Fools For Love – April 1st Wedding Pranks

For some couples getting married on April Fools Day, the temptation to pull a few pranks is just too hard to resist. Although not a national holiday, April Fool’s day is  recognized in nearly every corner of the world and has been celebrated with trickery and foolishness for over  500 years. 

You see, until 1582 April 1st was the beginning of the calendar year. Along comes Pope Gregory XIII who orders everyone to change to the Julian Calendar and when some people resisted they were referred to as April Fools. So while everyone else was ringing in the New Year in January, these fundamentalist hold-outs were maintaining April 1 as New Years Day. As such, they were considered fools and were the butt of many jokes and pranks. I’m sure there are many Chicagoans who can sympathize with the hold-outs considering the whole Sears/Willis Tower and Macy’s/ Marshall Fields debate that still conjures emotional outrage from some die-hard fans of the previous residents of either building. To them I say, “Happy New Year!”

So, how exactly would you go about pranking guests on your April Fool’s Wedding Day? It is tough because emotions are high and when under that much stress, most people seem to respond negatively to pranks and practical jokes. To prank like a pro, follow these Do’s and Don’ts:


Do anything that even suggests break up, fights, cheating or anything else tawdry. This is beneath you – only amateurs will resort to the lowest common denominator.

 Pranks that involve property damage or stains are also low-brow.

 Avoid anything that involves physical antics or you may risk injury at your wedding.

THE #1 DON’T: Don’t plan a  prank at someone’s wedding without their approval.  The bride and groom should always be aware of any hi-jinx so they can enjoy it and not be on needles and pins, or worse, be caught off guard by something that could potentially become a source of embarrassment.


Consider small gag gifts in place of wedding favors. A lovely wrapped box at each place setting and when they open it …BOOM! The classic snake (formerly in a can) pops out!

Instead of a toast, recite a monologue from a movie that you know most everyone has seen. Something completely out of context would be good. You could also do a montage of famous movie quotes. Either way you will have most people scratching their heads and/or laughing.

Arrange for one of your guests to be in on the joke; when the officiant asks if anyone objects-  someone stands up, adjusts their clothing and sits down. Hearty laughs will follow.

Know your audience. If you are both Master Pranksters and all of your guests know this, they will be expecting something, going small might be out of the question. If you are low-key and hardly ever engage in anything less than serious, your friends and family will react differently when you pull off the prank of all pranks.

The end result should be a day of joy and merry-making, not a a three ring circus where everyone is trying to out-prank one another. A few light hearted jabs here and there will definitely lighten the mood and lift everyone’s spirits… even the hold-outs! 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


…..But Can You Wear It Again?

For decades, the topic of  bridesmaid gowns has been centered around the debate over whether or not you can wear it again. This has always baffled me on  many levels, mostly because usually you wouldn’t want to and also why should you have to? 

Lets face it – no matter how fashionable or affordable it may be, you might not ever wear the dress again. The gown may not be suited to your own personal style, it may not be comfortable, it may not be a color you prefer.  This is not a reflection of the gown itself but, just a matter of choice. Big deal. That’s right – big deal. If you wear a gown for your friend’s wedding that you are not madly in love with or simply don’t have enough closet space to keep, there are dozens of things you can do after the wedding to make good use of it.

If you are crafty – Take it apart, add some elements and make a new dress. Molly Ringwald did this in Sixteen Candles and you can do it, too. Hang it in the closet, imagine all of the great things you can do with it and wait for the right moment.

Donate it – There are dozens of charities that provide gowns for less fortunate ladies for weddings and even prom.

Sell it – ebay, craigslist and other sites are a hotbed of fabulous dresses that were worn only once and probably under-appreciated. You will get considerably  less money than the original price but, it won’t go to waste if someone else uses it.

Wear it – If you truly don’t like the dress, you can still wear it… for Halloween! Zombie bridesmaid comes to mind but, I am sure there are others.

Whether or not you choose to wear the dress, change the dress, donate the dress or let it sit in the closet for thirty years, the choice is yours. For those of us who always see the glass as half full, there is always a better option than complaining.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Wedding Trend Alert – The Pastel Palette

Whether it is  Shabby Chic, Vintage, Rustic or Victorian, one of the most popular wedding themes for 2012 is pastel. Blending pale colors or shades of the same color has made ‘pale’ the new black and brides are scooping it up in droves. Although pastel colors may seem ‘washed out’ to some, they can be as eye-popping as neon if put together properly with table decor, flowers and other elements of the wedding. Don’t fooled by words, there is nothing shabby about these ideas!

Flowers – Combining pastel flowers in various sizes, shapes and degrees of (pale) color will give your theme an understated elegant feel.

Bridesmaids  – Look for soft, flowing chiffon, delicate silks, and lace overlays  in one or several shades of delicate color.

Dressing the Girls: A Winner! :  wedding bridesmaid dress rochester 14 1

Bridal Gown – Whether you are looking for a simple sheath, layers of ruffles or something in between, pastel bridal gowns are everywhere.



The important thing to remember is that although you have chosen a pastel palette, your wedding shouldn’t look like a bowl of after dinner mints. Adding the right touches  in moderation will allow your guests to absorb the calming effect of the subtle shades of color. Consider choosing  shades that compliment one another such as rose and champagne, lilac and cornflower, peach and grey or cream and sage.


 -Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


What Your Manicure Style Says About You

If the eyes are the window to your soul, your nails are the magnifying glass to your style. A manicure  improves the texture and health of both the nails and the skin of your hands, as well as leaving them looking polished and perfect. However, the type of manicure you choose can speak volumes about you, your lifestyle, your style preferences and how you see yourself.

Long, Long, Long – Whether they are your own growth or a gel/acrylic creation, keeping your nails super long tells people you require a certain amount of maintenance and are happy to sacrifice the time and money allowed to keep your nails in this condition.

Fancy Airbrush Designs – Deep down you are an artist. Maybe you work in an office and this is the only time you can express your creativity but, nail art is the way you express your inner Da Vinci.

Short Square Nails – You use your hands a lot. You need to be able to grab things, you need to be able to use your hands and anything longer than 1/4″ will just get in the way. Keeping them neat and polished but short says you care about your appearance are also practical.

 Polish- Free Nails – You don’t take good enough care of yourself. You need to pamper yourself a little or at the very least apply a coat of clear at home while doing the dishes to protect your  nails from becoming an eyesore.

Short, Bitten, Ragged – Its time to stop biting and start living. Nail biting is usually a sign of bigger problems and it is a terrible habit. The germs hidden under your nails are worse than on the platform of the El track. Start with a professional manicure and (for women) avoid nail tips of any kind until you have completely kicked the habit.

Whether you prefer color, clear, French or fancy styles embedded with jewels and 3 dimensional objects, your nails are a window to your physical and mental health. Remember – your hands will  be photographed multiple times on your wedding day and you will want to be able to look at the photos without cringing. Taking care of your nails is taking care of your mind, body and soul.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Angry Brides vs Rude Guests

Although the spelling is very close, ‘Angry Brides’ are quite different from the wingless birds of the game variety. They are both of varying sizes, they are both on a mission  to accomplish their task. Fortunately, there are no brides ( no matter how angry) that explode upon contact. So, as a guest, how can you avoid being the giant pig in a hard hat? Here are the top six things that can really get under a bride’s skin:

1) RSVP. The reply card should already have a stamp so, send it as early as possible and don’t make any changes like adding a guest when one is not invited… and don’t change it after the RSVP date or (God forbid) just show up. How hard is that? Do that for every wedding related event and you will be just fine.

2) Put a card on the gift. If the gift has no card, how is the couple supposed to know who it is from? To be safe, always enclose a small card inside the wrapped gift. If it is being sent directly from a website or store, bring a card to the reception that indicates a gift was already sent. “Best Wishes on your wedding, I (we) hope you enjoy the ________ that was sent previously from ________”. This way the bride and groom know a gift was sent, where it came from and if it didn’t arrive, they can let you know.

3) Don’t inundate the bride with tons of questions about the wedding. Cost, number of guests, what kind of flowers, location, date, ring, gown, etc. Most brides are very excited to talk about their wedding but, asking too many questions all the time may seem intrusive and is downright rude. Furthermore, the cost of things is no one’s business unless the couple  publicizes it and then it is equally tacky.

4) Don’t show up late or not at all. Whether you are a vendor, a bridesmaid or a friend; showing up late, missing important appointments and forgetting wedding related events is out of the question. If you have a problem attending, let the bride know as soon as you get the invitation, not ten minutes before. See #1.

5) Don’t ask to alter the menu. If you have severe food allergies, inform the bride right away so concessions can be made on the menu, or decline the invitation. However, be prepared with an epi-pen just in case, since no matter how hard you try, mistakes can happen. Some allergies are severe enough to be triggered by the smell of the peanuts, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Keep in mind – food allergies are a lot different from food preferences. Your preferences are not the bride’s concern but, your health should be.

6) Becoming inebriated at the reception. Have a drink or two, unwind a little, have some fun – but, end it there. If your speech is slurred, it is time to stop drinking alcohol and go home.

As a guest, attendant or family member at a wedding you aren’t required to make sure every detail is executed flawlessy but, it is your job make sure your conduct is on point. Try to remember how much planning, expense and stress is involved and be mindful of your place in the wedding.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridal Showers Unveiled

For the bride, the bridal shower should be one of the best parts of getting married, mostly because it is the one thing that the bride doesn’t have to plan, supervise, worry about or pay for. This is the one time when the bride can simply show up and have a good time. That doesn’t mean she can’t have any input or express her choices, it just means that there is no stress involved. Unless, of course, things somehow get complicated and someone has to step in and sort it out. Here is scoop on the who, what, when, where, and why of bridal showers.

Who pays for the shower? Whoever is hosting the shower, pays. If the mother of the bride, mother of  groom, good friend, close relative or maid of honor decide to have a shower, the honor of paying the entire bill is upon them. It is common for brides to have more than one shower, and it is also common for several parties to host one shower together. The best scenario is for the maid of honor to have a conversation with both mother of bride and mother of groom to sort out the details.

What do you have to provide at the shower? Generally, the hostess provides food, refreshments and entertainment of some sort.. usually in the form of games. It doens’t have to be a super expensive, catered affair. If you have a theme, stick to it and make the most of  it. Food, drinks and decor are  great way to be creative.

When should the shower take place? Bridal Showers are usually held 1-6 weeks before the wedding. As with any event, invitations should go out 4-6 weeks prior to the date of the event.

Where should the shower take place? Anywhere!  Traditionally, bridal showers were held in someone’s home but, fortunately nothing is off-limits; restaurants, wine bar, day spa, etc.

Whyis it called a shower? Because your family and friends are ‘showering’ you with gifts.

Who do you invite? You do not need to invite every female guest or the dates and spouses of every make guest. You only invite the people with whom the bride has a very close relationship.  

And finally….. as far as bridal showers are concerned, there is only one rule: Do not invite anyone to the shower who is not invited to the wedding!!!

-Penny Frulla for Brida Expo Chicago

For more tips and inspiration planning  a bridal shower, call 847-428-3320 and get tickets to a Bridal Expo in your area.



Retro Weddings – Shaken, Not Stirred

With the return of Mad Men to prime time, the hottest show on TV has inspired a 50’s revolution in fashion and decor which will probably show up in weddings later this year. Whether it is a bridal gown with a tightly cinched waist and full skirt, a full-blown martini bar, or hints of 1950’s style sprinkled throughout the entire wedding, the ‘Nifty Fifties’  are upon us. If you have any doubts, pick up the latest issue of Newsweek, the entire magazine is devoted to ads and articles showcasing the retro style from cover to cover.

How can you get the look?

Makeup in the 1950’s was sophisticated and glamorous, simple and elegant. Strong eyebrows, neutral lids, and dark liner. As far as lipstick is concerned, you only have one choice: red. However, select a shade that compliments your skin tone so that you don’t wind up looking washed out. As always, if you use a makeup professional you hve a much better chance of acheiving the Audrey/Marilyn/Grace Kelly stlye.


Hair was softly curled and luxuriously smooth and with many hair types, this is not an easy task. A perfect 1950’s coiff would be a pompadour, rolled bangs or soft curls. Be aware that these styles take a great deal of time and really great products, allow for this when booking your hair appointment before the wedding.

Gowns were magnificent creations of lace and tulle. Full skirts with tiny waists, big veils, loads of detail and tea length gowns were the style. Choose a gown that accentuates the best of both you and the style of the decade. If you opt for a strapless gown, consider a bolero jacket or a shrug, each one were equally popular in the 1950’s.


Tuxedos have not changed drastically since the 1950’s but the difference is in the details. The ties were narrower, the shirts always pleated, the cummerbund was white or black  and the lapels were slimmer.  Straight leg pants, patent leather shoes and a spring in your step with complete the look. White dinner jackets weralso very  popular but, for the most formal occasion – tails were the norm.

To get the 50’s look, you don’t need to time travel….just tune in to Mad Men and pay close attention to the details!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Where Should You Have Your Wedding?

You have lived in Chicago your whole life. You were raised on ‘the perfect’ hot dog, da Bulls, deep dish pizza and winters that normally last through a normal spring. You moved to Phoenix for business 5 years ago, met the man of your dreams and never looked back… or did you? When it comes time to tie the knot many brides and grooms decide to have a “Hometown Destination” wedding and there are many reasons why. Additionally, there is nothing that says the groom’s hometown is off limits any more, either.

Traditionally, couples got married in the bride’s hometown, her parents paid for the whole thing, the couple honeymooned and then went back to their lives as usual… wherever they lived. Well, it is 2012 not 1950, many couples plan and pay for their entire wedding and a large majority already live together before tying the knot. What does that mean? It means there are no rules that say where you MUST have your wedding.

Having your wedding in your hometown can be a lot of fun, spending the weekend re-visiting some of your favorite places, seeing family and friends you haven’t had a chance to connect with in years. It can also be very stressful with all that family around so, having a ‘hometown’ wedding is a very important decision.

Points to consider before making the decision:

Is there a lot of family that couldn’t travel in either direction?

Is it considerably less expensive to host the wedding in a hometown location?

Are there people who won’t attend if it is not local?

Is there a historic or special place you always dreamed of getting married near where you grew up?

Is it feasible for you to plan a wedding in another city/state without being there constantly to monitor things?

Are there local vendors that you trust to handle things without constant supervision?

Answering  any one of those questions honestly could be the deciding factor. The important thing is that you both agree that the place where your wedding is hosted is special and meaningful to both of you. If either of you has doubts, do some more research. As with any part of the wedding planning, you should always come to a middle ground where both parties are in 100% agreement to avoid arguing or blame later if something doesn’t go as planned.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Remembering Loved Ones At Your Wedding

The date is set, the hall is booked, you have every detail of your wedding meticulously planned and you couldn’t be more excited for your wedding day to arrive. The only problem is that someone you loved is no longer here to share it with you. Whether it is wedding gown shopping with your mother or missing out on dancing with your father, there is an empty spot at your wedding and nothing or no one can fill that void. Instead of glossing it over, or trying to forget about how it would have ( should have) been, focus on including your dearly departed loved ones in the ceremony and reception in a way that keeps them close to your heart. There are a dozens of ways to remember your loved ones on this special day without turning a celebration into a maudlin occasion, here some of our favorites.

Have an empty chair where this person would have been seated and place a rose on the chair to signify their importance.

Wear something that the loved one wore on their wedding day or use portions of it creatively, like sewing a portion of your father’s favorite tie sewn into a garter or handkerchief.

Include lighting  a candle for that person into your ceremony. Don’t forget to include the details in the wedding program so everyone knows what is going on.

Include a framed photo of your loved one on the table by the guest book.

Mention them in your wedding toast. Raising a glass to someone is sometimes the most appropriate form of remembrance but, keep it short.

Use one of their favorite songs as your first dance or another significant moment in the day.

Whether you lost your loved one a month or many years ago, they are always missed especially during these special times. The best way to honor them is by adding touches to your wedding that celebrates the special times they shared with you. In other words, make it personal.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


How Many Bridesmaids?

The average number of attendants has risen over the last few years from 3 to 6 since 2000. Six bridesmaids is a lot to manage. Statistically you will probably have at least one who is married, one who is pregnant, one who is difficult, one who is broke, and one who has issues. In addition to planning the wedding you will also have to keep a watchful eye on bridesmaid gown orders, shoes and  and at the very least be aware of the fittings, etc when the gowns arrive. You will have to be sensitive to each of them and at certain times flexible so keep that in mind when it seems like a good idea to have 8 bridesmaids. Ask yourself, “Do I have the patience to handle this?”

The most important thing you can do if you are having several attendants is to have a very reliable maid of honor. She will need to oversee all of the scheduling and act as a buffer between you and the difficult one, anyway. Without her, you will be drowning in drama. Have a heart to heart talk and tell her that you need her to keep things in check, remind her that you are counting on her to help things go smoothly. If she flinches, you need to pick someone else.

Myth: You can’t have an odd number of bridesmaids.

Fact: You can have any odd or even number including the (unlucky) 13.

Myth: There has to be an usher for every bridesmaid

Fact: Grown women are perfectly capable of walking up and down the aisle solo. In fact you can have one usher escort two bridesmaids if necessary.

Myth: There should be  one bridesmaid for every 50-60 guests.

Fact: You can have a many or as few as you like. The record? Jill Stapleton of Ohio had 110 bridesmaids at her wedding in June 2010. To be fair, you should not have more attendants than guests.

No matter how many bridesmaids you choose, make sure they are all on board with the planning, the spending and the entire affair. The last thing you need is to be worrying about everyone else’s problems.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Our (Lack of) Wedding Party  :  wedding bridesmaid groomsman tallahassee Vintage034 vintage034