Lavish Weddings – An Intimate Alternative

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 Many couples are opting for smaller, more intimate gatherings where their dollars are spent on quality vs. quantity; having  a luxurious, lavish affair for 75 people rather than a cookie cutter convention  for 350 people.  The problem is, where do you draw the line?

Make your guest ‘wish’ list and decide on the exact cut off number. This list is the closest people in your life, the people you cannot live without.  Decide immediately if you will be able to allow  single guests to bring a date or  parents to bring their children, stick to your guns and be prepared to have to defend this decision. These are people who have been with you for your whole life, people who will be there forever and ever, not co-workers or bosses or recent neighbors.

From the beginning, tell anyone who asks that you are planning a small, intimate gathering. This will prevent most from asking if they are invited. Be polite and tell them honestly, ” Jason and I have decided to have a small wedding and we will only be inviting family and our closest friends.” Of course, this means you should not be constantly talking about wedding plans to co-workers who are uninvited, save the juicy details for the maid of honor or your sibling. Remember, if you are having pre-wedding parties, they are restricted to invited guests only. Can’t invite people to a bridal shower and not invite them to a wedding, after all.

 Keep the wedding party small. There is no hard and fast rule for this but, if the guest total is 75, stay with one or two attendants. Kate Middleton had only one bridesmaid and her wedding was enormous, keep that in mind.

The benefits of a smaller wedding are many; you can spend more money on things that really matter to you like an exclusive location,  maginficent meal, extraordinary flowers, glamorous gown, extravagant shoes, elaborate invitations,  A-list photographer and a sumptuous sweet table. In the end it truly is a matter of quality versus quantity.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Whats Under Your Gown?

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The right undergarments can make or break any outfit and this goes double for your bridal ensemble. Visible panty lines, underwires poking at you or too-tight corsets can be unattractive as well as uncomfortable. The truth is that your wedding gown will look fit and feel better if you have the right undergarments.  Which ones are right for you? It depends on your figure type, the gown and what is comfortable to you. Whatever you purchase, make sure it is of good quality to ensure it will last and that it is comfortable against your skin.

After you have selected  your bridal gown, take several pictures of it – close-ups of where it sits and how it fits so that you can use these for reference when undergarment shopping.  After your gown is ordered and you wait for it to arrive is the perfect time to start shopping for undergarments  since you want to have all of your undergarments for your first fitting.

If you need to wear a bra with your gown it should be smooth the the lowest point of the waistline. Sometimes called a Merry Widow or a Corset, this type of undergarment can offer you a smooth line and hold you in just a bit so your gown is not as tight against you. The gown should zip easily and smoothly against the undergarment, you should not be squeezing your body into the gown. This will prevent the zipper bursting which is a real problem with nylon invisible zippers. For a super-sexy look find one that has garters which will make it easier to wear hosiery. Having pantyhose, underwear and a corset all together is impossible to navigate in the bathroom and the garter system is designed to make removing underpants easier.  Tip: for a gown that has smooth fabric on the bodice do not get a lace corset or the lace may show through. Lace bra for lace gown, satin bra for satin gown. 

For a gown with a plunging ‘V’ neckline in front (or back) you will either go bra-less,  have cups sewn into the gown or wear silicone bust pads. Since the exterior of the pad is made of kind of sticky material the silicone bust pads stick to your skin and keep the gown in place without sewing. They can be re-used several times. Having cups sewn into the gown eliminates and worry of slippage and can be used in almost any gown. The bonus is that it will add a little dimension if you are smaller in the bust and would like to add some ‘depth’.

 If you have a body hugging gown that is made of smooth fabric, make sure there are no VPL (visible panty lines). Did Pippa have VPL? I think not! If you choose a thong make sure it has a smooth wide band and not a small tight elastic. You can wear spanx which smooth out any lumps or bumps but make sure the spanx end where there is a seam so it will not cut you off at the waist or even under the bust causing a ripple.

Last but not least – don’t forget the petticoat! A good crinoline slipe will keep the gown from getting tangled around your legs, make the dress look just like it does in the magazine and will add fullness to the gown. Get the same silhouette for the slip as the gown; for am ermaid gown you will need a mermaid slip, for a tea length gown, get a tea length slip and for an extra full skirt  – get an extra full slip.

Proper undergarments are an unexpected expense so make sure you budget for this. It can also be an unexpected treat when the the gown is removed later!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Quality vs. Quantity – Small, Sumptuous Weddings

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Last week we unveiled one of the wedding trends that began developing in 2011 and will most likely continue into 2012 is downsizing. Many couples (not just those with budget restrictions)  are opting for smaller, more intimate gatheringe where their dollars are spent on quality vs. quantity; having  a luxurious, lavish affair for 75 people rather than a 350 person sit down dinner.  The problem is, where do you draw the line?

How to keep your small affair a small affair:

1) Make your guest ‘wish’ list and decide on the exact cut off number. This list is the closest people in your life, the people you cannot live without.  Decide immediately if you will be able to allow  single guests to bring a date or  parents to bring their children, stick to your guns and be prepared to have to defend this decision.

2) From the beginning, tell anyone who asks that you are planning a small, intimate gathering. This will prevent most from asking if they are invited. Be polite and tell them honestly, ” Jason and I have decided to have a smaller wedding and we will only be inviting family and our closest friends.” Of course, this means you should not be constantly talking about wedding plans to co-workers who are uninvited, save the juicy details for the maid of honor or your sibling. 

3) Be prepared to get some flak. Some people will a) not think this is a great idea and b) be offended they are not invited. This is your celebration, it is your choice to handle it as you see fit. Whatever reason they give you for their dissenting opinion –  ignore them.

4)  As soon as you have whittled the guest list to the desired number, find and book your location.  Once you have secured your location, everything will begin to fall in place and any negative feedback will be drowned out by the beauty of what you can accomplish for the same amount of money.

5) Keep the wedding party small. There is no hard and fast rule for this but, if the guest total is 75, stay with one or two attendants. Kate Middleton had only one bridesmaid and her wedding was enormous, keep that in mind.

The benefits of a smaller wedding are many; you can spend more money on things that really matter to you like an exclusive location,  maginficent meal, extraordinary flowers, glamorous gown, elaborate invitations,  A-list photographer and a sumptuous sweet table. In the end it truly is a matter of quality versus quantity.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Royal Wedding – Fashion Roundup part 1

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If I am writing with a British accent today, it’s because I am still totally immersed in the Royal Wedding.

My Fashion Round-up for the day:

HRH Princess Catherine emerged from her hotel under the tightest of security today wearing a simple, elegant gown by Sarah Burton of the Alexander McQueen label.  It was everything we thought it would be and less. Less?  It was simple and very refined,  it mirrored the sentiments of the worldwide economy -  modest and unpretentious. Her gown reminded me very much of the gown worn by Princess Grace of Monaco in her 1956 wedding  which suggests that fashion and good taste are indeed timeless.  Even the veil was similar, edged in lace and draped smoothly (not poufy) over her face. In reality it draped a little too close and seemed to flatten her hair en route to the ceremony. The reason? Veiling is very light and lace can be heavy, particularly the re-embroidered kind that edged her fingertip veil.  No real damage done since after the veil was lifted from her face it settled over the back of her head and cascaded from the simple Cartier tiara borrowed from the queen.  In case you didn’t notice, the lace also edged the hem of her gown, and was added in the folds which gave some much needed detail to the train which her sister Pippa fluffed and arranged beautifully.  Her bouquet was equally simple and understated.  A bit on the small side, it incorporated the traditional Myrtle from Queen Victoria’s garden, Lilac, Hyacinth and Sweet William, a tribute to her husband.

Pippa Middleton, maid of honor was also dressed in Sarah Burton. Her slender, ivory mermaid gown with shoulder pads ( are they back?) and a deep V cowl neck, appeared to be a bias cut gown made of 4 ply silk crepe.  Bias cut  is extremely hard to wear unless you have a near perfect figure, which she does. At first it seemed a bit tricky for her to navigate the steps since it was very close fitting around the knees and at one point I was afraid she was going to have to hop up the stairs but, she shortened her step slightly and paused before each step. Very clever of her, and exactly the kind of move you need to anticipate if you plan to wear this type of gown.  I absolutely loved the flowers in her hair!

Carole Middleton was stunning in pale blue. When I heard pale blue I winced slightly thinking it would resemble a washed out Robin’s egg. This was more of a cornflower blue which worked out beautifully with her tanned skin. The cut and style of her entire ensemble was dynamic on her svelte figure.  Good news, it  looks like the  Dukan Diet works! 

Camilla wore a two- tone, hand embroidered ensemble by Anna Valentine which was well suited to her frame. I am not sure I understand the color combination but, I was slightly distracted by the size of her hat. I really wish she would tone down her hair a bit since she is getting older and the bat-winged hairdo is a little dated.  Jimmy Choo shoes….. good choice!

Queen Elizabeth was dressed head to toe in yellow. The primrose dress, coat and hat were all designed by Angela Kelly. The hat was a bit square and I have seen her wear more flattering colors but she was all smiles and hardly seemed to be able contain her joy. Bonus: She was perfectly color-matched to the Dean of Westminster,  was that planned? My favorite QE moment was when she was escorting the bridesmaids (flower girls) onto the balcony. At that moment I hardly saw the Matriarch of  one of the most revered Monarchies, I saw a grandmother doting on her flock.

The bridesmaids’ dresses – ivory with ballerina length pleated skirts, puffed sleeves and gold sashes tied in a “sumptuous” bow – were created by bespoke childrenswear designer Nicki Macfarlane. Again, the term bridesmaids here is used to describe what we refer to as flowergirls. Bespoke is a term used to describe anything custom-made to the buyer’s specifications.
Prince William chose to wear his royal guard suit. Since he has trained in all branches of the military, he could have chosen to represent any of  those in the official military regalia with great pride. His choice was especially touching since the sole  job of  the Royal Guard is to protect members of the Royal Family.
Prince Harry not only looked truly handsome  donning full military regalia but, maintained his mischievous grin the entire time. Perhaps he was thinking of how he would ask Pippa to dance at the reception. Is it just me or would they make a cute couple?
For me, the best part of the day was when they came out onto the balcony for the  ‘kiss’  first made famous at their parents’ wedding 30 years ago. It was quick, of course.  PDA is out, and now (it seems) so is opulence. Simple is the new black and less is once again more!
Tomorrow Part 2:  Hats and Misses
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago