Choosing The Right Photographer

Your wedding pictures are the most important thing you will have to remember your day.  Choosing the right photographer is as important as having the right gown, or venue, or (dare I say) spouse! When making your selection, price shopping is the worst mistake you can make. There are many factors that go into the cost of your photography package; experience, skill, training, overall quality of the product and the overall style of pictures you want to express your wedding.  

First, you should define the style of photos you prefer:

Photojournalism is a style of photography that captures the events of the day   truly candid style.  Very few, if any, of the shots are posed. This is by far the most popular style of photography according to market trends. There are some drawbacks involved – especially if your photographer is inexperienced in this field. Make sure  the photographer has ample references and photos for you to check before you even consider wedding Photojournalism. In addition, without some of the posed shots you may wind up with a wedding album where  quite a few people are missing.

Traditional Wedding photography is exactly what it sounds like. All of the shots are posed, there is very little creativity involved with various settings and events. There is usually a ‘shot list’ and every detail must be mapped out in advance; lighting, background, placement of flowers, etc.You will have an album that your parents will love: filled with photos of your entire bridal party, family and guests but, you might not have that one beautiful photo that is found so often in a candid moment.

Artistic Photography (also illustrative Photography) is a great mesh of the two other styles. Some candid shots, some posed. Many of the shots are ‘staged’ in various places to look candid – but, are in fact posed. The Artistic Photographer will not be cheap since you are paying for an artistic vision which requires more time and work than snapping photos.

Before booking your  wedding photographer:

-Make sure the photographer you hire is the one who will be at your event.

-Do not accept a substitute unless you have seen examples of his/her work.

-Always remember to get everything in writing!

Bridal Expo Chicago is home to dozens of the finest photographers of all styles. For 4 complimentary  tickets to a show  in your area where you can see example of their finest work ,  log on to www.bridalshowexpo.com or call our office @ 847-428-3320 today!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Timothy Whaley photography

Carasco Photography

Angela Swan Photography

Short Lashes? No Problem!

Not so long ago women had very few choices if they wanted their eyelashes to look thicker and longer. You went to the store, bought a set of false eyelashes and eyelash glue and went home to stick them onto your lids for whatever special occasion you decide you needed them.  Most of us hate the way they feel, even when they are applied by a professional,  and after a few hours cannot wait to get them off.

Now, there are other choices. There are , temporary, short term  and long term solutions.  Yes, you can now have longer lashes if you are willing to spend a little money and make some concessions.

First of all, the life cycle of a single eyelash is 90 days (give or take) They grow just like other hair but only to a certain length and about halfway through the cycle have stopped growing and are already preparing to fall out. Any damage done to your eyelashes today will last about three months.

Temporary :

Professional application of individual artificial lashes can take up to one  hour and costs around $90 but it is far more comfortable than the lash strips. Unfortunately,  they will only last one application. Try them out and see how they feel. If you are only interested in having long lashes for this one day and they feel fine, this might be the solution.

Short Term: 

Lash Dipping – Invented by two Chicago aestheticians who decided that lashes should be easy and carefree, not applying mascara every day, two or more times. It is about a two hour process, costs up to $200 and lasts about 6 weeks. But during that six weeks  your lashes will look like you are wearing mascara the whole time and will be noticeably fuller as well! You will need to schedule touch ups every two weeks.

Lash Extensions – take about two hours but can cost anywhere from $200 -$600 not to mention the $90 touch-ups every two weeks. They last about 6-8 weeks but can last up to 3 months. They will fall out just like your other lashes, so look for them on your washcloth! There is no damage to the lash itself as they are placed on lashes that are about 1/2 way through their life cycle. There are several types of lash hair available and the cost is based on the actual material and amount of lashes. This is the choice of many celebrities- so, don’t believe it when they say the lashes are theirs, nobody has lashes this long on the lower lid, not even Elizabeth Taylor who had two full sets of eyelashes on top and bottom.

Long Term:

Latisse – Brought to you by the manufacturer of Botox, the cost of this product is relatively low considering it’s proven effects. For about $120 you will get a 16 week supply and you are almost certain to see results. First used to treat Glaucoma patients, physicians and patients noted a 25% increase in length and fullness in addition to an 18% increase in darkness of their lashes after a 16 week treatment.  The effects are temporary and you will see the decrease when you discontinue use.  There are few side effects and the percentage of users who experience discomfort is marginal.

THE BUZZKILL? If you do not go to a properly trained eyelash technician or do not apply the Latisse according to directions, you risk mild to serious eye damage. Cysts, irritation, blocked tear ducts and more. Make sure the area is clean, all tools are clean and as always, this is not something you  try the day before your wedding.

PLAN AHEAD. If you are planning any lash treatment, start about 6 months before your wedding and this will give your lashes time to grow and re-grow in case you have some kind of reaction to any one of these methods.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Getting Dressed On Your Wedding Day

You have probably been able to get dressed all by yourself since you were about 6 years old. Maybe back then you had a little trouble with the shoe laces but, other than that, getting dressed has pretty much been a solo act for the remainder of your life… then comes your wedding day.

Not so long ago, brides, grooms and the wedding party ( including parents) got dressed at their individual homes,  with the photographer snapping pictures throughout  the process to show the transformation for regular citizen to bride (or groom). I’m sure this  still takes place. However,one of the best decisions you can make  is  arrangements to prepare for your wedding on site. Why? I’m glad you asked!

Three compelling reasons to get dressed at the venue and not at home:

#1) Weather. Weather can be your worst nightmare for three reasons: Cold, rain and humidity. In cold temperatures, you will have to purchase something fashionable and attractive to go over the gown so you don’t freeze to death on the way there. Rain will mess up not only your gown but, also your hair, makeup and any chance you have for looking your best. Remember last weekend when buckets of rain were pouring down from the sky? Humidity can frizz or flatten, expand or squash … almost every hair type falls prey to humidity. It will also cause your gown to wrinkle easily since there is more moisture in the air.

#2) Wrinkles. Speaking of wrinkles, the men will get wrinkled pants from sitting, the bridesmaids gowns will most likely need to be re-steamed and any silk bridal gown will be a wrinkled mess after traveling even a short distance after being seated in a vehicle… even for a short time.

#3) Time– Getting ready at home provides you with a false sense of time; you are never in a hurry until you realize you are late. Getting ready at the church or ceremony site will keep you mindful that the clock is ticking.

Instead of worrying about these inconveniences, plan on getting dressed at the place where the ceremony will occur.

-Make arrangements in advance for a dressing area that is spacious and  have refreshments on hand.

-Have your hair and makeup done prior to getting dressed.

– Allow extra time for conditions like humidity which may require additional products for your hair and makeup.

-Rent, borrow or buy a steamer  to do touch ups on gowns and tuxedos. An iron will work on some fabrics but gowns with pickup skirts and layers of tulle will need to be steamed.

– Hire or appoint someone as your dresser. If your bridal salon offers this service, it is well worth it. They can steam, button, zip, fluff, adjust and inspect the bridal party so that everyone walks down the aisle perfectly coiffed and put together.

You will never regret the decision to get dressed at the site where things will take place. You will have more room, less distractions, and an added bonus is that the photographer can capture images of both male and female members preparing for the wedding simultaneously.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Kids and Weddings – Yes or No?

The best part about your wedding is having everyone you love in one place at one time. Aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends and (may times) their significant others. People with whom you have shared experiences, and looking forward to adding this to your list of fond memories. Then, the subject of kids comes up. The subject of children at weddings is a buzzkill for almost everyone …with or without children.

People with children don’t understand why you don’t want their little darlings around, why they have to exclude their children (part of the family) from a family gathering. They do not always want to leave their children out of the celebration and if there is travel involved, how long do they have to make arrangements for their children’s well-being? They consider it a huge inconvenience and some parents will be resentful.

But, some people with children don’t always want to travel with them or take them to a fancy event. They would like to have a night out without worrying about who ate their vegetables and making sure someone uses the right spoon. No highchairs, no temper tantrums, no whining…just a night out with your spouse and a glass (or two) of chardonnay.

People without children would often prefer you leave them at home, find a sitter and be done with it. They haven’t bonded with children, they don’t need or want the worry of children ruining their event with bad behavior,  out of control, touching things that don’t need to be touched. They are not as enamored with your children as you are.

Buzzkill.

Points to consider:

Kids are fun. they dance and laugh and eat cake. They will be all dressed up and probably not eat too much, anyway.

If you are paying $100 per person for dinner, how can you justify spending this much one someone who would probably rather eat McNuggets?

Kids are noisy – what if they can’t keep quiet during the ceremony?

Kids are messy. They will probably have filthy hands and want to touch the wedding gown or other things that don’t need to  be touched.

There is also the age thing: What is the cut off? There is a big difference between a 17 yr old and a 4 yr old.

The simple fact is that if you don’t want children at your wedding, state it on the invitation and make sure you are prepared for the fallout. If you are allowing children at your wedding, state it on the invitation and be prepared for the fallout. Either way you are not going to make everyone happy.

Make your decision (as a couple) and move on, you have nothing to explain and no explaining will make a difference, anway. It is your wedding.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

The Great Pantyhose Debate

Is it just me or does anyone else think the pantyhose industry is hanging on by a very thin lycra thread?? Pantyhose were all but abandoned by women in the mid-1990’s when Princess Diana showed up to an event (mid-divorce) in a  knee-length cocktail dress with a bare leg. Her fans went wild! The queen frowned, Prince Charles hardly noticed and women around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief.

I will admit, I love pantyhose. But, every situation is unique and I can tell you that there are many occasions when I am adamantly opposed to stockings of any kind…hint:  Summer 2012 was a HOT ONE!! Therefore, I can take either side of the pantyhose debate.

Situations where pantyhose or tights or stockings might be preferred : many job interviews, some offices, probably in court, maybe a funeral,possibly to meet the Queen and always if it is very cold outside.

Situations where they are not neccessary: Some job interviews, with a longer skirt, in the summer months, with open toe sandals, to meet the first lady (who rarely wears them) and never when it is 100 degrees outside.

Although there are those of us  who swear the pantyhose days’ are numbered, some say that sales are up nearly 40% from last year. This is due  (in large part) to the current Princess, Catherine, who wouldn’t be caught dead without her super sheer, nude stockings.

Kate Middleton's sheer tights

The only rule for weddings is this: If one bridesmaid wears them, everyone must wear them. For guests, it is up to each individual to decide. Iron this out early and decide if you are comfortable without, go without. But, make sure your shoes are comfortable enough to avoid blistering. On the other hand, if you feel under-dressed, wear them. To avoid looking outdated,  look for something as close to the color of your skin as possible to achieve the perfect ‘nude’  look and whatever you do – avoid suntan pantyhose at all costs (or you may be mistaken for a Hooters waitress)!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 
 
 

 
 
 
   
   
 
 
    
 
 

 

 

Wedding Budget – The Breakdown

Being on a budget of any kind is tough. Don’t let anyone fool you – EVERYONE is on a budget and whether it is smaller or larger in dollar value, there is an amount that everyone must stay within. The budget for your wedding is no different, it is just a little trickier.

Decide on the total dollar value you are able to spend on your wedding, and divide the finances as follows, using your preferred wedding budget template. Using a template or specific program is a must – and there are dozens available on the internet!

Remember that taxes and tips are included in the total amount:

40 Percent – Estimate to spend 40 percent of a budget on the reception venue. This includes food, beverages, staffing, taxes and tip. 

10 Percent – Ambiance. Flowers, lighting, decorations will add up quickly.

10 Percent – Music for reception; band, DJ or both.

10 Percent – Photography for the entire event. If you plan a photobooth, include it in this category.

10 Percent – Attire. Brides entire ensemble (headpiece, veil accessories, shoes), groom’s entire ensemble – head to toe.

3 Percent – Favors and gifts for guests, including all attendants’ gifts.

3 Percent – Ceremony. This includes marriage license, ceremony flowers, officiant fee,  musicians (different from reception music). This is it’s own category!

3 Percent – Invitations, save-the-date cards, table markers, guest book, place cards, gift card holder, pen that guests will use to sign the guest book, programs… are all included in this category.

3 Percent – Sweets. Cake, sweet table, individual cakes or desserts.

1 Percent – Transportation costs, bus, limousine, however you plan to get your party from point A to point B.

The last 7 percent is for ICE. No, not frozen water… In Case of Emergency. Use this money if something suddenly happens and the cost of one of your categories increases. You fell in love with  gown slightly out of your price range, there is an unexpected surcharge or corkage fee or cutting fee. Having an emergency fund  will save you a lot of aggravation.

It is important to remember that every couple’s budget may vary depending on their vendor preferences and that each couple may have different priorities when it comes to their wedding. You can set yours accordingly, borrowing a percent from one category to make up in an other.

However, there is only 100% so, make sure your figures add up!!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

How to Spend your Wedding Budget article photo

 

 

First, Second and Third Weddings…Is There a Difference?

With the recent gossip ( I won’t call it news) that Britney Spears is experiencing a slight case of cold feet in regard to her second (actually third) wedding, it seems like a good time to consider previous weddings. In this case, it is when one party has been married before and the other has not.

Tradition dictates that the second wedding should be less formal than your first but, lets say it’s your second wedding and  your fiance’s first trip to the altar. No matter what the circumstances were that led to the demise of the first marriage, it has nothing to do with this union. Whether it was a mutual split, or a nasty divorce, the outcome of that marriage is not to be considered when planning this wedding.

However, there are some teeny, tiny rules of etiquette you may want to consider:

If you or your partner have been married multiple times, you may want to consider a low-key affair. Realistically, how many grand scale weddings do you need? Opt for a destination wedding or something with just close friends and family.

If this is the first marriage for one of you and not for the other, make sure that you don’t miss out on the feeling that you had a wedding. Sometimes brides or grooms regret not having some sort of event to share with their friends and family. Do not ever deny your intended the joy of declaring their love for you in front of family and friends simply because you have ‘been there, done that.” Instead, explain to t hem honestly what you are feeling and work together to make it sepcial and unique.

Having a traditional bridal shower with gifts and games for a repeat bride might seem redundant. Instead, try a spa shower with manicures, pedicures and facials for only the nearest and dearest friends.

As for gifts, this is uncharted territory but, I will go on a  limb and say that anyone who has been married once or twice before probably doesn’t need very many household items. If they are registered, follow the registry exactly and do not stray from the list. Many couples are choosing a cash registry which lets them use the funds for whatever they want.

Exes. Ugh… the dreaded question of whether to invite the ex. If you have a pleasant relationship, if you have children and a pleasant relationship, you get it, right? Never invite anyone who might cause turmoil. If you and your fiance have both been married twice before, that is 4 exes and their dates that might cause a scene… 8 people who could cause potential drama. That is, unless you are all on very good terms. I can’t imagine.

The bottom line – don’t avoid having a wedding just because you already had one. But, be respectful of the situation and modify things when necessary. It is considered uncouth to host a lavish wedding when you have been down the aisle repeatedly. But, that never stopped Elizabeth Taylor or Tom Cruise, who seems to get more and more lavish with each trip down the aisle!!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

tom cruise katie holmes wedding

 

How To Have A Great Wedding – According to Children

A hot debate is almost guaranteed when the topic is children and weddings. Should you invite them? Should you have them in the wedding? The arguments are endless!  What no one ever considers is what the children actually think a wedding is all about. For a few laughs, I have compiled a short list of children’s quotes on weddings and marriage, including my own 10 and 12 year old’s views on the whole affair, along with some of their friend’s responses.

When should you get married?  “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before and you get to find out later who you are stuck with.” (Kirsten, age 10) Now, that’s a revelation!

What does a groom do on his wedding day? “Take a shower and put on a nice suit so I can be the best man.” (Evan, age 11) I guess the groom is the best man, after all!

What does the bride do on her wedding day? “Kiss the groom, eat cake and then put your dress on.” (Olivia, age 8 ) In that order?

What is a wedding? “Weddings are mostly when the bride walks up to the husband, they have a piano player and they say stuff about if you want to get married or not. If you say “I do” and the bride says “I do” then you are married and it’s all over.” (Frankie, age 10) Sometimes thats exactly right.

How do you plan a wedding? “You pick a best man and a flower girl and go to church.” (Jacob, age 12) Interesting… no bride?

What is the best part about having a wedding? “Everybody smells good and there is enough cake for everyone.” (Alan, age 7)  Cake is definitely a bonus.

How do you decide who you will invite to your wedding? “The groom, my kids and both of our teachers.” (Pam, age 9) Don’t forget your classmates!

Follow the advice of these kids and you are guaranteed to have a great wedding!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Honeymoon – Now or Later?

According to industry statistics, an estimated 38% of couples honeymoon immediately after the wedding, about 27% honeymoon within 3 months and the remaining 35% opt for no honeymoon at all. No honeymoon? Hard to believe but,  destination weddings add up to a whopping 19%, which leaves a small percentage of couples who are either unable or unwilling to get away.

Now – The best reason to get away immediately after the wedding is to decompress and relax. Stress has been building since the engagement and with all of the preparations and details under your belt, disappearing with your new bride or groom is about the best thing you can do if it is at all possible. The Thank You cards can wait until you get back. Or better yet … take them with you and send them with an exotic postmark.

Later – There are many reasons that couples may choose to delay their honeymoon; unable to get time off from their job or other commitment, illness in the family, or perhaps weather concerns. Be careful, waiting more than three months after the wedding causes most couples to focus on other matters that need their financial attention, like using their honeymoon fund for a new car or  a down-payment on a house.

Destination – The upside of a destination wedding is the built-in honeymoon. It is a much smaller, more intimate gathering and you will only be able to invite your closest friends and family. The down side is that only about 50% of your invitees will be able to make it.

Whether you honeymoon now, or later or choose no honeymoon at all,  a really great idea is to spend your first night as a married couple in a luxurious hotel, making sure they know you are newlyweds so you can bask in the glory of the honeymoon suite!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Managing Your Finances – Together

Many couples today are paying for their own wedding, which makes it no great surprise that they would start their new life together in debt. Debt is that nasty four letter word that no one likes, we all fear and is hard to dig yourself out of unless you are prepared.

Not surprisingly, it is how you handle the debt that determines whether you will be a) successful at removing it and b) your marriage can weather the debt storm. According to financial guru, Suze Orman, money issues play a significant role in 90 percent of divorces.

Tips on managing debt  from Suze Orman:

Budget – The purpose of a budget is to control your spending. Think of it as a diet for your bank account; you cannot charge more than you make or your debt will weigh you down.  Be honest with each other about spending and never go over budget without giving the other person a heads up.

Joint accounts – Having a joint account to pay household bills is a good idea. But, each person should have their own separate account as well.

Equal Contribution – Each person should contribute the same percent of their income to the household. If you make $100,000 per year and your spouse makes $50,000 per year, your contribution will be double. Percent is the key word. If you don’t make equal money, you can’t contribute the exact same dollar amount.

Control – You should always be allowed to control your own money. If your spouse insists that you relinquish all of your money into a joint account and you have to ask for money, this is a recipe for disaster.

In most relationships, there is one person who is a spender and one is a saver. If you can combine your strengths and weaknesses for the greater good, this is a terrific combination. If you are both spenders, you should seek financial guidance early in your relationship so you don’t become a statistic.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago