Veils, veils and more veils!

Considering the average bride spends $275 on her wedding veil and headpiece, it only seems natural that we examine how bridal head-wear has evolved in the last 100 years.

In the 1920’s it was the cloche hat with a long, heavy lace edged veil attached.

In the early 1930’s it was an even longer veil with little or no lace edge but still attached to a smaller version of the cloche.

In the late 1930’s it evolved to a larger headpiece (not a hat at all) usually paired with a smaller, fingertip veil and no lace edge at all.

In the 1940’s the veil became less significant as women were wearing hats – decorative, embellished and grandiose!

The early 1950’s saw the return of the veil, mostly fingertip or even shorter along with a small hat (of course) and the latter part of the 1950’s was dominated by the return of the lace edge, thanks to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Along comes the 1960’s and the re-invention of the veil. BIG and short and long and wide, along with a pillbox hat or all by itself – the veil was back!

The most popular headpiece throughout the 1970’s was called a Juliet cap which sat on the back of the head with any and all kinds of veil, short or long.

The 1980’s was veil paradise – long veils embellished with sequins and the famous “pouf” which came in layers attached to the back of a headband that usually came to a point in the middle of the forehead, sometimes with a giant teardrop in the center. Or a huge bow on the back of your head with an even huger veil attached. Everything over-embellished bend your imagination.

The 1990’s brought an end to the era of big is better and more is not enough. The headpieces were streamlined just like the gowns and most of the time you would see a woman with nothing more than a silk or some kind of embellished flower on the side of her hair, low in the back with a long simple veil.

At the turn of the century, Tiaras were the headpiece of choice and veils were attached to them in  various ways, almost always so they could be removed after the ceremony and you could wear the headpiece without the veil for the reception.

The current trend in headpieces is crystal headbands and hair ornaments. Most are worn with some sort of detachable veil, some are worn without any kind of veil at all.

The veil has gone through many different changes and stood up to dozens of trends. However, brides across the board seem to agree on one thing: the veil is very important to the overall look and most don’t feel completely dressed for their wedding without it.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

All Bridesmaid Gowns Are Not Created Equal

Interestingly, the strapless  trend  (you know, the one that has been lingering around bridal gowns a bit too long) has not had much affect on bridesmaid gowns. Bridesmaid gowns have gone from bad (in the 1970’s) to horrible (1980’s) and then slowly back to good. The early years of the last decade of the 20th century (1991 & 1992) seemed to bring us what we had been searching for… tasteful dresses that look good, made of nice fabrics that can be (dare I say?) worn again. It seemed to happen overnight, designers began producing bridesmaid gowns that were flattering and affordable and since then, bridesmaids everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.

That doesn’t solve all the problems since all women are not created equal, some are created ample and some gowns just don’t look good on everyone. So how do you decide on which gown for your nearest and dearest friends when you want them all to look good? When it comes to selecting bridesmaid gowns you only have a couple of choices:

All the same. Same color, same style no matter what.  Best friend is a size 4 and sister is a size 22? Same dress. You have your style laid out and this dress is perfect. You  can make it work. Best bet: Only look at gowns that come in a wide range of sizes and avoid anyting too exposing if you have a larger bridesmaid. 

Same Color, different dress. Give your bridesmaids a choice of which gown to choose as long as they are the same color. T his works well only when you limit the choices to those offered by the same company. Otherwise the color may vary and the fabric may be incompatible, causing it to show up completely different in photos.

There are pros and cons of either but,  haven been given the option of both at various points in my life, the latter option seems to work the best and is also the most popular among brides and their maids. Everyone is happy and comfortable and gets to select a gown she looks good in and feels good wearing. It also takes into account that a larger women will not be comfortable wearing the same thing as a smaller woman. Most importantly it gives everyone the opportunity to have a gown they love and if the planets are aligned properly….wear again.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Big Beautiful Bridesmaids – Finding a Dress That Fits

Everyone who has ever been a bridesmaid knows two things about bridesmaid dresses; you hardly ever wear them again and they run small.

For the average size 10 woman, she will need to purchase a size 12 or maybe 14 bridesmaid gown. The rule is that you always fit the biggest body measurement since the gown can be taken in everywhere and rarely let out anywhere. But, when your best friend in the world  is a size 24, what do you do? As the size 24 bridesmaid do you  tell the bride you are uncomfortable wearing the dress she picked? Is it fair to ask the largest woman, who is probably the least secure about her physical appearance to wear the same dress as everyone else? Do you ask her to lose weight?  Do you find a similar gown for her to wear? Trust me, I have seen every angle of this debate and it never changes, and  it is near impossible to make everyone happy with your choice. So what do you do if you love your friend and you really want her to look  and feel  her best? The first step is to have an open conversation about the topic. She will be so relieved that you are sensitive about this topic that you may have to pick her up off the floor!

Different gowns –Offering the bridesmaids gown choices of the same color and different styles dates back over two decades. It works beautifully then and it is still by far the best option for bridesmaids of all sizes. Here is how it works: each bridesmaid has  a different style of gown but in  the exact same  color and length. If you can find the same fabric, that’s even better – but don’t let this tiny detail deter you when selecting the dress.

Custom gown– If the bridesmaid gown you have chosen does not come in larger sizes, many bridal salons  have the capability to make a custom gown of the exact same style and fabric for a larger bridesmaid. Same fabric, same style, same everything. The upside is that the gown will almost always be exactly the same as the others, the downside is that it will probably double the price. Other factors are that  (as the bridesmaid) you will not know how you look in the gown until it is in production and all sales are final. Sometimes this is the absolute best option and everyone is ecstatic with the outcome.

No matter which option you choose as a bride or bridesmaid, consider these tips:

Fit – Most women do not want to be squeezed into a dress like a tube of toothpaste regardless of their size but it is especially important if you have an ample figure. Leave a little wiggle room by ordering the larger size and you won’t regret it.

Style: Find a gown that has an empire waist, fuller skirt or other components that are not too restricting.  Plunging necklines can sometimes bring the eye away from trouble areas and enhance the face but, remember that a bigger bustline  has disadvantages, too. Make sure everyone is comfortable with how much cleavage is exposed as this could be a personal catastrophe if there is not enough coverage. Absolutely avoid strapless.

Fabric – Avoid super-shiny satin and stiff taffeta. Find fabrics that move like chiffon, crepe and charmeuse. After you sit down in a tight satin dress you will stand up to a wrinkled mess.

Undergarments– Girdles are a thing of the past!  However, Spanx and other similar undergarments can provide not only some help smoothing out trouble areas but also help the dress fit better. If your bustline is the bigger problem, make sure you get a suitable bra that offers comfort as well as support. Better yet – find a one piece bodysuit that has the bra built in! Comfort and support are the key elements. The right undergarments will vastly improve the way you look and feel in your bridesmaid gown.

 Designers finally figured out that beautiful bridesmaids come in all sizes and offer gorgeous gowns in every shape, size and price range. You don’t have to break the bank and you don’t have to settle for anything less than fabulous!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Check out luxury French lingerie Juste Moi!

Counterfeit Couture – How To Avoid Fakes

In difficult economic times most people look to save a few dollars on the pricier items they need for their wedding. Since the average wedding gown costs about $1500, I would estimate that the average designer gown is about $3000. Although this seems like a great place to shave off a few dollars, it is also the place where you are most likely to be scammed when you don’t know what you are looking for.

Designer merchandise is more expensive for several reasons; a lot of time has been put into  fit, fabrics and materials are higher quality and the construction is considerably better. Considering that almost all ‘replica’ merchandise is made in China, that should tell you something.

Christian Louboutin shoes  are extremely popular right now and are about the easiest fakes to recognize. For a while, the flagship store sold the designer shoes with a baby blue sole to represnt the ‘something blue’ for brides.  If you are thinking of purchasing a pair of those rare limited edition blue soled shoes, I can offer no help as I have not seen the real or fake in person. However, the red soled Louboutins have a shiny red, flexible sole with no other color present. Fakes almost always have a thin black band at the shoe part of the sole, have a matte finish and are more stiff than the real ones. Another hint is that the back of an aunthentic Louboutin will have a smooth, straight seam with no tab or overlap. I just finished reading a shopping alert telling the story of  unscrupulous shoppers  who buy, wear and return merchandise all the time. Here’s how it works: they buy the real shoes and return the fakes. Many times the unsuspecting store employees don’t even know the difference until it is too late. Can you imagine buying a $700 pair of shoes and getting dime-store knock-offs? The word furious comes to mind, along with a few others.

Designer Bridal Gowns –Tags means nothing. A long, long time ago I used to work in a salon where we removed every tag from every sample gown the minute they arrived… I still don’t know why. The point is that we had (on hand) large containers jam-packed with authentic designer labels. If someone were not honest, they cold pass off a replica as authentic simply by sewing this into the gown of an uneducated consumer. I do not know of any reputable salon that engages in this practice but, if someone were so inclined- it is very easy to accomplish.  The best way to spot a fake is to see it in person, ask to see the sample and compare as many of the details as you can. The best way to avoid this in the first place is to shop  only with authorized retailers of the gowns you select. Contact the designer or look on their website for recommended retailers in your area. An even better way to avoid this is to purchase your gown at a trunk show where the designer or a representative is present.

Accessories –Headpieces and jewelry are harder to spot since they are not as often copied. Shop on the internet if you will, but purchase in person. When you come across a high end headpiece or jewelry designer like Maria Elena or Cheryl King you will want to make sure you are getting what  you pay for. Again, ask for an authorized dealer in your area and avoid the internet.

Purses –Glad you asked. Purses are the most often copied merchandise and the hardest to spot. It is all in the details. Sloppy stitches, buckled material, crooked stones are all signs of a fake. If you are buying a Judith Leiber bag, remember they DO NOT have serial numbers embossed like other designer bags. They are lined with leather, usually silver or gold metallic and the stones are sizes 7-12.

WORST OFFENDERS: The internet is a hotbed of fraud. Anything that seems too good to be true, probably is. If you care about the label, about the construction, fit and fabric, purchase only from  a reputable retailer. This is true for any of your wedding merchandise. Ebay has cracked down on counterfeit merchandise, at one time hosting hundreds of counterfeit items claiming to be real. Now the counterfeit items have to be sold as such. There are some legitimate, authentic designer items for sale on the internet but these items are usually  samples or have been previously worn or used. Know what condition the item is in before you buy.

How to avoid fakes:

Remember- You get what you pay for.

Never buy an item missing tags or labels.

Always purchase from a reputable, authorized dealer.

If you think you have been sold counterfeit designer merchandise, contact your state’s attorney general and file a report. Make sure you have all pertinent information including date and point of purchase, name of seller and the form of payment used. You may also have recourse through the credit card company if you purchased using  a credit card.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Monaco Hosts First Royal Bash in 55 years!

Once the world’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Albert of Monaco tied the knot last Saturday to Charlene Wittstock in both a civil and religious ceremony ending the day with a massive celebration.

I know its hard for young women to believe this middle aged, balding and somewhat pasty looking man was once arm candy but he was. This man dated the world’s most beautiful women – for over 30 years.  He has fathered at least two children out of wedlock, he has been photographed with more Hollywood A-listers than Oprah, he had hair and style and tons of money, he is the prince of Monaco and his mother was Grace Kelly. I mean really – who could ask for anything more?  But for those same thirty years he would never quite commit to marriage… until recently. Charlene Wittstock is not your typical princess. She is a trained athlete whose primary interests were swimming and running rather than fashion and partying. In addition to being extremely beautiful and elegant, she is also the global ambassador for the Special Olympics. Smart, compassionate and beautiful, a winning combination for Prince Albert, 

The bride began the wedding festivites on Friday with the civil ceremony wearing a blue chiffon palazzo pantsuit created for her by Chanel. If you saw this – it was an odd ceremony with everyone seated and Prince Albert winking the whole time. Odd. Of course it was in French so I didn’t quite know what they were saying but it did not seem as somber to him as everyone else.

Saturday was the religious ceremony for which the bride wore a white silk, off the shoulder bridal gown by Giorgio Armani Prive with an 18+ ft train embellished with over 20,000 Swarovski crystals! According to reports,  the gown took over 2500 hours to complete. Looks can be deceiving since it was a very simple and showed no signs of that kind of laborious detail. I felt the neckline was a little odd shaped for her athletic body type and the entire gown was rather bland.

At the dinner (wedding reception) that followed the religious service, the princess wore another Armani creation – a white silk chiffon gown with a broad neckline and embroidered four-tier train. This was a mature look for a young-ish woman. I would like to have seen her in something less flouncy and more flowing. But the truth is that when you have a figure like hers you can wear anything and look great. And she did.

There were seven maids of honor (aka flowergirls)  around the age of 7 who wore traditional Monegasque outfits designed by Jean-Michel Lainé, the director of the costume workshop of the Ballets de Monte Carlo. The costumes (I mean gowns) were made of precious silks and fine fabrics rather than the cotton counterparts they represented. They wore lace up ballet shoes, silk pantaloons, velvet chokers with a small gold cross and  broad brimmed straw hats adorned with cream mimosa, lined with silk toile, Their outfits were so charming and picturesque they completely stole the show.  I actually thought they might break out in song but, no such luck.

As for the (former) playboy prince, he wore basic black suits ( probably custom, definitely expensive) to both the civil ceremony and the reception but opted for a  dress white uniform for the religious ceremony. His father, by comparison, wore a black jacket when he wed Grace Kelly. I am not sure of proper Royal attire or Head of State protocol on these matters but, I preferred the darker suit. I think the white uniform made him look like the Love Boat Captain.

Of course the highlights of the reception were the massive cake and the fireworks display for the entire principality to enjoy!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridal Gown Shopping FUN!

Selecting your bridal gown is probably one of the best shopping experiences in your life, or at least it should be. It should also be a fun and an uplifting experience. Unfortunately reality can rear its ugly head and turn your dream into a nightmare if not managed properly. Yes, you will have to manage a shopping trip. 

The Bridal Salon – Select a Bridal Salon that you trust. Make sure you have checked them out thoroughly and they are highly recommended.  Make your appointment in person so you can see the salon and familiarize yourself with parking, etc. If at all possible, avoid busy times and book your appointment when there is less traffic. This will ensure you get the most out of your hour-long visit. Keep in mind that you will be going back for fittings if you decide to travel a great distance to find a gown.

The  Companions –I recommend bringing no more than three people with you. Generally less is better since having five opinions on every dress is  a mathematical disaster. In this case 5×10 = stress. This is not a bridesmaid function or a family picnic. Meet up with them afterward to show them a picture of the dress you bought.  This appointment is only for people whose taste you trust, people whose opinion you respect, those who will behave properly in this environment and of course whoever is paying for the gown (if it is not you). Maybe I’ve witnessed too many appointments gone wrong where the bride is in tears because Aunt Fanny said her butt looked too  big, or worse. If Aunt Fanny has a habit of saying hurtful things include her in something else wedding-related. No matter how much you love her, she might not be the best person to have in the fitting room with you. Mom & Dad  if they are available,  sisters who are supportive and of course a TGF (Tasteful Gay Friend)  are always  good choices.

The Underwear –Remember when your mother told you to always put on clean underwear in case you were in accident? That goes double for trying on wedding gowns. If you plan to wear a strapless gown, bring a strapless bra or ask if the salon has them available for trying on gowns. Wear your best undergarments, bring shoes with the same heel height you wish to wear for your wedding and always make sure your hygiene is impeccable. Spend a little extra time on your hair and makeup that day as well since if you are successful in finding a gown, you will probably want to take some pictures. If you already have family jewelry you wish to wear, by all means bring that as well. You will feel better, look better and get a much better idea of how you will look on the day of your wedding.

The Appointment –  Arrive early in case your consultant has some extra time and can take you before your scheduled time. Most bridal gowns appointments last one hour and trust me, with their experience this is plenty of time to find a gown for you. Make sure you are comfortable with your consultant, spend a few minutes making sure they understand what type of wedding gown you are in search of. Describe the ceremony and reception locations to them and don’t leave anything to the imagination. You do not need a cathedral train for a resort wedding, so make it clear what is off  limits right away. This is also the time to specify your budget….. and leave some wiggle room. If you absolutely cannot go over $3,ooo make sure the consultant knows this so they don’t bring gowns that are $4,000 and up. If the consultant brings in gowns that are twice your budget, do not try them on because as luck would have it – this is probably the gown you will fall in love with.  I have seen tears, temper tantrums and anxiety attacks over this. Most salons do not allow any photography unless you have purchased the gown so always ask before taking pictures.

The Gown – Maybe it is the first gown you try on. Maybe it is the fifteenth (lets hope not) but you have found a gown and you know it is THE one.  Buy it. You look great and you feel great so what is stopping you? Don’t wait until next week so you can bring another person to tell you what you already know…. just buy the gown. Some brides hesitate when it comes time to making that final decision and I’m not sure why. There is always the question, “What if I order it and then later on I like something better?”  Here is my answer: Finding the right gown is similar to finding the right partner, when it’s right you will stop looking.  Something better will not come along. You have found the dress and all you have to do is buy it.

Most of all when shopping for your bridal gown, be respectful of your consultant, your family or friends who have accompanied you and the other guests in the salon.

Gum-chewing is unacceptable, opt for Altoids if you want to freshen your breath.

Profanity is unacceptable, if you cannot control your temper or your vocabulary, maybe a thesaurus or charm school is in order. If that is not an option, take a deep breath and count to ten.

Don’t bring anything to eat or drink in the fittings rooms. Bottled water may seem innocuous but try spilling 20 ounces of it  on a silk wedding gown and let me know how that works out. Even plain water will stain most delicate fabrics .

Now that you have the basics, take a moment to watch our couture runway fashion show video so you can get inspired to find the gown of your very own dreams.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Party is Over… what to do with your Wedding Gown?

Most women don’t give much thought to their gown the day after their wedding. It’s kind of funny, really because that is the single most important thing that most brides obsess over on their wedding day and now it sits in a box or hanging in a bag somewhere in the closet, or attic or their parent’s garage. There is so much more you can do with your gown depending upon how far you are willing to go.

Lets face it, most ladies do not want to wear their mother’s bridal gown. If your mother was married in the 1970’s it was probably made of polyester and had long sleeves and an empire waist. Not a popular look for 2011. If she was married in the early 1980’s you could probably use her gown to make about two gowns considering the amount of fabric used in the average gown circa 1982. This is good to take into consideration since saving your wedding gown for your daughter may sound like a good idea but, in reality she will probably want her own gown…. something new!

Depending upon how far you are willing to go, there are several options available for your ever-so-slightly used wedding gown.

Donate-There are several organizations that take donated wedding gowns. They accept donations based on several factors and each one of them has different criteria. Some sell the gowns and donate the proceeds to a charity, some give the gowns away to worthy recipients. It varies so check with your organization to see if their process suits your needs. One place to check is which has a national database of organizations in each state.

Re-Sale– Consignment shops will take gowns that have been cleaned and are in very good to excellent condition for re-sale in their shops. In fact, Bridal Re-Sale shops popped up all over the country when “Going Green’ became tres chic a few years back. Recycling may no longer be the new black nut it is still chic and sensible. You can also try craigslist, ebay and other online selling techniques. most women prefer the consignment method since they will want to try on a gown before they purchase. Look for a resale shop that is clean, has fitting rooms and does not smell like moth balls or patchouli!  When the average cost of a bridal gown in 2011 is more than I spent on my first car, I see nothing wrong with trying to recoup a few bucks on a major purchase!







Destroy – Trash the Dress or Rock the Frock is  a growing trend. Watching videos of this process and seeing photos first hand, I can tell you this is a very cathartic process. Mostly staged and sometimes done in group fashion, brides are encouraged to adorn the full bridal gear: headpiece, jewelry, makeup just as if it were ‘the big day’ all over again for a full-blown photo shoot. Then seemingly out of nowhere, circumstances present themselves to destroy the gown beyond repair. Paint or other elements smeared  all over the front of a very expensive designer gown sounds ghastly but admittedly looks like a fun way to declare the wedding is over. Getting the groom involved may also prove to be cathartic for him as well since he has probably endured countless hours of bridal gown speculation, shopping, fitting and drama.

Re-Use. If you have a formal gown it is unlikely you will ever wear it again, realistically. Unless you want to dress as a zombie bride for Halloween or (like a woman I have known for the better part of my life) wear it every year on your anniversary, the gown will probably not be re-worn as is. But, it can be re-used. The fabric, the lace, the entire thing can be cut up in various ways and skillfully used to make a beautiful and sentimental Christening gown for your child.








Preserve – Of course your gown can always be cleaned, boxed and preserved for future use.  It is packaged with acid-free tissue and the box is sealed shut with a viewing window so you can make sure it is your gown. If  handled according to the preservation company’s recommendations, the gown can be stored for eternity(?) without yellowing, fading or showing any signs of age.  Make sure it is your gown in the box  and if you gave them the headpiece (to preserve) that it is also in the box.

Whatever you decide to do,  make sure to place a big post-it on your refrigerator to remind yourself to launder your gown since only one of the above options does not require post-wedding cleaning.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Celebrity Wedding Roundup

Didn’t it seem like last year there were hardly any celebrity weddings? With the exception of the spectacular union of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinky which had all the right elements including two Vera Wang gowns, secret service and Hollywood guest list.

This year getting married seems to be the new black in Hollywood, even Hugh Hefner is jumping on the bandwagon (again) after bachelor-ing it up on reality TV for several seasons. Probably most notable and most recent (and most interesting)  is the engagement of Kim Kardashian to her basketball playing fiance, Kris Humphries.  

I love celebrity weddings for a million reasons and I am often disappointed by them. I love seeing what they come up with given their seemingly limitless budgets and star-studded guestlists. I loved Celine Dion’s over-the-top wedding, except her hideous head gear. Seriously, what was that? I loved Mariah Carey’s fairy princess look at her first wedding even though in retrospect  it seems gaudy. And trust me, I was sore when I picked up a people magazine with a photo of Julia Roberts with Lyle Lovett in basically a nightgown with bare feet. I still don’t get it but, I eventually forgave her. :)

So as I await details of the  second trip down the aisle for Kim Kardashian, the Reality A-lister, I would expect to see a lot of pomp …. under the circumstances.  And, of course the speculation begins as to what (who) she will wear.

What will Kim wear? With a 20 carat, 2 million dollar engagement ring, the stakes are high. Vera Wang is very possible since her sister wore a Vera Wang for her wedding not so long ago and Vera Wang has the kind of name recognition that the Kardashian Klan adores. Of course there are dozens of suitable high end designers;  Amsale, Ines Di Santo, Rivini, Monique Lhullier… the list goes on. However, looking at pictures of Kim K and her flair for wearing body-hugging styles, my guess is Pnina Tornai or Stephen Yearick.  Furthermore, since Kleinfelds of  “Say Yes to The Dress” fame is the exclusive distributor for the Pnina Tornai collection, I think a reality  mega-merger is in store. Perhaps a  one hour special “Kim Takes Klenifeld’s”! I am quite often wrong when I speculate so don’t hold me to that. One thing is for sure, don’t look for her to be following the understated look worn recently by Catherine Middleton. In Hollywood less is never more and not enough is worse than nothing at all. Fortunately,  the Kardashian’s never disappoint when it comes to glitz and glamour. 

Here are my picks for the Kardashian bridal party:

Bridal Gown  – Tight fitting corset bodice with a tremendous, detailed skirt! I personally love this one-shoulder gown with the draped bodice. It is unique and fabulously couture!

Bridal Party – Something slim and flowing, something feminine and chic. For instance the pleated metallic halter  gown by Carmen Marc Valvo or a pastel gown executed flawlessly by the  Enzoani Love Collection. For something more vibrant, there is always a Redux Charles Chang-Lima silk gown in bright red.  These would look great on any of them or the Mother of the Bride.

Stay tuned as details of the big day unfold! Until then, you can see all of the latest designer gowns at each and every Bridal Expo. Or take a minute now to watch our couture runway show which (unlike some celebrity weddings) never disappoints.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Something Pink, something new! Bridal gowns explore color like never before.

Yesterday I caught a glimpse of Reese Witherspoon’s bridal gown on the cover of  People magazine. I was in a hurry so I didn’t pick up the magazine to get a closer look but, it was pink…. and if it is anything like the other gowns by Monique Lhullier, it is sure to be a stunner! It was her second wedding so she wanted to do something less traditional and pink was a great choice. She was able to have a beautiful gown and ceremony without  the whole white “virgin’ bride stigma. It also channeled her innocence and really emphasized her beauty.

In fact, color has made a huge impact over the last few seasons, whether it’s a kick of color in a sash, a bow or embroidery, or all-over color, the latest, greatest trend in bridal gowns is COLOR! Subtle pinks, blues, peach, silver and even lavender are making their way to the runway and directly to bridal salons near you.

Color was first shown in bridal in the 1980’s. I remember the first pink bridal gown that arrived at our salon. The UPS box came and we all stood back in awe. We couldn’t wait for someone to try it on and when the first bride purchased that gorgeous pink creation -we all smiled, knowing the world would be more beautiful for at least a day.

Since then, designers (and brides) everywhere have broken free from the strangle-hold of white. Of course, white is still the color of choice by a huge margin but, now designers off so many other options and ways to express your individuality and style!

Consider this:

The color blue signifies purity, love and  fidelity. If you select a blue bridal gown, you can also mark one more thing off of your “something’ list.  Something Blue will be the bridal gown.

Pink, particularly in pale shades, is a sign of romance. Remember that pink is a combination of red (passion) and white (calm). A pink bridal gown will definitely make you feel like a princess for the day.

Lavender signifies mystery, magic and royalty. A lavender bridal gown will conjur up the illusion that you are somehow in complete control of everything around you. This might be exactly what you need.

Silver or Grey show that you have impeccable taste and style. Don’t forget to check the lighting in your venue since the lighter shades of grey and silver will probably show up as white without the proper lighting.

If you decide to go with color, use other color sparingly in your bridal outfit. A muted bouquet and accessories will bring out the beauty of the color of your choice instead of fighting with other colors in pictures.

If you are interested in a pastel bridal gown call 847-428-3320 for complimentary tickets to a show in your area. We have color!!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Single Ring Ceremonies – to have or to have not?

I can’t help myself. I am addicted to coverage of the wedding of Kate Middleton to Prince William. With less than a month left, I check the headlines on CNN  Yahoo every day to see what detail has been leaked. The gown speculation alone is killing me. Today I woke up to the news that Prince William will not be wearing a wedding ring. They referred to it as a “single ring ceremony”. Interesting.

Realistically it was not even until after World War II that men began to wear wedding rings. It had been that way for hundreds of years. Of course styles and customs evolve and drastically change over the course of time but, traditionally men did NOT wear a ring and it was considered rather odd to do so.

Right after the end of the war it became fashionable for wedding rings to come in sets; engagement ring with matching his and hers bands. And it seems that ever since Brad Pitt announced to the world that the couple had designed their own rings, jewelers  began offering engaged couples the opportunity to design their own rings, throwing caution to the wind and wearing whatever they want.Engagement ring with his and hers matching bands.

In 2011 about 80% of all men wear wedding bands of some sort. They can be encrusted with diamonds or a simple gold band but make no mistake – the current protocol is for men to wear a wedding band.  If a man chooses not to wear a band it is usually due to a high risk profession such as a carpenter or mechanic. This is why it strikes outsiders as odd that Prince William has announced he will not wear a ring and offers to reasoning behind it.

Now for the first time ever I have to also confess that I have no opinion about this. I feel it is a personal choice and that a wedding band does not make a great or even good husband. A lot of real schmucks wear wedding bands. A lot of phenomenal husbands don’t. I am merely speculating here but, my best guess it that there may be a new trend on the horizon for men.

If you are engaged to a man who has no interest in wearing a wedding band,  remember you are not alone and if this is a choice you both agree on – fantastic.  However, make sure you have agreed upon it so there will be no reason to bring it up during a heated argument.  The day after you are married is not the time to try to change his mind. Also discuss it with your jeweler, maybe your betrothed has some pre-conceived notions about the fit and feel of a ring on his finger.  He could be wrong – it happens.

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

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