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

 

 

Mother’s Day Merriment

If you are counting, there are only 364 days left until Mothers Day. Mothers Day is a time for reflection, a time to celebrate the role your mother has played in your life,  a time for celebration. Its also a perfect time to look at the mother’s role on your wedding day.

The mother of the bride is the second most stressed and scrutinized woman of the day. A great mom shoulders the responsibility of not only making sure that her daughter’s needs are fulfilled but also making sure that every single detail is executed with medical precision without being a ‘stage mother’. She has to be in the spotlight and yet invisible. Very tough. Remember – it’s always the mom’s fault, and she knows it. “Your daughter’s wedding was __________ (insert good or bad comment here)” will either haunt or comfort  her for the rest of her life.

The mother of the groom has an equally tough job considering the ramifications of being too involved versus being apathetic. The groom’s mother is supposed to also be supportive, invisible and never, never, never undermine the bride.She  DOES NOT offer too much advice or ask too many questions or even attempt to change one single detail of the wedding without her future daughter-in-law’s expressed premission. That’s  a tightrope I am not looking forward to walking!

A Mother’s checklist: ( mother of bride OR groom)

-Offer to pay for whatever you can

-Always let the mother of the bride select her gown first. ALWAYS.

-Always let the bride make the decisions. This is not your wedding!

-Be available for fittings, tastings or samplings of any kind.

-Don’t get offended if you aren’t asked to do something.

-Never criticize the bride to the groom (especially if he is your son).

-Communication is critical.

-Be open to new possiblities, maybe their way is the best way!

-Remember that this is not your wedding.

-Always be supportive, be ready to handle the tears and drama.

– Know when to back off.

Most importantly, as a mother you have to understand that this is the beginning of letting go. If handled properly, you will gain more than you could ever imagine. If it things ever get heated, ask yourself which would you rather have, a few minutes of “Me Time”  or a lifetime of being loved?

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Daylight Savings Time and Your Wedding

Last night nearly everyone in the United States set their clocks forward one hour in observance of Daylight Savings Time, with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Daylight Savings Time was first introduced to reduce the amount of artificial lighting used  and to allow human beings internal clocks to adjust to the solar calendar. Research shows, without fail, that the practice of  ‘springing forward’ or ‘falling back’ has little or no affect on productivity or sleep patterns.  The reality is in modern times our schedule is our schedule, we work from 9 am to 5 pm ( fro example) no matter the season.

Seeing as how this is a blog about weddings and wedding planning you are probably asking yourself,  “What gives with the Dalight Savings Time lecture and who cares?” The reality is that if you plan your wedding on the weekend of either the Spring or Fall time change, it will have an affect on you and your guests.

Fact: Clocks are set forward the second Sunday in March, and backward on the first Sunday in November.

Tip: It is perfectly acceptable to remind your guests either on the invitation somewhere or on your website that this is the weekend of a time change, especially if your wedding is on that Sunday! You don’t want people showing up an hour late.

Fact: Most cell phones automatically change the time for you.

Tip: It is a good idea to set reminders on your phone or other device to alert you the day or week before the time change so you can get used to the change.

Fact:  Losing an hour of sleep in the Spring is awful.

Tip: Starting the Monday before the scheduled time change, set your alarm clock ten minutes early. By Saturday you will be waking up 50 minutes earlier than usual, on Sunday you will wake up feeling refreshed and never know you missed an hour of sleep.

There always has an always will will be controversy over whether or not the semi-annual time changes are necessary, there are websites, petitions and legislation trying to abolish Daylight Savings Time. For modern brides and grooms there is very little to worry about and if handled properly, it shouldn’t present any problems at all.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Destination Weddings – More Popular Than Ever!

Global warming has it’s benefits, like the fact that the weather in Chicago has been rather balmy this winter…. so far. I am, of course, skeptical enough to think that as soon as it starts snowing we might be buried up to our necks in the white stuff. There are others who think (hope) that old man winter just decided to give us a break after last winter’s “Snowpocalypse”. Planning a wedding during the winter months can be risky, one of the main reasons why brides and grooms in the colder states opt for a destination getaway this time of year.

The benefits of a destination wedding are many:

You can combine wedding with honeymoon, family reunion and vacation all in one.

You are able to invite less people without anyone being offended. Only inviting your nearest and dearest will make a more intimate and fun-filled getaway with MUCH less stress.

Most reception sites are booked a year in advance, not so with a destination event. You can literally plan your wedding in a few short months and still give your guests time to book their travel and RSVP.

Time to bond. Since you will have a smaller group of guests, it will allow you a few days to really get to know some of the people you are less familiar with and re-kindle old friendships that have cooled off.

Less arguing. If you were raised in different cities there is no ‘home turf advantage’, it is now a level playing field and couples will find themselves with less family disputes.

Weekend travel is a rare treat and since some of your guests will have to travel anyway, why not let them travel to a warm, exotic destination rather than a cold, wintry spot?

Many travel agencies offer packages that are quite affordable so, if you are planning a destination wedding, now’s the time to do it! If you are one of the many couples considering a destination wedding, call  847-428-3320 to get tickets to a Bridal Expo in your area so you can meet face to face with one of our many travel consultants and get started on your dream wedding right away! You can also get tickets by visiting our website www.bridalshowexpo.com . Make sure to ‘like’  us on Facebook for more updates, giveaways and specials.

-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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Love Is In The Air – Celebrity Engagements

There must be a little “Love Potion # 9” in the water supply because this past week has given us a rash of celebrity engagements. From pop stars to sports legends,  from the unlikely to the hopeless romantics, it is obvious that 2012 is starting out to be the year of matrimony.

Britney Spears – Engaged to Jason Trawick, released the news via Twitter. Her Neil Lane engagement ring was custom designed with the help of Jason to look like a mini-tiara. Wishing that third time is a charm for the pop princess. Although this is her third trip down the aisle (if you count the Vegas debacle) there is no reason she can’t don a bridal gown again. In fact, wouldn’t she look stunning in this gown by Ines di Santo?

 

 

 

 

 

Matthew McConaughey popped the question on Christmas day to his longtime girlfriend Camila Alves. This previously confirmed bachelor was giddy as he notified his fans, also via Twitter. This couple looks great every time they appear on the red carpet and for all his shirtless antics, Matthew cleans up nicley in every  tuxedo he is photographed wearing. Can you inagine how fabulous Camila would look in either of these couture classics by Yumi Katsura? 

 

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and more recently, American Idol fame, also popped the question over the holidays to his girlfriend of 6 years, Erin Brady, with a 5 carat ring designed by his personal jeweler, Loree Rodkin. Tyler is a Rock and Roll legend so I would guess the most important part of his celebration will be the music. The lineup will likely include some of his dearest R& R friends… maybe Bon Jovi since he is still alive and kicking?

Justin Timberlake and Jessica Beil reportedly became engaged over the holidays and if recent photos are any indication, couldn’t be happier. JT has long been a style icon for twenty-something men and is always willing to take a fashion risk. Will he go traditional tuxedo or something edgy? Jessica Beil, known for her stunning figure as much as her acting ability will stop traffic  in anything she wears.  This gown by Jorge Perez would certainly do the same, proving the back of the gown is just as important as the front.

Michael Jordan (#23)  proposed to Yvette Prieto over the holidays with a ring  that is reported to be in the 7 figure range. No photos, yet and still no reports as to where the wedding will take place. Having a line of his own  tuxedos in the 1990’s gives Michael the ‘home court’ advantage when it comes to selecting his attire for the wedding. Although now defunct, the Michael Jordan Tuxedo Collection took the 199’s by storm… much like he did.

Other recent celebrity engagements include Wynona Judd, Chris O’Brown (from the Bridesmaids movie), and LeBron James. There certainly are a lot of high-profile engagements. Personally, I cant wait to see them unfold because if there is anything I love more than a wedding, it is a celebrity wedding! Best Wishes to everyone who got engaged over the holidays and here’s hoping your ‘happily’ is forever after!

-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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wedding Shoes – The Sky’s the Limit!

Today’s brides know they don’t have to wear the same boring white bridal pumps or have them dyed off -white to match their gown. In addition, the bridesmaids don’t have to wear the same shoes,  either.

Shoes are a fashion statement all their own. The wrong shoe can destroy a gorgeous outift. The right shoe can bring a boring ensemble to life and steal the show. As long as we are talking about it;  it is never a good idea to let your shoe  be either something borrowed or something old. The shoes you choose for your wedding day should be comfortable, stylish and new… and yours.

Comfortable AND stylish? How is that possible? I’m glad you asked! If you never follow any other advice – this is the ONLY shoe advice you will ever need and it works for every occasion. Buy shoes that fit and are comfortable on your foot. The end.

Do not buy shoes a size bigger thinking your feet will swell. They will be uncomfortable and leave blisters.

Do not buy shoes that are too high or low for you to walk in gracefully. You might fall.

DO wear the shoes around the house. Scuff the soles on the sidewalk, wear them while doing some work around the house (inside) and break them in properly before you take the biggest step of your life in ill-fitting shoes and risk having sore feet to prove it.

If you never wear high heels, do not wear high heels for your wedding. Find a lower profile heel to wear that looks good on your foot and fits comfortably.  Try Kitten heels. Kitten heels are small, slender heel no more than 2″. The placement of the heel is directly in the center of the back of the foot so they provide excellent support for larger boned women and allow less pressure to be placed on the ball of the foot. Walk around the shoe store, if you are still wobbly – then don’t buy them and proceed directly to flats. Flats are exactly what they sound like – flat shoes with no heel or a heel less than 1/2 “. They are also sometimes called Ballerina slippers but, they aren’t.

If a medium heel is wearable for you but, you just can’t find a comfortable fit – consider a wedge. The wedge shoe provides tons of support for feet that must endure a wedding marathon. Also great for outdoor events because if the wide base, unless you would like to aerate the yard with your stilettos.  

If you have found a pair of shoes that you love, the heel is a little high and  and must have these shoes, buy them. Then buy a second pair of shoe for the reception.. lower heels or flats. Do not wear birkenstocks or Uggs or crocs. I will find you. Which brings me to my next point – do not take your shoes off at the reception. My absolute worst nightmare is seeing bridesmaids and female guests ditch their shoes at a reception and hit the dance floor in bare (sometimes still stocking-clad) feet! I understand that wearing 3 or 4 inch heels for several hours can be torture on a woman’s feet.  I understand that at the end of the night you just want to take your shoes off and give your arches and instep a break. The end of the night, however, is after you are back home or in your hotel room. The reception is still part of the wedding and I am begging you to keep your shoes on. If the shoe doesn’t fit, you must not quit…. there are attractive, comfortable options to baring your soles.

Are you ready for the fun part? If you can wear heels, high heels, the higher the better, then you are a lucky woman. Shoes today are glamorous, sexy, higher than ever and still comfortable. The platform shoes are towering up to 4 1/2 ‘ but are still wearable, seriously. I can go into instep ratio and all kinds of other things but, basically there are no rules.  Flowers, feathers, jewels, buckles -whatever you like, there is a shoe out there just for you!

Don’t rule out color ! Ever since Sarah Jessica Parker donned those famous blue Manolo Blahniks as Carrie Bradshaw in the movie version of Sex in the City, brides from near and far embraced the idea of mixing it up with all kinds of color on their feet.

Whats your style? Conservative, classic or funky? Bridal Expo has dozens of accessory salons who specialize in bridal and bridesmaid footwear, call 847-428-3320 today to get tickets to a show in your area. Take a moment to visit some of our vendors’ websites and you most definitely  find the perfect fit!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Wedding Website Do’s and Dont’s

Technology is a wonderful thing. Engaged couples can not only design their own unique website telling their story but, also share wedding news, photos, updates, blog about the details, etc. It is also a great way to alert guests of any last minute changes and to clue them in to pertinent information. Over 30% of today’s couple are using wedding websites to share information and that figure increases faster than Charlie Sheen can ‘tweet’.  However, there are some pitfalls to having access to this much information and  to having so much information about you available on the internet.

DO research on the site itself and how long it has been around. Free sites are available but are literally a dime a dozen. They can be loaded with  pop-ups. UGH! You don’t have this much time to waste on putting together a website only to have problems later. Use a reputable server to host your wedding webpage.

DO NOT list your gift registry information on your website. It is perfectly acceptable to provide a link to the website, but do not list gift preferences here. It is in poor taste.

DO put tons of photos on your website. Friends and family will love to see your photos as a couple, they tell a story. Of course they will want the official engagement photo but, the snapshots from vacation, from your childhood, with friends and family will also be a big hit.

DO NOT go on a 2 page rant about something wedding-related or it might come back to bite you. Maybe the florist was not as nice as she could have been, maybe the photographer put you on hold too long the last time you called or even worse, you and one of your guests got into a disagreement.  Its best not to blog about these things on your website. The internet is a really easy place to get yourself into hot water so keep those things to private conversations and emails. If you must blog, blog about the positive aspects of your engagement period (period). Keep the private stuff to yourself.

DO make it a family affair. Put your parents’ wedding photos, photos of the attendants, your sisters, brothers, and your beloved pets. It is all about getting to know your story.

DO NOT share  incriminating photos of drunken attendants at  bachelor/ bachelorette parties. These things are private and as much as you shouldn’t share them, no one really wants to see them. Everyone lets loose sometimes but this is not the place to expose wild antics. Unless you’re going for a ‘Brides Gone Wild’ theme.

DO make it your own. Be as unique as you want to and let your friends/family/guests see your individuality. Romantic, eccentric, conservative, whatever your personal style is – don’t be afraid to let it shine.

DON’T Allow comments without your approval. The last thing you need is someone making some kind of comment that ruins your day and has you scrambling to figure out how to delete. 

DO encourage your guests to comment. Reading words of encouragement is uplifting and can make your entire affair become more close-knit.

 Done properly, your wedding website will be memorable and bring you closer to your loved ones. Your guests will have an opportunity to get to know you better and get a glimpse into your relationship. Working on a website together is a great way to bond even closer to your betrothed and to  pay tribute to your parents and other special guests.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago