Move Over, Cupcakes!!!

It was just last year that the biggest trend on wedding sweet tables and at receptions was the cupcake. The cupcake was the hippest, hottest must-have for weddings in 2011 and I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything more fun or festive for a wedding sweet table. Guess what? I was dead wrong. I would like to introduce you to the ” Cake- Pop”.

Take a good look at this sweet little gem, you are going to be seeing a lot of it.

Cake Pops were ‘invented’ in 2011 by a woman who goes by the name ‘Bakerella’. On her website you will see a very happy young woman who says she was inspired to start blogging about her baking attempts after taking a cake decorating class.  I saw her website, I hope she got an A+. Maybe she didn’t invent them but she certainly is credited with bringing them into everyday conversation and to wedding sweet tables everywhere . Thank you, Bakerella.

In my quest to find out everything there is to know about cake pops I found that there are two different kinds:

1) Traditional cake-pops are made by crumbling an entire cake with some frosting into a bowl, smashing it into balls, inserting a popsicle or lollipop stick and dipping in hardening chocolate.

2) The newer version of the cake pop is made with a special baking pan that you fill with cake batter and cover with th accompanying  lid that completes the sphere to bake a  perfect circle every time. Insert stick, dip in chocolate and voila!

Of course cake-pops are not intended to replace the traditional wedding cake (but you could), they are adding another layer of deliciousness and pizazz to the sweet table (which they will). You can dip them in all kinds of toppings, sprinkles or have a great time decorating them. They are small and easy to work with, because they are on a stick and they are just the right shape. No mess, no fork, no plate, these little wonders will have you wondering…. what will they come up with next?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Photobooth Fun – Candids that count!

 A few years ago at one of our Bridal Expos,  I discovered this new trend in weddings where (in addition to the official photographer)couples were hiring photo-booth companies to bring a portable booth to the reception to allow their guests to take fun snapshots in the privacy of a cloaked ‘room’. I immediately had to try it out. I was surprised at how quickly it produced the photos, the quality of the photo itself and how there seemed to be some magical quality about the experience. I was sold.

The benefits of the photo-booth are many:

1) Get the guests up out of their seats, moving around the room and interacting with people outside of the table. You might  run into someone you haven’t seen in a long time and you might meet a new friend and discover you share a common bond with the bride and groom. At the very least you will be able to have a richer experience of the wedding.

2) See a side of your guests that may have previously gone unnoticed. By getting everyone involved in this, table by table or as individuals, they will lighten up a bit. Maybe, just maybe, they will let their hair down a little and loosen up the tie long enough to have fun and (dare I say it) even bust a move on the dance floor a little later. The door is open.

3) Get your guests talking. This will be a conversation piece as well as a functional method of preserving memories. People will be buzzing about the photo-booth, keep that in mind when booking your photo-booth professional. 

Once you have decided to book a photobooth for your wedding always remember to check references and their work. Just like photographers, they are not all created equal.

 -Some offer different options like a photobooth album or additional prints.

-Some offer different backdrops customized to your wedding colors.        

– Ask if they offer customized photo strips. 

– Make sure there is a professional attendant on hand to oversee any shenanigans or technical problems.

As with any contract, make sure you have everything in writing!

Recently I came across the photos I had captured  in that first photobooth I saw at Bridal Expo in OakBrook, IL and it reminded me of being a kid and slipping into a photobooth at Woolworth with my friend. Then, miraculously, it all came together: the Photobooth experience is not just about the photos. You will get hundreds of photos taken at your event; staged, portraits, group shots, candids, and more. This is something more, it  is something to bring everyone together to one place in time. A time where something as simple as slipping into the photobooth is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face…. like time travel without the flux capacator and all the other complications involved. Rabbit Ears are welcome.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Ten Trends We Loved in 2011

From luxury shoes to cultural influences, 2011 brought us some of the best trends in wedding and reception styles that we have seen in a long time. Brides and grooms channeling their own personal style, incorporating pop culture and following the advice of well-known wedding stylists have embraced these styles above all others.

1) Two Gowns. Having a gown for the wedding and a separate, less formal gown for the reception is not only acceptable, it has become extremely popular since Kate Middleton embraced this trend last  April.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2) Aisle Runners. Custom aisle runners have become the latest must-have. Available in an array of colors, monograms, styles, this is a trend that is going to explode in 2012.

 

 

3) Flash Mob. Having the entire wedding party take part in a choreographed but, seemingly impromptu dance is a big hit and makes a great wedding video.

 

4) Headbands.  Smooth, sleek, spectacular and sparkly, the headband was the headpiece of choice. The number one reason is that a great headband will look good with any hairstyle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) Going Green. Couples have taken note of environmental concerns and continue to place the future of our planet among their top priorities and are willing to pay more for green, eco-friendly products.

 

6) Culture. Couples are infusing their cultural heritage into the entire event from start to finish. Blending cultures, food, dance, music makes a warm welcome to all members of the family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7) Luxury. Couples are cutting back on non-essentials to spend more on luxury items. Figure out what is important to you and spend the money there, whether it is food, top shelf liquor from https://www.bullfrogwineandspirits.com, an exceptional cake, Bvlgari cufflinks or a couture gown – you will never regret treating yourself to something fabulous and tasteful.

 

 

 

 

8 )  Shoes. The bridal shoe has gone from ordinary to extraordinary, explaining why brides everywhere are so excited about their shoe; wearing color, over-the-top sparkly platforms and opting for fabulous designer shoes for their wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9) Less is more. Classic Black & white photography,  monochromatic decor, engraved invitations. The classics never die and and ‘”Simple”  is a style statement that needs no explanation. You won’t see any leopard prints here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10) Seating. One of the best trends in receptions is the ‘conversation area’.  Beautiful furniture to match your decor, arranged  in the bar area to give the appearance of a lounge. The benefits are endless; in addition to adding an element of style, you provide an area other than the table for guests to meet and mingle.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Walking Down The Aisle… IN STYLE

Lets face it- Aisle runners have needed a makeover for a long time. For so long they were just white and boring and often times not substantial enough to keep your heel from poking through the material. Today’s aisle runners can still be simple or all out fabulous! For me, the aisle runner was the most interesting thing about the Kardashian Fairytale (Pre-Divorce) Extravaganza. Did you see it? It was embellished with borders, logos, monograms and crystals and it was phenomenal.

 

 

 

 

 

 If you decide to go the classic route with a simple white aisle runner, make sure it is of quality material and will hold up to several sets of high-heeled feet walking up and back. Make sure it isn’t slippery or lumpy. It should be taught, smooth and non-skid. Of course, sprinkling rose petals along the edges is a nice touch. The aisle runner can also be embellished with  the right lighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can always choose and aisle runner in one of the wedding colors. Make sure the color doesn’t clash with the colors in the venue. And I’m not entirely certain that black is ever a good choice, even for an outdoor wedding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aisle runners vary greatly in price. Of coures the price depends upon the length of the runner, the fabric, the added materials, logos, monograms or pictures. But make no mistake, custom aisle runners are the hottest new trend in weddings…. and they are fabulous!

 

 

 

 

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

September 11, 2011

You can talk to anyone over the age of 16 and they will tell you they knew exactly what they were doing on September 11, 2001.  It didn’t matter where in the U.S. you lived or if you were an American citizen living in another country, on that day we were all New Yorkers. Yesterday marked the tenth anniversary of the somber events that changed history forever.

When couples choose their wedding date it is usually based on the day they met, another important event in their life, Valentine’s Day or perhaps their parents’ wedding date. It is unusual that people avoid a date entirely but this date seems to hold some negative feelings for people who remember or were affected greatly by the events in Washington, Pennsylvania and New York.

In the years following 9/11, many wedding vendors offered discounts around the date to attract bookings. Ten years later some vendors still have trouble filling their appointment books for September 11. However, there are the couples who are not afriad of chosing this date and during the wedding ceremony, they take time to remember those who lost their lives on that day. One of our brides took the plunge on Sunday, marrying her best friend who also happens to be a Chicago firefighter! Which to me is perfectly fitting and apropriate. I wasn’t there but I can imagine  the tears of joy and I applaud their selection of this day to move forward.

Oddly enough September 10, 2011 was statistically the  busiest wedding day of the year. “According to our numbers, it’s the most popular date of the year,” said Anja Winikka, site editor of TheKnot.com, a wedding planning website that has more than 37,000 members set to take the plunge on 9/10/11.

As the years pass, any stigma associated with that date will eventually go away. As the wounds heal and the memories are not as fresh, as the younger generations who have no memory of this except what they read in history books get  married and as people realize something my mother shared with me … “Life is for the living”.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Reality Royalty – Kardashian Wedding Tomorrow!

I have stated repeatedly how much I adore weddings. I love them all! Casual, Destination, City Hall, Black Tie. So, it is no surprise that tomorrow I will be checking the news and most likely the E! Channel for details about the  Kardashian wedding extravaganza.

I have seen bits of all of the Kardashian reality shows. I have formed opinions about people I don’t know at all firsthand and my overall take is that of all the Kardashian women (and there are plenty), Kim is the most likely to appease her high-maintenance mom by doing  whatever it takes to turn this multi-million dollar wedding into a profit and not a loss. You’ve gotta love that!  Make no mistake, actually ‘keeping up’ with the Kardashian’s will be impossible after this.

The good news is that in an injured economy, this young bride has had the good fortune to be able to energize the wedding industry in America. Kate who? Kim Kardashian sees herself as America’s Princess and is not only having her cake, she will most likely be eating it on camera and getting paid to do so. Kudos Kim. The wedding industry will most likely see a surge in copycat products and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone hasn’t already approached her to endorse one of the products she has chosen for the big day.

More good news is that after seeing the wax likeness of Miss K that was unveiled yesterday in wedding attire, the gown on the display was not strapless. Not to say that KK does not look good in just about everything she wears, because she does. I am just looking forward to seeing a fresh new style emerge and hopefully a little less ‘sideboob’. Designers have been chipping away at the all strapless collections since Miss Middleton became the Duchess of Cambridge in her Sarah Burton gown last Spring and this could push them even further away from the cleavage chasm. Vera Wang, who epitomized the style for Brides in the 1990’s could once again define what an entire generation of brides will pay anything to have.

It is reported that Kim K has three gowns, each Vera Wang and each costing a whopping $25,000 but, has not decided which one she will wear. It is also not entirely unlikely that she will wear one for the ceremony and one for the reception which seems to be a popular trend. Personally, I would like to see her wear all three. Why not? This entire wedding is being filmed for a two hour special and I think she has every right to wear all three gowns. There is some speculation she will wear a bold color since all guests have strict instructions to wear black or white. Wearing white to a wedding is usually a no-no since you don’t want to take away from the bride. I think the speculation is correct and my  guess is she will wear a pink gown, not too pale but, not too bold. The color we used to call ‘Rum Pink’  in the 1980’s when pink bridal gowns first became a popular choice for creative fashionistas. Or perhaps a lighter shade of the same color known as ‘Blush Pink’.

The cake is a copy (exact?) of Will & Kate’s 10 layer confection made by Hansen’s Bakery topped with chocolate chip frosting. The Hansen family has been making cakes since  1520 and offers everything from Old World to High Tech. After visiting their website, I could almost taste the cakes. No offense to the royal couple, I hope (for the guest’s sake) this one is not a fruitcake.

Make no mistake; although this is a wedding and family event, it is also a highly profitable television franchise. There is not one thing that has not been handled expertly; the invitations, the  security, no cell phones or cameras or electronic devices allowed, including the 50+ person crew that will be filming. No tweeting, posting or leaking information unless it is accidentally (intentionally) leaked by a member of the family.  And also – no wire hangers!

The best part of the entire show (wedding) for me will be Bruce Jenner’s actions and reactions to all of this Pomp and the ensuing circumstances. If my prediction is correct there will be a lot of sticker shock for the former Olympian who was raised in a much more humble environment but also a great deal of pride as he walks her down the aisle and watches his entire family come together for a celebration of  love. And ultimatley, that is what it is all about!

-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

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

Unwrapped Showers – A Disturbing Trend

From time to time I hear a wedding idea that I have never heard before. If  I hear something twice in one week, I know it is something that deserves further research. But, before I will label it a ‘trend’ I need to see proof that more than one person is using this idea, that it seems to be catching on and that people are universally accepting the idea. In my humble opinion, some trends are good and (in this particular case) some trends are bad.

Recently it has come to my attention that invitees are being asked to bring gifts to Bridal Showers….. unwrapped. On the pretense of being open-minded I have responded with the obligatory, “That’s interesting, tell me more.” when, in reality, I am saying to myself “That’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard”. I can’t even imagine what that gift table looks like. Haven’t they ever heard that presentation is everything? Furthermore, am I losing my mind?

The alleged purpose of the “unwrapped shower” is two-fold: To save on paper waste and to save time for the bride who could be spending that same valuable time ‘bonding’ with her guests. Lets examine this carefully:

Reduce Paper Waste: Being abut as green as any average person could be without using a palm frond for toilet paper, I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. I understand not wanting to waste paper, I recycle and re-use everything possible. I still carefully open Christmas gifts so I can re-use the paper for  next year, I purchase only paper made from recycled products, I measure gifts so that I can use as much of the paper as possible and not waste a scrap. However, this is where I draw the line. In good conscience I cannot bring an unwrapped gift to anyone, anywhere, for any reason. It’s like wearing a beautiful outfit and not combing your hair. In addition, if everyone across the globe collectively stopped using all wrapping paper of any form, there would be a huge gap in the job market and parts of the economy would be out of work…. not on my watch. I always say you don’t have to sacrifice style to go green, that being an environmentalist doesn’t mean you have to change everything about the way you live. Could I be completely wrong?

If going green is really your main purpose, then you need to address that in the invitation and make it clear. Maybe you could ask guests to use ribbon only. And speaking of ribbon, when wrapping a gift for any occasion whatsoever, you should only use fabric ribbon.  It can be tied, untied, ironed and tied again. Recycling ribbon is the perfect way to go green and the plastic shiny ribbons are just not as pretty. My favorite is the ribbon with a small wire edge so you can make a big swirl-y bow and it stays in place! The real  purpose of the ribbon is to keep the box closed or the package tightly shut. So, if the box has a lid – are you supposed to just tape it or what? Could this be the reason that Tiffany & Co, uses beautiful blue boxes and fabric ribbon? You don’t need to wrap a gift from Tiffany & Co, the box is pretty and the ribbon keeps the lid closed. Whoever came up with that idea was way ahead of their time: elegant, beautiful and no waste!

Saving Time:In cases where the bridal shower is large and the bride is expected to open gifts in front of everyone, the theory is that this will save time  that could be used socializing with her friends. I understand that wedding protocol dictates that the gifts should be opened in front of everyone so the guests can oooh and ahhh over the lovely items. For me, this a tradition that could be broken without  regret. Open your gifts later and spend this time with your friends. I can think of a million ways to save time and this is not one of them and the amount of time it takes to tear into a package is the least of my concerns.

Maybe everyone should just walk into the shower and hand you a wad of cash (no card or envelope so we don’t waste paper) in front of everyone and annouce the dollar amount.

