Changing Your Name – For Better Or Worse

Taking your spouse’s last name can be as simple or as difficult as you want it to be. The most important thing is to have your facts in place and agree 100% on this before announcing it to family because (trust me) you will be questioned about it. 

If you do decide to go a less traditional route (other than changing your last name to his last name) there are options.

 How about a compromise?  You could use your maiden name as your new middle name. In fact, many women of a certain social stature have used their mother’s maiden name for the children’s middle names for decades. Rose Fitzgerald gave her son John Kennedy her maiden name as his middle name. His daughter, Caroline has her mother’s maiden name, Bouvier, as her middle name and the media rarely (if ever) refers to her as Mrs. Schlossberg, even though that is exactly who she is.  You can also consider changing your name legally and keeping your maiden name professionally.

Pros  of changing your name:
-It is easier. Maybe not today or tomorrow but, when children become involved there are always complications. It is easier when you all have the same last name.

-Having the same name as your new family makes you feel more a part of things. You are already bonded with your family,  use this as a stepping stone to bond with his.

– Your last name is complicated, un-friendly, hard to pronounce or you just don’t like it. Now is a good time to fix that.

One thing is for sure, this is a decision that needs to be made by the engaged couple and no one else. Who cares if Aunt Fanny doesn’t like it? It is your name, your life, your marraige, your choice. Once you (as a couple) have reached your decision, announce it to all and stick to it. If you are one of the 10% of women to choose to keep their maiden name, you may encounter some rough road but, stick to your guns. If you are one of the 90% who decide that change is okay, keep doodling.

Cons of name change:

– You have established yourself in the workplace and changing your name could likely become complicated and may make it difficult to re-establish your reputation. Harldy anyone will remember Elizabeth Warner but, she certainly made headlines as Elizabeth Taylor. There was  never a need for her to go by any other name and you may agree.

– You may feel like you have lost your identity. You have had this name for your entire life and now you are not the same person, anymore.

– It goes against your personal principle that a woman is expected to change her name and a man is not.

 Changing your last name is technically easy. Once you have the forms from the Social Security office you can get a new Social Security Card (the number is still the same) and then a new drivers license. After that, you are basically done. Take your new forms of identification with you to the bank and have your name changed on the account, call your credit card companies, and anyone with whom you have credit (mortgage, student loans, etc) and you are finished. If that is too complicated, you can buy a Name Change kit.

Getting used to a new name is a different story; you may have doodled your merged names a hundred times in your wedding planner, but having someone refer to you as “Mrs. Frulla” for the first time will stop you in your tracks.  You may ask youself why you had to change your name and he didn’t.  In reality, you didn’t.

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Glorious Garnishes For Captivating Cocktails

Having signature drinks at your event, whether they are alcoholic or not, has become a must have for an interesting, lively affair. Signature cocktails are the epitome of fun and creativity so, the garnishes and accoutrement you use to adorn them should be something that also shows your flair, fun and festivity!

How about fruity ice cubes and cocktail stirrers for summertime drinks? Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries will all light up a lemonade or sweet tea as well as a wine spritzer!

 

Why not serve chocolate drinks with an extra dash of chocolate ….  Try decorating the edge of martini glasses with chocolate sprinkles for a chocolate martini. A dash of mint? Why not!

 

Multi-colored sprinkles add color to a wide variety of drinks from shots to fruit punch!

 

Vodka-soaked, chilled cranberries add zest and pizazz to a Cranberry-tini or even a simple glass of champagne!

Your guests will adore a peppermint cocktail with a peppermint garnish for a winter wedding:

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Last but, not least – make sure the glasses are the right size and shape for the drink and the garnishes. It will make all the difference in the world!

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-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Signature Cocktails Made Simple

Signature cocktails have become such a hot-ticket item for wedding receptions and other cocktail hour events that it has actually opened up an entirely new occupation: Cocktail designers. Once reserved for the extremely well-to-do, signature cocktails have been on the rise for several years and are skyrocketing to the top of the ‘must-have’ list for brides and grooms to be. According to the wedding channel, a ‘signature cocktail’  is “a custom designed drink (usually contains alcohol, but doesn’t have to) served at cocktail hours and wedding receptions.” How do you decide on the drink? Here are some hints and tips to make finding your signature cocktail easier.

 Bride AND  Groom need to work on this with either your caterer or bartender at your venue to create one together, although some couples insist on one for each of them. 

Choose one based on what kind of drinks you like. Although there are  a finite number of combinations, you can always add a unique garnish. If you love Hypnotique or Vodka or Limoncello, those should be the first ingredients you consider.

Choose a drink based on color if you want the drink to match your wedding theme. It may not be an exact match but if it is close enough it will make a huge impact. Imagine rows of  martini glasses filled with blue cocktails in a sea of blue flowers and bridesmaids gowns.

Make sure the ingredients are in season and readily available, especially if they are hard to find. Technically you don’t have to select the drink based on season but, a  pink-lemonade based drink will fare better in the summer months, just as an apple cider flavored drink is more suited for fall.

The best thing you can do is name it after yourself or something fun your guests will enjoy. Adding “-tini” or “-rita” is always fun especially if it illiterates nicely but, it must have the key ingredients of the base drink to be called that. Now that I think of it, ” Penny-tini” has a really nice ring to it!

Share the details with everyone; adding the recipe  to your wedding website, announcing it on place-cards and spreading the word in other ways always make a great conversation starter.

Any way you serve it, the signature cocktail has made it’s place at weddings and is hotter than ever before.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Remembering St. Valentine

For many years I thought Valentine’s Day was a Hallmark holiday, one that was manufactured so that greeting card companies and florists could make us buy things we didn’t need and candy sales would soar. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I came to know the history associated with this holiday and the legend behind all of the cards and flowers.

Folklore presents a tale of a priest named Valentine (later to become a martyred Saint), marrying lovers in secret, against the wishes of Roman Emperor Claudius II who ordained his soldiers remain single and celibate in order to maintain their focus. There is an additional modern embellishment to this story, provided by American Greetings to History.com, and widely repeated despite having no historical basis whatsoever. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to the blind daughter of his jailor, Asterius, signing the card “From your Valentine.” From that point, ‘Valentines’ were sent in secret as expressions of love by those who could not openly proclaim their feelings for various reasons.

In elementary school, we exchange valentine card with everyone in the entire class, for those who are home-schooled- this is a fairly easy task. In middle school, students send lollipops or messages to friends and crushes either anyonymously or as a blatant show of affection. In high sc’hool it starts to get complicated and only the ‘couples’ really get into the celebration unless there is some really burning desire to use this as the day to come clean and profess your undying love. As we get older, Valentine’s Day becomes the day we send our loved ones greetings; mother, father, grandparents, dear friends, etc.

In the dating world, Valentine’s Day is the day to pull out all the stops and possibly pop the question. In fact, about 10% of all engagements occur on this holiday. More than that, many couples decide to get married on this holiday for a myriad of reasons: it is a very romantic day to join together in matrimony, there is a lot of history associated with this holiday, and it’s an easy date to remember.

For whatever reason you get engaged or married on this holiday, remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives for someone they love, the ones who kept their love in secret and for those who could never join together for whatever reason. Openly express your love for those around you, show them you care with thoughts and actions, a homemade card, a diamond necklace or whatever speaks to you.

Happy Valentine’s Day

-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

 

 

 

New Year’s Eve – A Time To Celebrate!

In the many years I have been involved in the wedding business I have never heard anyone regret having their wedding on New Year’s Eve.  Most couples insist that it gives them a reason to go out on December 31st for years to come, in celebration of their anniversary. In addition to that, there are dozens of other reasons to consider New Year’s for your nuptials. 

-Some locations have fireworks at midnight, which makes great pictures as well as being exciting, colorful and entertaining for everyone!

-You can be very creative with centerpieces; timepieces, glittery disco balls, horns, hats, masks, feathers. Work with your florist and don’ be afraid to be creative.

-Literally everyone is assured someone to kiss at  midnight.

-If you keep the Champagne flowing all night, it  may cut down on liquor costs. Either way, Champagne gives any affair a little more class.

-Most people look for a reason to go out on New Year’s Eve but not everyone has a party to attend. This will give some of your guests a reason to get a sitter and celebrate, something they may not have been able to do for some time.

-Everyone is still in “Holiday Mode”, the decorations are still up in most houses of worship, hotels and reception sites. If you can incorporate your choices into the venue’s existing holiday decor you will get double the ambience!

-Your family can celebrate all of the holidays at once and stay home during the heavy traffic times like Christmas Eve. 

-Aside from all of the above, you have so many fun and interesting options with the invitations, cake, flowers, favors, and who can overlook the confetti? Who doesnt love confetti?

-If you plan a New Year’s Eve wedding, please encourage group transportation (limos, party bus), designated drivers,  or reserving  rooms at a nearby hotel for guests who become inebriated. Remind your guests that certain Taxi companies give discounted or free rides for folks who celebrated a little too much. In certain states AAA offers a ‘Tipsy Tow” program where they will tow your car for free from 6pm NYE to 6am New Year’s Day. 

Wishing each of you a safe and happy celebration this New Year’s Eve!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pros and Cons of Holiday Weddings

The Holiday Season is upon us! With Thanksgiving and Black Friday under our belts, it is only a few weeks until Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. For some engaged couples it seems like the perfect time to get married. Your family is already together, they are  already in a festive mood – why not add your wedding to the reasons to celebrate?

Pro – Your family as already making plans to be together, why not incorporate both of your families and your holiday celebrations sooner rather than later?

Con- If your family lives out of town, traveling around the holidays can be expensive, difficult and sometimes impossible. Flights are overbooked, weather conditions can delay or cancel flights, hotel rooms can be unavailable.

If you decide to have your wedding on a Holiday weekend, make sure you give your guests plenty of advance notice since they will need to re-arrange their usual holiday traditions. Giving Your guests more than the standard 8 weeks notice will enable them to  book all of their accommodations months in advance and have backup travel plan if the weather gets nasty.

Pro – Everyone is already in the spirit of giving, so a wedding will be another reason to celebrate.

Con– Some people’s finances could be strapped with family, office and children’s gifts to purchase so adding another gift (much less travel expenses) may be the proverbial straw on the camel’s back.

All in all, it’s never about the gifts, it is about coming together to share a momentous occasion.

Pro – Holiday flowers are abundant and your dollar will stretch a lot farther with flowers that are already in season.

Pro– You may be able to shave a few dollars off the reception site by booking on a Friday or Sunday surrounding the holiday.

Pro– Many wedding professionals consider December their slow time so you might also be able to book your services at  a reduced rate – it never hurts to ask.

The date you choose for your wedding is important; it will be your anniversary for the remainder of your lives together! If you have one of those families that share every celebration together and can support one another under a little extra pressure, then this is the perfect time of year to have your wedding!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago