By Irene Fogarty


“They say love is blind…and marriage is an institution. Well, I’m not ready for an institution for the blind just yet.” – Mae West

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one…

OK. There’s a statistic that I saw somewhere that says, the more a wedding costs, the bigger the chance it’ll end up in divorce. (Yeah, yeah, we know…Britney just blew this theory). So if you’re one of those people who’s got hundreds of thousands to burn and two-three years to spend planning one day, this article is not for you.

This is about how to plan your day, make it special, look great and still enjoy it. Because, saying “I do” shouldn’t mean you don’t have a life. It’s about starting a new life, not spending a lifetime on one day. (Of course, if it were me, I’d elope…but that’s another story.)

That said, you do have some planning to do. And that’s where Martha Stewart Weddings magazine comes to the rescue.

It all started with a call to Darcy Miller. As Editorial Director of MS Weddings, Darcy can come up with ideas for any type of wedding, under any circumstances. So the type of wedding up for discussion is a simple, organic, all natural one – one that I’d want!

So my question for Darcy is how do you get the wedding of your dreams without creating a nightmare for you, your fiancé or anybody else?

The answers, were as I imagined, rather simple…

Basically there are four things to consider when you get engaged:

May sound like obvious advice, but relish the moment. Forget the questions, the hassles, the pressure. It’s your time, enjoy it while you can. And remember, it is a happy event! It’s not supposed to be stressful. (Not sure how to relax? Dump that double latte, and see De-stress with Decléor below…)

This will determine the “kind” of wedding you have. Sounds very unromantic, but be real – how will you pay for it? The two for you? Your parents? His parents? Oprah? The budget will help you decide the size and the detail you can afford. And talking of size, think about who you really want there, to celebrate your day.

Whether it’s 40 or 100, each situation is different. If you want to involve your parents, sit down make a list with yours and let your fiancé do the same. Who’s a must-have? A must-have cousin, friend, ex-lover?! Whoever, it’s up to you! But as Darcy advises: People make a party. Not the place, the trimmings, it’s about people. If it means that you can’t invite certain people, say from work, have a night out with them before the event. That way, you acknowledge their “happiness” for you. Bottom line: Do what feels right for you.

OK. What kind of person are you? A beach lover? A dancer? A poet? What style reflects you two as a couple? Are you home birds? Clubbers? Big socializers? Once you define that, think of how you’d like to reflect that in the style of your wedding. As Darcy puts it: “You don’t have to have the same old, same old. If you want a champagne and dessert reception at 3pm, have it.” Love wine? Have a vineyard wedding! Or if you’d like to celebrate the season, like a winter wedding, you can wear fur or velvet, instead of a summery dress. There are tons of options. Just grab an edition of Martha Stewart Weddings, there’s one for every season, and you’ll not only be amazed at all the ideas in there…you’ll be inspired.

Here comes the fun part. Already your style will help you work out where you’d like the wedding. But here are a few things to consider. Where would you like to get hitched? In your home town? A new city? A city you’ve always wanted to see? On a beach? If you’re having a destination wedding take into account the following. There are a lot of pros and cons for destination weddings. On the one hand, they make everybody more relaxed because it’s more like a “holiday,” on the other, they can be very expensive and require a lot of days off.

Have a Caribbean island in mind? A beautiful desolate beach, with fresh fruits, flowers, ceremony on the sand. Lovely, but what about budget? How about a wedding off-season? Doesn’t have to be in May, September. Try “slower” months like from January to March – you’ll get much better deals. But just remember hurricane season and weather risks. And it doesn’t have to be Sat. or Sun. or a day or night event.

So here’s another question. You’ve decided you want your wedding on the romantic island of St. Barthes – nice choice. (Watch out for Puff Daddy, Uma and Beyonce.) So when do you tell your guests? Ideally, anywhere from 6-8 months. Give them time to get the time off and make arrangements. This also means you have to do your homework, too. Start with a “Save The Date” invite and then follow up with a more researched, detailed invitation with hotel info, maps, etc. You will probably have to book a block of rooms for your guests. This way there are no booking problems and you’ll all be nearby.

And as Darcy suggests, if you’re really organized, you could have little welcome baskets on their beds for their arrival with all the info for your special day. Again, it all depends on what sort of wedding you want to create. How far you run with a creative idea is totally up to you. From the onset, you can think of the message you want on your invite and pay it off on the day with little leave-behinds of mini photo albums of the couple as kids to adults. It’s those little touches that can set the tone for the wedding and remind your friends and family of the people you are.

Talking of paraphernalia, there are many styles to go with. For some, the classic invite with the classic font is exactly the look they want for their black-tie event. For others, some more organic, more natural is more their style. Flick through the pages of any Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, you’ll be inundated with ideas. It’s amazing.

Which brings me back to Darcy’s first point – Relax! Things go wrong in life even in weddings. In fact, this entire article could be all about wedding disasters, from ceremony slip-ups to wedding cakes meltdowns!

But in years to come, those funny little mishaps will be things you cherish most. You’re only human. And guests are not focusing on seeing what happens. They’re there to have a good time, so go with the flow, enjoy it. As Darcy so eloquently proclaims, “It is what it is.” So fussing over it and complaining on the day is not going to make matters any better. Impossible mother-in-laws, wrong shoes on bridesmaids, guests that drink too much. Happens to everybody. And as Darcy suggests, next day after the big event, write down all the memories, the moments of the day, when the sun shone, when you danced with your father, all the special seconds. These are the memories you will cherish forever. Hopefully! Because tying the knot should be the happiest moment of your life. Just make sure that knot doesn’t turn into a noose!

De-stress with Decléor

Right. You’ve got about six weeks to lose 20 pounds, grow your hair down to your back, let your roots grow out, and do everything to pamper yourself to look radiant on the day. Not a problem. Well with the looking radiant part! Let’s focus on the body and face. You have plenty of time to really treat your skin well so your complexion and your skin will glow.

How your skin looks on the day is as important as your dress, cake, all the other stuff. In fact, it’s even more important. You don’t just want to feel radiant, you want to look it too. Think of the photos!

So the answer for that dewy beautiful, all-natural looking skin? Decléor. It’s the French line of skin products that has been created by aromatherapy experts for the past 20 years – well before “mind, body and soul” became a catch phrase. These aroma-cosmetic specialists draw on the best of natural ingredients from nature to bring out the best in your skin. 100% pure natural plant extracts, 100% natural essential oils that are 100% active and preservative-free are in every one of Decléor’s unique products.

Just open a jar and put it up to your nose. Like a fine wine, you can experience the ingredients and the aroma of herbs and oils. Seriously, you can get a fresh, clean, non-perfumed scent that reveals the natural ingredients. That’s one of the reasons why I love their Aromessence™ Body Balms so much.

From “Well-Being” to “Slimming” to “Firming” and “Leg Relief,” the Aromessence body balms are great to relax tired skin that needs rejuvenation. I cannot say that putting on a cream helps you look slender, I wish it were that simple, but that seems like too big a promise to make to me. Nonetheless, I have experienced a dewy replenishing effect on my skin after using the products – they’re both refreshing and very relieving. Especially for my dry skin.

The Aromessence Spa Relax Balm is a delicious, luscious, yellow honey-like syrup that soaks beautifully into your skin after a shower or bath. It smells heavenly and you’ll see a difference in the texture after one application. So now you can give yourself a spa treatment right from your home. Want to give those gams a treat? Try the Leg Relief Circularome Balm. For $45.00, you’ll notice how the skin texture really looks different. And mmmm, that smell. So you’ll have the smoothest, silkiest legs on the night. Just remember to wax right?!

Happy eyes
Probably the most important feature of the day, the eyes. You want to look refreshed, bright and happy. So other than drinking a lot of water, doing some exercise and eating healthily (the same applies to your skin of course), here’s a good way to get those peepers in top condition for the big day. Decléor Vitaroma Eye Contour Cream, this ophthalmologically tested eye cream has been enriched with “soft focus” pigments – light reflectors are combined with caffeine extract and soothing sweet clover extract. Confused? Well, just remember this, light-reflective pigments chase away signs of fatigue and light up the eyes, even after a night of total debauchery!!

For more information on Decléor’s Aromessence line and all their skin products, go to or visit certain Sephora stores. As expected, these products are used in New York’s finest spas. See below.

NEW YORK, NY 10022

NEW YORK, NY 10001

NEW YORK, NY 10012

NEW YORK, NY 10023

NEW YORK, NY 10021

Originally published May 2004



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