A couple pulls out all the stops to make their fairy tale come true

Sonya Mendoza's wedding inspiration came easily: Her now-husband, John Pantanelli, "calls me 'princess' and treats me like one," she says, "so our day had to have a fairy-tale feel." With just five months to plan, she turned to New York City planner Melisa Imberman of the Event of a Lifetime for guidance.

They started by incorporating Sonya's Filipino heritage into the Catholic ceremony; she and John wore traditional Filipino garb made from pineapple fibers as they exchanged vows in front of their 240 guests, including 42 attendants. The bride also carried a "couture" bouquet fit for a queen: New York City–based floral designer and Modern Bride Advisory Panel member Michael George wired large petals to a center rose, giving it the dramatic appearance of one lush, oversize bloom.

The Cinderella touches came into play after the ceremony, when the newlyweds rode to their reception in a horse-drawn carriage, and trumpeters heralded their arrival at the Whitby Castle in Rye, NY. After snacking on sushi and toasting with green-apple martinis at the cocktail hour, guests were seated at reception tables named after castles and covered with fuchsia linens and hand-embroidered ivory overlays. Dozens of candles sprinkled throughout the room added a mystical glow, and music by Doug Winters and The Best Kept Secret infused the party with a happy energy. But the magic didn't stop there: Sonya surprised John with a quirky groom's cake—a replica of his ski boot—and serenaded him with a Filipino song. Sonya had hoped since she was a child to be able to sing this song to her husband; in real fairy-tale fashion, her dream had finally come true. —Marta Topran

Learn From Sonya and John

Make It Multimedia: The couple wanted their big day to have a truly personal feel, so they arranged for two big-screen plasma TVs to hang on either side of the band. Here, photos of them, and digital shots of their guests, were displayed continuously throughout the party.

Celebrate Your Culture: Sonya shared her heritage with guests by placing on the back of each of their chairs a miniature version of her purse, made from the same traditional Filipino pineapple-fiber fabric as her dress.

Go With The Flow: Partygoers couldn't get enough of the dance floor, so instead of stopping the celebration as scheduled, Sonya and John asked the band to play overtime—not once, but twice!

John's two white Maltese pups brought the bridal party to a total of 44 (!) attendants.

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