If I was invited to an “unwrapped shower”, I would bring my gift in a decorative box sealed shut somehow and attempt to understand the motive behind it and hope I could keep my opinion to myself  and not offend anyone.  But, of all the ideas I have heard in a long time, an “un-wrapped shower” is just about the worst.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Infinite Possibilities of Wedding Invitations

Before there were 31 flavors, chunky monkey, cookie dough and all kinds of other things added to ice cream there was just vanilla. Vanilla in all it’s glory is still the #1 ice cream choice and hard to resist if it is really good but, from time to time isn’t it nice to indulge in something unique and wonderful just to stimulate your senses?

The same holds true for wedding invitations. The simple engraved wedding invitation is still classic, it is still considered the epitome of style and good taste. But, with so many choices  that it is difficult not to want to express yourself creatively. The good news is that now you don’t have to sacrifice quality to achieve the result you are looking for.

Since the print quality and technology of home printers has become so commonplace people are tempted to print their invitations at home. I strongly advise against it. There are a dozen things that can go wrong, from a crooked layout to accidental misspellings to incorrect grammar. With a professional you have some recourse when the invitations arrive but, when you decide to handle this yourself there is no other option but to start over and the money you saved is now taking up more time and money to correct a problem you could have avoided. In all fairness, some do-it-yourselfers have gone this route sans problem.

Decide what you want to include in your invitation. A response card and pre-addressed, stamped envelope is standard but some couples also include a  map and locations of area restaurants and hotels for out of town guests. If you have a wedding website it is perfeclty acceptable to include a small ‘business’ card with the web address printed on it. Never include any information about gift registries on the invitation.

Sit down with your invitation specialist and go over wording. They should be able to guide you through some tricky situations like how to include step-parents, avoid lengthy diatribes as well as handle proper capitalization, punctuation, etc. The absolute worst wedding invitation I ever received had nonsensical ramblings about love and family and actually named who was ‘hosting’  the event… and it wasn’t the parents.  Somebody dropped the ball and it doesn’t matter who it is, it made the couple look out of touch and  narcissistic. If either set of parents is paying for the wedding, or even contributing a significant portion, their names should be printed in some manner on the invitation. Your invitation professional will guide you through all of this, another good reason you should not do it yourself!

Now for the fun part… picking the actual invitation. This is the single best way to express the theme of the wedding. Use color, texture, do something really different and unique or go old school with calligraphy and simple, chic engraved invitations.

Some hot picks for 2011 are:

– Monograms. Adding the couple’s first initials is the #1 choice for monogrammed invites. Bold or simple, the  monogram adds a personal touch and if done properly can be visually stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Texture.Foil imprinted cards, laser cut papers,  organic, textured cardstock. There are as many options to add texture as there are color options.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Theme.  If you are going green, hosting a Renaissance wedding or headed to the beach, use that as your starting point. Starting with the invitation, guests should know exactly what kind of event you have in store for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Color. Use your wedding colors! Instead of white paper with colored ink, try the reverse – it can be stunning if done properly. If you go with white or cream paper, you can use colored borders, envelope liners or inserts to punch it up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Font and Spacing. Nothing has to be symmetrical. You can space the words out to fit the page, have everything aligned to the left or right to accommodate the design. However, make sure the font matches the overall theme. Large scroll letters do not indicate a simple, modern event just as clean, simple letters will not adequately express the Victorian Garden you have planned at the reception. Ask your invitation specialist to help you narrow down your choices.

 

 

– Photos. Photos on save the date cards  have been commonplace for some time but couples are now starting to add a photo to the invitation itself.  Make sure you ask for photo quality cardstock or the image may wind up looking like an aged newspaper article.

 

 

 – Extras.Don’t forget to order the matching thank you notes, placecards, menus, program  and any other printed material you will need for your wedding. Ordering everything from the same place will save time and aggravation. It will also ensure everything is printed in the same  batch so the  ink color, style, font will be an exact match and everything will arrive at the same time.

Bridal Expo Chicago boasts the dream of the crop when it comes to wedding invitation specialists. At every show you will be amazed at the stunning choices out vendors bring! Call 847-428-3320 today to order tickets to a show in your area!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago