Spring Bridal Events!

Brides, if you’re planning a wedding and you’re on the hunt for wedding professionals to help assist in making your dream day perfect, don’t miss our schedule of April Luxury Bridal Events.

Sunday, April 12th at the Marriott Chicago Northwest in Hoffman Estates

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Sunday, April 19th at the Doubletree by Hilton Oakbrook

Welcome to the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago- Oak Brook Hotel

Sunday, April 26th at Georgio’s Banquets in Orland Park

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Not only will you have the opportunity to book appointments with our exhibitors, but you’ll also have the chance to see the top designers in bridal and bridesmaids on our gorgeous runway! Names like Ines Di Santo, Lazaro, Liancarlo, Mira Zwillinger, Inbal Dror, Edgardo Bonilla, Yaki Ravid, Johanna Johnson, Hayley Paige, Alvina Valenta, Matthew Christopher, Tara Keely, Sophia Tolli, David Tutera, James Clifford, and bridesmaids by Alvina Valenta, Jim Hjelm Occasions and Noir by Lazaro.

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{photo above courtesy Just Love Me Photography + Design}

To order your four complimentary tickets to any of the events mentioned above, visit our website at: www.BridalExpoTickets.com and use the Promo Code, FB-Spring! We look forward to seeing you and to helping you assist in your wedding planning!

Jim Verraros for Bridal Expo Chicago + Milwaukee Luxury Events

 

Lavish Weddings – An Intimate Alternative

 Many couples are opting for smaller, more intimate gatherings where their dollars are spent on quality vs. quantity; having  a luxurious, lavish affair for 75 people rather than a cookie cutter convention  for 350 people.  The problem is, where do you draw the line?

Make your guest ‘wish’ list and decide on the exact cut off number. This list is the closest people in your life, the people you cannot live without.  Decide immediately if you will be able to allow  single guests to bring a date or  parents to bring their children, stick to your guns and be prepared to have to defend this decision. These are people who have been with you for your whole life, people who will be there forever and ever, not co-workers or bosses or recent neighbors.

From the beginning, tell anyone who asks that you are planning a small, intimate gathering. This will prevent most from asking if they are invited. Be polite and tell them honestly, ” Jason and I have decided to have a small wedding and we will only be inviting family and our closest friends.” Of course, this means you should not be constantly talking about wedding plans to co-workers who are uninvited, save the juicy details for the maid of honor or your sibling. Remember, if you are having pre-wedding parties, they are restricted to invited guests only. Can’t invite people to a bridal shower and not invite them to a wedding, after all.

 Keep the wedding party small. There is no hard and fast rule for this but, if the guest total is 75, stay with one or two attendants. Kate Middleton had only one bridesmaid and her wedding was enormous, keep that in mind.

The benefits of a smaller wedding are many; you can spend more money on things that really matter to you like an exclusive location,  maginficent meal, extraordinary flowers, glamorous gown, extravagant shoes, elaborate invitations,  A-list photographer and a sumptuous sweet table. In the end it truly is a matter of quality versus quantity.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

How Much For That Dress In The Window?

In the 20th century DeBeers introduced modern society to the idea that a woman’s engagement ring should cost approximately 2 month’s salary and no one seemed to blink an eye. The engagement ring will probably be worn every day for the rest of a woman’s life – barring no unfortunate circumstances.

By comparison, no one has ever come forward to say how much a  bridal gown should cost. What percentage of salary, wedding budget or any other indication of the amount of money one should spend. Of course the 2 months salary really was a genius marketing strategy and nothing more.

The best way to decide on how much to spend on your bridal gown is to first take a look at what’s important to you. First and foremost, determine your budget immediately. Before you open a bridal magazine, sit down with whomever is paying and have an honest conversation about price. Convey this to your bridal consultant when you enter the salon and it will help him or her determine what gowns you will be seeing.

After the budget is determined,  consider the  three F’s: Fabric, Fit and Finish.

Fabric:  The quality of the fabric will increase the price of the  gown greatly. Inspect the fabric… is it silk? Is it smooth  or does it have inconsistencies in the weave? High quality silk and low quality silk have one thing in common: they are both silk. However, the process they go through to become a garment is entirely different. The reason some fabrics are more expensive than others because they are more valuable. They are better in quality, they look better and they feel better. High quality fabric makes a difference in price. Does it feel good next to your skin or is the fabric itchy? A quality garment begins with quality fabric.

Fit: Each manufacturer has their own standard sizing. What does that mean? Not every size 8 fits the same way. Vera Wang’s size 8  maybe be cut slightly different from Monique Lhullier’s size 8. Also, a great fit for your body may not be a great fit for the bride standing next to you. The truth is that a  more expensive gown will have a better fit  because a lot of time has  been spent perfecting the pattern before it even becomes a gown. Maggie Sottero advertises her gowns as the best fit in the bridal industry. Is it true? Try one on and decide for yourself.

Finish: The quality of any garment is revealed in the finished product. The finish of a gown refers to the end stages of construction. My mother always told me that a garment should look as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. She was a smart lady. Look inside the gown: are the inside seams exposed? Are there any threads dangling out of seams? Is the hem even all the way around? The serged method is  the least expensive way of finishing seams. This is great for tank tops and denim. By comparison,  French seams are delicate and time consuming. Does this matter to you? A beautifully sewn garment will also be easier to alter and will look better as a result. The gown should feel smooth and comfortable against your body, nothing pinching or poking anywhere. The attention to detail is one of the most important factors in deciding how much your gown will cost.

A bargain is when you pay less for something than it is actually worth. Getting a beautiful gown of superior quality within your price range is a bargain. Buying ana garment for any price that is made and fits poorly is not a bargain.

When deciding on how much a gown is worth to you, remember that you will never be photographed in anything as much as you will be in your wedding gown and you will probably never be seen by as many people at one time as when you are wearing your wedding gown. Decide the value of that before your enter the first salon.

Remember, you always get what you pay for. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Lights! Camera! Action! Behind The Scenes at a Bridal Expo Luxury Event

If you missed last night’s Luxury Event in Oakbrook, I would like to take you on a journey of what you missed. A real, behind the scenes look at what goes on to make the show possible and a close encounter with one of the world’s premier Bridal Designers, Ines   Di Santo and her daughter, Veronica.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012,  4:10  p.m. I was supposed to be at the Drury Lane Theater in Oakbrook, IL at 4:00 but, my son’s school bus was a little late and I have to wait for him to get home before I can leave… yeah, I am one of those moms. When I pulled into the parking lot there was not one empty spot except for valet and after fishing around for some singles in my pocket, I decided to park in one of the free spots farther away and hope I don’t get towed.  By now, I am scurrying into the building, the excitement and anticipation building as I approach the backstage area to prepare the designer gowns for the runway show at 8:00 pm.

As I get backstage I see that Kirsten, one of the members of the (fabulous) Bridal Expo Staff  has the gowns lined up, the steamer already filled with water and plugged in. She and Carol Tardi, the Fashion Director and onstage commentator, finish unpacking the last of the couture gowns that arrived from  Ines & Veronica Di Santo, who also arrived earlier in the day from Canada. I am able to start work immediately so my nerves are now a bit calmer.

As I gently pull the fabric top to bottom, right to left, I wonder if there is any silk left in Canada? Yards upon yards of carefully cut tulle, lace, shantung, chiffon, every imaginable kind of silk and embroidery available is crafted into gowns that can only be described as impressive.

After their red carpet photo shoot with some of our top vendors, Ines Di Santo and her daughter Veronica escorted by Bridal Expo Vice President, Jim Verraros, peer behind the curtain to oversee and assist with the care of their gowns. One of the gowns had a complicated lace drape in the back and Ines instructed me how to pin  this for maximum effect. I admit….. I would have done it wrong. Working (even just backstage) with Ines and her daughter is akin to taking art lessons from Leonardo Da Vinci. In reality, the mother/daughter design duo are delightful, soft-spoken, extremely talented women, not pretentious divas (as artists of this caliber are often portrayed).

The models begin arriving over an hour earlier than usual for hair and makeup to be done by professionals at Tamara Makeup & Artistry. Donning t-shirts and skinny jeans, nearly a dozen of Chicago’s top models wait patiently to begin the transformation from lovely ladies to beautiful brides, it is a short trip made easier by the pro’s.

The gowns are steamed, a few last minute checks to see if anything needs special attention. Not with this collection – everything is impeccably sewn and presented in pristine condition. As the models finish their hair and makeup, the staff readies for the show to begin. The dressers ( those of us who zip and get the models in their gowns for the runway) are lined up at the designated racks, Jim is poised at the control center where he will deliver the orders to models when it is their time to go onstage, Carol is standing by the entrance to the runway with microphone in hand. There is a  moment backstage, a breathless moment that borders on panic and exhilaration as Bill Brennan, CEO and President of Luxury Bridal Expo Chicago & Milwaukee, takes the stage to welcome the audience. The crowd goes silent as the lights dim and the show is about to begin.

Once the music begins and the models take the runway, the audience is transported to a dream world of luxurious fabrics, a magical land where only the most elegant and refined gowns exist. No one in the audience knows that there was a gown almost pinned wrong. No one suspects that there was almost a shortage of T-pins. No one cares that a certain gown should have had an a-line slip but went out with a full slip.

After the runway show ends, the models and makeup artists pack up and go home, we begin to carefully bag all of the gowns in the same sterile packaging as they came. The designers graciously thank the entire staff and are whisked away by Bill and Jim for some last minute mingling.

The evening was a huge success with careful planning, extensive preparation and exhausting work.  Please take this time to go to www.bridalexpochicago.com to get tickets to a luxury event in your area today, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Until then, take a moment to enjoy the glamour of some of the haute couture gowns from the Ines Di Santo collection at http://inesdisanto.com/

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Friday 13th – Fear of Fiction

Today is the first of the three “Friday the 13th’ days in 2012 so, if you’re feeling lucky today it may last the whole year. On the other hand if you are a victim of  friggatriskaidekaphobia, this is only the beginning. The origins of the fear of the number 13 and this day falling on a Friday are very sketchy and this phenomenon has only been around for about a hundred years. For me, the only thing  to fear is fear itself, as I don’t personally believe in luck (either good or bad) and this day to me is like any other with one exception; a chance to move around a little easier.

According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina,  an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. “It’s been estimated that  $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day”. 

Oddly enough, even wedding advice boards are inundated with posts warning couples that Friday the 13th is a bad day to get married. As a result, a lot of venues offer specials to those who dare to mark this as their anniversary date. FYI if you get married on Friday the 13, you will celebrate your anniversary on Friday every 7 years.

Statistically, there has never been a major weather catastrophe, a terrorist attack, an assassination attempt or anything comparable on Friday the 13th in my lifetime. I have personally never seen any remarkable occurrences or suffered any particularly unlucky events which all lead me to believe that any and all fear of Friday the 13th is completely unfounded. Unless it rains on your wedding day which is extremely good luck (wink, wink).

If you are setting your wedding date for 2012 and you are not superstitious, you can still have two chances to reverse the curse (April and July) as well as September and December in 2013. Don’t forget to ask if there is a discount for non-believers!

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quality vs. Quantity – Small, Sumptuous Weddings

Last week we unveiled one of the wedding trends that began developing in 2011 and will most likely continue into 2012 is downsizing. Many couples (not just those with budget restrictions)  are opting for smaller, more intimate gatheringe where their dollars are spent on quality vs. quantity; having  a luxurious, lavish affair for 75 people rather than a 350 person sit down dinner.  The problem is, where do you draw the line?

How to keep your small affair a small affair:

1) Make your guest ‘wish’ list and decide on the exact cut off number. This list is the closest people in your life, the people you cannot live without.  Decide immediately if you will be able to allow  single guests to bring a date or  parents to bring their children, stick to your guns and be prepared to have to defend this decision.

2) From the beginning, tell anyone who asks that you are planning a small, intimate gathering. This will prevent most from asking if they are invited. Be polite and tell them honestly, ” Jason and I have decided to have a smaller wedding and we will only be inviting family and our closest friends.” Of course, this means you should not be constantly talking about wedding plans to co-workers who are uninvited, save the juicy details for the maid of honor or your sibling. 

3) Be prepared to get some flak. Some people will a) not think this is a great idea and b) be offended they are not invited. This is your celebration, it is your choice to handle it as you see fit. Whatever reason they give you for their dissenting opinion –  ignore them.

4)  As soon as you have whittled the guest list to the desired number, find and book your location.  Once you have secured your location, everything will begin to fall in place and any negative feedback will be drowned out by the beauty of what you can accomplish for the same amount of money.

5) Keep the wedding party small. There is no hard and fast rule for this but, if the guest total is 75, stay with one or two attendants. Kate Middleton had only one bridesmaid and her wedding was enormous, keep that in mind.

The benefits of a smaller wedding are many; you can spend more money on things that really matter to you like an exclusive location,  maginficent meal, extraordinary flowers, glamorous gown, elaborate invitations,  A-list photographer and a sumptuous sweet table. In the end it truly is a matter of quality versus quantity.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrity Wedding Roundup

Didn’t it seem like last year there were hardly any celebrity weddings? With the exception of the spectacular union of Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinky which had all the right elements including two Vera Wang gowns, secret service and Hollywood guest list.

This year getting married seems to be the new black in Hollywood, even Hugh Hefner is jumping on the bandwagon (again) after bachelor-ing it up on reality TV for several seasons. Probably most notable and most recent (and most interesting)  is the engagement of Kim Kardashian to her basketball playing fiance, Kris Humphries.  

I love celebrity weddings for a million reasons and I am often disappointed by them. I love seeing what they come up with given their seemingly limitless budgets and star-studded guestlists. I loved Celine Dion’s over-the-top wedding, except her hideous head gear. Seriously, what was that? I loved Mariah Carey’s fairy princess look at her first wedding even though in retrospect  it seems gaudy. And trust me, I was sore when I picked up a people magazine with a photo of Julia Roberts with Lyle Lovett in basically a nightgown with bare feet. I still don’t get it but, I eventually forgave her. :)

So as I await details of the  second trip down the aisle for Kim Kardashian, the Reality A-lister, I would expect to see a lot of pomp …. under the circumstances.  And, of course the speculation begins as to what (who) she will wear.

What will Kim wear? With a 20 carat, 2 million dollar engagement ring, the stakes are high. Vera Wang is very possible since her sister wore a Vera Wang for her wedding not so long ago and Vera Wang has the kind of name recognition that the Kardashian Klan adores. Of course there are dozens of suitable high end designers;  Amsale, Ines Di Santo, Rivini, Monique Lhullier… the list goes on. However, looking at pictures of Kim K and her flair for wearing body-hugging styles, my guess is Pnina Tornai or Stephen Yearick.  Furthermore, since Kleinfelds of  “Say Yes to The Dress” fame is the exclusive distributor for the Pnina Tornai collection, I think a reality  mega-merger is in store. Perhaps a  one hour special “Kim Takes Klenifeld’s”! I am quite often wrong when I speculate so don’t hold me to that. One thing is for sure, don’t look for her to be following the understated look worn recently by Catherine Middleton. In Hollywood less is never more and not enough is worse than nothing at all. Fortunately,  the Kardashian’s never disappoint when it comes to glitz and glamour. 

Here are my picks for the Kardashian bridal party:

Bridal Gown  – Tight fitting corset bodice with a tremendous, detailed skirt! I personally love this one-shoulder gown with the draped bodice. It is unique and fabulously couture!

Bridal Party – Something slim and flowing, something feminine and chic. For instance the pleated metallic halter  gown by Carmen Marc Valvo or a pastel gown executed flawlessly by the  Enzoani Love Collection. For something more vibrant, there is always a Redux Charles Chang-Lima silk gown in bright red.  These would look great on any of them or the Mother of the Bride.

Stay tuned as details of the big day unfold! Until then, you can see all of the latest designer gowns at each and every Bridal Expo. Or take a minute now to watch our couture runway show which (unlike some celebrity weddings) never disappoints. http://www.bridalshowexpo.com/fos_video_bride.html?PHPSESSID=c7dbb4fca519180d63d86a3f15f36209

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago