Real or Fake? What’s The Difference?

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“You get what you pay for”… it’s true in many cases, and we all know it.  If you have your heart set on designer gown, buying a knock-off will never be the same. Not only the designer tag, some key elements may be missing. The same goes with jewelry, shoes, and just about everything else. Here are the facts  surrounding the  real vs. fake argument.

Gown- Buying a  copy of a designer gown is never a good idea. Can you spot the fake in this picture?

Headpiece- The same headpiece for less money (made poorly)  is usually a disaster. Once your hair is done, having a headpiece that is poorly made can fall apart and will most likely destroy your hairstyle.

Eyelashes – Applied by a professional individually or even in strips is fine. Doing it yourself is probably a bad idea unless you have tons of practice. Otherwise, they will look like caterpillars stuck to your eyelids. Three words: Professional makeup artist.

Hair – Even the best hair extensions can ruin your hair for a period of time. The good news it is rarely permanent damage, bad news is that it escalates permanent hair loss if you are already prone. Bad hair extensions look like hair plugs and can fall out in clumps at any time for no reason. If you decide on hair extensions for your wedding, make sure it is done professionally and short term only.

 

Tan – Over exposure to the sun in tanning beds and in real life has a negative affect on your skin. Self spray tans have a distinct odor and can streak or come off on your clothes plus they usually come out looking orange. The best idea if you must tan before your wedding is a professional spray tan  no less than 5 days before the wedding. Even if your tan is just perfect – don’t forget to exfoliate the day before your wedding to avoid discoloration of the gown.

A good spray tan should look like this:

Not this:

Nails - Artificial nails, either gel or acrylic can look very natural so if you break a nail shortly before your wedding, this is an excellent option. Having extra long nails when you aren’t used to them makes things difficult to maneuver but, having extra long nails applied too long before the wedding runs the risk of  breaking one or more shortly before ( or during) the wedding.

This is a suitable manicure:

As opposed to this:

Shoes – Knock off designer shoes are the absolute biggest mistake you can ever make. Your shoes should be comfortable, well-fitting and made of natural materials. Buying a copy of designer shoes in pleather is a mistake. Find the shoe that feels and fits the best on your foot without worrying about the label and you will never regret it.

Makeup – A lot of research and testing goes into cosmetics. Well, not all cosmetics. Although it may  possible to find less expensive makeup that does the same thing as a really great (probably expensive) foundation or Bare Minerals, the chances are you won’t.

At the end of the day what really matters is how you feel. If you are so bedazzled and bogged down with tips, extensions, weaves and spray tans that you are hardly recognizable or if you are so worried about designer names that the quality has become an after thought, it might be time to re-think your priorities. When it is all said and done spending a little more money for quality products may sometimes be the only option to avoid becoming a knock -off of yourself.

After all , you get what you pay for.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Destination Weddings – More Popular Than Ever!!

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It only takes a few days with single digit temperatures for couples to open up to the idea of a destination wedding.

For many years,  destination weddings have been on the rise.  Usually held at tropical locations, they combine the honeymoon with the wedding itself. Guests travel to the location and can spend up to a week celebrating with the couple.

 There are several reasons that couples opt for a destination wedding… one of which is  to save money! Believe it or not, couples who  have destination weddings typically spend less overall.

According to Travel & Leisure magazine, the top wedding destinations are as follows:

1) Mexico. No surprise here. Mexico is close and  entices couples with its warm, sunny weather, colorful culture, extensive coastline, spicy cuisine, and wide choice of accommodations. You will not be disappointed.

2) Jamaica. A lush island, Jamaica has beaches, waterfalls, mountains to explore. With more all-inclusives than anywhere else in the Caribbean and a reggae beat, and it’s no wonder it’s so popular!

3) Dominican Republic. With fine boutique hotels and price-competitive all-inclusives, this is a wonderful place to begin your lives together.

4) Bahamas. Just off the coast of Florida you can find everything you want whether you opt for developed Nassau, Freeport, Paradise, and Grand Bahama Island or one of the low-key Out Islands.

5) Hawaii. You don’t have to bring a passport to enjoy a tropical paradise, just ask anyone who has ever been to Hawaii.

Honorable Mention goes to any of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether you choose St. Thomas, St. Croix or St. John, you will not have any problems except deciding which of these islands is best for you. They are all magnificent and they are all U.S. territories so there are no legal hassles.

No matter which destination you choose   it is important to use a reputable Destination Wedding Specialist. They will know all of the in’s,  out’s and pitfalls of the particular resort you have chosen. They will also more than likely be able to get you a better deal and more extras.  You can do it all by yourself but, it can be quite a bit of stress.

Better to sit back, relax and stick a little umbrella in your drink!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Remembering Loved Ones At Your Wedding

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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?

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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

The Trouble With Tweens – Dressing For A Wedding

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Whether they are attendants or guests, the consensus is the same: it is nearly impossible to find an age appropriate dress for a young lady between the ages of 10-12. No longer a little girl and not yet a teenager, they ( and their parents) are faced with the dilemma of finding something that is attractive, flattering and comfortable that is also stylish. The biggest problem is that most dress manufacturers almost completely ignore the complications associated with this particular demographic and continue to offer designs for little girls and teenagers only.

Consider these tips when shopping for a dress that your tweenager:

Nothing strapless. Most  little girls don’t have the necessary equipment to hold a strapless garment in place. If they do have the ‘right stuff’, they will look too grown up in the dress and (whats the word)…. sleazy. Instead, consider something with a spaghetti strap and a bodice that fits loosely enough to be able to move but tight enough that you don’t see through the sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Length is a factor. The best length for a young girl is directly at the knee. Lower if you wish, floor length if you want but, never any shorter than the knee. It is too much responsibility for an untrained young lady to constantly have to check to make sure she has her knees closed, is bending from the knee, isn’t squatting to pick up something. A lot of responsibility goes with super short skirts and girls this young are just not mature enough to understand the ramifications of their actions. 

 

 

 

Neckline. Plunging necklines are not comfortable for young women who have just begun wearing a bra. In addition, they will not be comfortable having to worry about becoming a victim of a wardrobe malfunction. Consider a modest ‘V’  or scoop neckline. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details. The most important thing is to find some details that make the dress fun, flirty and fashionable. Dresses with a bubble hem, a gorgeous ribbon sash, a sparkly brooch at the waist or even a decorative silk flower can turn a simple dress into a stunner and make your not-ready-for-dating daughter look and feel like a prime-time princess (suitable for all audiences).

 

 

 

 

- Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

You Get What You Pay For

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Its true and we all know it. If you have your heart set on designer gown, buying a knock-off may seem the same but, it’s not. Not only the designer tag, some key elements may be missing. The same goes with jewelry, shoes, and just about everything else. Here is a look at  the pro’s and cons of the  real vs. fake argument.

Gown- Buying a less expensive copy of a designer gown is only a good idea if it is made well, made of quality fabric and has all the same elements that made you fall in love with the gown in the first place.

Headpiece- The same headpiece for less money made poorly is usually a disaster. Once your hair is done, having a headpiece that is poorly made can fall apart and will most likely destroy your hairstyle.

Eyelashes – Applied by a professional individually or even in strips is fine. Doing it yourself is probably a bad idea unless you have tons of practice. Otherwise, they will look like caterpillars stuck to your eyelids.

Hair – Even the best hair extensions can ruin your hair for a period of time. The good news it is rarely permanent damage but it does escalate permanent hair loss if you are already prone. Bad hair extensions look like hair plugs and can fall out in clumps at any time for no reason. If you decide on hair extensions for your wedding, make sure it is done professionally and short term only. 

Tan – Over exposure to the sun in tanning beds and in real life has a negative affect on your skin. Self spray tans have a distinct odor and can streak or come off on your clothes plus they usually come out looking orange. The best idea if you must tan before your wedding is a professional spray tan  no less than 5 days before the wedding. Exfoliate the day before your wedding to avoid discoloration of the gown.

Nails - Artificial nails, either gel or acrylic can look very natural so if you break a nail shortly before your wedding, this is an excellent option. Having extra long nails when you aren’t used to them makes things difficult to maneuver but, having extra long nails applied too long before the wedding runs the risk of  breaking one or more shortly before ( or during) the wedding.

Shoes – Knock off designer shoes are the absolute biggest mistake you can ever make. Your shoes should be comfortable, well-fitting and made of natural materials. Buying a copy of designer shoes in pleather is a mistake. Find the shoe that feels and fits the best on your foot without worrying about the label and you will never regret it.

Makeup – A lot of research and testing goes into cosmetics. Well, not all cosmetics. Although it may  possible to find less expensive makeup that does the same thing as a really great (probably expensive) foundation or Bare Minerals, the chances are you won’t.

At the end of the day what really matters is how you feel. If you are so bedazzled and bogged down with tips, extensions, weaves and spray tans that you are hardly recognizable or if you are so worried about designer names that the quality has become an after thought, it might be time to re-think your priorities. When it is all said and done spending a little more money for quality products may sometimes be the only option to avoid becoming a knock -off of yourself.

After all , you get what you pay for.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Music To Your Ears

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We all know that the musical score of a movie can have huge influence on our perception of  that movie. From the pulsating terror achieved in films like Psycho and Jaws, to the triumphant victories in Star Wars and Pirates of The Caribbean, it’s hard to think about a great film without also being influenced by that film’s score. Your movie is your wedding  and it needs to be carefully ‘scored’, paying close attention to the theme, time of day and number of guests.

Consider this:

There should be no point in time from the moment the first guest arrives until the last guest leaves where there is no music. As the guests arrive, have a harpist  gently playing at the front of the church.

Music is such an important aspect of life that it is impossible to over-emphasize it’s importance. If there is a lull in the music, guests can get fidgety and cranky.

During cocktail hour, have a string quartet playing near the bar. This way people will be  less likely to notice if there is a line at the bar or diminishing appetizers.

You can have a band and a DJ. Having both will give your guests an even wider array of listening pleasure and trading off can give the band a much needed break. However, if  you choose only the band make sure you have music playing while they take their break.

When you have your wedding video edited, make sure you have the proper ‘soundtrack’ as well.. Having just the right music and editing will make it more like an actual movie and less like a home movie.

Since the music is such an  important aspect of the day, don’t leave anything to chance, make sure you check the references and credentials of every music professional that you interview and ALWAYS have a backup plan just in case.  

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Destination Weddings – More Popular Than Ever!

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Global warming has it’s benefits, like the fact that the weather in Chicago has been rather balmy this winter…. so far. I am, of course, skeptical enough to think that as soon as it starts snowing we might be buried up to our necks in the white stuff. There are others who think (hope) that old man winter just decided to give us a break after last winter’s “Snowpocalypse”. Planning a wedding during the winter months can be risky, one of the main reasons why brides and grooms in the colder states opt for a destination getaway this time of year.

The benefits of a destination wedding are many:

You can combine wedding with honeymoon, family reunion and vacation all in one.

You are able to invite less people without anyone being offended. Only inviting your nearest and dearest will make a more intimate and fun-filled getaway with MUCH less stress.

Most reception sites are booked a year in advance, not so with a destination event. You can literally plan your wedding in a few short months and still give your guests time to book their travel and RSVP.

Time to bond. Since you will have a smaller group of guests, it will allow you a few days to really get to know some of the people you are less familiar with and re-kindle old friendships that have cooled off.

Less arguing. If you were raised in different cities there is no ‘home turf advantage’, it is now a level playing field and couples will find themselves with less family disputes.

Weekend travel is a rare treat and since some of your guests will have to travel anyway, why not let them travel to a warm, exotic destination rather than a cold, wintry spot?

Many travel agencies offer packages that are quite affordable so, if you are planning a destination wedding, now’s the time to do it! If you are one of the many couples considering a destination wedding, call  847-428-3320 to get tickets to a Bridal Expo in your area so you can meet face to face with one of our many travel consultants and get started on your dream wedding right away! You can also get tickets by visiting our website www.bridalshowexpo.com . Make sure to ‘like’  us on Facebook for more updates, giveaways and specials.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Integrity and Outrage – Finding Fault With Retailers

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Yesterday the internet and news outlets were abuzz with a video and story about one (closed) Priscilla of Boston store in Minnesota. Headlines on the internet, viral videos and rumors were flying around social networks and the comment sections were quickly filled with negativity. If you didn’t see the it, here is a re-cap: Priscilla of Boston was purchased by David’s Bridal and early fall announced all stores would be closed by the end of the year. As planned, on December 30,2011 the stores were emptied of inventory and closed. This one particular store apparently took all of the gowns to the alley in back of the store and destroyed or partially destroyed the gowns, rendering them unusable, un-donatable and un-wearable with the help of some red spray paint. The video clearly shows several large men painting large red marks on gowns draped over dumpsters and the back of what appears to be a dump truck. Then a nearby bridal salon owner was interviewed about how she could have put the gowns to good use, naming various charities that could have used them. The article even made a point to mention that a $6,000 Vera Wang gown was found among the couture carcasses. The outrage came in waves. It seemed the story was too salacious to be true, but there were the images as plain as day. Almost as if they were trying to spark a media frenzy among brides.  Almost? Try exactly. 

At first I was among the outraged, I kept thinking that it was some sort of corporate coup, seeing David’s Bridals apology in writing did nothing to assuage my anger. Later in the day it started to sink in that something was just not right with this story. Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole thing could have been handled better but, it left me with several burning questions. Who made the video? Who leaked the story? Why was this being done out in the open for everyone to see? And how did a local competitor know what business was being conducted by another business almost as soon as it happened?  At the end of the day it occurred to me that David’s Bridal may not have given the execution order for the store inventory and I need to take them at their word. Maybe the corporate office did not know business was being handled in such a hap-hazard way. Perhaps  a disgruntled employee had a beef with the corporate office and staged the whole thing to make David’s Bridal look bad, videotaping and leaking it to the media to ensure a public outcry. I am not pointing fingers, I am just giving you one scenario of what could have happened, there are many.  After all, it was only one store, not every store that seemed to have this problem. You see, none of this made sense to me, because I am a skeptic and not a conspiracy-theorist.

Merchandise is disposed of  all the time at retailers. Look in the dumpster behind any retail store and you will be amazed at what is dumped versus donated. This is why there is often a padlock on the dumpster – this is to keep their stuff in, not your stuff out. If a gown is unwearable, why donate it? If it is already damaged beyond repair – why donate it? Racks are lined up during sample sales of slightly soiled gowns, gowns with a broken zipper, gowns with one piece of lace dangling and these gowns are hard to sell no matter how low the price. Why? Because not all brides  are comfortable wearing an even slightly damaged, dirty, broken gown no matter how inexpensive it is. On the one day when you are supposed to feel beautiful and glamorous and perfect, why are you expected to want a gown that is damaged beyond repair? Furthermore, it is well within the rights of any company to decide what is irreparably damaged and what is not. So, if all of this is true,  why was this front page news?

Everyone loves to make big businesses out to be the bad guy and many times they are but, not always.  For me this is just one more reason to do some research before you buy, shopping for value doesn’t always mean shopping for price. Shopping with smaller, family owned salons can almost guarantee that you will at some point speak to or see the owner, the person who is ultimately responsible for all of the decision making, inventory selection and the point at which the buck stops if you have a problem.

It will be interesting to see over the course of the next few days and weeks if there is a follow up to this story. I would like to know who was really involved and what role they played. There seems to be a lot of finger pointing and a lot of outrage but, no clear answers. In the end, I don’t entirely blame David’s Bridal; I blame the media for not giving any concrete answers, just  images of gowns sprayed with red paint, leaving me with more questions. My current outrage is with the reporter(s) of this story for not providing answers. After all, you aren’t entitled to be outraged if you don’t know the entire story.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Top 10 Wedding Trends For 2012

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Congratulations on your engagement! Now that you are about to begin wedding planning in 2012, take a deep breath, we are  here to help you.  After scouring the internet, news sources and consulting multiple event planners; we have compiled a list of the top 10 wedding trends for 2012:

1) Bridal Gowns – What you will see in 2012 are  more flirty, high fashion dresses that are shorter in length,  also gowns with layers of texture and (finally) a  little something on top. Inspired by Kate Middleton, designers have incorporated sheer laces and illusion on top to offer brides an alternative to strapless.

2) A great way to add interest to an otherwise simple gown is with an embellished belt. Look for these belts to explode in 2012.

3) Feathers continue to be the most popular accent for shoes, bouquets and hair. Peacock and ostrich top the list.

4)  For 2012 you will see couples continue to take a more active part in the ceremony rather than simply standing at the altar, repeating the words that someone else has written.  Writing your own vows is meaningful, personal and helps the couple to express their love for one another in their own unique way without hesitation.

5) Couples are opting for smaller, more intimate affairs with 100 of their closest friends rather than 1,000 people who they may not know very well. Spending less per head allows couples to have a celebration that is more lavish and yet controlled, it’s quality versus quantity.

6) Standard wedding videos are out, movies are in. Imagine if  you could have Steven Spielberg edit your video footage into a ten minute movie with a plot, climax and happy ending! You can still keep all the footage but, you will have a mini-masterpiece to share with your family and friends that won’t put them to sleep or bore them to tears. Find the right videographer and this dream can be your reality.

7) High-profile event planner Bryan Rafanelli says party favors and accessories are becoming more and more customized to the individual couples to reflect their interests and tastes.  For the music lover, using cleft note place-card holders and musical note candle as gifts will tie everything together.

8) The vintage trend continues as couples embrace the look and feel of antique table settings, flowers and attire. Old Hollywood, Victorian Vintage, and 1940′s Big Band themes are a popular and all have a comfortable, relaxed charm.

9) Color is everywhere. For those brides who find picking a particular color a daunting task, rest easy – the current trend is multiple colors. Color can be the only theme you need if you find the right combination; dusty rose and silver for a vintage feel or turquoise and purple for a more modern look. Either way, color can leave a lasting impression and create impact.

10) Grooms have more choices than ever with tuxedos but nothing will ever beat a classic notched-lapel tuxedo with a bow tie. For men who want to shake it up a bit, experiment with  studs that express your personality or try a classic white bow tie and vest.

Planning your dream wedding is easier than ever. Call 847-428-3320 to get tickets to a Bridal Expo Luxury Event so you can experience all of the most exciting trends in bridal attire and wedding planning.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago