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

 

 

 

 

Cancellation Crisis – When Vendors Let You Down

Imagine for a moment that you have been looking forward to your first meeting with  a particular florist, or  baker, or  wedding planner. You have done your research; called referrals, made sure they are accredited and have a good rating with the BBB. You make your appointment well in advance and then, suddenly, they cancel at the last minute. What do you do? Although I’m usually  in favor of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, there are cases when a cancellation might be a red flag. 

If the vendor cancels because they have overbooked, you might have cause for concern.  This could mean there is a time management problem.

However, if the vendor cancels because another event had a legitimate crisis that had to be handled immediately, this says the vendor is as concerned with keeping their existing clients happy as they are booking new clients.

If the vendor cancels because of weather, health or personal family issues, we can all understand… these things happen. Of course, if it happens more than once, this could be someone who has a lot of drama in their life and it could be time to take a closer look at whether or not you  can handle their drama.

In essence, when a vendor cancels you need to use your best judgement to decide whether or not they deserve a second chance. If the reason is weak or there really is no reason,  you should begin your search for another vendor to replace them … someone who is able to keep appointments. This is especially true for a bridal or wedding consultant. You are hiring them to manage your entire wedding and this is no easy task – there must be total faith and trust.

The last thing you need to be doing on the day of your event is chasing vendors  or worrying if things will be done properly. 

-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

Finding A Dress For Mom… Definitely Harder Than You Think!

 I have learned a lot in my life. But, there is one question that I have yet to find the answer:  Why is it so hard for women over 50  to find just the right dress for a special event – ?  
First of all,  most  are not 100% comfortable with their bodies anymore and hide behind their clothing. They wear baggy sweaters, mom jeans and/or frumpy clothing most of the time. When it does come time to find a dress for the wedding of their child, they panic and all wind up wearing a long dress with a jacket. Here is a tip: THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME!. Satin jacket with crepe dress or crepe jacket with satin dress – it is nearly a uniform of the wedding mother who just can’t find anything else.

Secondly, there is a double standard: we are told we can’t wear short dresses anymore no matter how great the legs but, designers consistently show strapless gowns for women who shouldn’t have worn them when they were 20 , much less when they reach senior ‘citizenship’. Hardly fair, is it?

 Here are a few things to consider before you buy anything to wear to  your adult child’s wedding:

#1) Forget everything you hear, read or see on TV. If you have great, shapely legs and want to wear a shorter dress, wear it! 3″ above the knee is about the limit for a host of reasons but, short skirts are not limited to the X or Y or Z generation.

#2) Accessorize. Find a dress you love in your size and forget about being perfect or looking like a supermodel. Make the most of a simple, elegant dress by accessorizing to the max! Great necklace and earrings, beaded scarf, or even a hat will draw the eyes to your face and away from the mid-section where you may be a little thicker than you used to be. A great pair of heels will also do a lot for your self -image.

#3) Wrap it up. Consider a wrap dress if your tummy isn’t as flat as it used to be. A wrap (around) dress can hide 10-15 lbs easily. If the fabric is right and you accessorize properly, you will look stunning. Diane Von Furstenberg gave us the quintessential wrap dress in the 1970’s and it has evolved into a garment that can literally be worn for any occasion depending upon the fabric.

#4) Who are you? Don’t forget your personal style. If you have always liked a certain type of dress, don’t shy away from it because you are older. Underneath the laugh lines, next  to the spanx, lies the same woman who ran cross-country, captained the cheerleading squad, pledged a sorority and later attended every PTA meeting. You are what you are and what you are needs needs no excuses.

#5) Undergarments are everything. You don’t need to wear a girdle or a corset, you don’t need to wear extra tight super control top pantyhose.  But, wearing the right panties and bra will make any gown look better.

I know how you feel. Every day someone tells you that you don’t look your age, in fact you don’t really feel your age.  You walk confidently down the street in shorts in the summer, you play tennis, ride horses, swim, or run. You feel like you get better each and every day until you are confronted with that hideous mirror in the dressing room and the fluorescent lights! Let me tell you – those lights are lying. You are better! You don’t need a face lift  butt lift or liposuction….. all you need is the right dress, just ask Helen Mirren or Jane Fonda!

-Penny Frulla For Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Jane Fonda - The Red Carpet at the Cannes Film Fest

Red Carpet Roundup – 2013 Sag Awards

At the Screen Actor’s Guild awards last night, there were a slew of stars gearing up for the Oscars. But,  with a massive outbreak of the flu nationwide, more than a  few big names were left at home with the sniffles.

Did you see Justin Timberlake debut his professorial look?  Talented? YES! Funny? You bet! This suit is a moderate loser but, he is getting more and more adorable with age! Oh, wait – Jennifer Lawrence is in this photo with JT and Bradley Cooper? Let’s just think about how that feels for a moment….. nice.

 

In the Navy:
Amanda Seyfried rocked the red carpet in Zac Posen. Love the hair on one side, love the necklace, love the pose… “My hand on my hip says I’m sassy- but, my head is tilted (slightly) down so I am humble about it!”

 

Nicole Kidman in Vivienne Westwood. Love is a strong word and so is hate. This look makes me feel ambivalent, nothing particularly striking but not a  mistake. “I’m a mom, I’ve had work done – but, here’s my leg.”

Nicole Kidman - SAG Awards 2013 Red Carpet

Jennifer Lawrence – The best thing about this gown is that there is not one detail other than the cut and fit of the garment itself. Plain? Yes… but, beautiful because of or in spite of the fact! Although her hand is perched gently on her hip and her head is tilted in an ‘ever-so-sweet’ fashion, I would not want to get on her bad side. She exudes confidence and a badass quality I cannot even fathom.  ” I am posing, I am sweet ( see my head is turned ) but, do not make me mad. I will rip off this couture gown and chase you in high heels!”

ps – Not a wardrobe malfunction, the gown is made in layers to eliminate bulk. The underlayer is attached to  silk chiffon so,  when she walked/lifted the top layer to take a step/ caught her  heel on the gown,  the chiffon peeps through and it make the gown appear to have been ripped.

 

Jennifer Lawrence, SAG Wadrobe Malfunction

Jessica Lange wore a beautiful gown by  J. Mendel. Soft, flowing and her hair and makeup were flawless. Really a great look for a lady of her … (whats the word?)…. talent. 

Back in Black:


Sigourney Weaver, are you high on cold medicine?  I get it – you aren’t a size 2 anymore  and maybe you want something a little more loose fitting… but, this is a disaster. Who you gonna call? A stylist!

Jane Lynch must have been taking the same cold medicine as Sigourney Weaver – this  looks like something that she might have found in the back of Madonna’s closet. She has a terrific figure but this dress is all wrong for this occassion. Maybe Halloween in the Village. Maybe.

Best of Black:

Tina Fey in Osacr de la Renta and Amy Poehler in Zuhair Murad, our favorite funny gals from the Golden Globes were spot on with their fashion choices last jnight. Wit, looks and good taste … those girls are on fire! Sizzle!

Amy Poehler & Tina Fey - SAG Awards 2013 Red Carpet

Did you have any favorites from last night’s SAG awards?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Choosing The Right Photographer

Your wedding pictures are the most important thing you will have to remember your day.  Choosing the right photographer is as important as having the right gown, or venue, or (dare I say) spouse! When making your selection, price shopping is the worst mistake you can make. There are many factors that go into the cost of your photography package; experience, skill, training, overall quality of the product and the overall style of pictures you want to express your wedding.  

First, you should define the style of photos you prefer:

Photojournalism is a style of photography that captures the events of the day   truly candid style.  Very few, if any, of the shots are posed. This is by far the most popular style of photography according to market trends. There are some drawbacks involved – especially if your photographer is inexperienced in this field. Make sure  the photographer has ample references and photos for you to check before you even consider wedding Photojournalism. In addition, without some of the posed shots you may wind up with a wedding album where  quite a few people are missing.

Traditional Wedding photography is exactly what it sounds like. All of the shots are posed, there is very little creativity involved with various settings and events. There is usually a ‘shot list’ and every detail must be mapped out in advance; lighting, background, placement of flowers, etc.You will have an album that your parents will love: filled with photos of your entire bridal party, family and guests but, you might not have that one beautiful photo that is found so often in a candid moment.

Artistic Photography (also illustrative Photography) is a great mesh of the two other styles. Some candid shots, some posed. Many of the shots are ‘staged’ in various places to look candid – but, are in fact posed. The Artistic Photographer will not be cheap since you are paying for an artistic vision which requires more time and work than snapping photos.

Before booking your  wedding photographer:

-Make sure the photographer you hire is the one who will be at your event.

-Do not accept a substitute unless you have seen examples of his/her work.

-Always remember to get everything in writing!

Bridal Expo Chicago is home to dozens of the finest photographers of all styles. For 4 complimentary  tickets to a show  in your area where you can see example of their finest work ,  log on to www.bridalshowexpo.com or call our office @ 847-428-3320 today!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Timothy Whaley photography

Carasco Photography

Angela Swan Photography

A Color For All Seasons – Chartreuse!

Few colors can transcend seasons  like Chartreuse. Bold, Bright, Chic, Lively and Elegant, this is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood wedding colors!

 

Chartreuse  can freshen up any room and goes well with most interior decor. Bonus: It is a great color for a signature cocktail, even if your cocktail is simply Chartreuse.

 

 

 Chartreuse and Teal make a bright, bold statement when paired together.

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Chartreuse and Platinum make a sophisticated and more serene combination.

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Chartreuse and Honeysuckle is light, whimsical and well suited for a summer wedding. 

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Chartreuse and Ivory is elegant and chic.

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Chartreuse and Fuchsia is hot for spring.

Chartreuse and Plum make a luscious combination for a winter wedding.

Black and White with Chartreuse accents is the perfect choice for any season!

 

How do you feel about chartreuse?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Hoping For The Best & Preparing For The Worst

No one begins the wedding planning process worrying about every single detail that could go wrong. Correction, most people don’t plan this way, I’m sure that there are those rare exceptions.  At the risk of frightening potential brides and grooms, there are about a million things that can go wrong on any given day much less the day or week of your wedding. Being prepared for a disaster is different than planning for one or even expecting something bad to happen, being on top of every detail is not Obsessive-Compulsive, it is responsible and requires clear thinking and adult decision making.

A disaster is defined a  sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life.

Just so we are clear; a disaster is not when it rains on your wedding day, when the color of the napkins doesn’t exactly match the bridesmaid’s gowns or when you have a head cold the day before your wedding. These are minor inconveniences. Of course a sudden illness ( however short term or curable)  can be a disaster;   a burst appendix, or  chicken pox. A disaster can be a blizzard that closes airports and roads for travel, stranding  invited guests wherever they may be for days. A disaster can be the reception hall burning to the ground three days before your event.

Although there is no way to prepare for these sudden and completely inconceivable forces that could turn your life upside down at a moment’s notice, there is a way to make them less devastating.

Take care of your health – Without over-reacting, pay attention to any changes in your body. See your doctor and ask him or her to update your vaccines and if you have never had chicken pox, mumps, rubella or measles – get the necessary vaccine(s)  far in advance of your wedding date.  This also might be a good time to think about multivitamins. If you are taking any prescription medications, you must be diligent about dosage and watch for possible side effects.

Travel Plans – If you are having a destination wedding, are traveling any distance or expect out-of town guests, check weather reports in the area where the wedding is planned and if there are any severe weather alerts (blizzard, tornado, hurricane) begin to think about alternative plans.  Remind everyone who is traveling by air to book their flights well in advance, purchase the traveler’s insurance and pay the small amount extra to book a flight they can cancel or alter at a moment’s notice, it will pay for itself if needed.

Overall Insurance – Many companies offer wedding insurance; comprehensive insurance that covers the entire cost of the wedding in case of disaster or emergency. Be careful, though,  and make sure you use a reputable  and reliable carrier. Always read the fine print and make sure you are covered for specific situations indigenous to your area.

Without obsessing, without spending every waking minute worrying and driving everyone (including yourself) nuts –  simply remember the Boy Scout credo: Always be prepared.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

2013 Golden Globe Awards – Best & Worst

It’s finally here! Awards season is officially in full swing and I couldn’t be any happier. It’s like the playoffs for sports fans… just one delightful event after another! Much like sporting events – we have our favorites, there are clear winners and losers and sometimes the underdog wins. And sometimes the event just takes on a life of it’s own – like last night! My winners and losers are broken down into slightly different  categories:
“Most Adorable” – Amy Poehler. I give Ms. Poehler this title because a) the porn joke b) her side updo was infallible and c) her boobs were perkier than Honey Boo Boo at a county fair. ( Had to get that in before the Honey Boo Boo train left the station). Also, this little black pantsuit by Stella McCartney was darling, sexy, sassy and completely sophisticated, all at the same time. You GO, girl!

 

 

Strangest  Fit: These 2  piece outfits seemed to be a bit off for me, Sienna Miller’s weird pink ensemble by Erdem and Anne Hathaway’s chest flattening device by Chanel. Okay, whatever.

Best Color Statement: The critics are hating but, I am loving Lucy Liu in this print ball gown. Prints are risky, google ‘golden globes tye dye disaster’ and you will see why. But, I  think that Carolina Herrera nailed it with the right color, pattern and positioning of the floral pattern on the gown itself.  The wedgewood blue background was perfect on Ms Liu’s skintone… just magnificent!

The “Look at Me” award goes to Jennifer Lopez. Beautiful, sexy, and by all accounts one of the most talented ladies in Hollywood, Ms Lopez always turns heads with her provocative fashion choices and this see through lace number by Zuhair Murad is no different. I don’t think she would have it any other way!

Special Effects Award: Halle Barry and Jessica Chastain both had gowns with serious bosom challenges. Jessica’s Calvin Klein gown was saggy and perky at the same time. For future reference:  blouson halter is never a good idea.

Halle’s Versace gown was high and flat on one side, low and full on the other. Forget about the print, I can’t get past this odd bustline thing…..Huh?

 

halle berry golden globes 2013 red carpet 05

 

Rambling Rose award goes to Jodie Foster who seemed overly giddy and oddly nervous at the same time. The Cecil B Demille award is a big deal – but save the rambling speeches for the retirement home. Unlike the off-screen persona she has spent a lifetime protecting, she was blabbering like a teenage girl at a slumber party.The giggly thing was way out of character for her. Although the context of her words may have been  emotional and heartfelt, she lost me somewhere around Honey Boo Boo. The gown – another odd choice, I think Ms. Foster who looks fabulous in nearly anything, appears more  comfortable in tailored, simpler gowns rather than pageant beading. The only thing missing was the empty chair. 

Jodie Foster - Golden Globes 2013 Red Carpet

 

Best Trend Personified … It’s a three way tie! All three of these ladies rocked the subtle blush trend in their own way. Although none of them seemed to take home a trophy, they were all winners in my book.

Amy Adams in Marchesa

 

Megan Fox in Dolce & Gabanna

Hayden Panettiere in Roberto Cavalli

Favorite Actress in Everything – Julia Loius Dreyfuss is funny, charming and a knockout in this illusion over lace custom Vera Wang.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Golden Globes 2013 Red Carpet

Best Overall Performance goes to Ms. Tina Fey. Channeling the late Rita Hayworth, Tina took the stage in va-va-va-voom fashion and never let up. She switched effortlessly between comedy and glamour and her Taylor Swift joke was not only the best one-liner of the night, she was dead right! “Take some ‘me’ time”… indeed!

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler

Ladies, you have set the bar very high – hoping to see you back again next year!  This was my favorite Golden Globes in a long time!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago