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

Red Carpet Roundup – 2013 Grammy Awards

The Grammys are always so much fun to watch because musicians  seem to have so much fun with their fashions…. they don’t hold back – they have such a flair!!  Last night was a tad more high brow ( no one showed up in meat or laid an egg) but, rest assured there plenty of red carpet hits and misses!

Starting with the worst of the worst

10) Jennifer Lopez – Everything about this dress by Anthony Vaccarello is wrong, the slit, the fit and the overall boringness of the “I have to expose myself to be relevant” mentality. 

Jennifer Lopez

9) Adele wearing  floral draperies. This is a common mistake; your dress does not have to match your shoes excatly. She would have been better off picking one bright color to go with the floral shoe!

8) Kelly Clarkson wins big in the singing department but, unfortunately is a huge fashion fail. It seemed like a safe choice, a non-descript little black dress but, this one is not the right one. Blah and ill-fitting. Kelly has so much going on for her in the talent department,  but, girl needs some fashion advice…  badly!

kelly clarkson grammys dress 2013

7) Lisa D’Amato in a really strange dress fit for a hoe-down.I can’t stop humming Entrance of The Gladiators. I’ll wait while you google it…..

 

6)Florence Welch vs. Godzilla. Wearing a green sequined Givenchy gown is a great idea, unless it has spikes made of _______!  What?

5) Kimbra in Jaime Lee Major. In many ways , I think this dress is adorable…. Fun, sparkly, silly, youthful  and just a little of this and that. But, the color combination is all wrong. Seriously….. it’s the Grammys – don’t be shy!

Kimbra and Gotye

 

4) Kelly Rowland in this unbelievably well-fitting and show-stopping gown by Georges Chakra.

3) Katie Perry is all grown up and very sophisticated in this beautiful Gucci gown. Top to bottom perfection.

Katy Perry

2) Justin Timberlake has never looked better than in this Tom Ford suit.

Justin Timberlake

1) Rihanna  is RED HOT, sheer perfection in Azzedine Alaia. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Rihanna

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

Real or Fake? What’s The Difference?

“You get what you pay for”… it’s true in many cases, and we all know it.  If you have your heart set on designer gown, buying a knock-off will never be the same. Not only the designer tag, some key elements may be missing. The same goes with jewelry, shoes, and just about everything else. Here are the facts  surrounding the  real vs. fake argument.

Gown– Buying a  copy of a designer gown is never a good idea. Can you spot the fake in this picture?

Headpiece– The same headpiece for less money (made poorly)  is usually a disaster. Once your hair is done, having a headpiece that is poorly made can fall apart and will most likely destroy your hairstyle.

Eyelashes – Applied by a professional individually or even in strips is fine. Doing it yourself is probably a bad idea unless you have tons of practice. Otherwise, they will look like caterpillars stuck to your eyelids. Three words: Professional makeup artist.

Hair – Even the best hair extensions can ruin your hair for a period of time. The good news it is rarely permanent damage, bad news is that it escalates permanent hair loss if you are already prone. Bad hair extensions look like hair plugs and can fall out in clumps at any time for no reason. If you decide on hair extensions for your wedding, make sure it is done professionally and short term only.

 

Tan – Over exposure to the sun in tanning beds and in real life has a negative affect on your skin. Self spray tans have a distinct odor and can streak or come off on your clothes plus they usually come out looking orange. The best idea if you must tan before your wedding is a professional spray tan  no less than 5 days before the wedding. Even if your tan is just perfect – don’t forget to exfoliate the day before your wedding to avoid discoloration of the gown.

A good spray tan should look like this:

Not this:

Nails – Artificial nails, either gel or acrylic can look very natural so if you break a nail shortly before your wedding, this is an excellent option. Having extra long nails when you aren’t used to them makes things difficult to maneuver but, having extra long nails applied too long before the wedding runs the risk of  breaking one or more shortly before ( or during) the wedding.

This is a suitable manicure:

As opposed to this:

Shoes – Knock off designer shoes are the absolute biggest mistake you can ever make. Your shoes should be comfortable, well-fitting and made of natural materials. Buying a copy of designer shoes in pleather is a mistake. Find the shoe that feels and fits the best on your foot without worrying about the label and you will never regret it.

Makeup – A lot of research and testing goes into cosmetics. Well, not all cosmetics. Although it may  possible to find less expensive makeup that does the same thing as a really great (probably expensive) foundation or Bare Minerals, the chances are you won’t.

At the end of the day what really matters is how you feel. If you are so bedazzled and bogged down with tips, extensions, weaves and spray tans that you are hardly recognizable or if you are so worried about designer names that the quality has become an after thought, it might be time to re-think your priorities. When it is all said and done spending a little more money for quality products may sometimes be the only option to avoid becoming a knock -off of yourself.

After all , you get what you pay for.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Who Doesn’t Love Cake Pops?

Remember last year when I was ranting and raving about the cake-pop and how it would be the biggest thing in wedding desserts since cupcakes stole the show about three years ago? Well, turns out I was right. Not only that – this little gem has inspired many to start an entire business catering to and serving only cake pops.

For those of you who missed my introduction last February to the darling of the dessert world, I would like to introduce you to the ” Cake- Pop”. For those of you who were with me while I extolled the virtues of the delightful smidgen of cake on a stick, lets re-familiarize ourselves with the cake-pop.

Cake Pops were ‘invented’ in 2011 by a woman who goes by the name ‘Bakerella’. On her website you will see a very happy young woman who says she was inspired to start blogging about her baking attempts after taking a cake decorating class.  I saw her website, I hope she got an A+. Maybe she didn’t invent them but she certainly is credited with bringing them into everyday conversation and to wedding sweet tables everywhere . Thank you, Bakerella.

In my quest to find out everything there is to know about cake pops I found that there are two different kinds:

1) Traditional cake-pops are made by crumbling an entire cake with some frosting into a bowl, smashing it into balls, inserting a popsicle or lollipop stick and dipping in hardening chocolate.

2) The newer version of the cake pop is made with a special baking pan that you fill with cake batter and cover with th accompanying  lid that completes the sphere to bake a  perfect circle every time. Insert stick, dip in chocolate and voila!

Of course cake-pops are not intended to replace the traditional wedding cake (but you could), they are adding another layer of deliciousness and pizazz to the sweet table (which they will). You can dip them in all kinds of toppings, sprinkles or have a great time decorating them. They are small and easy to work with, because they are on a stick and they are just the right shape. No mess, no fork, no plate, these little wonders will have you wondering…. what will they come up with next?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

It was just last year that the biggest trend on wedding sweet tables and at receptions was the cupcake. The cupcake was the hippest, hottest must-have for weddings in 2011 and I thought there couldn’t possibly be anything more fun or festive for a wedding sweet table. Guess what? I was dead wrong. I would like to introduce you to the ” Cake- Pop”.

Take a good look at this sweet little gem, you are going to be seeing a lot of it.

Cake Pops were ‘invented’ in 2011 by a woman who goes by the name ‘Bakerella’. On her website you will see a very happy young woman who says she was inspired to start blogging about her baking attempts after taking a cake decorating class.  I saw her website, I hope she got an A+. Maybe she didn’t invent them but she certainly is credited with bringing them into everyday conversation and to wedding sweet tables everywhere . Thank you, Bakerella.

In my quest to find out everything there is to know about cake pops I found that there are two different kinds:

1) Traditional cake-pops are made by crumbling an entire cake with some frosting into a bowl, smashing it into balls, inserting a popsicle or lollipop stick and dipping in hardening chocolate.

2) The newer version of the cake pop is made with a special baking pan that you fill with cake batter and cover with th accompanying  lid that completes the sphere to bake a  perfect circle every time. Insert stick, dip in chocolate and voila!

Of course cake-pops are not intended to replace the traditional wedding cake (but you could), they are adding another layer of deliciousness and pizazz to the sweet table (which they will). You can dip them in all kinds of toppings, sprinkles or have a great time decorating them. They are small and easy to work with, because they are on a stick and they are just the right shape. No mess, no fork, no plate, these little wonders will have you wondering…. what will they come up with next?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago