Ask the East End Experts: Wedding Planning for the 2021/2022 Season

Young couple kissing at wedding reception
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A wave of grand weddings has washed over the East End in recent months, with the death of the 2020 micro wedding trend and more couples feeling confident to invite friends and family to take part in their joyous celebration. With so many people planning weddings right now, we asked our East End experts to share their advice and insights into the 2021/2022 wedding season.

Tell us about the wedding services your business offers. And is there one particular service that clients are surprised to learn you offer?

We provide bridesmaids dresses, mother of the bride dresses, mother of the groom dresses and flower girl dresses. We also provide some gown accessories such as bling belts, hair accessories like combs and tiaras and faux fur wraps. Brides are usually surprised at the personalized service that we offer at a one-hour appointment. We like to bring the fun with snacks and drinks! ~Angela Vomero, Bella Bridesmaids

We provide wedding, shower and groom’s cakes as well as dessert tables and delicious gourmet favors such as decorated cookies, cake pops and chocolate truffles. ~Christina Bisbee, Sugar Sugar Custom Cakes

Pure Sugar, Inc. is a full-service custom bakery, offering a wide variety of cakes/desserts for any occasion. Clients are surprised to learn that we offer a free six-inch cake on their one-year wedding anniversary (instead of freezing the cake top for one year). ~Michael Guasta, Pure Sugar, Inc.

Lillian’s Hair Salon has been in the beauty business 28 years. We always strive to be the best! I have blocked out mornings for our brides and wedding party for private use. Lillian’s Hair Salon is located at 63 Main Street, Westhampton Beach. Stop by for a free consultation.  ~Lillian Schon, Lillian’s Hair Salon

We are a full-service, high-end caterer serving the East End to NYC. We offer event planning, day-of coordination and rentals for your day. We also have a really fun mobile bar, which we renovated from a mini horse trailer, and we have a firetruck pizza oven — these are really fun additions to your day and make for great pictures! ~Liz Werkmeister, By Hand Catering

Sperry Tents Hamptons offers beautiful sailcloth tents supported with real wooden poles. We also provide flooring for the entire tent or just a dance floor. Great lighting options is also an important feature we offer to help produce a wonderful event. ~Steve Clarke, Sperry Tents Hamptons

We offer a welcoming wedding destination, including overnight accommodations, with a full-service spa and salon with bridal packages, two restaurants, offering rehearsal dining space, after party and breakfast buffet services, a bridal shop on-site and quaint shopping village with a grand carousel — offering memorable wedding photographs. ~Charlotte Coté, East Wind Long Island

We offer full-service wedding planning from start to finish. We are not just a caterer, we provide and/or coordinate all aspects including site planning and design, lighting, décor, tents, rentals and obviously amazing food and staff! ~Erin Finley, Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine

Lessing’s Hospitality has been in business over 130 years, and our mission is to: “Be remarkable.” What differentiates us from other catering companies is that we have numerous wedding venues that can accommodate every couple’s tastes — from country clubs, to mansions, to castles and waterfront venues — we offer a setting for every couple. ~Miriam Aronson,
Lessing’s Hospitality Group

We provide custom cakes, dessert bars and favors. We’re known for our realistic cake sculptures for weddings and groom’s cakes, and we customize dessert favors for their special occasion, from macarons to cardamom cakes in a jar labeled just for the happy couple. ~Jerri Montillo, Jerri’s Cakery & Confections

I am a seamstress with 22 years of experience in sewing and tailoring. I welcome complicated projects such as wedding dresses, tuxedos and other types of formal clothing. I can also repair tears, create a simple hem or sew on a button. Whatever my customers need, no job is too large or small. I can also arrange formalwear parties for ladies and gentlemen where all the measurements are taken at the same time in my studio. ~Nancy Nano, Nancy’s Tailoring & Alterations

What is a common misconception about wedding planning that you’d like to dispel?

A common misconception is that the dresses can be delivered in a few weeks but in reality it takes about four to six months! ~Bella Bridesmaids

“Showcakes” (styrofoam cakes) are not less expensive. The size of the cake does not necessarily determine the pricing of the cake. Edible products, such as sugar work and floral details, are time consuming depending on the level of detail. ~Pure Sugar, Inc.

That it can be overwhelming to piece together your wedding when not getting married at a traditional wedding venue. It may seem like an impossible task to get everything together but it’s a lot more manageable than people think, and you’ll get more creative freedom curating the day of your dreams. ~By Hand Catering

The key to properly planning your event is to ensure that you have enough room for the expected number of guests. It is important to have a tent company visit your site in advance of confirming your event to insure your ceremony, cocktail hour and dinner and dancing can all fit on-site. ~Sperry Tents Hamptons

No need to plan for many months or years to plan a great reception. ~East Wind Long Island

Some feel it is an impossible task to take on and dread starting the process. Others feel like they should simply leave it to professionals. The more input and involvement from the bride, and yes the groom too, the more seamless the wedding — living up to the couple’s expectations and providing them with a flawless day to remember. ~Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine

Couples feel they need more than a year to plan a wedding, and that is not true. Every Lessing’s professional event planner is assisting you throughout your timeframe. Weddings can be planned sooner rather than later! ~Lessing’s Hospitality Group

I still hear the phrase, “No one eats the cake,” which doesn’t hold true anymore. We all want to be delighted with something sweet at the end of the event, and when the cake is interesting and unique, people can’t help but want to try some. ~Jerri’s Cakery & Confections

After engagement, what is the first step of planning a wedding? And at what stage does your business get involved?

After the engagement, the first step of planning the wedding is probably setting a budget. We don’t enter the picture usually until the bride has her dress and all the major players — like the venue, the photographer, the flowers — are all decided on. ~Bella Bridesmaids

I would say picking a date and agreeing on the vibe of your wedding. Preferably four to six months is ideal to make an appointment for a cake tasting and consultation. ~Sugar Sugar Custom Cakes

The first step would be determining the venue. Pure Sugar, Inc. would be involved as the date gets closer. We recommend a three-month lead time on any custom orders. Tasting can be completed at any time, to determine the desired flavors. All cakes/desserts are designed to coordinate with the theme/color. ~Pure Sugar, Inc.

After engagement, I always recommend a trial hair and makeup applications. So on the big day, the bride already knows the outcome for her special day. ~Lillian’s Hair Salon

The first step should be selecting a venue and a date. After our brides and grooms secure that, we start the process of booking the caterer. ~By Hand Catering

You should engage our services as soon as you start planning to ensure both event possibilities and budget for an outdoor event. ~Sperry Tents Hamptons

After the engagement, the “save the date” is the first step. If a couple has a specific date in mind for their wedding, we recommend securing a venue, especially if it is during a peak season in spring or fall. Second, we would also recommend securing your vendors, including photographer, DJ, etc. At East Wind, we are personally involved in your day from the minute you say, “yes.” With over 30 years of creating memories, we offer a full range of services and recommendations. ~East Wind Long Island

Location, without a doubt, is the first step. So many things are dictated by the location: style, capacity, need for additional vendors, feel of the wedding. It’s important to pick a location that lends itself to your style and build from there, rather than attempting to adapt your style to a location that may not be easily transformed. Enhancement is the key, transformation that is effortless, not forced. For many clients, we are involved from the engagement party on, sometimes even from the proposal. If that’s not the case, we prefer to be involved from day one of planning. ~Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine

Booking a venue is the first step in wedding planning. From there, purchasing the bridal gown, and then shopping for vendors. Lessing’s event planners are present from start to finish in the wedding process. We offer wedding showcases, food tastings and menu planning. ~Lessing’s Hospitality Group

After selecting a date, it seems the location or venue is one of the first steps, as this is where everything comes together. Generally, I meet with couples for a tasting shortly after that, and design something to fit their aesthetic. ~Jerri’s Cakery & Confections

The first step is to get the personal appointment. It is a really emotional moment for the bride, and for me, too. I’m always available for the last-minute alterations because I always do the best I can for each wedding. Oh, the unforgettable moments that they are going to have! ~Nancy’s Tailoring & Alterations

Delicious wedding cake on table
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When working out the budget of a wedding, which aspect is most worth going “all out” on?

We think the gowns are worth going all out on! After all, you will always remember the way that gown made you feel on your BIG day! You have to look at them in your photos for years to come! ~Bella Bridesmaids

I believe you need a balance — it all comes together. And if you have a great venue but your catering is not made a priority, then you’re wasting money, in my opinion. ~Sugar Sugar Custom Cakes

Catering, food and dessert — guests will always remember the food over the music. We would want guests to leave with a good taste in their mouth, which is why the cake is served last. ~Pure Sugar, Inc.

Remember: Pictures say a thousand words and will last a lifetime. so hair and makeup is most important! ~Lillian’s Hair Salon

I would say food and photography would be the top, in my opinion. Guests will always remember the amazing food, presentation, and the photos are a keepsake you’ll hold on to forever. ~By Hand Catering

Full flooring is very important to create the best possible interior environment for an event! ~Sperry Tents Hamptons

We believe offering an exclusive dining experience through catering, in a beautiful setting is number one. Entertainment is a close second, because who doesn’t love a great party with close friends and family? ~East Wind Long Island

So hard to say, as it really depends on the couple and what is most important to them. Every couple will value different aspects of their special day and often even the bride and groom value different aspects. Clearly food is extremely important to us, but that does not mean that location, décor, entertainment or flowers need to take a back seat. Balance in all is the true key. ~Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine

I feel venue is number one. Skirting the seasons or booking off season, or weekdays to get the venue you want is key. Catering and entertainment is next, then flowers. ~Lessing’s Hospitality Group

Definitely the catering — so many of us are “foodies.” From the cocktails to dessert, we want to be amazed by what we eat. ~Jerri’s Cakery & Confections

What are some ways you go the extra mile to make a couple’s wedding day a truly unforgettable experience?

Unfortunately, we are not there on the big day like many of the other vendors! We don’t get to see the finale! Of course, we are always eager to see any photos that the bride sends our way once life has calmed down. Our wish is that the personal one-to-one experience that we offer the bride’s girl squad contributes in a small way to the unforgettable experience every bride deserves on her wedding day! ~Bella Bridesmaids

Get to know them, talk about what their expectations are. We like to add personal touches to each cake — things that represent them as a couple. I spend a good amount of time learning about my couples and making sure I represent their vision the best way I can. ~Sugar Sugar Custom Cakes

Pure Sugar, Inc. will work closely with the bride and groom to customize the wedding cake to their wants and needs — color-coordinated cakes or custom-designed cakes to match the theme of the event. Not only custom cakes but dessert tables, including petit fours, macrons, custom sugar cookies and other individual desserts. ~Pure Sugar, Inc.

We try our best to be full service and to accommodate any and all visions our clients have. We’re happy to think outside the box and create an unforgettable event. We will also coordinate with all your vendors on your behalf during the planning process and through the day of your event. ~By Hand Catering

Our professional sales managers at East Wind, really act as your personal wedding planner, being available every day for planning and guidance. The day of the wedding, couples are pampered by a personal assistant and a maître d’ dedicated to overseeing their entire day — to make it an unforgettable experience. ~East Wind Long Island

Not only to be there for them every step of the way, from the first day of planning, throughout, and right as they depart down the aisle; but to be flexible and understanding throughout the process. ~Sydney’s “Taylor” Made Cuisine

Being totally available anytime for any questions. I always tell my couples that no question is too silly. Every couple is unique, so I try to make each wedding extremely personalized. ~Lessing’s Hospitality Group

We love to create something that reflects the couple’s style and make something truly unique, custom tailored to their event. When you’re planning a day full of beautiful experiences, it’s only fitting that the last delicious presentation be a show stopper. ~Jerri’s Cakery & Confections

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