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

Awards Season Heats Up – 2012 SAG Awards

It’s January and you know what that means: the Hollywood Awards Season is in full swing! Aside from the occasional censored part of an acceptance speech or a wardrobe malfunction, my favorite part is the red carpet arrivals. Many years ago you used to have to watch the entire show to see what everyone was wearing. Now (like magic) there are half a dozen entertainment reporters stationed outside the venue, stopping every entertainer,  giving us a play by play of who is wearing what.  Sunday evening’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards was a  star-studded evening filled with surprises, disappointments and more of the same.

Surprise: Michelle Williams redeemed herself from her last awards show appearance in a gorgeous red asymmetrical Valentino gown. Everything about this dress is right; the fit, the color and the design. Although demure , this look is also completely glamorous and stunning on her.

 

 

More of the same – Remember how great Meryl Streep looked in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’? She needs to put the costumer from that movie on speed dial because this Vivienne Westwood gown was completely unflattering in every single way possible. Sorry, I can’t find one good thing to say about this…. the worst part:  that gigantic leather (?) belt that looks like it belongs to a construction worker.

 

 

Even more of the same -Lea Michele showed up in her signature color (grey-ish) wearing an uber-sexy Versace gown.  The gown was beautiful but I would loved to have seen it in a more exciting color.

Disappointing  – Funny lady Jane Krakowski in a gown by Antonio Berardi that flops. If the center portion was beaded on sheer black instead of nude, it would make more sense.  It is a nice fit, though.

 

The Worst gown of the night belonged to Busy Phillips. I can’t even begin to imagine why she thought a boho-caftan was worthy of the red carpet. This belongs at a backyard barbeque. Busy? You bet!

 

The Best – Emily Blunt’s choice of  a jade-hued Oscar de La Renta gown was a refreshing change. Everything about this gown reeked class from the  slit (which was just the right height) to  the fit of the asymmetrical bodice. This gown was spectacular and the color really brought out the vibrant green in her eyes.

Of course this is just a sampling of the 70+ red carpet arrivals, the ones that really stuck out in my mind.  What were your favorites?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Reply Card Roulette

 Unlike some future grooms, my husband helped with a lot of the wedding planning. He picked the menu, the cake, the venue and he singelhandedly documented receipt of the reply cards. Every day he hurried to he mailbox to collect the replies and took great delight in making the necessary notations on the master list. I could tell when the cards began to dwindle because he started to walk a little slower to the mailbox. For us, the reply cards were an exhilarating experience, and eventually an exhausting one, since not everyone replied in a timely manner, replied appropriately or replied at all. Believe it or not, the reply card is fraught with  places for guests to make errors and faux pas and for some reason, this is where guests make the majority of blunders. Your part is simple: You address the invitation to the person(s) you are inviting and make sure that you have a place on the reply card for the number of invited guests. So, what do you do when it all goes awry despite your best plans and intentions?

-When you sent a reply card that is obviously intended for the invited guest +1 and the invited guest returns the card, adding +2 or more without having previously discussed this with you, including adding their own children without your approval or acceptance of the idea, it is time to pick up the phone. Simply tell the guest that their invitation is intended for them and one guest only and leave it at that. There are exceptions but, those exceptions are totally up to you. What if they show up with the +2 or more, anyway…? You have to be prepared how to handle this, just in case.

-When you have received no reply card and it’s one week before the wedding? Time to pick up the phone and make a call to this guest and ask if they will be attending. Be specific about the reason you are calling; so you can ensure all of your guests have a place to sit and a proper meal.

As for those who reply, “YES” and then don’t show, there must be a very good reason. Of course you don’t expect  someone with a serious illness or broken leg to jump out of a hospital bed to attend your wedding but, wait until after the wedding to then call and see if they are doing better. Don’t wait for them to call you, they won’t.  They will probably feel you are too busy to talk and will wait for action on your part. This is not a snub or lack of concern, and this is one of those tiny little things that can ruin a lifelong friendship. Pick up the phone, call and see what happened. You are the only person who can decide if their reason for being a no-show was adequate.

-What if the reply is “NO” and they show up anyway? This is tricky. Speak to someone at the venue and see if there is a place they can be seated (there is usually some wiggle room) Of course they won’t have an assigned table or a place card or a favor but, they will be able to sit and that is all that matters. If there really is no room, you will have to be the one to deliver the news as gently as possible. I know firsthand how difficult this can be, I actually had a couple show up after having replied “NO” and there were no additional seats available anywhere in the room. Our solution was to ask them to sit at the bar and we paid  ‘a la carte’ for two additional meals. Tricky but not unmanageable.

There may be no single solution that works for everyone but, planning ahead will avoid hurt feelings and possible blowups. Consider posting information regarding seating on your wedding website if you have one, emailing people who you think may be having trouble with the reply card concept and possibly having specific instructions printed on the reply card. Some couples have resorted to adding “We have reserved ___ seats for you”  (or similar text) to the reply card. In my opinion, keep it simple and limit the possiblities of error. Although going above and beyond is a nice gesture,  I doubt if some people will even notice.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Wedding Shoes – The Sky’s the Limit!

Today’s brides know they don’t have to wear the same boring white bridal pumps or have them dyed off -white to match their gown. In addition, the bridesmaids don’t have to wear the same shoes,  either.

Shoes are a fashion statement all their own. The wrong shoe can destroy a gorgeous outift. The right shoe can bring a boring ensemble to life and steal the show. As long as we are talking about it;  it is never a good idea to let your shoe  be either something borrowed or something old. The shoes you choose for your wedding day should be comfortable, stylish and new… and yours.

Comfortable AND stylish? How is that possible? I’m glad you asked! If you never follow any other advice – this is the ONLY shoe advice you will ever need and it works for every occasion. Buy shoes that fit and are comfortable on your foot. The end.

Do not buy shoes a size bigger thinking your feet will swell. They will be uncomfortable and leave blisters.

Do not buy shoes that are too high or low for you to walk in gracefully. You might fall.

DO wear the shoes around the house. Scuff the soles on the sidewalk, wear them while doing some work around the house (inside) and break them in properly before you take the biggest step of your life in ill-fitting shoes and risk having sore feet to prove it.

If you never wear high heels, do not wear high heels for your wedding. Find a lower profile heel to wear that looks good on your foot and fits comfortably.  Try Kitten heels. Kitten heels are small, slender heel no more than 2″. The placement of the heel is directly in the center of the back of the foot so they provide excellent support for larger boned women and allow less pressure to be placed on the ball of the foot. Walk around the shoe store, if you are still wobbly – then don’t buy them and proceed directly to flats. Flats are exactly what they sound like – flat shoes with no heel or a heel less than 1/2 “. They are also sometimes called Ballerina slippers but, they aren’t.

If a medium heel is wearable for you but, you just can’t find a comfortable fit – consider a wedge. The wedge shoe provides tons of support for feet that must endure a wedding marathon. Also great for outdoor events because if the wide base, unless you would like to aerate the yard with your stilettos.  

If you have found a pair of shoes that you love, the heel is a little high and  and must have these shoes, buy them. Then buy a second pair of shoe for the reception.. lower heels or flats. Do not wear birkenstocks or Uggs or crocs. I will find you. Which brings me to my next point – do not take your shoes off at the reception. My absolute worst nightmare is seeing bridesmaids and female guests ditch their shoes at a reception and hit the dance floor in bare (sometimes still stocking-clad) feet! I understand that wearing 3 or 4 inch heels for several hours can be torture on a woman’s feet.  I understand that at the end of the night you just want to take your shoes off and give your arches and instep a break. The end of the night, however, is after you are back home or in your hotel room. The reception is still part of the wedding and I am begging you to keep your shoes on. If the shoe doesn’t fit, you must not quit…. there are attractive, comfortable options to baring your soles.

Are you ready for the fun part? If you can wear heels, high heels, the higher the better, then you are a lucky woman. Shoes today are glamorous, sexy, higher than ever and still comfortable. The platform shoes are towering up to 4 1/2 ‘ but are still wearable, seriously. I can go into instep ratio and all kinds of other things but, basically there are no rules.  Flowers, feathers, jewels, buckles -whatever you like, there is a shoe out there just for you!

Don’t rule out color ! Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker donned those famous blue Manolo Blahniks as Carrie Bradshaw in the movie version of Sex in the City, brides from near and far embraced the idea of mixing it up with all kinds of color on their feet.

Whats your style? Conservative, classic or funky? Bridal Expo has dozens of accessory salons who specialize in bridal and bridesmaid footwear, call 847-428-3320 today to get tickets to a show in your area. Take a moment to visit some of our vendors’ websites and you most definitely  find the perfect fit!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Crimes of Fashion – 2011 Red Carpet Faux Pas

The E! Fashion Police headed by the always irreverent Joan Rivers have released their top ‘Fashion Felons of  2011’ and I have to say I can’t agree more. For crimes of fashion so severe it will take a  phone call  from the governor to be pardoned, these  women have 12 months to reclaim their fashion status and endless walks down the red carpet to erase the memory of their 2011 faux pas.  Without further adieu, the envelope please:

7. Jennifer Lopez consistently makes the best dressed list but, not in this white beaded cape getup. The problem is that there is no reason for this cape. The beads make the sheer fabric look heavy and begs the question, “Why would anyone would wear a sheer tablecloth with heavy beading?”

6. Rihanna choice for the Grammys this year was Jean Paul Gaultier. Gaultier is best known for his bustier look and outfitting Madonna so, I’m not sure at what point this gown seemed like a good idea. I sincerely doubt if event he Material Girl herself would attempt to pull off this ruffled tragedy. But, I’m talking about it so I guess that is the whole point.

 

 

5. Nicole Kidman  wore a gown to the Oscars that was out of this world… and not in a good way. Futuristic, yet reminiscent of a bad 1980’s  gown, this Christian Dior peplum gown was not red carpet worthy. Someone please explain to me why she wore red shoes.

4. Cierra Wilson wore an Emilio Pucci to the VMAs. In addition to wearing the wrong shoes, this gown is probably the worst representation of an iconic design house that I have ever seen.

3. Nicki Minaj showed up to the Grammys in a head-to-toe leopard outfit she described as “a masterpiece by Givenchy, a miraculous piece of lioness meets her cub meets fierce-ocity meets fabulosity meets fashionista meets everything.” She was dead wrong.

2.  Helena Bonham Carter loves to dress up, or is it play dress up? Her appearance at the Golden Globes in a Vivenne Westwood tulle, print, draped bodice monstrosity was nothing compared to her mismatched shoes. Interestingly enough she has another pair at home just like them.

1. Princess Beatrice wore a fairly ordinary outfit to her cousin, Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton last April. What was not ordinary was her fascinator (hat) created by milliner-to the stars Phillip Treacy.  Compared to everything from a part of the female anatomy to an octopus, this hat even launched it’s own facebook page. The outcome- someone paid $131,648  when the hat was auctioned on eBay, all proceeds going to UNICEF. It seems she redeemed herself in the end.

Who were your choices for the worst offenders of 2011?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago