Spice Up Your Invitations!

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Wedding invitations have evolved into something so personal and unique that you can actually get a feel for the wedding itself just by seeing (and touching) the invitation. Whether you choose parchment, custom engraving or print the invitations yourself, there are dozens of things you can do to spice up your invitations without breaking the bank.

Photos – Consider incorporating your engagement photo into the invitation or save the date to make an impact.

Words - Using your own words, maybe some sort of prose, will add an artistic flair.

Be Creative - Use touches of your culture with color and font.

Sparkle – A little sparkle never hurt anyone, right? A touch of glitter, a rhinestone or iridescent ink is very exciting.

DO NOT  add confetti - no one likes opening an envelope with confetti in it.

Consider calligraphy instead of printed address labels, it really makes an impact.

Postage - Using a stamp with a specific theme is a nice idea. Take it a step further by using  custom photo stamps for all of your wedding postage. Also making sure you have the correct postage will save a ton of headaches. Can you  imagine having 150 invitations returned?

The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting your wedding invitations is that you don’t forget your personal style. Keep the event and location in mind and let that dictate the style of the paper, ink, font and wording.  With literally hundreds of choices, it can get very confusing but, don’t despair – there is a style out there just right for you. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

Blush Pink – A Year-Round Choice!

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There are some colors that are timeless, colors that transcend theme and season, that magically work in almost any venue and seem like the decor was planned around the event instead of vice verse. Blush is one of those colors.

Blush is defined as a warm, delicate, rosy color. Definitely one of the most diverse colors in the pink family, blush can be worn by almost every skin tone from Olive to fair to African American to Asian.

 

Designers have been showing bridal gowns in blush for years!

Blush goes perfectly with a Victorian or Vintage themed event.

Sumptuous flowers with crystal accents create a French Art Deco mood.

Belts, table accents, shoes, jewelry and  other wedding accessories make a beautiful and delicate statement when featured in blush. This includes  desserts and cakes.

The greatest benefit of blush is the versatility. You will never find another color that is as easy to match or blend as blush, and with blush as your main color, you won’t have to worry about an accent color, since everything goes with Blush!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Salute To Bangs! – 2013 Hair Trends

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Ever since the First Lady, Michelle Obama, showed up with bangs last week , the media has gone wild! The truth is that all it it takes is something as simple as one very  highly visible person to modify their appearance for a trend to slowly take hold. On the other hand, this style change was more like the “Shot Heard Around The World.” Every program, every channel was asking the burning question, “What do you think of the First Lady’s bangs?” For a brief moment, there was no debt ceiling, no fiscal cliff and no gun control ….. just bangs. In honor of Mrs. Obama, here is my salute to bangs- of all lengths and kinds!

Long bangs – Defined as long bits of hair  that frame the face but come to the middle of the eye …at least! Long bangs look great with layered hair . It all  frames the face at the same time and is very slimming.

Long Bangs  look equally great with short hair.

Side bangs – Any length of bangs that are swept  to one side. Side bangs are great if you have a cowlick in the front of your hairline and they are soft and flattering to the face.

Pixie Bangs -  This is what my bangs looked like when I cut them myself as a young girl and also the last time I got my haircut and wanted to strangle the hairdresser. Really great on small faces or with short, wispy hair… not on me!

 

Blunt Bangs are cut straight across with no feathering. Blunt bangs are difficult to wear for some and absolutely perfect on others. Bunt pixie bangs are an odd choice but, there is something for everyone.

Amelia Lowe Short Haircut with Blunt Bangs

 

Which brings us to the most popular style, the current style worn by the first  lady, the Curved Bangs. Curved bangs frame the face on the sides and look really flattering on almost everyone.

They are tapered into layered or blunt cut hair.

Most importantly, they are long enough  to be incorporated into the hair or slicked back  if necessary but, no so long that they obscure your eyesight.

The right bangs will make you look and feel 10 years younger. Be careful, though and DON’T Experiment with bangs unless you have a solid 3 months to completely grow out any mistakes!! My advice: Start early if you are feeling the ‘urge to splurge’ on bangs!

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Choosing The Right Photographer

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Your wedding pictures are the most important thing you will have to remember your day.  Choosing the right photographer is as important as having the right gown, or venue, or (dare I say) spouse! When making your selection, price shopping is the worst mistake you can make. There are many factors that go into the cost of your photography package; experience, skill, training, overall quality of the product and the overall style of pictures you want to express your wedding.  

First, you should define the style of photos you prefer:

Photojournalism is a style of photography that captures the events of the day   truly candid style.  Very few, if any, of the shots are posed. This is by far the most popular style of photography according to market trends. There are some drawbacks involved – especially if your photographer is inexperienced in this field. Make sure  the photographer has ample references and photos for you to check before you even consider wedding Photojournalism. In addition, without some of the posed shots you may wind up with a wedding album where  quite a few people are missing.

Traditional Wedding photography is exactly what it sounds like. All of the shots are posed, there is very little creativity involved with various settings and events. There is usually a ‘shot list’ and every detail must be mapped out in advance; lighting, background, placement of flowers, etc.You will have an album that your parents will love: filled with photos of your entire bridal party, family and guests but, you might not have that one beautiful photo that is found so often in a candid moment.

Artistic Photography (also illustrative Photography) is a great mesh of the two other styles. Some candid shots, some posed. Many of the shots are ‘staged’ in various places to look candid – but, are in fact posed. The Artistic Photographer will not be cheap since you are paying for an artistic vision which requires more time and work than snapping photos.

Before booking your  wedding photographer:

-Make sure the photographer you hire is the one who will be at your event.

-Do not accept a substitute unless you have seen examples of his/her work.

-Always remember to get everything in writing!

Bridal Expo Chicago is home to dozens of the finest photographers of all styles. For 4 complimentary  tickets to a show  in your area where you can see example of their finest work ,  log on to www.bridalshowexpo.com or call our office @ 847-428-3320 today!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Timothy Whaley photography

Carasco Photography

Angela Swan Photography

A Color For All Seasons – Chartreuse!

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Few colors can transcend seasons  like Chartreuse. Bold, Bright, Chic, Lively and Elegant, this is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood wedding colors!

 

Chartreuse  can freshen up any room and goes well with most interior decor. Bonus: It is a great color for a signature cocktail, even if your cocktail is simply Chartreuse.

 

 

 Chartreuse and Teal make a bright, bold statement when paired together.

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Chartreuse and Platinum make a sophisticated and more serene combination.

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Chartreuse and Honeysuckle is light, whimsical and well suited for a summer wedding. 

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Chartreuse and Ivory is elegant and chic.

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Chartreuse and Fuchsia is hot for spring.

Chartreuse and Plum make a luscious combination for a winter wedding.

Black and White with Chartreuse accents is the perfect choice for any season!

 

How do you feel about chartreuse?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridal Hair – Do’s and Don’t's

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You’ve found the  perfect dress and the perfect headpiece. All you need to complete your look is  the perfect hairstyle. After seeing 30 years of weddings and witnessing first-hand their successes and disasters, I can tell you it is very easy to overlook this one tiny thing and regret it later.

Remember, you will be photographed more times in this one day than you can imagine and you will want your hair to compliment the gown, the headpiece and your face. Keep these tips in mind when you begin to think about hairstyles so you don’t wind up with pictures you can’t bear to look at because you didn’t plan ahead.

DO:

Schedule your first appointment a few months before your wedding.  Be very clear about what the appointment will entail. Is this a consultation or an actual trial run?

Pick a Hairdresser you trust. This is not the time to try out a new stylist – make sure you have someone who’s work you like.

Take tons of photos with you. You cannot imagine how hard it is to describe a haircut. Take a ton of pictures with you so you can describe in great detail what you like and don’t like.

Keep the headpiece and the gown in mind. Don’t overpower a simple gown with a giant hairdo or confuse an already busy gown with too much going on.

Get a deep conditioning treatment a month or so before so your locks will be luscious.

DON’T:

Don’t make  drastic changes. One month (or God Forbid, one day )before your wedding is not the time to decide you want to go blond or cut all your hair off. You will be scrambling for a solution. There are solutions to everything but, they can be costly.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with a hairstyle you like but think won’t work. There are extensions, hairpieces, lifts, all kinds of things to make your hair thicker and fuller looking.

Don’t forget to take your headpiece to your hair appointment. It is vital to the overall look.

Don’t  be afraid to ask questions. You will never be sorry.

Don’t try to look like someone else. You will, and you won’t like it.

Don’t get  stuck in a  time warp. The big bangs and over-permed hair looked great in the 80′s. I know, I had it. Today’s brides have a more natural and sophisticated look. Stay current!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Hoping For The Best & Preparing For The Worst

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No one begins the wedding planning process worrying about every single detail that could go wrong. Correction, most people don’t plan this way, I’m sure that there are those rare exceptions.  At the risk of frightening potential brides and grooms, there are about a million things that can go wrong on any given day much less the day or week of your wedding. Being prepared for a disaster is different than planning for one or even expecting something bad to happen, being on top of every detail is not Obsessive-Compulsive, it is responsible and requires clear thinking and adult decision making.

A disaster is defined a  sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life.

Just so we are clear; a disaster is not when it rains on your wedding day, when the color of the napkins doesn’t exactly match the bridesmaid’s gowns or when you have a head cold the day before your wedding. These are minor inconveniences. Of course a sudden illness ( however short term or curable)  can be a disaster;   a burst appendix, or  chicken pox. A disaster can be a blizzard that closes airports and roads for travel, stranding  invited guests wherever they may be for days. A disaster can be the reception hall burning to the ground three days before your event.

Although there is no way to prepare for these sudden and completely inconceivable forces that could turn your life upside down at a moment’s notice, there is a way to make them less devastating.

Take care of your health – Without over-reacting, pay attention to any changes in your body. See your doctor and ask him or her to update your vaccines and if you have never had chicken pox, mumps, rubella or measles – get the necessary vaccine(s)  far in advance of your wedding date.  This also might be a good time to think about multivitamins. If you are taking any prescription medications, you must be diligent about dosage and watch for possible side effects.

Travel Plans – If you are having a destination wedding, are traveling any distance or expect out-of town guests, check weather reports in the area where the wedding is planned and if there are any severe weather alerts (blizzard, tornado, hurricane) begin to think about alternative plans.  Remind everyone who is traveling by air to book their flights well in advance, purchase the traveler’s insurance and pay the small amount extra to book a flight they can cancel or alter at a moment’s notice, it will pay for itself if needed.

Overall Insurance – Many companies offer wedding insurance; comprehensive insurance that covers the entire cost of the wedding in case of disaster or emergency. Be careful, though,  and make sure you use a reputable  and reliable carrier. Always read the fine print and make sure you are covered for specific situations indigenous to your area.

Without obsessing, without spending every waking minute worrying and driving everyone (including yourself) nuts –  simply remember the Boy Scout credo: Always be prepared.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Bridesmaids – How Many Is Too Much?

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The average number of attendants has risen  from 3 to 6 since the year 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 struggling financially, 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 when the gowns arrive, the fittings, etc. 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 ( x 6)?”

Of course, you may feel like you have no choice. The groom has a sister or two, you have a sister or two, there are a couple of BF’s and all of a sudden you are up to 8 of your dearest and closest friends. At this point, you must simply prioritize. 

#1 – Appoint a very reliable maid of honor, a  ‘Bridesmaid Manager’ of sorts and keep the lines of communication open. The MOH should be able to oversee all of the scheduling, act as a buffer (between you and the difficult one, anyway)  and communicate with everyone so there are no misunderstandings. Without her, you will be drowning in drama. Have a heart to heart talk and tell her your expectations and remind her that you are counting on her to help things go smoothly. If she flinches, you need to pick someone else.

#2- See #1

 You can have a many or as few as you like. One per 50-60 guests is a good guideline but it is not a hard and fast rule. 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.

You can have an uneven number of bridesmaids.

You don’t need to have a groomsman for every bridesmaid.

They don’t have to wear the same dress, or the same color, or the same anything anymore. It is whatever you want it to be!

No matter how many bridesmaids you choose, the end result should be a happy experience. In this case, less might just turn out to be more enjoyable…. for everyone. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

How To – Be The Best Dressed Guest!

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A long time ago there was a very strict dress code for each and every event. Seriously, people got dressed up in suits to go to baseball games and ladies were in stockings and heels at the grocery store. Today, it seems, people have trouble knowing how to dress for dinner at a casual restaurant much less a wedding.  I see  people of all ages  wearing pajama pants in public and generally speaking, casual attire has gotten out of control. So when  my friend called me today and asked what she should wear to a wedding I thought it might be a good time to go over what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in wedding guest attire.

So in this day of casual wear how do you tell your wedding guests that jeans are not acceptable (even with a dinner jacket for men) and that you fully expect them to dress appropriately? It is not that hard, actually. The place to let your guests know what is expected of them is in the invitation or, even better, on your website if you have one.  I have defined some of the more common dress code terms so you can use them to let guests know what to expect.

“Casual Attire”- If you are having a destination wedding on the beach, your female guests should wear a sundress, cruise-wear, not beachwear. Espadrilles, sandals and a dressier flip flop ( if that exists) are all appropriate footwear. The beach is no place for stilettos, anyway. Men can get away with a nice shirt, maybe Tommy Bahama or a stylish Cubavera  shirt  with linen pants.

“Informal Wedding Attire” is a step up from casual. A nicer dress, made of nicer fabric – something you would wear to a college graduation or to meet the first lady. Floor length is out. Men should wear a suit but still no need to wear a tie if the shirt is nice enough. For a preppy look try a navy blazer with Khaki pants and a pastel print tie.

“Formal Attire” means men have the choice of a tuxedo or dark suit. Ladies can wear either short or long gowns but, it needs to be dressy. Break out the glam but, don’t worry if you prefer the casual side of formal. Cocktail dresses are fine.

“Black Tie” or Ultra Formal is defined as cocktail or long dresses (only)for women and tuxedos (only)for men. Break out the fine jewelry, sparkly accessories and beaded purses. Men do not have to wear a bow tie as long as they have a tuxedo or a fine suit with contrasting fabric on the lapels. Dress like you are headed for the red carpet at the Academy Awards.

If your guests do not have the good sense  to know the definition of ‘Casual Wedding Attire’ ( for example), how do you enforce the dress code? That is entirely up to you. You could either have security to make sure everyone is  up to par and those who aren’t are turned away or  tell the photographer not to take photos of anyone dressed inappropriately. Or you could just let it go.  With any luck at all, you could have someone dressed so oddly that it will entertain you for years to come. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Color Of The Day: Thoroughly Modern Mint!

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 If you haven’t already selected the color for your wedding, consider Mint! Perfectly accented with gold or pink, mint green offers a refreshing alternative to bolder hues. By nature, green is a color of resurrection, abundance, hope, love and joy which makes perfect sense that any couple would want to use this color to begin their lives together.

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Mouthwatering treats of mint hues to delight your guests.

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Mint Tin Favor Wrapper and Lining Template

 

Meaningful keepsakes for your guests to enjoy.

Forever Photo Coasters Favors

Modern accessories to accentuate your color choice!

Are we in love with mint yet? Badgley Mischka shoes

Mint Green Bridal EarringsMint Green Bracelet for Bride or Wedding Party

 

Tantalizing tablescapes of mint and white will be sure to delight

Yellow and Mint Green Wedding Table Decor

Pastel bouquets of mint and peach

Mint Green Wedding Flowers

Ethereal gowns for your bridesmaids

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Even this beautiful birdcage for collecting cards is more than modern in mint!

Customized Cathedral French Birdcage Wedding Card Holder

Don’t forget to let the men get in on the fun. Pastel ties are hot, hip  and give your groom a youthful glow. 

Mint Green Wedding Tie for Groom Men's Wedding Tuxedo Tie in Mint Green for Groom

Whether your wedding is in a garden,  or an upscale hotel;  mint can transform nearly any space into an ethereal masterpiece of calm, cool and serene. You will hardly find a better choice than mint to  begin your lives together.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago