Making Wedding Favors Count!

Take-home favors have  been a staple at weddings for decades. A simple box of chocolates, a ribbon-tied group of Jordan almonds, a framed photo of the married couple.  The goal is to present your guests with a small token of your appreciation  with  a personal touch. Deciding on what favors to give  in a  creative manner seems to get harder all the time.

Budget – When deciding on what type of  favor to bestow upon your beloved family and friends, first you must consider your budget. Break it down by numbers.  If your budget is $800 and your confirmed guest list is 150 (add an extra 10 for overflow), you will only be able to spend $5 on each favor. It is easy to see how quickly these things add up, right?  Decide on your budget first before you get locked into a pricey favor that you cannot afford. Whenever you can, buy in bulk and do the work of assembling and gift-wrapping your wedding favors yourself.

Stay with one theme – After your budget is squarely in place, determine the style of your event. Vintage, rustic, modern or beach…. whats the overall theme of the day? It is important that your guests feel like you have put some thought into this. Mugs filled with coffee & cocoa samples would be adorable for a winter event but would make no sense at all if presented at a beachfront affair, no matter how well put together they are.

Personalize everything. Whether it is ribbon printed with your names or a simple monogram stamp, the personalized touches add a dramatic flair that definitely gives each gift some “WOW”! Imagine this : You place a candy bar next to each plate at every table…. Big Deal, right? Instead you could place a small box with three hand made truffles, tied with a personalized ribbon and a tiny, monogrammed gift tag that says “For Robin.. we love you”.  Which would you rather receive? Between boutiques, stationery stores and on-line resources, there are hundred (thousands) of places that can help you with rubber stamping and laser printing. Of course  some time, planning and effort go into this but, they are also things you can do as a couple, with your bridesmaids or your family. It can be a fun group activity, unless you are master do-it-yourself-er, then it is called therapy! It is well worth the end result.

Remember, this is a keepsake and a touchstone for you and your guests. It is intended to be a token of your appreciation and not an afterthought. Put as much planning into this as you would any other aspect of your wedding and your guests will be “WOW”-ed by your sincerity and thoughtfulness!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bride and Groom Gifts

Although you will be deluged with wedding gifts from friends and family, probably the most meaningful and special will be the gifts you give to each other. This is not one of those time-honored traditions that has to be handled one way or another or someone will be offended. This is a private matter and it doesn’t have to be a costly or grand gesture that makes everyone’s jaw drop. All is has to be is something you know your beloved would cherish.

If the bride and groom are paying for the entire wedding, that might be the gift in and of itself.

You will probably have a photographer for the wedding but, how about gifting each other a snazzy expensive camera to take fabulous honeymoon photos?

He would love cufflinks, you would love a diamond bracelet!



 How about having each other’s rings engraved with a personal sentiment?

Whatever you decide, it should be from the heart and done when the two of you are alone. Flashy gifts given in front of a large crowd are highly suspect in intention and sometimes lose the real meaning of gift-giving. Edmonton gift baskets are perfect for such occasions. This should be be between the two of you, given during one of the quiet moments you share before, during or immediatley after the wedding.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Hottest Thing in Wedding Favors? Flip Books!

Finding the right wedding favors can be a daunting task. Candles,  photo frames, keychains… they are all good and useful ideas. But, every now and then an idea comes along that is so good I can’t believe no one has thought of it until now. I present to you: Flip Books.

Flip Books  are individually crafted mini books, created using your own short (approximately 30 second ) digital video. Small, compact and durable, they make great mementos and are economical as well. Even less expensive if you buy several at once.

In addition to wedding favors, they make great attendant gifts. Make a short video from your bridal shower, a staged video of the two of you dancing or laughing or doing  just about anything!

The way it works is that the video is taken apart frame by frame and each frame is placed on a right side page. As you ‘flip’ through the book, it is like watching the mini video – without any devices involved. Genius – pure and simple!

You can also customize one (or more)  for your own keepsake after the wedding to include a bouquet  toss, reciting your vows, or a portion of your first dance.

The flipbooks are made with durable, heavy-duty binding, the photos are printed on  heavy bond digital paper which makes your video spring to life. There are several websites that offer flipbook so make sure you see their work in person before you  buy anything.

My best advice for anyone who wants to use this idea: Start filming short ( 2 minute) videos of wedding activities  as soon as possible. This way you can edit the video down to highlight the best 15-20 seconds of action. Upload, place the order and you are done.  Although most sites offers different covers, customized labels will add your own personal touch!

Happy Flipping!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

greeting card flipbooks

Engagement Ring Etiquette

The most recent celebrity dispute over engagement ring ownership stems an old debate: “Who keeps the ring if the engagement is broken off?” Clearly Jesse James and Kat Von D were madly, desperately in love when he popped the question with a $50,ooo  Neil Lane engagement ring. Now, the wedding is off and apparently so are the gloves. He said she needs to return the ring, she said he cheated, he said it was intended for her to keep only if they got married, she said “No way!”  Much like  the Kardashian/ Humphries debacle (although the wedding clearly took place in the latter example) this is another example of bad judgement and bad manners. To Kim K’s credit, she has offered to buy back the $2 million ring from her husband of 2 months…. it turns out she made arrangements for this in the pre-nup.

Etiquette dictates  the rule as follows: If the man breaks off the engagement, the woman keeps the ring. If the woman stops short of the altar, the groom-NOT-to-be keeps the rock.  Size doesn’t matter, whether  it is a 20 carat ring or a diamond chip, the rules still apply. There is only one exception to this rule: family heirlooms. If  he hands you his grandmother’s ring (the one she wore while your grandfather was stationed overseas in WWII, anxiously awaiting his return so they could being their lives together) you are obligated by the laws of morality and kindness to give it back to him.

However, the legal system doesnt always agree with the rules of etiquette. There are a mutitude of cases where the courts have ruled in favor of one party or another, whether they were they were at fault or not. This begs the question, “Why would you want to keep a reminder of a soured relationship?” Because legally, acceptance of the ring represents a binding contract according to legal experts specializing in these type of pre-matrimonial disputes.  Another legal twist occurs when ring was given as a present for a birthday or Christmas. In this case the law in most states declare the ring to be a gift and treated as such.

For me, spending this kind of negative energy and paying lawyers to settle things is a waste of time. However, if I found myself in a relationship where the groom-to-be was  repeater cheater, abuser or basic jackass and it had to be ended (mid-engagement) … I would probably keep the ring and defend myself in court if need be, sans lawyer.

What do you think?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Gift Giving Made Easy

We have all heard the old adage that is it better to give than to receive and I know from experience that there is that one occasion where you can’t wait to give someone that most special gift. The one thing they have always wanted or the one thing that will brighten their day. It could be a small kitchen appliance that they really, really want or something as large a s a bundle of cash. When giving a wedding gift (or any gift) the most important thing to remember is that ‘presentation is everything’.

Don’t re-gift. If you received a serving platter that you don’t like and you can’t return, move on. Giving it to someone else is only acceptable if they have coveted it and you have agreed they can have it. In any case you still owe them a wedding gift. The worst gift horror stories involve monogrammed items or items with the original gift card enclosed. Take some time and put some thought into a gift.

Cash is King. If you prefer to give cash as a gift, it is frowned upon to hand someone a roll of bills rolled into a ball with a rubber band wrapped around them (unless you are my father-in-law). Buy a lovely card, go to the bank and get brand new, crisp money and put it in the envelope. Checks are okay, too but the most important thing is finding a card that expresses your sentiments.

No receipt.  The most beautiful thing you have ever seen in your life may not be beautiful to someone else so, always include the receipt. Either tape it to the gift or tape to the inside of the card to make sure that it wil not get lost. Stores now give a nice receipt with no numbers, so it can be returned discreetly. Not giving them a receipt indicates that you don’t care if they like it or that you are embarrassed that you didn’t pay retail. I was given a gift one time with no receipt and the tags cut off…. not cool.

Last but, not least:

Wrap it up. If you are one of those people who thinks a gift bag with some tissue crammed into it is a substitute for wrapping a gift, it’s time to take a course in gift wrapping.  No matter how cute it is, suitable ‘wrapping’  for taking a gift to a casual birthday gathering is not suitable for a wedding. Buy some  beautiful wrapping paper, a roll of scotch tape, some nice matching fabric ribbon and wrap the gift. Wrap the gift and tie a bow (a real bow) on the gift. Don’t forget a matching gift card or gift tag with a nice handwritten note. Because, if it truly is the thought that counts, put some thought into it.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago