Wedding Planning Made Easy

I am sure you’ve heard that sometimes the truth hurts. The fact is – sometimes it doesn’t hurt at all. Sometimes the truth is easy and painless. I can give you one perfect example: The BEST first step you can take to planning your wedding is to make plans to attend a Bridal Expo Chicago/Milwaukee Luxury Event. That’s the truth.

However, there are some ways to make it easier and even more painless than you could imagine. I am thrilled to pass along these tips to you so you can save time and money and have a great time.

1) Make a day of it! Don’t plan to come to a show when you are in a hurry. Make this one day very special, plan a fantastic breakfast or brunch beforehand and stay for the entire show. You will not be sorry. You will save more time visiting our vendors in that one day than driving to and from every single vendor we have at our shows. How much time and money would you like to save?

2) Plan ahead. Before attending, bring a checklist of what services you need.  This will avoid confusion and save time. You won’t need to spend time shopping for vendors that you have already booked.

3) Bring your support team. Only bring those who offers you the best advice and gives you the most support.  Bring those people with you to keep you on task and focused on your needs.  You don’t want to bring ‘Debbie Downer’ with you and ruin an otherwise awesome event.

4) Bring contact labels. At each of our shows, you will have the eopportunity to sign up for amazing prizes and special deals from Bridal Expo and each of  our vendors. It saves so much time (not to mention writer’s cramp) if you have address labesl pre-printed with your contact information. Dont forget your email address! Make sure all the information is current.

5) Bring a digital camera. Yes, we not only allow but, encourage our brides to take pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words. There will be flowers, cakes, gowns,  and all kinds of other things that you will want to remember. This is the best way to document your preferences. Later you can print those pictures and place them in your wedding planner for quick referencing.

6) Leave the kids at home. If you have small children, this is the best time to cash in a favor from a good friend and ask them to watch the kids for the day. Small children will be overwhelmed by the crowds and you will want to be able to stay focused. Plus, there are no strollers allowed in the vendor area. The kids will thank you!

7) Arrive Early. This will give you time to register, and after you have visited every vendor you will be able to find a great seat for the Couture Runway Fashion show. No where else can you see this many luxurious designer  bridal fashions on one stage.

8) Come for the show, stay for the prizes.  At each and every Bridal Expo there are fabulous prizes given away on stage before, during and after our luxurious runway fashion show. Large prizes (fabulous getaways, diamond earrings, photogrpahy packages) and smaller prizes (countertop appliances and gift certificates). Either way, you will not win the prizes if you are not there to claim them. If the bride is not present when called, our Fashion Director and show commentator, Carol Tardi, will call another name. Don’t be the one that got away!

9) Be ready to save money. Many of our vendors  offer booking specials. Dont be afraid to save money. If you are not ready to make a decision,  ask for their information so you can contact them later. They will be happy to oblige. 

10) Relax. The wedding planning process should be fun and Bridal Expo will help make it easier.  Organization is the key to staying stress-free and focused.

 

-Penny Frulla For Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Cover Photo

Photo: Here is a photo taken during the finale of one of our recent luxury bridal shows.  Special thanks to Just Love Me { Photography + Design } and Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry.To see more from our runway, click here: http://www.bridalshowexpo.com/video_gallery.html

Spice Up Your Invitations!

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!

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

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

Destination Weddings – More Popular Than Ever!!

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

 

What Goes Under Your Bridal Gown – Undergarments Are Everything!

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  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. Let me repeat this – 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 a mermaid 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

 

Lavish Weddings – An Intimate Alternative

 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

 

 

Color Of The Day: Thoroughly Modern Mint!

 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.

Pinned Image

Mouthwatering treats of mint hues to delight your guests.

Pinned Image

 

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

Pinned Image

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

Whats Hot in 2013- Trend Alert!

If you are  having your wedding in 2013… do we have good news for you: there is a lot to look forward to, A LOT!  No matter what your budget, the top trends reporting for this coming year have something to offer for everyone! 

2013 is all about putting on the glitz!

“It’s a move towards sophistication,” says Alyssa Brown of Alison Events in San Francisco, the planners behind Seth Rogen’s recent nuptials. “For example, we’re planning an outdoor event right now, but there’s crystal on the table, and gold silverware and chargers,” Alyssa explains. “And black tie is playing a huge role right now. It’s full-length gowns for everybody!”

Along those same lines, couples will be opting for formality and sophistication in their tablescapes; crystal, chandeliers, chargers, gold silverware combined with eclectic elements to give a homespun feel.

 

2013 Flower of the year: The Peony. Soft, lush and romantic, the peony is the most requested wedding flower for two years running now, according to Sayles Livingston of Sayles Livingston Design in Newport, Rhode Island. But with the bloom available for only two months out of the year, brides need a backup. Sayles recommends the garden rose, which has the same delicate petal feeling but is much more readily available.

Eye- Popping Cakes. The cake style that dominates right now is clean and modern with  eye- popping color or all-over appliqués. Is it vintage or is it modern? Who knows, who cares – it is chic and adorable so go with it!.

 

“Less is More” Color. Neutral color palettes; Blush, grey, champagne will continue to trend among all brides whether formal, semi-formal or casual. Softer fabrics,laces, softer colors are one of the must-haves for a glamorous 2013 wedding. The look is surprisingly versatile and wears well on almost all skin tones.

 

Foil stamping is in! Look for glints of metallic gold, silver and bronzes stamped directly on the wedding invitation. Imagine your names, or calligraphy scrollwork looking modern in gold. It adds a very fun pop without being too glitzy.

 

Those with a sweet tooth, take heart.  Dessert bars are here to stay, but now they have a formal twist.Look for requests for dessert bars by color. For a white one; do merengues, French macaroons, fudge brownies topped with powdered sugar, and lots of desserts with vanilla-bean frosting.

wedding dessert table

 No matter what you are looking for in 2013, you will find everything you need at one of Bridal Expo Chicago’s Luxury Events. Please call our office at 847-428-3320 or visit our website www.bridalshowexpo.com to get tickets to a show in your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Say “Yes!” To Holiday Engagements

With twinkling  lights, jingling  bells and chestnuts roasting on open fires,  it’s no wonder December reigns as the most popular month to pop the question. Thirteen percent of marriage proposals happen in December, while February, despite Valentine’s Day, accounts for just 8 percent, according to the Conde Nast American Wedding Study.

Holiday proposals can be among the most romantic because there are so many creative ways to pop the question. Whether it is Christmas or New Year’s Eve or another celebration, these are my top five favorite  Holiday Proposals.

1) Spell out “Will you Marry me?” with Christmas lights. There are actually companies that will orchestrate the whole thing for you including setting up the lights or you can spend an afternoon (like Clark Griswold) toying with lights and extension cords – it’s up to you.

2) Wrap the ring box inside a large box and then successively smaller boxes so that your sweetheart will initially think the gift is quite large. Nesting boxes are great for this and often come in sets. As each layer is opened, the laughs will grow. Get down on one knee right as the last box is opened.

3) Decorating the Christmas tree together, you hand her an ornament which has the ring tied to the top of it. Make sure she is not standing on anything or she might fall off!

4) Organize a scavenger hunt. Start off with a simple clue to someplace nearby, then get more complicated as the scavenger hunt progresses, and have the final location be a place where you can hide and then pop out and get down on one knee.

5) Buy a scrabble game, spell out the words “Will you marry me” and glue the tiles onto the game board. When she opens the gift, make sure she opens the whole thing so she can see the tiles, and then present her with the real gift – the ring!

Whatever method you choose, this is a spectacular time to get engaged, since the holidays are all about family and celebrating with the people you love the most.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago