Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook – February 19, 2014

Join us for an unforgettable evening of true wedding luxury!  It all begins at 5:30pm when the doors open to Chicago brides and grooms-to-be along with their bridal parties on Wednesday evening, February 19th at The Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook. You'll See Lovely Displays Attendees will have the chance to see well over 60 exhibitors ranging from florists, to photographers, bakeries, travel agents, table top decorators, bridal salons, formalwear and so much more.

The evening will also feature our couture runway show with a special spotlight on Matthew Christopher Couture Wedding Gowns.  Matthew will join our Fashion Director, Carol Tardi on the runway and present his latest collections for 2014.  The show continues with another 60 gowns elegantly presented in easy to follow scenes.  Each attendee will receive a beautiful four color fashion show program which will list each designer, style number and price guide.

2014 Gowns by Matthew ChristopherTo get tickets, use the promo code found on our Facebook page and for a limited time, receive 4 complimentary tickets.  But hurry, offer may expire without notice.  Then ticket price reverts to the regular price of $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Visit: www.BridalExpoChicago.com/Tickets for show details and to place your order

Wedding Insurance 101

I have seen my share of wedding disasters. From power outages to outrageous storms to personal injury, there is always the likelihood that something may go terribly wrong  just days before the wedding, leaving both the bride and groom wondering how they can possibly continue under these adverse circumstances. Even more unfortunate is the possibility of cold feet. It seems logical that wedding insurance would enter into the picture.

Although this may seem like a relatively new concept, wedding insurance has been around for some time. Also known as ‘Event Insurance” it became popular in the late 1970’s  when large weddings started to become the norm. Today’s wedding insurance has evolved into a comprehensive policy designed to protect you from the unthinkable.

Wedding Insurance policies typically cover the following:

Weather– postponement of the wedding due to in-climate conditions. Does February1, 2011 ring a bell with anyone? 22 inches of snow can make it hard fro anyone to get to a reception.

Illness or Injury of a significant member of the wedding party. This includes mother and father of the bride or groom.

No-Show vendors – having to book a last minute limo to replace a missing driver may cost double or even triple your original expense.

Location – whether it is fire, weather damage or even going out of business days before your scheduled event,  having the right policy may offer you the opportunity to re-coup almost all of your loss AND re-book another location immediately.

Additional coverage than you may want to consider:
Military Service– Being called to duty just days before the wedding can bring things to a screeching halt.

Gown and Tuxedo damage or loss.

Gifts – protects against loss, theft or damage.

Liability – in case someone gets injured through no fault of their own.

Honeymoon – in case you have to postpone your travel plans due to any of  the conditions listed above; bad weather, illness, injury or worse.

Cold Feet – some policies carry a rider for this  and some don’t. Even if you think you don’t need this , it never hurts to ask!

Unfortunately, all policies are not created equal. Some policies may offer coverage for a lost, stolen or destroyed bridal gown but not offer any compensation for bridesmaid gowns. Imagine the bridal salon closes it’s doors just days before your wedding and you have no way to get your garments – the bridal salon may or may not have insurance to cover this and you are stuck purchasing new garments the day before your wedding…. paying rush charges for alterations and interrupting your already over-booked schedule.

You should ask each and every vendor what type of insurance they have and make sure you get it in writing. I know it may seem ridiculous to ask a photographer what type of insurance they have but, ask anway. It will start a very beneficial conversation and you can move forward from there. What if you find out they do not cover your loss if the photographs, negatives and equipment are somehow lost or destroyed?  Have the conversation now so you can sleep later.

If you decide to purchase wedding insurance, ask questions before you sign anything. Insurance policies are filled with a lot of legal mumbo jumbo that can make it hard to read. Take the time to have everything explained to you properly so that you will not walk away with any questions remaining.

If you ask me –  having insurance of any kind is never a bad idea, especially when there is this much at stake.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago.

Bridal Gown Shopping FUN!

Selecting your bridal gown is probably one of the best shopping experiences in your life, or at least it should be. It should also be a fun and an uplifting experience. Unfortunately reality can rear its ugly head and turn your dream into a nightmare if not managed properly. Yes, you will have to manage a shopping trip. 

The Bridal Salon – Select a Bridal Salon that you trust. Make sure you have checked them out thoroughly and they are highly recommended.  Make your appointment in person so you can see the salon and familiarize yourself with parking, etc. If at all possible, avoid busy times and book your appointment when there is less traffic. This will ensure you get the most out of your hour-long visit. Keep in mind that you will be going back for fittings if you decide to travel a great distance to find a gown.

The  Companions –I recommend bringing no more than three people with you. Generally less is better since having five opinions on every dress is  a mathematical disaster. In this case 5×10 = stress. This is not a bridesmaid function or a family picnic. Meet up with them afterward to show them a picture of the dress you bought.  This appointment is only for people whose taste you trust, people whose opinion you respect, those who will behave properly in this environment and of course whoever is paying for the gown (if it is not you). Maybe I’ve witnessed too many appointments gone wrong where the bride is in tears because Aunt Fanny said her butt looked too  big, or worse. If Aunt Fanny has a habit of saying hurtful things include her in something else wedding-related. No matter how much you love her, she might not be the best person to have in the fitting room with you. Mom & Dad  if they are available,  sisters who are supportive and of course a TGF (Tasteful Gay Friend)  are always  good choices.

The Underwear –Remember when your mother told you to always put on clean underwear in case you were in accident? That goes double for trying on wedding gowns. If you plan to wear a strapless gown, bring a strapless bra or ask if the salon has them available for trying on gowns. Wear your best undergarments, bring shoes with the same heel height you wish to wear for your wedding and always make sure your hygiene is impeccable. Spend a little extra time on your hair and makeup that day as well since if you are successful in finding a gown, you will probably want to take some pictures. If you already have family jewelry you wish to wear, by all means bring that as well. You will feel better, look better and get a much better idea of how you will look on the day of your wedding.

The Appointment –  Arrive early in case your consultant has some extra time and can take you before your scheduled time. Most bridal gowns appointments last one hour and trust me, with their experience this is plenty of time to find a gown for you. Make sure you are comfortable with your consultant, spend a few minutes making sure they understand what type of wedding gown you are in search of. Describe the ceremony and reception locations to them and don’t leave anything to the imagination. You do not need a cathedral train for a resort wedding, so make it clear what is off  limits right away. This is also the time to specify your budget….. and leave some wiggle room. If you absolutely cannot go over $3,ooo make sure the consultant knows this so they don’t bring gowns that are $4,000 and up. If the consultant brings in gowns that are twice your budget, do not try them on because as luck would have it – this is probably the gown you will fall in love with.  I have seen tears, temper tantrums and anxiety attacks over this. Most salons do not allow any photography unless you have purchased the gown so always ask before taking pictures.

The Gown – Maybe it is the first gown you try on. Maybe it is the fifteenth (lets hope not) but you have found a gown and you know it is THE one.  Buy it. You look great and you feel great so what is stopping you? Don’t wait until next week so you can bring another person to tell you what you already know…. just buy the gown. Some brides hesitate when it comes time to making that final decision and I’m not sure why. There is always the question, “What if I order it and then later on I like something better?”  Here is my answer: Finding the right gown is similar to finding the right partner, when it’s right you will stop looking.  Something better will not come along. You have found the dress and all you have to do is buy it.

Most of all when shopping for your bridal gown, be respectful of your consultant, your family or friends who have accompanied you and the other guests in the salon.

Gum-chewing is unacceptable, opt for Altoids if you want to freshen your breath.

Profanity is unacceptable, if you cannot control your temper or your vocabulary, maybe a thesaurus or charm school is in order. If that is not an option, take a deep breath and count to ten.

Don’t bring anything to eat or drink in the fittings rooms. Bottled water may seem innocuous but try spilling 20 ounces of it  on a silk wedding gown and let me know how that works out. Even plain water will stain most delicate fabrics .

Now that you have the basics, take a moment to watch our couture runway fashion show video so you can get inspired to find the gown of your very own dreams. http://www.bridalshowexpo.com/photo_gallery.html?PHPSESSID=a0cafe868a71f47c6e6d6277d6c3a135

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridesmaids Beware: Tips to being a perfect attendant

We’ve all heard the horror stories and seen countless clips of brides going berserk on TV. Bridezillas (as they have become known) are a ruthless, tireless breed and will not take (hell) no for an answer.  What you don’t see or hear as often are stories of bridesmaids and attendants who don’t live up to their end of the bargain. They hold up orders, complain about dresses, shoes, and generally complicate things. Whats the key to being a  perfect attendant? I’m glad you asked!

Play or go home. If you have agreed to be a part of a wedding, understand it is going to cost you money. Unless the bride has graciously offered to pay for everything on your behalf you will be paying for at least a gown, alterations, shoes, jewelry, makeup, hair, bachelorette festivities, shower and shower gift, and wedding gift. Don’t forget you will need something to wear for the shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner as well. More shoes, more accessories, and the list goes on. If you know you cannot afford the festivities, be honest with the bride,  “I am honored that you asked me to be your bridesmaid and although I would love to be included in the wedding, I simply cannot afford it. I would be honored to be a guest” Otherwise you might be broke and resentful by the time the cake is cut. Once you have agreed to be an attendant, you are no longer entitled to say anything about your expenses. Keep your lips sealed and smile.

Be available. When you agreed to be a bridesmaid you had to know there would be shopping and fittings and all kinds of other pre-wedding activities. Your job is to make this easier for the bride, not harder. If you cannot attend something, being honest is better than being a no-show. With texting, instant messaging and facebook it is easier to stay in touch than ever. Missing an appointment is a cardinal sin and there  is no reason other than bodily harm that you should not be at a scheduled appointment.

Be honest. If asked your opinion, be honest. When it comes to bridal gowns, headpieces, bridesmaid gowns, cakes, whatever. You can have different opinions and still be friends. Remember that there are ways to deliver unkind words. “You butt looks huge in that gown” is not a good example. You might want to try something softer ” Cindy, you have a great figure but, I dont think this dress is very flattering.” However, if you realize this is the gown (or whatever) that she loves and adores, try to find something positive to say. You have signed on to be a support team, its time to be supportive. If asked for your honest opinion, give it as graciously as possible.

Run intereference. Bridesmaids have a lot less to do than the bride during the months and weeks leading up to the big day. You will be a great friend and a perfect bridesmaid by offering to run some errands, or help the bride simplify tasks somehow. This will be the greatest gift she receives, helping her to  handle any and all wedding tasks so the she remains stress free.

I saved the best advice for last: How to handle bridesmaid gown shopping. If the bride offers to take you and all of the attendants to try on dresses, this can be a lot of fun. It can also be the mother of all disasters. Approach it with kindness and fairness. Whether you are a size 2 or 22, remember its not about you: the bride has vision of what she wants the entire day to look like. Remember the scene in 27 dresses when Katherine Heigl goes through the closet and tries on each gown? Hilarious!!! But each of her friends had a vision and she was the perfect attendant by smiling, wearing the dress and not saying one word.  Help your engaged friend to realize her own unique vision by being as cooperative as possible. The only complaints that should be voiced are of the dress is  ill-fitting,  painful (poorly constructed gowns sometimes have cheaper components which can actually hurt and leave marks) or if there is something about that dress that makes you seriously uncomfortable. For instance, if you are quite busty and the gown has little coverage which leaves you a victim of side-boob exposure. Most brides are not stuck in the ‘same gown for everyone’ mold, anyway. Today’s wedding trend is to find a different gown that looks good on each attendant in the same color or one gown in several colors. There are so many choices… talk to the bride in private and explain your concerns, don’t turn it into a free-for-all or let any resentment build up. She does not want frowns, red marks or nipples in her wedding photos so if approached properly, any problem can be rectified. The same goes with shoes. If they are ugly – wear them and donate them after. If they seriously hurt your feet, explain to the bride why you cannot wear them. Offer to find a similar pair that are more comfortable for you and work it out. Unless she is truly that one in a million BRIDEZILLA,  she will be happy you spoke to her instead of complaining behind her back.

-ps – a great way to show your engaged pal that you are definitely in her corner is to offer to attend a bridal expo with her. Bridal Expo Chicago has 32 shows in 2011 and one of them is near you. With dozens and dozens of vendors and our luxurious runway fashion show you will have the time of your life. Call 847-428-3320 to get four complimentary tickets to a show in your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago