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

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

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:

candy cane cocktail winter cocktail unique cocktail wedding ideas wedding cocktails reception ideas for your wedding white cocktail winter drinks winter wedding wedding party blog

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!

pretty-cocktails unique cocktail ideas wedding ideas wedding cocktails wedding decor reception ideas cucumber cocktail yummy cocktails unique drinks wedding party blog

 

-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

Over The Top Proposals – Enough or Too Much?

How far is too far when it comes to orchestrated proposals? Just ask “Hector ‘Tank’ Martinez, who proposed to Paige Hernandez in front of his family and friends,” the description on the YouTube video reads. “Big ups to the 710 Bikerz and everyone else who took part in this event.”

The California Highway Patrol said on Wednesday it is investigating the incident and that felony charges for impeding traffic could be filed.

To view first hand – click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWGlqmrGQ44.

Think that’s the worst? Oh, no…..

How about Ryan Thompson who pretended the tiny little plane he was piloting with his GF Carlie Kennedy as the only passenger was about to nosedive into Lake Shore Drive. There are a lot of words I would have for him, if I were her… “YES” is not one of them. She probably said yes from being nervous ( I hope). Personally,  I don’t want to be married to someone who thinks its funny to scare me to death. You can see his (awesome) sense of humor in this video. For me, it is hard to watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=kxTAjVGN4CE

Last but,  not least there’s the one  guy ( who wishes to remain anonymous) who decided to stage a ‘kidnapping’ to propose to his girlfriend. Well, it seems his friends who were roped into helping him got a bit carried away and police were called by a woman walking past, who saw a bunch of young men pull a young woman out of a van and into another car.

 

I get it. You want to be funny and clever, and original…women love that kind of stuff. But, eventually women want the kind of guy they can really count on. Someone who doesn’t think a practical joke is cutting their brake lines or filling our gas tank with explosives.

Gentlemen, please remember that this is not a competition, you don’t have to have the biggest, baddest,  proposal of all time. Just be sensitive, kind and if you have to do a public proposal, try your best to make sure you are not breaking the law.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

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

 

Bridesmaids – How Many Is Too Much?

The average number of attendants has risen  from 3 to 6 since the year 2000. Six bridesmaids is a lot to manage. Statistically, you will probably have at least one who is married, one who is pregnant, one who is difficult, one who is struggling financially, and one who has issues. In addition to planning the wedding you will also have to keep a watchful eye on bridesmaid gown orders, shoes and  and at the very least be aware of when the gowns arrive, the fittings, etc. You will have to be sensitive to each of them and at certain times flexible so keep that in mind when it seems like a good idea to have 8 bridesmaids. Ask yourself, “Do I have the patience to handle this ( x 6)?”

Of course, you may feel like you have no choice. The groom has a sister or two, you have a sister or two, there are a couple of BF’s and all of a sudden you are up to 8 of your dearest and closest friends. At this point, you must simply prioritize. 

#1 – Appoint a very reliable maid of honor, a  ‘Bridesmaid Manager’ of sorts and keep the lines of communication open. The MOH should be able to oversee all of the scheduling, act as a buffer (between you and the difficult one, anyway)  and communicate with everyone so there are no misunderstandings. Without her, you will be drowning in drama. Have a heart to heart talk and tell her your expectations and remind her that you are counting on her to help things go smoothly. If she flinches, you need to pick someone else.

#2- See #1

 You can have a many or as few as you like. One per 50-60 guests is a good guideline but it is not a hard and fast rule. The record? Jill Stapleton of Ohio had 110 bridesmaids at her wedding in June 2010. To be fair, you should not have more attendants than guests.

You can have an uneven number of bridesmaids.

You don’t need to have a groomsman for every bridesmaid.

They don’t have to wear the same dress, or the same color, or the same anything anymore. It is whatever you want it to be!

No matter how many bridesmaids you choose, the end result should be a happy experience. In this case, less might just turn out to be more enjoyable…. for everyone. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago