12/12/12 It’s All In The Numbers

As everyone probably knows by now, December12, 2012 was the last consecutive date  for 89 years, until 01/01/2101. Which makes it special and for some couples, quite lucky. According to most published reports, approximately 7,200 couples got married yesterday on December 12, 2012 which is about a 1400% increase from the exact same date last year.

Couples came out in droves to have  12/12/12 as their wedding anniversary date. In Los Angeles, they were lined up as judges performed back-to-back city hall marriages for the entire day. Las Vegas was jammed with couples wanting to be a part of the 12/12/12 phenomenon and even in Chicago, wedding numbers surged with couples who hoped to be a part of something bigger than just any other day.

For now, the hype is over,  but, the next big lucky day according to numerologists is less than a year away… you got it:  11/12/13!! It is my guess that someone will always think of a way to spin certain dates so that they appear ‘LUCKY’  or interesting or numerically fascinating. For most of us, the only luck was finding the right person to marry, the date being much less of a factor.

 

Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo

Engagement Announcements

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away people used to read the newspaper every day. Then, along came home computers and now everyone communicates online. If you have been asleep for the past few years, the big thing in wedding announcements in 2012 is social media.

Five things to remember about announcing your engagement:
1) Tell closest family and friends first. this should be a phone call from both of you. Not a text, not an email. Think about who might get their feelings hurt by not hearing it first!  After that,  you will want to tell siblings, future attendants, cousins and other people close to you. You can do this solo and text is okay if you absolutely cannot get through to them on the phone and want them to know before they hear it from someone else.

2) Send out postcards or formal announcements. Traditionally these are only sent to people who will be invited to the wedding. But, in modern times there are ways to get your point across without being tacky. Check with your wedding consultant or stationer for appropriate wording.

3) As soon as you are ready, you can announce it on facebook, set up a website and begin the cadence to matrimony with a countdown calendar for all to see. It could be as simple as a relationship status change or as major as a shared video of the actual proposal…or anything in between.  That part is up to you.

4) If you are socially connected to people who still prefer paper media, putting an announcement in the local paper is classy and timeless. You will want to start off finding out  if they have any guidelines, deadlines, fees, or regulations.

5) Last, but not least you can host an engagement party and make the announcement to everyone there. Engagement parties have become more rare for several reasons; they are costly, time consuming and they are more a thing of the past. Of course they still proliferate in certain social circles where that kind of thing is (basically) required.

No matter how you decide to do it, announcing your engagement is an exciting event. It will the first of many exciting events leading up to your wedding and one of the pinnacles of your own personal love story so, make sure you are both in total agreement before you say anything to anyone. You only have one chance to do this right…. make the most of it!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Rehearsal Dinner – Who’s In , Who’s Out?

The rehearsal dinner is a pre-wedding ceremony in North American tradition, usually held after the wedding rehearsal and the night before the wedding ceremony.

Who do you invite? According to tradition, only the immediate family and wedding party are invited to the rehearsal dinner. Basically, only the actual participants in the wedding.

However, there are out of town attendants, their dates or spouses, out of town guests, extended family and all kinds of significant people you want to include in your pre-wedding event. So, where do you draw line to keep your rehearsal dinner from being as big as the wedding?

If you want to have a less formal affair, plan a late afternoon supper,  at a restaurant that is located close to where most of the out of town guests are staying and the wedding venue. To this event, you will invite only the wedding party and immediate family. After the early supper, you can invite others to join you for cocktails and mingling. Make sure to have a definite cut-off time to avoid accidental over-indulging. Come on, we all know there’s one in every crowd!

 

Consider a fun, festive restaurant for the smaller crowd, complete with a patio for expanding the fun outdoors in the summer months.

Some couples cut corners by having a larger party at a less expensive restaurant and others do the opposite; a smaller affair at a posh venue. The choice is up to you.

The fact is that most out of town guests will not expect to be invited if they are not a member of the wedding party. Most out of town guests will be happy to spend the evening before your wedding getting much needed rest from their travel and perhaps even unwind. And they will not be upset or offended by a lack of invitation to the rehearsal dinner of any kind at any venue!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Keeping the Romance Alive During Wedding Planning

You’ve had it with his mother wanting to be consulted on every detail, he’s had it with the million questions related to centerpieces and it seems like all you have to talk about is budgets or boutonnieres. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to put a little romance back into your….romance.

Romance is one of those things that means different things to different people. To some it means being whisked away to exotic locations sprinkled with rose petals and being showered with lavish gifts. In reality, romance doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be as simple as leaving a note that says “Thank You for (whatever)”  or picking up their favorite beverage instead of yours. Being romantic is more akin to being considerate, it is remembering the little things that the other person  loves and putting their wants or needs above yours. Unfortuntely romance can often take a back seat to wedding planning.

Here are  7 things you can do to light a romantic fire under your partner without breaking the bank:

1) Make – A card, a personalized playlist for the iPod,  or a special dinner complete with their favorite dishes. Giving of your time is showing the other person that you care. No credit card required.

2) Write – Do something  that says you are thinking of them during the day. Text him on the way home or shoot her an email after a work meeting or call and leave a message on the house voice mail so she will get it when she gets home before you.  Say, “I’m thinking of you”, thats all.

3) Support – When your significant other is upset about something, listen and offer your support. Sometimes they may be wrong but, your job is to support and not judge. You can offer advice later, when the emotions aren’t as raw. Just listen.

4) Clean Up – Offer to put away the dishes or do laundry when its not your turn.  Better yet – just do it. When you see the other person is struggling, step up to the plate. Cleaning off her windshield when she can’t find her gloves will most definitely show her how much you care. Trust me, there is nothing sexier than a man vacuuming or cleaning the toilet.

5) Nurture – Similar to support but nurturing goes the extra mile.  If your fiance is sick, it’s the perfect time to let him stay in bed while you pamper him with 7up and cold medicine. Maybe he doesn’t need to be completely taken care of but, he will appreciate the gesture.

6) Surprise – You know he loves Star Trek, he knows you hate it. Surprise him by setting the DVR to record the whole series to watch together later (it wouldn’t hurt if you wore a ‘Uhura’ costume)… and no complaining. Sharing something the other person likes shows that you are willing to compromise your happiness momentarily and enjoy something together.

7) Remember – Remembering important things like Birthdays and anniversaries is a must but, rememebering the inconsequential things like the right toilet paper or coffee goes above and beyond.

We’ve all heard it is the little things that make people happy. Whether it is giving up your Saturday Golf game to stay home and address envelopes or skipping Girls Night Out to have dinner with his parents, showing the other person you care about their feelings is the one  thing you can do to keep the romance alive…. forever.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Integrity and Outrage – Finding Fault With Retailers

Yesterday the internet and news outlets were abuzz with a video and story about one (closed) Priscilla of Boston store in Minnesota. Headlines on the internet, viral videos and rumors were flying around social networks and the comment sections were quickly filled with negativity. If you didn’t see the it, here is a re-cap: Priscilla of Boston was purchased by David’s Bridal and early fall announced all stores would be closed by the end of the year. As planned, on December 30,2011 the stores were emptied of inventory and closed. This one particular store apparently took all of the gowns to the alley in back of the store and destroyed or partially destroyed the gowns, rendering them unusable, un-donatable and un-wearable with the help of some red spray paint. The video clearly shows several large men painting large red marks on gowns draped over dumpsters and the back of what appears to be a dump truck. Then a nearby bridal salon owner was interviewed about how she could have put the gowns to good use, naming various charities that could have used them. The article even made a point to mention that a $6,000 Vera Wang gown was found among the couture carcasses. The outrage came in waves. It seemed the story was too salacious to be true, but there were the images as plain as day. Almost as if they were trying to spark a media frenzy among brides.  Almost? Try exactly. 

At first I was among the outraged, I kept thinking that it was some sort of corporate coup, seeing David’s Bridals apology in writing did nothing to assuage my anger. Later in the day it started to sink in that something was just not right with this story. Don’t get me wrong, I think the whole thing could have been handled better but, it left me with several burning questions. Who made the video? Who leaked the story? Why was this being done out in the open for everyone to see? And how did a local competitor know what business was being conducted by another business almost as soon as it happened?  At the end of the day it occurred to me that David’s Bridal may not have given the execution order for the store inventory and I need to take them at their word. Maybe the corporate office did not know business was being handled in such a hap-hazard way. Perhaps  a disgruntled employee had a beef with the corporate office and staged the whole thing to make David’s Bridal look bad, videotaping and leaking it to the media to ensure a public outcry. I am not pointing fingers, I am just giving you one scenario of what could have happened, there are many.  After all, it was only one store, not every store that seemed to have this problem. You see, none of this made sense to me, because I am a skeptic and not a conspiracy-theorist.

Merchandise is disposed of  all the time at retailers. Look in the dumpster behind any retail store and you will be amazed at what is dumped versus donated. This is why there is often a padlock on the dumpster – this is to keep their stuff in, not your stuff out. If a gown is unwearable, why donate it? If it is already damaged beyond repair – why donate it? Racks are lined up during sample sales of slightly soiled gowns, gowns with a broken zipper, gowns with one piece of lace dangling and these gowns are hard to sell no matter how low the price. Why? Because not all brides  are comfortable wearing an even slightly damaged, dirty, broken gown no matter how inexpensive it is. On the one day when you are supposed to feel beautiful and glamorous and perfect, why are you expected to want a gown that is damaged beyond repair? Furthermore, it is well within the rights of any company to decide what is irreparably damaged and what is not. So, if all of this is true,  why was this front page news?

Everyone loves to make big businesses out to be the bad guy and many times they are but, not always.  For me this is just one more reason to do some research before you buy, shopping for value doesn’t always mean shopping for price. Shopping with smaller, family owned salons can almost guarantee that you will at some point speak to or see the owner, the person who is ultimately responsible for all of the decision making, inventory selection and the point at which the buck stops if you have a problem.

It will be interesting to see over the course of the next few days and weeks if there is a follow up to this story. I would like to know who was really involved and what role they played. There seems to be a lot of finger pointing and a lot of outrage but, no clear answers. In the end, I don’t entirely blame David’s Bridal; I blame the media for not giving any concrete answers, just  images of gowns sprayed with red paint, leaving me with more questions. My current outrage is with the reporter(s) of this story for not providing answers. After all, you aren’t entitled to be outraged if you don’t know the entire story.

-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