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

 

Promise Rings – Passe or Perfect?

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As the engagement season approaches (also known as Christmas), I am reminded of another piece of jewelry symbolic of a committed relationship; the promise ring. A promise ring is a symbol of love and commitment made from one person to another while dating when the relationship turns more serious. Perhaps you are both in college and aren’t ready for a wedding just yet but, you fully intend to make that commitment when the time comes. You want to make a stronger statement than mere ‘dating’ and a promise ring is just the thing to do that.  

When you give or accept a promise ring, you are promising to love the recipient forever and to be faithful. Commonly, a promise ring is given before engagement. It can symbolize sort of a trial period before engagement and the ring  is worn on the left hand until it is replaced by an engagement ring and then switched to the right hand.

Promise rings are not just for women. The popularity of promise rings for men has risen in popularity in recent years. If he gives you a promise ring, it would nice touch to give him one in return to cement your promise to him as well. ‘s meaning. After all, you both need to commit to the promise or it has no meaning. Get him something manly, perhaps in titanium.

Some promise rings have small diamonds, some have small gemstones but they don’t have to include a stone at all, some rings are simple bands with the promise engraved inside. In fact, there are many websites dedicated to romantic promise ring inscriptions, or you can choose your own sentiment.

A favorite promise ring is the ‘Claddagh’. If worn on the left hand with the heart facing out, it signifies that you are spoken for. If worn with the heart facing in, people will assume you are already married. However, I doubt if the “Promise Ring” police will arrest you if you wear it either way. It is a traditional Irish band and many people have been known to use this in lieu of engagement ring or wedding band. Also highly sentimental, filled with Irish lore and has a variety of  romantic legends associated with it… I consider that to be quite special in itself.

Any way you look at it, the “promise ring’ is a sweet, sentimental gesture and one that should not be taken lightly.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

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Hello Gorgeous! – Emerald Is Named Color Of The Year For 2013

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The Pantone Institute has issued their “Color Of The Year” and the go-to color for all things beautiful in 2013 is Emerald. I have been waiting for this for months, anticipation building, excitement growing, just knowing that December always brings the big announcement.

Allow me to explain why this announcement is so important:

Pantone is an American company that has been producing standardized color matching systems since 1963 for fashion, art, graphic design and commercial use. If you are wondering how this is relevant, think of it like this; you go to a store to buy a blouse and the ‘blue’ one really pops out at you. You are afraid to buy it because you will never find anything to match and you will be stuck wearing this blouse with a black skirt until you tire of it. Not to worry, since Pantone’s inception, they have provided color matching to designers who refer to this system to create their new lines. So, that ‘blue’ blouse is really ‘ocean blue’ and you will literally be in a sea of it at every department store. Each color and even multi-colored prints are matched, jewelry is matched and every designer has consulted Pantone to create their collection based on this color  which is found on a fan-out card system just like the ones at the paint store.  Before the Pantone system, grey was grey and blue was blue, you had to match it yourself and Good Luck! You carried a blouse around looking for a print that had even the lightest hint of that color and the search could last longer than the blouse.

Now, thanks to Pantone, every floral designer will have access to the same Emerald  Ribbon, bridesmaid designers  have Emerald fabric, accessories will be created to compliment everything Emerald. Invitation desingers using Adobe have access to the same shade  in their palette and if you opt for dyed to match shoes, all you have to do is tell the shoe professional “Emerald” and you will almost certainly be assured a match. Although you may not want to be in emerald up to your elbows, you will have the option.

How did Pantone land on Emerald #17-5641 TCX  to forever represent 2013? The color reminds us of simpler things such as grass and Mother Nature…Green is the color of growth and signifies America in 2013…The rich tone is all about luxury, just like jewels and money…. Whichever theory you prefer, Pantone is describing the choice as, “Lively. Radiant. Lush…A color of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.”Green is the most abundant hue in nature – the human eye sees more green than any other color in the spectrum,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “As it has throughout history, multifaceted Emerald continues to sparkle and fascinate. Symbolically, Emerald brings a sense of clarity, renewal and rejuvenation, which is so important in today’s complex world. This powerful and universally appealing tone translates easily to both fashion and home interiors.”

 

Without further adieu, we present Emerald in all it’s glory:

According to the Pantone Institute:

Emerald is a vivid, verdant green; it enhances our sense of well-being further by inspiring insight, as well as promoting balance and harmony.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Invited To A Wedding? Read This First.

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Etiquette is one of those elusive things that seem to escape some people, one of those things you don’t really think about until  you’re in the “10 items or less” line behind someone with a full cart of groceries, or you are waiting (patiently) behind someone who is talking on their cell phone during a really short left arrow green light, or when someone is talking really loud in a movie. It isn’t until a social event like a wedding or funeral, where things are quiet and you have time to reflect, that these infractions of common manners become so imposing.

Cell Phones are the worst culprit in modern times. Texting, talking and (God forbid) playing games on your phone during a wedding is rude, don’t do it. Unless you are expecting an urgent call, you don’t even need your cell phone during the wedding…. leave it in the car. If you do need your cell phone with you, turn the ringer off and carry it in your pocket, when the urgent call comes through excuse yourself and go outside where you can converse without interrupting  everything. There is nothing more annoying than trying to carry on a conversation or eat dinner with someone who is glued to their cell phone.

Chewing Gum  is another no – no. Altoids, Tic-Tacs, Mentos work very well for a case of stale breath. Chewing gum in church ( or other place of worship), in the receiving line, giving a toast or dancing is tacky.  The worst part is when people forget they are chewing gum and it shows up in a picture…. YIKES!

Dressing appropriately is hard for some people so, this is a tricky one. I sat behind a man in a hoodie at a funeral this week and couldn’t stop staring at his bright red fleece garment the entire time, thinking to myself,  “Is that all you’ve got?” It was distracting to say the least. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it is likely that he may have slipped out of work to be at this somber event and I know deep down that he had a really good reason for being inappropriately dressed. You don’t have to wear a pricey designer suits or gowns to be well-dressed. Too much cleavage, not enough skirt, anything denim are all good indicators that you need a wardrobe intervention. If you are unsure about what to wear, take a closer look at the invitation and it should tell you everything you need to know, if you are still stuck, call a wedding professional like a photographer or florist who has been to dozens of these events and they will be able to guide you.

Gossip is also a touchy subject. Asking questions about the cost of the gown, reception, gifts or anything wedding related is tacky, speculating on whether or not the marriage will last is morbid, and the most glaring offense of all is wondering (out loud) if the bride is pregnant. Unless the couple has announced that they are expecting, leave that commentary for another time. Basically, you are there to lend your support, not to openly critique every detail of the wedding. Save that for late , or not at all.

Let’s face it – you can’t legislate good manners. You can’t expect everyone to behave, dress, speak or act properly at all times. All you can do is lead by example and cross your fingers that they all follow your lead. By the time a person is an adult, they should know these few common rules of etiquette and if they don’t – there is nothing you can do to help them. Your best bet when faced with these offenses is to smile and politely excuse yourself from the situation. You will laugh about it later…. or not.

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Weddings Are Not Casual Friday

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The other day my son asked me why men used to wear suits to baseball games. Isn’t it interesting that even a 9 yr old noticed that people don’t dress properly anymore?  There have been those occasions when I wear pajamas to drop my kids off at school in the morning, knowing I am not getting out of the car but, if my foot steps out onto the pavement you had better believe that I am fully dressed in a (somewhat) presentable fashion.  Which is why it is so odd to me that when I go to a wedding, I always see someone underdressed. In order to help you understand how to be the perfectly dressed guest at a wedding, I have put together some guidelines: 

Daytime Casual –  does not mean wear jeans and flip-flops. Wedding casual is different from ‘running to the grocery store’ casual. Wedding Casual means you could get by with a floral dress, sweater and skirt set, or even a sundress (weather permitting). For men open necked shirts with no tie are perfectly acceptable, in fact a nicer Hawaiian shirt for a beachfront venue is striking.  Men and women both need to take note of the location of the wedding – if it is beach or grass, make sure you are wearing shoes that can handle nature without aerating the soil or sinking into the sand. For evening casual just kick it up a notch -no need to break out your finest but, perhaps a touch of sparkle wouldn’t hurt, either. Always keep the setting in mind.

 Semi- Formal – Dress as if you were headed to the theater. A flirty cocktail dress and heels, or a dressy pantsuit. You want to be comfortable, able to move easily and to dance, of course. Avoid long dresses, it is too formal. For men- your suit  doesn’t have to be  black even though it is always a safe choice. You can also wear a blazer and slacks as long as you have a tie.

Black Tie Optional – this indicates that you can go  formal if you want, but you don’t have to. Women can wear a dress that is long or short, as long as it indicates elegance. Some beads and/or sequins are acceptable. Men can wear a tuxedo or a nice dark suit.

Black Tie – this is when you can bring out your finest and not feel over-dressed. If the invitation says Black Tie – its time to bring out the beads; beaded accessories,shoes,  sparkly earrings and perhaps a long silk wrap you have tucked away in a closet somewhere. Although in the past long dresses were required, it is acceptable to wear tea-length gowns but, avoid  short cocktail gowns. Dress as if you were invited to aPresidential Inaguration Ball or the Academy Awards!  For men it simple: Wear a tuxedo. Wear the tux with studs and bow tie and don’t forget to shine your patent leather shoes since no tuxedo is really a tuxedo without the right shoes.

 If the invitation does not specify what type of event it is, look for clues so you aren’t over or (God forbid) under-dressed. The venue, the type of invitation, the time of day will all give you insight into what you should be wearing. If all else fails, call the bride or groom (if you feel comfortable) or a close member of the wedding party.

The most important thing is to feel comfortable in your choice. If you can’t move, sit or eat one bite – you will be miserable not able to enjoy this lovely event!

For more great tips and ideas on weddings, be sure to get tickets to one of our bridal shows in your area. Call 847-428-3320 for complimentary tickets to show in  your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

A Unique and Special Wedding Dilemma

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In the back of your mind you know he is going to propose any day. Maybe he is waiting for a special event, maybe he is waiting for a certain holiday or maybe he is still picking out the ring. You have merged your lives already and perhaps bought a home or moved in together. It is all happening, and it’s all good. Then, unexpectedly you get the news that you are not only going to be husband and wife, you will also be ‘Mom & Dad”. SURPRISE! Now, what?  Basically you have two choices, get married ASAP or wait until after the baby is born to tie the knot. Either option has a multitude of pros and cons.

Option #1) Get married right away -

Pro – You can have a smaller, more intimate gathering with just your closest friends and family. This way you don’t have to worry about who to invite and who to cut from the list,  the list is your nearest and dearest only.

Con- Most couples begin planning their wedding well in advance and can still experience difficulty getting vendors and booking a reception venue. Booking even a small venue at short notice can be tricky. Be willing to compromise and consider a Sunday or Friday event.

Pro- You can find a beautiful gown now that designers have recognized that a lot more women are getting married while they are expecting and not hiding it from anyone.

Con - You may not be feeling your best and trying on clothes is the last thing you want to do. (This goes away in the 4th month and euphoria kicks in)

 

Pro – If you plan quickly, you can get married before most people even know you are pregnant and avoid answering a lot of pesky questions. 

Con-  Who cares what other people think? This is your life, not theirs! 

 

Option #2)  Wait until after the baby is born.

Pro – Your child can be a part of the ceremony and weddings are about family, after all.

Con – Children can be unpredictable, even tiny ones.

 

Pro - You will have plenty of time to plan your dream wedding and spare no expense.

Con – Babies are expensive and your priorities change after giving birth , you may not want to spend a lot of money on a wedding.

 

Pro -You can wear that strapless mermaid dress after you’ve lost the baby weight.

Con – You can’t predict how your body will change and how you will feel about those changes, especially if you are breastfeeding.

 

For some women, getting pregnant before they are married is a source of shame and embarrassment, even in 2012. For some, it is a statement of fact and nothing to hide. Speaking from experience, I had no reservations about being 6 months pregnant at our (casual) wedding, I have no shame that one of the great loves of my life was born 3 months after his father and I tied the knot, I don’t think my son cares or even wonders if this is normal or not. This is our family – there is no normal. How you handle the news is a personal decision and one that should not be made without a great deal of thought and consideration but, don’t wait too long or you won’t have a choice. If you are pregnant with twins, may the force be with you – you will need it!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

What’s The Worst That Can Happen? – Preparing For The Unexpected

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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; speaking from recent experience, a disaster can be a burst appendix, or adult 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