary consultation of the floral designs and decor of your occasion, in our large floral showroom or one of our professional floral designers can have a walk through consultation with you at the reception hall in which your event will take place. All our customers are important, our professional staff is dedicated to making your experience at Henry’s Florist Floral Decorators a pleasant one. So for your next special event when you think of Unique Wedding Floral Designs think of Henry’s Florist Floral Decorators.




• 2 Alter Baskets • 8 Pew Bouquets, Bow and Flowers • 1 Runner

• 1 Bride’s Bouquet • 1 Maid of Honor Bouquet • 3 Bridesmaid’s Bouquets • 1 Flower Girl Bouquet • 7 Boutonnieres • 2 Corsages

• 1 Bride’s Bouquet • 1 Maid of Honor • 5 Bridesmaid • 1 Flower Girl • 2 Mother’s Corsage • 1 Groom Boutonniere • 1 Best Man • 6 Ushers




• 10 Low Table Centerpieces



• 1 Ring Bearer • 2 Fathers’ • 2 Altar Arrangements • 20 White Bows and Flowers • 25 Centerpieces for Reception • 1 Bridal Table and more





• 1 Bride’s Bouquet • 1 Maid of Honor • 1 Bridesmaid • 1 Flower Girl • 2 Mother’s Corsage • 1 Groom Boutonniere • 1 Best Man • 5 Ushers • 1 Ring Bearer • 2 Fathers’ • 2 Altar Arrangements • 8 White Bows & Flowers • 10 Centerpieces for Reception and more

• 1 Bride’s Bouquet • 1 Maid of Honor • 3 Bridesmaids • 1 Flower Girl • 2 Mothers Corsages • 8 Boutonnieres • 2 Altar Baskets • 8 Pew Bows & Flowers • 1 Runner • 10 High Centerpieces with Pedstals • 1 Dais • 1 Place Card Table and much more

• 1 Bride’s Bouquet • 1 Maid of Honor • 4 Bridesmaids • 1 Flower Girl • 2 Mothers Corsages • 10 Boutonnieres • 2 Altar Baskets • 10 Pew Bows & Flowers • 1 Runner • 15 High Centerpieces with Pedstals • 1 Dais • 1 Cake and much more

• 1 Bride’s Bouquet • 1 Maid of Honor • 5 Bridesmaids • 1 Flower Girl • 2 Mothers Corsages • 10 Boutonnieres • 2 Altar Baskets • 12 Pew Bows & Flowers • 1 Runner • 20 High Centerpieces with Pedstals • 1 Dais • 1 Place Card Table and much more






wedding checklist It is exciting to get engaged to the man you love — but the minute you do so, you start a countdown that won’t reach zero until you are on your honeymoon. To properly plan, use our handy wedding checklist below: 12 months before the big day ■■ First, decide on a ceremony and reception site. Make sure right away if it can accommodate all your needs. ■■ Set the date. ■■ Decide on a caterer if catering on-site is unavailable. ■■ Begin shopping for your attire. ■■ Start shopping for attendants’ attires.

the resulting photos will not capture the love you feel if the photographer does not feel it. ■■ Look into wedding-day transportation. Do you want a limo, horse and carriage, limo bus? ■■ Begin drafting your guest list. ■■ Keep it fun — wedding planning is stressful, but not if you’re on the same page and have fun with it.

obligation to invite anyone who might ruin your day. ■■ Compile addresses of guests. Mail savethe-date cards to out-of-town guests. ■■ Search for wedding favors. ■■ Consider honeymoon spots. Call travel agencies for best packages. Keep having fun with the process.

4–6 months out

■■ Decide who will play important roles in your wedding like best man, maid of honor, flower girl, and ring bearer.

6–9 months out

■■ Begin searching for hair and makeup artists.

■■ Discuss the menu with caterer.

■■ Complete the guest list.

■■ If using a wedding consultant, meet and provide her or him with your vision of the wedding day. Remember, that person works for you, not the other way around.

■■ Finalize wedding-day transportation.

■■ Order invitations and other stationery. Think about what “look” and wording you want.

■■ Begin search for wedding bands. ■■ Hire a florist. Again, remember that this person works for you, so make sure you are happy with the florist’s approach. A true pro will help you work out table settings, extra flowers for wedding party members, etc. ■■ Hire a photographer and a videographer. Make sure you like their work, they understand your vision, and that you feel a sense of chemistry with this person, as 8

| Wedding Guide

■■ Book band, musicians, or DJ service. ■■ Purchase wedding bands and engrave a special saying. ■■ Set up your wedding registry. ■■ Purchase accessories, shoes, and undergarments for first fitting. ■■ Ask friends to be key players. Key players are trustworthy pals on whom you can rely for crucial tasks. The key players are not part of the immediate wedding party since they will be busy with photo shoots. ■■ Fine-tune the guest list. Remember, this is your day, not theirs. You are under no

■■ Book wedding-day transportation. ■■ Book hotel for wedding night, if applicable. ■■ Select and order the cake. Be sure to have a topper that represents you and your spouse as a couple. ■■ Continue to compile a list of duties for key players. ■■ Mail hotel and city information to out-oftown guests. ■■ Complete insurance issues, such as coverage for the rings, as needed.


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■■ Arrange times for key players to pick up items they are responsible for. ■■ Write a toast for the rehearsal dinner. ■■ Pack for the honeymoon. ■■ Leave honeymoon itinerary with someone in case of emergency.

One day out ■■ Double-check that you have packed your clothes and other personal items for the next day. ■■ De-stress your body. Consider deep breathing and other relaxation exercises such as yoga. ■■ Allocate enough time to have fun with out-of-town guests. ■■ Enjoy your rehearsal dinner. ■■ Make time to spend alone with your husband-to-be. Soak up the moment together. ■■ Have fun. ■■ Remind your fiance to order his tux or suit. ■■ Let the DJ or band know of special songs you would like played at the ceremony and reception. ■■ Purchase wedding favors.

2–4 months out ■■ Get your marriage license application. ■■ Mail out invitations. Hint: make sure to number each invitation, because people often forget to write their name on the response card. This way, you can track it. ■■ Gather all necessary travel documents such as passports and visas. Get immunizations for honeymoon if necessary. ■■ Finalize menu. ■■ Finalize ceremony and reception music. ■■ Finalize favors or create your own. ■■ Buy thank-you gifts for wedding party and key players. ■■ Book your hair and makeup artists. ■■ Book times for fittings. Bring your accessories. Aim to schedule hair and makeup trial on the same day to get a look at the complete package. ■■ Begin finalizing seating arrangements. ■■ Begin to plan receiving line, timeline, and itinerary of the day. ■■ Purchase guest book, cake knife, champagne glasses, garters, etc. ■■ Keep having fun with the process. It is nuts! You are getting married!

4–8 weeks out ■■ Tackle applicable legal matters, such as name changes.


| Wedding Guide

■■ Finalize list of must-have photos. Give a copy to photographer and key players. ■■ Complete seating plan as RSVPs arrive. ■■ Finalize songs for the ceremony and reception. ■■ Get a pre-wedding trim and spa treatment so you feel your best during this stressful time. ■■ Write your vows. Let the officiant know of any readings or other special requests. ■■ Confirm date for rehearsal. ■■ Finalize list of responsibilities for key players and wedding party. ■■ Have a friendly get-together with everyone and distribute responsibilities.

Overall tips No matter what kind of wedding you are having, hundreds of years of human experience offers some tried-and-true tips for making sure your big day is the best day it can be. Here are some: • Trust your wedding party and key players. • Laughter is the best beauty tip. A smile goes a long way. • Remember to implement the stress-buster techniques you and your fiance agreed to use. • Always tell your loved one why you love him.

■■ Book time for final fitting.

• Assume that about 20 percent of your guest list will not attend, so invite extras accordingly.

■■ Arrange a rehearsal dinner one or two days before the wedding. Invite wedding party and key players.

• Walk around in your wedding shoes before the big day so that they are properly broken in.

■■ Confirm honeymoon plans.

• Plan a special dinner with your hubbie-tobe without any wedding talk. Just relax and enjoy a night together.

■■ Make checklist of items to bring for the honeymoon. ■■ Finalize receiving line, timeline, and itinerary of the day.

2–3 weeks out ■■ Finalize seating plan. Call guests who have not returned RSVPs. ■■ Have your final fitting. ■■ If you have a gown, pick it up and hang it in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. ■■ Confirm details with all vendors.


ANNIVERSARY 1981 - 2017


Spring | Summer 2017




Making the list Trimming your invitees to a manageable number


eddings are a time to celebrate, and many couples hope to invite as many people as possible to share their excitement. A 2014 study by researchers at the University of Denver found that couples who invite at least 150 guests to the wedding may have happier marriages. The study examined 418 people who were single at the beginning of the study and married five years later. It found that 47 percent of those people who had gotten married in front of at least 150 guests had “high-quality marriages,” while those with 50 or fewer guests fell short. While guests make weddings more enjoyable, and may increase the propensity to enjoy a more successful marriage, couples must be practical and consider their wedding budgets when creating their guest lists. The average American wedding includes 120 guests, according to a 2015 Newlywed Survey released by 12

| Wedding Guide

WeddingWire. Couples who are finding it difficult to create and pare down their guest lists can employ the following tips: Create initial lists. When jotting down potential guests’ names, write down everyone you want to invite, regardless of budget. Then list the musthave guests for the wedding. This should include the family and friends with whom you interact on a regular basis. Create a separate column for guests who don’t make the must-have list. Separate friends from friends’ friends. If you don’t see people outside of events set up by mutual friends, you should not feel obligated to invite those people to the wedding. They are more likely friends of your friends and not your close friends. Know the guest list ceiling. Catering halls or reception rooms often can only accommodate a certain number of people. Know this number before mak-

ing a final list. The limits of the space may serve as the catalyst for trimming the guest list. Consider coworkers carefully. Think about whether you’d still be friends with your coworkers if the company dissolved tomorrow. If not, you should not feel obligated to invite them. Have we met? If you don’t remember interacting with a person (your parent’s long lost friend from high school) or the person has never met your significant other, then they probably can be cut. If parents insist on inviting someone you barely remember, they should help defray the costs. Cut out the kids. Even though children’s dinner costs may be lower than adults’, inviting children can significantly increase the guest list. A no-child policy at the reception can save money. Avoid uncomfortable situations. Unless you have remained particularly close, keep former boyfriends and girlfriends off of the guest list. Ask for an unbiased opinion. Give the editing pen to someone else if you cannot make a decision. This person may help weed out extraneous guests. Paring down a wedding guest list can be a difficult process, but couples should work together and respect each other’s concerns when creating their final list.

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718-748-8855 Spring | Summer 2017





‘I do’ How to create your personalized vows


ouples who choose to write their own wedding vows recognize how special such personal gestures are. Writing one’s own vows can impart a personalized and special touch to the ceremony. But as anyone who has stared down a blank piece of paper or blinking cursor can attest, a case of writer’s block may encourage couples to abandon the idea. Writing vows can be nerve-wracking. Many couples are unaccustomed to speaking in front of crowds, and then there is the challenge of turning lifealtering feelings into language that will appeal to the masses. But couples struggling with their vows need not throw in the vow-writing towel. With some practice and guidance, anyone can write cherished vows that will be remembered for all of the right reasons for years to come: Skip the schtick. Jokes may pop up in speeches throughout the evening, but wedding vows can be your chance to truly speak from the heart. Humor may come across as insincerity. Rather, list the words that describe your feelings for your future spouse, and build on that. Tell a story. If you need inspiration, look to a moment in your relationship when you really knew this was the person with whom you wanted to share your life. Relay the story, but keep it brief. Try to be as specific as possible, and recognize that it’s acceptable to be playful with your words. When it’s really coming from the heart and not the head, you’ll know it. Borrow from traditional words. Take traditional vows and tweak them to make them your own. This works especially well for those who have trouble getting started or are unsure of which format to follow. Incorporate key words, such as “partners,” “love,” “friends,” “joy,” and “forever.” Be sure the officiant is on board. Depending on the type of ceremony, the 14

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officiant may have final say over what can or cannot be included in your vows. Religious ceremonies, for example, may be limited to certain scripture readings and traditional vows. Before you devote any time to writing vows, ensure that it’s alright to include them. Otherwise, save personalized sentiments for a special toast at the wedding reception. Decide on a mutual structure for the vows. If you and your spouse will not be writing the vows together, agree on a format that you both will follow. Otherwise, you might be writing about your unending love, and he or she may be promising to keep updated on favorite sports teams or television programs. You want the tone and style of the vows

to be cohesive. Dig deeper. Look into the future and project how you hope your life to be in 10 or 20 years. Explain all of the reasons you want to be together for the duration of it. Read the vows several times. Read over your work and make sure the language is clear and there are no glaring errors. It may take a few versions to get the final version right where you want it. Get a second opinion. Ask someone you trust to listen to the vows and offer feedback. This needs to be a person who will be honest and not just tell you what you want to hear. Personalized vows can add an extra special touch to wedding ceremonies.

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Spring | Summer 2017




Keeping it low-key How to throw a casual wedding to remember


legant, lavish weddings provide moments couples will remember for years to come. But while such storybook ceremonies and receptions remain popular, casual affairs are gaining popularity. According to the bridal resource The Knot, more and more couples are opting for less pageantry and more laid back panache when planning their weddings. For those who prefer something more intimate and more personalized, casual weddings may be right on target. There are many advantages to having a “luxe with less” wedding, including the ability to break molds and impart more of the couple’s personality into the event. Another advantage is the price tag. The average U.S. wedding, according to The Knot 2014 Real Weddings Study, costs $31,213. In some urban areas, particularly New York City, average costs are three times that amount. Golden Girl Finance, a leader in financial digital media, has found that Canadian weddings average $31,000 with honeymoon included. Although wedding costs have gone up, the average number of wedding guests has gone down. As such, certain 16

| Wedding Guide

couples might look to rein in other aspects of their wedding. Transforming the festivities into a casual affair can help keep the overall budget low while still allowing for an exciting and enjoyable event. To put casual plans into motion, consider these ideas to help the wedding vision come to fruition: Venue Catering halls and other reception sites do a wonderful job of meeting the needs of their clientele. However, food and beverage costs are often the most expensive wedding expense. To reduce the per-guest cost and also incorporate some variety into their wedding days, couples can consider a venue change. Look for public locations that allow couples to hire their own caterer, which may be a favorite restaurant or specialty food shop. The cost per person may decrease dramatically from the venue costs. Changing the venue also enables couples to pick unique spots that may hold special meaning to them. For example, couples can choose the site of their first date or the location where their proposal took place.

Contrast Enjoy a casual, free-spirited wedding that incorporates some aspects of formality in an off-beat way. Think about serving fast food, such as fried chicken or pizza, on fine china. Those wearing tuxedos and gowns can opt for casual footwear, such as athletic shoes. Place wildflowers in crystal vases. These are just some methods to give a rich feel without removing the fun element. Personal touches Menus or wedding programs printed at home in a fun font can set the casual tone couples are looking for. Look for eclectic fabrics to use as gift tags or napkin holders. Hand-painted signs or a hodgepodge of picture frames can display pertinent information, such as itineraries or seating arrangements. Encourage friends or family to contribute a favorite menu item to the food offerings. A home-baked dessert can be delicious and budget-friendly. Wardrobe Clothing often indicates the formality of an occasion. Everyone from the wedding party to the guests can dress down. Sundresses can replace taffeta bridesmaids’ gowns. Guys can opt for tailored sports coats with jeans. Guests may feel comfortable in less formal attire that facilitates dancing and mingling. Casual weddings are becoming more popular as many couples are playing down the party for various reasons.


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When the gang’s all here Incorporating stepfamilies into your wedding


amilies come in all shapes and sizes. During special events — particularly those steeped in tradition, such as weddings — blended families may have to employ certain tactics to ensure the events go off without a hitch. When planning their weddings, couples must give consideration to the needs of their families. Even though a wedding is about the union of two people, oftentimes couples engaged to be married must contend with the politics of divorce or other familial issues. This includes if and how to incorporate stepparents and stepsiblings into the ceremony and celebration. There are no traditional rules regarding how to handle blended families, so brides- and grooms-to-be can customize their decisions based on their own unique situations. Even when families have been happy through the years, the unique circumstances and traditions surrounding the nuptials can dredge up former insecurities, and certain aspects may require extra patience and tact. Here’s how to navigate the process:

Consider stepparents and stepsiblings VIPs Brides and grooms who are not 18

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particularly close to their stepfamilies still have to recognize the role they play in the family dynamics. These people are still family, so respect and courtesy should be offered. If there is any lingering animosity, extend the olive branch on this day and try not to let anyone be made to feel as if they are unimportant. A simple announcement of who stepparents are at the wedding reception or inclusion of their names on wedding itineraries can help smooth over any potential bumps. Put others’ needs before your own While the wedding may be about you and your future spouse, you must consider the feelings of others. Biological parents and stepparents may act defensively if they feel uncomfortable or hurt, and that can create an air of negativity to the day. Try to avoid this by considering potential areas of conflict. For example, mothers might be hurt if their ex-husbands’ new girlfriends are asked to be in a group family photo. Instead, select separate times to have everyone included. Remember to give parents and stepparents priority seating as well, and they

each should be seated next to someone they love and someone with whom they can converse comfortably. You may think everyone can play nice, but it’s best not to push the issue just to make a point at the wedding. Recognize that some families break the mold Recently, a father made waves on the internet when a video of him pulling the bride’s stepfather up to assist in walking her down the aisle went viral. This was a wonderful image of families making it work despite their differences or the awkwardness that can result when brides or grooms have parents and stepparents in attendance. Although this scenario might not play out for all, find ways to impart a special touch, especially if you’re close to both your biological parents and your stepparents. For example, your biological father may walk you down the aisle, while your stepfather may enjoy the first dance. Order flowers and gifts for all Purchase flowers and wedding party gifts for all of the special people in your lives, including your stepfamily. Weddings can be complicated affairs when factoring in blended families. With patience and compassion, such families can enjoy a beautiful and happy day.

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Getting dad involved Finding a new role for the father of the bride


opular movies and televisions shows give the impression that the job of the father of the bride in a wedding is ultimately about making sure the festivities are adequately funded. In the movies, fathers fret about the costs of everything from flowers to photos. But gone are the days when the father of the bride bankrolls his daughter’s entire wedding. The Knot’s “2014 Real Wedding Survey” reported that, on average, the bride’s parents contribute 43 percent of the total cost of a wedding; the bride and groom contribute another 43 percent; the groom’s parents spend 12 percent; the remaining two percent of the budget is paid for by family members or friends. That frees up dad for other roles in wedding planning. With some creativity, couples can find 20

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ways to incorporate the father of the bride into the festivities in even more productive ways: Wedding sites: Assign dear old dad the important task of looking at potential wedding reception sites prior to visiting them yourself. He may have certain connections through work or attended business or leisure occasions at catering halls and other venues. Dad’s connections can pay off. Let him impart his negotiating skills and find the best deals with the ideal backdrop for the festivities. Wardrobe: Let your father assist the best man and other groomsmen in securing their tuxedos or other wardrobe essentials. Dad also can step in and return rented items following the wedding. Beverages: Dad may be fitting to keep tabs on what is occurring at the bar dur-

ing the reception, ensuring that guests’ needs are being met. He also can keep an eagle eye trained on anyone who may have overindulged and needs to take a break. Speech: Give your father an opportunity to shine by letting him make a speech. Remember, this is a momentous day for dad as well, as he may be trying to come to terms with his daughter starting a new life. Father-daughter song: Let dad pick the father-daughter song, and go with his choice even if you had something else in mind. Ceremony: Even if you prefer a less traditional wedding ceremony, let your father walk you down the aisle. This will likely be a moment he’ll remember for years to come. Expand the father of the bride’s role in the wedding by assigning him tasks where he can put his style, experience and excitement to good use.

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Staten Island The Saaten 697 Forest Avenue Staten Island, NY Wed. Jan. 25, 2017 - 7pm The Saaten 697 Forest Avenue Staten Island, NY Wed. March 22, 2017 - 7pm Staten Island Location to be announced Staten Island, NY Wed. May. 17, 2017 - 7pm The Saaten 697 Forest Avenue Staten Island, NY Wed. Aug. 23, 2017 - 7pm The Saaten 697 Forest Avenue Staten Island, NY Wed. Oct. 11, 2017 - 7pm

2017 Shows Queens


Marriott Courtyard 9010 Ditmars Blvd. E. Elmhurst, NY Sun. Jan. 29, 2017 - 1pm Hilton Hotel at JFK 144-02 135th Ave. Jamaica, NY Wed. Mar. 8, 2017 - 6:45pm Marriott Courtyard 9010 Ditmars Blvd. E. Elmhurst, NY Wed. June 7, 2017 - 6:45pm Hilton Hotel at JFK 144-02 135th Ave. Jamaica, NY Wed. Aug. 2, 2017 - 6:45pm Marriott Courtyard 9010 Ditmars Blvd. E. Elmhurst, NY Wed. Sept. 20, 2017 - 6:45pm Hilton Hotel at JFK 144-02 135th Ave. Jamaica, NY Wed. Nov. 1, 2017 - 6:45pm

Tosca Marquee 4034 East Tremont Ave. Bronx, NY Wed. Mar. 15, 2017 - 6:45pm Maestro’s 1703 Bronxdale Ave. Bronx, NY Wed. May. 10, 2017 - 6:45pm Tosca Marquee 4034 East Tremont Ave. Bronx, NY Wed. Sept. 1, 2017 - 6:45pm

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Maestro’s 1703 Bronxdale Ave. Bronx, NY Wed. Oct. 18, 2017 - 6:45pm Tosca Marquee 4034 East Tremont Ave. Bronx, NY Wed. Nov. 8, 2017 - 6:45pm

Yonkers Royal Regency 165 Tuckahoe Road Yonkers, NY Sun. Feb. 12, 2017 - 1pm Wed. Aug. 9, 2017 - 6:45pm Mon. Nov. 20, 2017 - 6:45pm

Brooklyn Dyker Beach Golf Course 1020 86th Street (corner of 7 ave) Brooklyn, NY Wed. Jan. 18, 2017 - 6:45pm Sirico’s Caterers 8023 13th Avenue Brooklyn, NY Wed. Feb. 22, 2017 - 6:45pm Dyker Beach Golf Course 1020 86th Street (corner of 7 ave) Brooklyn, NY Wed. April 12, 2017 - 6:45pm Sirico’s Caterers 8023 13th Avenue Brooklyn, NY Wed. June 21, 2017 - 6:45pm Wed. Aug. 16, 2017 - 6:45pm Dyker Beach Golf Course 1020 86th Street (corner of 7 ave) Brooklyn, NY Tues. Sept. 26, 2017 - 6:45pm Sirico’s Caterers 8023 13th Avenue Brooklyn, NY Wed. Oct. 2, 2017 - 6:45pm Dyker Beach Golf Course 1020 86th Street (corner of 7 ave) Brooklyn, NY 8FE/PW, 2017 - 6:45pm Join us for a fabulous showase of a beautiful venue and the best wedding resources in a intimate, fun environment. Indulge in an evening of bridal eye candy, including gorgeous gowns, and live entertainment.

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Verrazano has all the essentials for the perfect wedding


ven the most ornate of weddings begins with the invitations, and while the bride and groom are the recipients of the gifts, they are also the bearers of presents for all those who have helped in so many ways to make the day a perfect one. Whatever your needs in this area, they will surely be fulfilled to all your expectations at Verrazano Gift and Bridal (1205 86th Street, corner of 12th Avenue; 238-2722). Starting with the invitations, the store offers literally hundreds of styles from which too chose, from bold to the most traditional, elegant to sophisticated. If you can’t find it here, it probably hasn’t been designed. In terms of favors, there is no one to compare. Come and be bedazzled by some 200 different favors culled from around the country and the world. With a price range starting at $1.50 and up, there are more than a few items that will satisfy both the taste and budget of anyone. Armani dolls are irresisible, as are the custom-made bridesmaids and bridal dolls. Choose from prestigious names and fine manufacturers. There is a gamut of delights: from picture frames to crystal bowls. There are a host of items imported direct from the top designers of Italy, from napkin holders to jewelry boxes, frames to salt and pepper shakers. And certainly the low prices include personalization and lovely packaging of the favors. From the shower-signing book to the wishing wells and umbrellas (available for rental or purchase), Verrazano has what you crave. The store is open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; until 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. Other hours accommodated by appointment.


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Mom and he

Preparing for a special mother-and-son dance


eddings celebrate the unions of happy couples ready to pledge their lives to each other. In theory, the wedding day spotlight should be shared equally by brides and grooms. But brides often eclipse their grooms, as guests are drawn to stunning bridal gowns. Though grooms might play second fiddle for much of their wedding days, there is one moment when all eyes are on the groom and a special lady in his life. The mother-and-son dance is a wedding tradition that many grooms embrace as their opportunity to show their mothers how much they love and appreciate them. The dance is an ideal time to create a special moment, and the following are some tips to personalize it: Precede the bride and her father. Make your own tradition and switch up the timing of the dances. Be the first to take a spin on the dance floor and set the tone for the other traditional songs to come. Create a photo montage. Work with an entertainment company or photographer to create a slideshow of images showing you and your mother together and separately. If possible, include some

photos that were shot during the wedding ceremony, asking the photographer to capture the look on your mother’s face during pivotal moments of the ceremony. Show off your dance skills. One increasingly popular wedding trend is for fathers and brides to choreograph the father-and-daughter dances. Grooms and their mothers can follow suit, particularly if you both have some stellar dance moves. Let mom choose the song. Give your mother the opportunity to express her sentiments to you, as mothers of the groom do not typically toast their sons during weddings or even rehearsal dinners. Invite other son-and-mother duos up. If the idea of dancing alone with your mother is a bit intimidating, give other mothers in attendance an opportunity to share the spotlight. Celebrate all mothers in attendance, encouraging any mothers and sons who are present to dance together. Grooms may not garner the bulk of guests’ attention on their wedding days. But they can take steps to make their special dances with their mothers more memorable and unique.


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A dress that truly fits you Selecting a lovely, comfortable wedding gown


any brides-to-be visit bridal shops with specific goals in mind regarding the style of their wedding gowns. Some women come equipped with magazine tear-outs or pull up ideas on their mobile phones. Others may have an entire scrapbook filled with various ideas they’ve been compiling for years. Much consideration is given to wedding gowns. The cost and silhouette of the dress may garner the bulk of that consideration, but brides might want to spend more time considering comfort. Depending on the time of day their weddings take place, brides can spend 12 hours or more in their wedding gowns on their wedding day. However, when shopping for their gowns, brides may prioritize beauty over comfort, even though it’s entirely possible to find a gown that’s both stunning and comfortable. When staff and friends or family who have come along to offer advice start to blush over wedding gowns, brides-to-be may feel pressured to downplay any discomfort they feel. 24

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To make sure brides look flawless and elegant but are still comfortable in their wedding gowns, consider the following tips: Know what to highlight and what to cover up. No two body types are the same, and many women feel certain parts of their bodies are their best assets while they want to downplay others. Try on gowns that play up your best features. If you have shapely legs, consider a dramatic gown with a slit to show them off. Certain gowns can enhance the decollete or show off an hourglass shape. Remember, many gowns can be modified so that you feel secure and confident. Sleeves can be added or fabric placed to cover up any perceived flaws. Confidence and pride are important parts of the comfort factor. Get sized correctly. Bridal gown sizes do not coincide with street sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, brides may have to select gowns that are several sizes larger than they would normally wear. This should not be a cause for alarm. Brides should go by their mea-

surements. Attempting to squeeze into a dress that is too small will only lead to discomfort on the wedding day. Purchase the right undergarments. Improperly fitting bras, shapewear, and other undergarments can lead to discomfort as well. Some seamstresses can sew in supportive cups to remove the need for separate bras. Brides can explore various options to reduce the visibility of certain accoutrements. Move around in the gown. Brides should not just stand in front of the mirror and smile when trying on gowns. Put them through their paces. Try sitting, bending, and even a little dancing. Make sure the dress is comfortable to move around in. Try different options. The gown brides have in mind may not be the one they ultimately go home with. Explore different styles and materials. Choose cooler, breezier fabrics, and lightweight gowns, like crêpe, georgette, or organza, for summer weddings. Heavier fabrics, such as brocade, may be more comfortable in the winter. Wedding gowns can be both beautiful and comfortable for those who know how to shop.

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Seven ways to recycle your wedding gown


hen planning their weddings, many brides-to-be devote a large portion of their wedding budgets to their wardrobes. Statistics released by The Knot in 2014 indicated the amount the average woman was willing to spend her gown was $1,281. Wedding gowns are among the most costly wedding expenditures. Because wedding gowns can be so expensive, many brides elect to have their gowns cleaned and preserved. Reusing a wedding gown is a cost-effective and earth-friendly idea. Women have many options when it comes time to putting their wedding gowns to use after they have tied the knot. The following are just some of the great ideas couples can explore:

1. Save it for younger generations. One of the primary reasons to preserve a wedding gown is to save the dress for a daughter, granddaughter, or another relative to wear at her own wedding. 2. Transform it into other attire. There are a number of different occasions when wearing white is acceptable. Religious ceremonies such as baptisms and communions qualify, and a wedding gown in the hands of an experienced seamstress or tailor can be transformed into a baby’s Christening ensemble or a beautiful dress for a youngster about to receive First Holy Communion. 3. Donate the gown. Brides in need may not have the funds to purchase their own beautiful gowns. Work with an organization that will provide dresses to the less fortunate. Or donate it to an organization that can sell the gown to fund projects for others in need. Another option is the Mary Madeline Project, which uses wedding


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dress fabrics to create burial outfits for stillborn infants. 4. Cut it up into usable fabric. Wedding gown fabrics can be used in various applications. Dresses can be transformed into decorative pillows or other wedding mementos. Stretch the fabric across a frame and use it as a blank canvas for a photo keepsake. The fabric also can work for baby cribs and infant basket skirting. 5. Use it as a Halloween costume. Dress as a bride for Halloween. Otherwise, tailor the dress to fit a child and she can use it for any number of

dress-up opportunities. 6. Donate it to a costume archive. Theatrical companies may be able to use the fabric to create costumes for their productions. 7. Create a keepsake. Cut a small piece of the fabric and put it into a pendant or locket. A piece of tulle or lace also can be placed inside a clear Christmas ornament and hung on the tree for years to come. Wedding gowns can be “upcyled� into many new and innovative items. Doing so eliminates long storage times and can benefit others.


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Don’t get sabotaged by your


Secrets to preventing wedding day foot pain


ome couples may get cold feet on their wedding days, but there’s no reason for anyone — including brides who don high heels in the name of fashion — to endure foot pain. Foot pain is a common complaint for those unaccustomed to wearing stilettos or formal footwear. Wedding attire is not worn every day, so it’s no surprise that wedding footwear may contribute to some aches and pains. Podiatrists warn that heels between one and two inches in height are the best to maintain foot health. But that heal size does not work for all brides. Brides-to-be, bridesmaids, and others can employ these tips to keep their feet pain-free throughout the ceremony and reception: Give your feet a break. Swap out a higher heel with a lower one every couple of hours. Do not wait until you start feeling pain to switch to a lower heel or more comfortable shoe. Choose shoes that fit and leave a little room. Standing and dancing can cause feet to swell, sometimes as much as one half-size larger. Make sure the shoes you plan to wear to the wedding afford potentially swollen feet a little breathing room. Slip in a pair of insoles. Stores carry a variety of insoles that can add cushioning, distribute weight, and prevent rubbing or chafing of the feet. Break in the shoes. It’s not a good idea to wear a brand-new pair of shoes when you know you’ll be on your feet most of the day. Instead, purchase wedding shoes several weeks in advance of the event. Wear them around the house 30

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with a pair of socks to stretch out straps and enable them to mold to your foot shape. Wearing them in advance also helps identify spots that rub or are likely to cause blisters. Consider wearing stockings. It’s now less of a fashion faux pas to attend formal events with bare legs than it once was, but it may be in your best interest to wear a pair of stockings to a wedding.

The thin material will help alleviate rubbing and hot spots from skin-on-shoe direct contact. Stretch and soak feet prior and afterward. Wearing heels can put strain on your calves, creating extra pain. Stretch your feet and legs whenever possible. And after a long night, make sure a pedicure is one of the first spa experiences you enjoy on your honeymoon.

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In bloom Try these creative ways to use flowers in your wedding


eddings are special moments for couples and the guests they invite to share their happiness on their big days. Beautiful weddings require substantial planning, as every last detail must be considered for couples to enjoy the wedding of their dreams. Flowers play a big role in many weddings, and couples can add beauty and ambiance to the event by using floral arrangements in various ways. Modern floral arrangements are stunning, and many couples may not know that herbs, spices, and flowers have been used in weddings for centuries. Today, flowers are used to decorate wedding venues, impart sweet fragrances, and complement formal attire, but in ancient times they were used differently. Flowers were used to bestow good luck on the couple and keep bad omens away. Brides carried aromatic flowers and spices to keep evil spirits from spoiling the festivities, and some even tucked bulbs of garlic into their bouquets. In ancient Greece and Rome, both the bride and groom wore garlands made out of strong-smelling herbs and flowers around their necks or heads. These wreaths were considered gifts of nature, and thus extremely appropriate for a wedding. Traditionally, bridesmaids would be responsible for fashioning these floral components. In ancient Sweden, young girls would carry small bouquets of fragrant herbs down the aisle and the groom would put thyme in his pocket. These aromatics were thought to help keep trolls at bay. Besides warding off spirits or hungry trolls, flowers also served more practical purposes throughout history. During the Middle Ages, people bathed less frequently than they do today. Bathing might only have occurred twice a year, once during summer and then again at Christmastime. Because many weddings took place in the spring, flowers were used to mask bodily odors. Not only were flowers and herbs carried, but they also would be sewn into clothing. Modern brides and grooms may no 32

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longer see their wedding days as times for opportunistic evil spirits. But that doesn’t mean that couples cannot borrow from ancient traditions and incorporate flowers into their weddings in various ways: Wreaths and garlands: Ask the florist to weave small flower buds, berries, and vines to a headband, wreath, or piece of twine so that the bride and groom can wear these flowers in the way they were worn by ancient Greeks and Romans. When coupled with Grecian-styled wedding gowns, brides can look like beautiful goddesses on their wedding days. Fragrant favors: Tuck dried rose petals and other fragrant flowers into sa-

chets that are embroidered with the wedding date and couple’s names. Guests can use these sachets to keep clothing smelling fresh in drawers or as subtle air fresheners around the house. Edible flowers: Ask the caterer to make meals flower-friendly by including some edible blooms in the salad or as a garnish on meals. Raining petals: In lieu of bubbles or birdseed, guests can shower the newlyweds with rose petals after the ceremony. Memorial: Some couples like to honor departed family members. Floral arrangements with small placards can make for fitting memorials.

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Net worth

How the right veil can complete your look


he perfect dress is on the wish list of many a bride-to-be, but no bridal ensemble is truly complete until the bride chooses her veil. Veils have been worn by brides at their weddings for centuries. Veils can be traced back to the Middle East, where veils helped protect against the weather while also preserving the modesty of the bride. In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, veils were used as protection against evil spirits. According to popular wedding website The, until Vatican II, all Catholic women were required to have their heads covered in church, including during their wedding ceremonies. Veils were worn for this purpose, but they also symbolized trust in the groom and his love and companionship. Some Christians also see the veil as a visual representation of submission to the Church and to God. Others think of the veil as another beautiful accompaniment to their bridal gown, without attaching any additional meaning to the veil itself. Veils come in various lengths and can complement the style of a wedding gown. They also tend to add glamour to brides’ looks. Here are the types of veils from shortest to longest:

Blusher Blushers cover the face, though some extend only to mid-cheek on the bride.

Waist Waist-length veils cascade down to the middle of the bride’s waist.

Flyaway Flyaways cover just the back of the head. Shorter veils may work better on petite women.

Fingertip These veils extend down 38 to 42 inches, brushing against the bride’s fingertips.

Shoulder Shoulder veils are about 20 inches in length and will hit at the bride’s shoulders or just below.

Waltz or knee For a dramatic look, many brides may opt for waltz-length veils, which fall to the back of the knees.


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Chapel or floor Veils that extend to the floor may be referred to as “chapel” or “floor-length” veils. Such veils cascade slightly behind the bride. Veils can complete brides’ wedding day looks, but keep in mind what works best for you. Shorter veils may be comfortable to wear throughout the day and evening, but brides may want to consider detachable veils if they are selecting lengthier options.


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Spring | Summer 2017





dresses A

s a New Yorker, you want your wedding dress to reflect your home’s savvy style. Yet, in a city that never sleeps, fashion is constantly evolving. And whether you’re looking for a classic, soft and romantic ball gown or trendy, bold and daring beaded sheath, we’ve put together a few looks that will help you draw inspiration to help you find your perfect fit.

This Persy column gown features delicate embroidery and playful, shimmery fringe. »


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This White by Vera Wang A-line gown with plunging V-neckline features a low illusion back with bow detail.

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This blush fully beaded V-neck gown from Inbal Dror even has a beaded long-sleeved cape.

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Artistic couple plans a stylish NYC wedding on a budget By Ily Goyanes | Photos by Sarah Tew Photography


t figures that two creative people would meet at an event akin to a comic con. Sally Mason, now Mason-Swabb, a book editor at publishing company Hay House; and Neil Swaab, author, graphic designer, and illustrator; first met back in 2008 at the MoCCA Arts Fest, the “premiere alternative comic and cartoon fest in NYC.” It’s pretty obvious that these two are more than just creative — they also have an appreciation for the “alternative,” aka, “unique.” Neil had a booth at the festival where he was selling his artwork and comic books, and the two struck up a conversation which continued online after the festival was over. Sally immediately knew that she wanted to get to know Neil better. “I couldn’t believe how sweet and polite he was — he wasn’t at all like the dirty, depraved characters in his comic strip, ‘Rehabilitating Mr. Wiggles,’ ” recalls Sally. Neil remembers that Sally didn’t buy his book. “I thought she was very cute and seemed like she was really nice and cool. But she didn’t buy my book,” he jokes. Turns out that she didn’t have to buy the book, as the two started dating, and after spending the next six years together, they got engaged. It should come as no surprise that the proposal also involved an arts venue. “In 2014, we decided to take a trip upstate to Beacon to visit the Dia (arts museum) and see the fall foliage. We stayed at a very charming bed and breakfast, and I had a feeling he might propose,” says Sally. “On the second day, he did! It was very sweet and private — we didn’t call, text, or post anything to social media until the next day. It was great to be able to keep it a secret for a little while, before all the wedding planning craziness took over.” Neil remembers the proposal fondly: “Sally was wearing a ring and I joked with her, ‘I don’t like that ring. What about this


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(Left) Neil steps on the glass to celebrate saying “I do” with Sally. (Above) Neil, a graphic designer and illustrator, made the invitations. (Opposite page, clockwise from top) The new husband and wife share a dance. The hip bakery Baked incorporated matching flowers from Sally’s bouquet onto the simple cake. The bouquet itself mixed textures and bold, bright colors to avoid typical pastels seen in spring weddings — ensuring Neil and Sally’s wedding was just as creative and unique as the couple.

ring instead?’ And then I showed her the engagement ring and proposed.” Two years later the two tied the knot in April of 2016 at the Paper Factory Hotel in Long Island City. Before the wedding, the two major concerns were budget and people constantly asking them about the wedding. “Once you tell everyone you’re engaged, the wedding questions are nonstop, and it can be pretty overwhelming,” Sally says. But once the wedding day arrived, Sally and Neil were as cool as New York spring. “Once my bridesmaids arrived and we started getting ready, taking photos, drinking champagne, and so on, everything went by in a flash,” exclaims Sally. “It all happened so quickly that I forgot about being nervous and just had fun.” Neil agrees. “The big day went by pretty easily,” he says. “By the time the day comes around, you stop caring if anything goes wrong — whatever happens happens! At least we’re together!” The two had even performed a “first look” before the ceremony, so they had seen each other in full wedding regalia. “I was really giddy and excited — and relieved that things were going smoothly,” says Sally. “After months and months of hiding my wedding dress in our small, onebedroom apartment, it was great to finally show Neil what it looked like! I couldn’t stop smiling.” “Sally looked beautiful and it was heartwarming to see her so happy,” recalls Neil. The husband and wife suggest doing lots of research online to help plan a wedding on a budget. “Planning a wedding in New York is expensive, and we were determined to stay under our budget,” Sally says. “There are a lot of wedding blogs and message boards, though, so that made it easier to figure out ways to cut costs.”


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They also kept the guest list manageable. “We invited about 65 of our closest friends and family. Not only did that help with the overall budget, but we were able to spend time with all of our guests, and the photographer was able to take great photos of everyone,” she adds. She also suggests not letting yourselves get sucked into all the extras. “We still had an amazing time by keeping things simple.” Her favorite part of the planning was the cake tasting. The couple ordered their cake and favors, such as sweet and salty brownies, from Baked. “We wish we could do the cake tasting again!” she says. And Neil, the illustrator, really enjoyed designing the wedding invitations. Hip bakery? Check. Cool wedding invitations? Also check. So how cool was the venue, the Paper Factory, and the decor? “We really wanted to embrace the eclectic, hip vibe of our venue, the Paper Factory Hotel, which was an actual paper factory in another lifetime. Both of us work in book publishing — Neil’s an art director and novelist, I’m an editor — so we loved the creative, industrial style and literary theme,” Sally explains. “Once we decided on the venue, we looked for a local, Queens-based florist that matched our nontraditional style and went with their vision! Even though our wedding was in the spring, we wanted to avoid soft, pale pastels and opted for dark, bold colors.” The reception was held in the hotel’s restaurant, Mundo, which is one of Sally’s favorite restaurants. Guests noshed on Latin and Mediterranean tapas, including empanadas, cheese rolls, Turkish dumplings, meatballs; and sipped on bourbon and fig cocktails. Everything came together perfectly for the creative couple, right down to their first dance. “As soon as we heard ‘Q&A’ by Kishi Bashi, we both knew it was the song,” says Neil. “That was one of the easiest decisions we had to make!”

Vendors Venue Paper Factory Hotel Event design & day-of coordination Beauty and the Details Wedding gown J. Crew Bride’s shoes Seychelles Hair Studio NOVA Groom’s suit The Ludlow Suit, J. Crew Officiant Rabbi Emily Ilana LosbenOstrov Invitation design Neil Swaab Floral design fLorEsta Catering Mundo New York Music Jack Davenport Ketubah Susie Lubell Bride Headpiece Halo, Justin & Taylor Wedding cake Baked Chuppah Chuppah Studio

Spring | Summer 2017



For the love of

Brooklyn This couple brought the borough to Maryland By Ily Goyanes | Photos by A Girl Named Leney


he last thing you would expect from a couple that lives in and loves Brooklyn is a Maryland wedding, but Melissa and Steven aren’t your average couple. Deciding to marry at the McClintock Distillery in Frederick, Md., on Nov. 5, 2016, they just couldn’t leave the borough they’ve made their home in behind. “We knew right away that we wanted to incorporate our love for Brooklyn into our wedding day. Little touches of our home borough were spread throughout the ceremony and reception,” says Melissa. They met through their “mutual friend” OKCupid before going on a first date that spanned three locations and did not end until the wee hours of the morning. “After spending a little time trying online dating, you learn to manage your expectations,” recalls Steven. “It didn’t take long for my nerves to ease and for us to start talking comfortably. I went to sleep reliving the night in my mind.” Melissa remembers the excitement of meeting someone new and the realization that Steven was Mr. Right. “We had our first date at his favorite craft beer bar, Jimmy’s No. 43, in the East Village,” she says. “I went into the date, like any other, open-minded and excited to meet someone new. I quickly learned that this date was different as we spent the evening talking about all the things we had in common. The most important being that we are both Patriots fans, despite living in Giants’ country. As we continued


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to date, I knew that Steven was placed in my life to one day become my husband.” The two may have many of the same likes and dislikes; each has their own adorable idiosyncrasies. Steven, a scientific software developer, hates to decide what restaurant the couple will dine at … but that didn’t stop him from making the perfect choice on the night he proposed to Melissa. On that special night, he took Melissa out for mussels, one of her favorite meals, at Lavanga. But an exquisite meal at a fancy restaurant was only the beginning, as Melissa would soon find out. “After dinner in the Lower East Side, he took me back Jimmy’s in the Village to relive a little bit of our first date,” Melissa explains. “From there, we walked through Washington Square Park, a favorite spot of ours. He got down on one knee in front of the fountain there, where we had many spectators that cheered him on and congratulated us. It was a perfect night.” Melissa, a creative who works in the nonprofit sector, quickly planned some surprises of her own, but first she had to plan a Brooklyn wedding that would take place in Frederick. So just how did these two Brooklynites fans bring New York to Maryland? “From cannolis to coffee,” Steven starts listing those Brooklyn touches. Melissa chimes in, “Our guests enjoyed beer from Brooklyn Brewery, whiskey from Van Brunt Stillhouse, and took home the BQE Blend from Brooklyn Roasting Company.” Planning the perfect Brooklyn wedding takes time and patience, and although Steven sometimes began to feel overwhelmed, his future wife came to the rescue. “I was fighting the feeling of being overwhelmed with a seemingly endless list of tasks and decisions,” says Steven, but fortunately, “Melissa’s incredible organization skills made an impossible task more manageable.” Although it seems that Melissa had a handle on the wedding planning, she admits that she wasn’t perfectly calm. “I was more excited than anything, but I can’t deny that there was a little bit of nervousness there too,” she says. Steven was a tad more nervous: “We were going to be sharing the vows we had written for the first time and I was nervous that I would trip over my words.” Those nerves seemed to dissipate when Steven saw his bride in her custom-made dress. ​ “She looked incredibly beautiful,” he recalls. “I couldn’t believe the day was finally here.” Melissa also remembers their “first look” fondly. “We got to have that private moment of seeing each other before the ceremony. As I was walking up behind him, I felt so thankful to be marrying my best friend. That feeling will never go away. Oh, and did I mention how incredibly handsome he looked in his ivory tux?” So what were the surprises she had in store for her betrothed? “On our wedding day, I had not one, but two surprises for him,” she exclaims. “One was getting the Brooklyn Brewery neon sign for the reception, which is now part of our bar at home.” And the second? “He loves me in baseball caps, so I pulled out my Mets cap and danced with him to ‘Ball Cap’ by Dylan Scott.” The Mets in Maryland? No worries. Much like Melissa and Steven, the Mets are New York through and through.


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(Opposite page, top to bottom) Steven and Melissa brought their love of New York to Maryland, by incorporating their engagement photos taken on the Brooklyn Bridge. Melissa also surprised Steven with a Brooklyn Brewery neon sign, and sported a Mets cap for a special dance. (This page, clockwise from above) Melissa donned a custom-made wedding gown and carried a bouquet of rich colors and mixed textures for the early November wedding, while Steven looked handsome in an ivory tuxedo jacket. The couple celebrated surrounded by family and friends. The lovebirds share a dance to celebrate their new life together.

Spring | Summer 2017



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CNG Wedding Guide  

Spring-Summer 2017

CNG Wedding Guide  

Spring-Summer 2017