Altar Ego

Blame it on the mistletoe. One kiss led to another and … now you’re engaged.

Welcome to hell. All the “Best wishes!” in the world won’t be a damn bit of help when you’re trying to perfectly execute your nuptial vision.

Here’s help: a one-stop bridal 411. Use it for yourself or pass it along. It will save countless headaches during these blissful, happy months.

The Gown
The whiter shades of pale and price tags all boil down to one question: Will you still love it when you flip through the wedding album in twenty years?

For a timeless look, go with vintage couture. Jana Starr Antiques (236 East 80th Street, 212-861-8256; online at members.aol.com/janabridal) is the best resource for Edwardian and Victorian gowns.


Prefer the shock of the new? John Galliano’s bridal collection for Christian Dior will have everyone blushing — not just the bride (21 East 57th Street, 212-931-2950). Aussie designer extraordinaire Lisa Gowing has finally made her gowns available here (call 866-684-0658; or e-mail couture@lisagowing.com; for styles, go to lisagowing.com).

Lisa Gowing

For the gosh-darn prettiest, utterly over-the-top gowns, see designer Mary Adams (138 Ludlow Street, 212-473-0237, online at maryadamsthedress.com). Simple, elegant, and surprisingly affordable, Jussara Lee is a godsend (11 Little West 12th Street, 212-242-4128). Or pay a visit to Anna, and ask for Kathy Kemp and Kimberle Vogan (150 East 3rd Street, 212-358-0195) for more great custom dresses.

Mary Adams

Does the notion of sample sales thrill? Bookmark bridesmade.com for its listings of designer-wedding-dress sample sales.

The Gear
Face it: White shoes suck. Skip the heels and hit the aisle in a jeweled barefoot sandal from Ladybead (ladybead.com). Another no-heel option: thigh-high Converse lace-up sneakers (custom made at Opening Ceremony, 35 Howard Street, 212-219-2688). When Mom freaks, just say, “But it’s couture!”

so pretty!

Sure you could do the veil, you pristine thing, you. But go alterna-bride with a fresh-flower wreath from Lotus NYC Flowers (161 Seventh Avenue, 212-463-0555).

Sexy and practical lingerie: Fill a flask with “lemonade” and tuck it into your garter belt (agentprovocateur.com). That’ll chase the nerves away.

so sexy!

The Girls and the Guy

Hey now. Friends don’t let friends wear crappy bridesmaid dresses. Proper brides send their friends to Serafina (25 West 36th Street, fourth floor, 212-253-2754; serafina.net) or Thread (26 West 17th Street, Suite 301, 212-414-8844; threaddesign.com). The sweetest touch: La Crasia’s silk fingerless mitts (304 Fifth Avenue, 212-695-0347; wegloveyou.com).


Okay, the bloke (your best accessory). Love a guy in an Armani tux (760 Madison Avenue, 212-988-9191). For the ADD groom, Bergdorf Goodman Men is effortless one-stop shopping (745 Fifth Avenue, 212-339-3342). (Really. Grooms get off so easy.)

The Goods
Face it: They come for the cake. And you’re gonna freeze that stuff for a year. The no-brainer? Sylvia Weinstock (273 Church Street, 212-925-6698; sylviaweinstockcakes.com). We also dig the less pricey Deborah Lauren’s City Sweets (917-817-1058, nycitysweets@aol.com).

eat cake! eat cake!

Forget confetti. Give the guests rose petals to throw (exclusivelyweddings.com). (So American Beauty!)

The Gang
You’ll need a team of people to help you prepare for the big day. Program these numbers into your speed-dial pronto:

Caterers: Thomas Preti (212-764-3188; thomaspreti.com) is as charming, professional, and soothing as you are nervous, neurotic, and uncertain. The food? Incredible.

Florists: Jodi Zimmerman (212-734-7194) specializes in custom designs and hand makes one-of-a-kind vases: You pick the fabric and flowers, and she does the rest. Other good ones: Preston Bailey Design Inc. (147 West 25th Street, 11th floor, 212-691-6777) and — duh, big spenders — Christian Tortu for Takashimaya (693 Fifth Avenue, 212-350-0111).

Hair: Want longer hair but don’t have the time? Yusef at Paul Labrecque will get you instant extensions (171 East 65th Street, 212-988-7816). For braids, an up-do, or the perfect blowout, Miki at Prive Salon is your man (310 West Broadway, 212-274-8888).

Makeup artists: Easy pieces. Kerri Berman (917-566-6426) and Lisette Bugeja (516-459-9581). They work with celebs; they can handle you.

Invites: Like you have the time to call everyone and tell them the great news. For beautiful stationery befitting a bride, Stylepress makes cool, elegant, and discreet stuff (866-675-7895; stylep@optonline.net).

Photographers: Don’t skimp on this one. It lasts, like, forever: Bob London (78 Fifth Avenue, ninth floor, 212-929-8595; robertlondon.com), Lyn Hughes (114 West 27th Street, #6N, 212-645-8417; lynhughesphoto.com).

Wedding planners: Why are you trying to do this alone? You’ll fall to pieces in a jiffy. Event planner Philip Baloun (340 West 55th Street, 212-307-1675; pbdesigns.com) or Fete (212-725-7268; feteny.com) can handle it all.

After all, you need plenty of time to indulge that nervous breakdown.

Just kidding. Best wishes!