Brides and Diets….. Is It Worth It?

If you have ever struggled with your weight, you are not alone. If you have gone on more than one diet in your life, you are in good company. If you would love to lose 10 pounds before your wedding, join the crowd. But, I am here to tell you that there are a few things you should NOT do in order to fit into your wedding gown for one day.

Dropping 20 or so pounds before your wedding is tricky, there are dozens (hundreds) of diet pills, supplements, books, tricks, fads and crazes that promise to get you to your ideal weight fast and some of them work. Don’t be sucked in by the photos, don’t be deluded by the testimonials… there is only one safe and healthy way to lose weight and that is with a healthy diet and exercise.

Rapid weight loss is bad for your heart. My mother in law told me stories of how she would diet, lose 50 lbs before an event and then eventually gain it back, at her funeral she was overweight. I have seen friends go drastically up and down in weight over the years, lost some of those same people due to heart failure  and as recently as yesterday lost a dear friend due to her complete and total dedication to a very dysfunctional eating disorder. Lose no more than a pound a week.

Fads are stupid. This recent fad of the ‘feeding tube diet” has me concerned. This is probably one of the  most irresponsible medical treatments I have seen regarding weight loss. What docotor would agree to this? If you have ever been in the hospital and on a feeding tube ( hopefully you  haven’t), I can tell you that when you get out you are exhausted. Two years ago I had my ruptured, infected appendix removed. I was 49 yrs old – MUCH older than most appendectomy patients and due to the fact that I didnt realize it ruptured for three days…. it was quite serious. For 8 days I was on a  feeding tube and when I finally came home and ate food – real food, I could barely hold the fork. FYI – I only lost 2 pounds. It took months to regain my strength. I was winded, tired and had dark circles under my eyes from the whole ordeal. 2 lbs. Really? Is it worth it? What insane person who loves torture would do this?

When you are 25 years old you are invincible. You don’t realize that every time you crash diet and lose 20 lbs you have just overworked your heart. You don’t realize that your vitamin counts, muscle tone and energy level have all decreased. You don’t realize that you have probably just taken years off of your life. Your body needs fuel just like your car and your body cannot function properly in starvation mode. Your body needs those stored fat and vitamin reserves to fight off the germs.

Get off the sofa and go for a walk, ride a bike to the store, walk to work if you can, walk the dogs if you have them, mow the grass by yourself with a push mower ( my personal favorite), eat apples and oranges every day, carry celery and bananas and crunchy healthy snacks with you at all times. Call Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or any other safe diet program. Get a fitness DVD or game for the Xbox… Kinect is awesome!

But, please, whatever you do –  don’t take diet pills, yo-yo diet, starve yourself or sign up for a feeding tube. We will miss you.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago.


Tips For Picking A First Dance Song

You can check any list of the most popular first dance songs from this week, last year or ten years ago and the same songs will sprinkle the list, with a few current popular songs poking their way through to the top ten. The top ten almost always includes: Unchained Melody (Righteous Brothers), Can’t Falling I Love With You (Elvis Presley), Unforgettable (Nat King Cole), The Way You Look Tonight (Frank Sinatra) and rounding out the list, At Last (Etta James). There are a lot of other really popular songs but these are ALWAYS in the top five.

So what do you do if you don’t want the MOST popular song? What if you don’t choose a ballad or a classic or even a well-known song?What if you and your fiance have a song that made you connect but, it isn’t exactly what other people expect for the first dance? According to industry experts – you should go for it, as long as it is not offensive. The first dance will set the mood for the entire evening so it is an important choice.  Here are some points to consider:

Think about what relates to your relationship. One of the first steps of choosing a first dance tune is to try to find a song that matches the way that you feel about each other or relates to a past moment in your lives together. It nay not be a ballad, and that’s okay. A song that makes you connect, a song that brought you together, a song you share with one another (spiritually) and no one else. It should reflect your taste and your own personal style.

Choose a danceable song. It’s important to remember that you’ll be cutting a rug to whatever song you choose. Even if you have the perfect lyric, a song with an off tempo can cause trouble. Choose a rhythm that fits your own rhythm as a couple, and make sure  to practice a few times to see how you feel with the track. You may want to take dance lessons or you may be comfortable swaying to the music. Remember that most country music is 3/4 (waltz) tempo, this can be off-putting for some people. Songs that are too slow or change tempo can also be troublesome.

Make it memorable. When you have your potential first dance song list in mind, think about which of these melodies will stand out to you years down the road. Pick a song  that stands the test of time. It doesn’t have to be an oldie but, it should be a goodie.

Talk to your DJ.  Make sure you have discussed your first song with the DJ and he or she is aware of the significance.  If there is some history that could be shared, that is even better! Don’t forget to let the DJ  know if you want a particular version since many artists ‘cover’ classic songs. You may like the cover version better.

Listen & Feel. Make sure you are aware of all the lyrics. Some lyrics will surprise you and even though it sounds like a love song- it might actually be a breakup song…. or worse.  I had been dating my (now) husband for about 6 months when he reminded me that we didn’t have a song (seriously). So we sat down and went through playlists, we spent hours listening to music that meant something to us, it took several days because every song was better than the one before – plus the fact that we had to weed out the ones that belonged to prior relationships. By accident we came across a song we both loved, one that really meant something to both of us, the lyrics were perfect and we literally started dancing when it came on. It’s only funny if you know my husband.  “You’re The First, The Last, My Everything” by Barry White. I get a rush every time I hear it and that’s how your wedding song should feel.

Save the funny, irreverent and inappropriate songs for later in the evening, after everyone is half in the sack. Making “I like Big Butts”  or “Like a Virgin” your wedding song may seem funny but, unless every one of your guests is in on the joke – you can expect some fairly odd expressions.

 -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. Visit Canadian Towing homepage to learn more.

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

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago














Promise Rings – A Closer Look

A promise ring is a symbol of love and commitment made from one person to another during dating when the relationship turns more serious. Perhaps you are both in college and have no money or time for a wedding just yet but, you fully intend to make that commitment when you are ready. You want to make a stronger statement than mere ‘dating’ and a promise ring is just the thing to do that.  

When you give or accept a promise ring, you are promising to love the recipient forever and to be faithful. Commonly, a promise ring is given before engagement. It can symbolize sort of a trial period before engagement and the ring  is worn on the left hand until it is replaced by an engagement ring and then switched to the right hand.

Promise rings are not just for women. The popularity of promise rings for men has risen in popularity in recent years. If he gives you a promise ring, it would nice touch to give him one in return to cement your promise to him as well. ‘s meaning. After all, you both need to commit to the promise or it has no meaning. Get him something manly, perhaps in titanium.

Some promise rings have small diamonds, some have small gemstones but they don’t have to include a stone at all, some rings are simple bands with the promise engraved inside. In fact, there are many websites dedicated to romantic promise ring inscriptions, or you can choose your own sentiment.


My personal favorite is the Claddagh Ring. If worn on the left hand with the heart facing out, it signifies that you are spoken for. If worn with the heart facing in, people will assume you are already married. However, I doubt if the “Promise Ring” police will arrest you if you wear it either way. It is a traditional Irish band and many people have been known to use this in lieu of engagement ring or wedding band. It is highly sentimental, filled with Irish lore and has a variety of  romantic legends associated with it. I consider that to be quite special in itself.

Any way you look at it, the “promise ring’ is a sweet, sentimental gesture and one that should not be taken lightly.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago





Information on How to Donate a Dress

Thousands of Chicagoland Brides have emailed Eva’s Bridal of Oak Lawn wanting to help by donating a dress for anyone who may have been affected by the fire that swept through Eva’s Bridal yesterday. (Please note that with the exception of brides who have weddings the weekend of November 19th, 20th and 21st, all brides who have ordered gowns will indeed receive their original order. Shipments from manufacturers will be sent to their new location and will not be affected by the fire.) Still if you would like to make a donation, here are the details below and we will be sure to put the gowns to good use by ensuring they get in the hands of the correct brides. And dresses that are donated in the near future, but are not used for their intended purpose will be donated to Brides Against Breast Cancer or Partnership For Cures.

Eva’s Bridal Oak Lawn, IL
Media Contact: Andrew Hayes, 312-823-4333 |

CHICAGO – Nov. 18, 2010 (615 PM CST) – Throughout the day, while Eva’s Bridal helped brides and bridesmaids find dresses to replace those burned by yesterday’s fire, many Chicagoans spent the day on Facebook©, on the phone and on email telling media and Eva’s Bridal Shop that they want to donate their wedding dress to help out. “I got an email from a woman who was married 40 years ago offering her dress,” explained Ronia Ghusein, owner, Eva’s Bridal.
Fortunately Ghusein and her team were able to get all but two of the wedding dresses replaced today. However, she didn’t want to dissuade anyone who still wants to give and luckily, a bridal industry colleague of Ghusein’s has agreed to step in and facilitate wedding dress donations.
Bill Brennan, CEO & President, Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury Show announced this evening that his company will accept any donated wedding dresses at the Bridal Expo his company is hosting this Sunday, November 21, at the Sheraton Hotel & Towers at 301 N. Water Street in Chicago. Donated dresses can be dropped off anytime between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the Sheraton’s ballroom. More information is available at
“The bridal business is a close-knit one,” Brennan said. “Since we first heard the awful news last night, everyone has been pulling together to do whatever they can to help,” he said, adding, “the outpour of interest from folks has been amazing and if they want to donate their dress and know that it will go to someone in need, we’re happy to facilitate that.”