“How I Personalized My Wedding”

Any bride will tell you that when it comes to your wedding, it’s the personal touches that will stay with you, your husband, and your guests for years to come. Of course, figuring out exactly how you want to personalize your big day may take a few brainstorming sessions—with friends, relatives, a wedding planner…or just each other. Yes, that’s in addition to finding the perfect dress, choosing your flowers, sending out invitations, writing your vows, and everything else that goes along with saying, “I do.” Feeling a little overwhelmed? Don’t be. This is a chance to get really inventive and have some fun. Here, the real experts, the brides themselves, reveal how they made their wedding day unique.


The program

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“I’m a New York City public school teacher and the children in my fifth-grade classroom are very creative. So I asked my students to create the wedding program. Needless to say, it was beautiful—homemade and one-of-a-kind. I have a lot of teachers in my family, so everyone really appreciated the pencil sketch of the bride and groom on the cover. Even the priest!”


Theresa Pulle, from Hartsdale, reception at Le Chatêau in South Salem, 12/16/06

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The ceremony


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Photo by Christina Rossomando – Forever In Focus, Inc.


“We didn’t want just anyone performing our wedding ceremony, so we decided to ask my husband’s grandfather to become ordained. He loves to speak in front of people, so it was perfect for him. It turned out to be such a blessing because he passed away five months later and not only did he get to see one of his six grandsons get married, but he got to perform the ceremony.”


Courtney Rittenberg, from Mount Kisco, married at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, 10/13/06


“During our ceremony, we mentioned our closest family members who had died or were unable to make it to our wedding because of illness. We felt that each of them had a significant influence on who we became as adults, and we wanted to remember them during the ceremony. We also asked family members to lead different aspects of the ceremony, from the readings to the presentation of the gifts.”


Michelle Mazzone Green, currently lives in Dalton, MA, and has family in White Plains, Scarsdale, and Bedford, reception at Scarsdale Golf Club, 9/9/06


The dress


“I wanted to have friends play an important role in our wedding. My dress was made by designer Kurt Smith, a longtime family friend who works for Martin Gordon, a clothing designer in New York City. We worked together on the design, and he was able to bring my vision to life. It was made from a one-of-a-kind ivory lace that will never be replicated.”


Lara Schneider-Collazo, from Hartsdale, married at Ramsey Golf and Country Club in New Jersey, 5/5/07


The theme



“When we were dating, we discovered a shared love of pears—as in the fruit—and somehow the ‘perfect pair’ theme caught on. For our hotel guests, we had a light green tote made with pictures of two pears drawn on one side with ‘A Fine Pair’ written below. Besides the popcorn, pretzels, and directions that we placed inside, we also added old-fashioned Pears soap and pear-flavored jellybeans. For favors, we gave our guests pear-shaped candles. There was also a pear ice sculpture displayed during the cocktail hour.”


Kristina Kavey-Di Carlo, from Yonkers, reception at Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, 10/28/06


“My husband and I love wine. He proposed to me at a vineyard, so it seemed only fitting for us to marry at a vineyard. The ceremony was held outdoors between rows of grapevines. We eschewed table numbers in favor of naming them after wines we’ve enjoyed together.”


Monica Capela Chimera, from Cross River, married at Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, New York, 6/20/06


Bridesmaids and bouquets


“I really loved the idea of doing something sort of vintage, so I incorporated antique brooches. I went to antiques shops and bought different vintage brooches for my bridesmaids, which they pinned to the side of their dress. They were all from the 1920s or so, but they were all different. I also had a vintage brooch that was pinned underneath my bouquet with all blue crystals covering it—that was my ‘something blue.’”


Katherine P. Farrarola, from Harrison, reception at Whitby Castle in Rye, 9/9/06

“My parents’ marriage has always been such an inspiration to me that I wanted to pay tribute to their day during ours. We had a seamstress cut portions of the lace from my mother’s gown that our florist then wrapped around the stem of my bouquet. I had a symbol of my parents’ wedding with me all day.”


Rebecca Ritchie, from Port Chester, married at Wainwright House in Rye, 6/3/06


…And one very special touch


“Well, I serenaded him and that made him cry. It was original Filipino music but in English. The song was called ‘How Did You Know?’ and speaks of how our lives changed when we found each other. He was so surprised that I stood in front of our 230 guests to share with them how I felt for him. When I finished the song, he gave me a very big hug and whispered ‘I love you.’”


Sonya Pantanelli, from White Plains,

reception at Whitby Castle, 6/11/06


Kathy Ritchie is a writer and editor in Queens, NY.

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