Try These on for Size

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A soaring sanctuary, masses of roses, flickering candles—no gesture was too grand for a couple who just couldn't say no.

Number of guests: 225

Location: New York City

Style: Regal and romantic

When you've ordered pajamas for hundreds of thousands of women as a buyer for Bloomingdale's, thinking big comes naturally. So when bride-to-be Stephanie Lushear started compiling the guest list for her New York wedding, she took an all-inclusive approach. Her fiancé, Will Cruse, a Texan with a typical more-is-more attitude, urged her on. "I can't begin to tell you how many friends Will's family has, and my mother alone has nine first cousins," says Stephanie. "Neither one of us nor our families wanted to leave anyone out."

With invitations for 300 (225 guests actually came) Stephanie felt she could indulge in the kind of overscaled features that would have been inappropriate for a smaller group. It started with her choice for the ceremony: ornate, cathedral-size St. Bartholomew's, a landmark church just right for her retinue of seven bridesmaids. And at the reception at the W New York Hotel ballroom, her formally attired guests sat at long, ceremonial kings' tables for 20, surrounded by acres of red roses and enough pillar and votive candles to excite an army of smoke detectors. "We had so many people," Stephanie says, "I felt I could pull off anything"—including a mid-evening change of dress to make a diva proud.

The Supersize Scoop

  • Use your program to introduce each wedding-party member to your guests—if they haven't met everyone, they'll feel more involved from the get-go.
  • To avoid a logjam, keep the receiving line short—just you two, plus moms, if you must. Buffet service is a no-no.
  • Moving a crowd from one location to another will take longer than you think—adjust your schedule accordingly.
  • Don&'t expect to have a heart-to-heart with everybody. Do greet each guest, but don't feel you have to work the room like a candidate who's ten points behind in the polls.
  • Even if you can't converse with everyone, you can make your guests feel special with well-thought-out seating.
  • With numbers this big, no dress is too showy. Go wild!
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