Wedding Planning Made Easy

I am sure you’ve heard that sometimes the truth hurts. The fact is – sometimes it doesn’t hurt at all. Sometimes the truth is easy and painless. I can give you one perfect example: The BEST first step you can take to planning your wedding is to make plans to attend a Bridal Expo Chicago/Milwaukee Luxury Event. That’s the truth.

However, there are some ways to make it easier and even more painless than you could imagine. I am thrilled to pass along these tips to you so you can save time and money and have a great time.

1) Make a day of it! Don’t plan to come to a show when you are in a hurry. Make this one day very special, plan a fantastic breakfast or brunch beforehand and stay for the entire show. You will not be sorry. You will save more time visiting our vendors in that one day than driving to and from every single vendor we have at our shows. How much time and money would you like to save?

2) Plan ahead. Before attending, bring a checklist of what services you need.  This will avoid confusion and save time. You won’t need to spend time shopping for vendors that you have already booked.

3) Bring your support team. Only bring those who offers you the best advice and gives you the most support.  Bring those people with you to keep you on task and focused on your needs.  You don’t want to bring ‘Debbie Downer’ with you and ruin an otherwise awesome event.

4) Bring contact labels. At each of our shows, you will have the eopportunity to sign up for amazing prizes and special deals from Bridal Expo and each of  our vendors. It saves so much time (not to mention writer’s cramp) if you have address labesl pre-printed with your contact information. Dont forget your email address! Make sure all the information is current.

5) Bring a digital camera. Yes, we not only allow but, encourage our brides to take pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words. There will be flowers, cakes, gowns,  and all kinds of other things that you will want to remember. This is the best way to document your preferences. Later you can print those pictures and place them in your wedding planner for quick referencing.

6) Leave the kids at home. If you have small children, this is the best time to cash in a favor from a good friend and ask them to watch the kids for the day. Small children will be overwhelmed by the crowds and you will want to be able to stay focused. Plus, there are no strollers allowed in the vendor area. The kids will thank you!

7) Arrive Early. This will give you time to register, and after you have visited every vendor you will be able to find a great seat for the Couture Runway Fashion show. No where else can you see this many luxurious designer  bridal fashions on one stage.

8) Come for the show, stay for the prizes.  At each and every Bridal Expo there are fabulous prizes given away on stage before, during and after our luxurious runway fashion show. Large prizes (fabulous getaways, diamond earrings, photogrpahy packages) and smaller prizes (countertop appliances and gift certificates). Either way, you will not win the prizes if you are not there to claim them. If the bride is not present when called, our Fashion Director and show commentator, Carol Tardi, will call another name. Don’t be the one that got away!

9) Be ready to save money. Many of our vendors  offer booking specials. Dont be afraid to save money. If you are not ready to make a decision,  ask for their information so you can contact them later. They will be happy to oblige. 

10) Relax. The wedding planning process should be fun and Bridal Expo will help make it easier.  Organization is the key to staying stress-free and focused.

 

-Penny Frulla For Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Cover Photo

Photo: Here is a photo taken during the finale of one of our recent luxury bridal shows.  Special thanks to Just Love Me { Photography + Design } and Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry.To see more from our runway, click here: http://www.bridalshowexpo.com/video_gallery.html

Cancellation Crisis – When Vendors Let You Down

Imagine for a moment that you have been looking forward to your first meeting with  a particular florist, or  baker, or  wedding planner. You have done your research; called referrals, made sure they are accredited and have a good rating with the BBB. You make your appointment well in advance and then, suddenly, they cancel at the last minute. What do you do? Although I’m usually  in favor of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, there are cases when a cancellation might be a red flag. 

If the vendor cancels because they have overbooked, you might have cause for concern.  This could mean there is a time management problem.

However, if the vendor cancels because another event had a legitimate crisis that had to be handled immediately, this says the vendor is as concerned with keeping their existing clients happy as they are booking new clients.

If the vendor cancels because of weather, health or personal family issues, we can all understand… these things happen. Of course, if it happens more than once, this could be someone who has a lot of drama in their life and it could be time to take a closer look at whether or not you  can handle their drama.

In essence, when a vendor cancels you need to use your best judgement to decide whether or not they deserve a second chance. If the reason is weak or there really is no reason,  you should begin your search for another vendor to replace them … someone who is able to keep appointments. This is especially true for a bridal or wedding consultant. You are hiring them to manage your entire wedding and this is no easy task – there must be total faith and trust.

The last thing you need to be doing on the day of your event is chasing vendors  or worrying if things will be done properly. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Red Carpet Roundup – 2013 Grammy Awards

The Grammys are always so much fun to watch because musicians  seem to have so much fun with their fashions…. they don’t hold back – they have such a flair!!  Last night was a tad more high brow ( no one showed up in meat or laid an egg) but, rest assured there plenty of red carpet hits and misses!

Starting with the worst of the worst

10) Jennifer Lopez – Everything about this dress by Anthony Vaccarello is wrong, the slit, the fit and the overall boringness of the “I have to expose myself to be relevant” mentality. 

Jennifer Lopez

9) Adele wearing  floral draperies. This is a common mistake; your dress does not have to match your shoes excatly. She would have been better off picking one bright color to go with the floral shoe!

8) Kelly Clarkson wins big in the singing department but, unfortunately is a huge fashion fail. It seemed like a safe choice, a non-descript little black dress but, this one is not the right one. Blah and ill-fitting. Kelly has so much going on for her in the talent department,  but, girl needs some fashion advice…  badly!

kelly clarkson grammys dress 2013

7) Lisa D’Amato in a really strange dress fit for a hoe-down.I can’t stop humming Entrance of The Gladiators. I’ll wait while you google it…..

 

6)Florence Welch vs. Godzilla. Wearing a green sequined Givenchy gown is a great idea, unless it has spikes made of _______!  What?

5) Kimbra in Jaime Lee Major. In many ways , I think this dress is adorable…. Fun, sparkly, silly, youthful  and just a little of this and that. But, the color combination is all wrong. Seriously….. it’s the Grammys – don’t be shy!

Kimbra and Gotye

 

4) Kelly Rowland in this unbelievably well-fitting and show-stopping gown by Georges Chakra.

3) Katie Perry is all grown up and very sophisticated in this beautiful Gucci gown. Top to bottom perfection.

Katy Perry

2) Justin Timberlake has never looked better than in this Tom Ford suit.

Justin Timberlake

1) Rihanna  is RED HOT, sheer perfection in Azzedine Alaia. It doesn’t get any better than this!

Rihanna

Salute To Bangs! – 2013 Hair Trends

Ever since the First Lady, Michelle Obama, showed up with bangs last week , the media has gone wild! The truth is that all it it takes is something as simple as one very  highly visible person to modify their appearance for a trend to slowly take hold. On the other hand, this style change was more like the “Shot Heard Around The World.” Every program, every channel was asking the burning question, “What do you think of the First Lady’s bangs?” For a brief moment, there was no debt ceiling, no fiscal cliff and no gun control ….. just bangs. In honor of Mrs. Obama, here is my salute to bangs- of all lengths and kinds!

Long bangs – Defined as long bits of hair  that frame the face but come to the middle of the eye …at least! Long bangs look great with layered hair . It all  frames the face at the same time and is very slimming.

Long Bangs  look equally great with short hair.

Side bangs – Any length of bangs that are swept  to one side. Side bangs are great if you have a cowlick in the front of your hairline and they are soft and flattering to the face.

Pixie Bangs –  This is what my bangs looked like when I cut them myself as a young girl and also the last time I got my haircut and wanted to strangle the hairdresser. Really great on small faces or with short, wispy hair… not on me!

 

Blunt Bangs are cut straight across with no feathering. Blunt bangs are difficult to wear for some and absolutely perfect on others. Bunt pixie bangs are an odd choice but, there is something for everyone.

Amelia Lowe Short Haircut with Blunt Bangs

 

Which brings us to the most popular style, the current style worn by the first  lady, the Curved Bangs. Curved bangs frame the face on the sides and look really flattering on almost everyone.

They are tapered into layered or blunt cut hair.

Most importantly, they are long enough  to be incorporated into the hair or slicked back  if necessary but, no so long that they obscure your eyesight.

The right bangs will make you look and feel 10 years younger. Be careful, though and DON’T Experiment with bangs unless you have a solid 3 months to completely grow out any mistakes!! My advice: Start early if you are feeling the ‘urge to splurge’ on bangs!

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Destination Weddings – More Popular Than Ever!!

It only takes a few days with single digit temperatures for couples to open up to the idea of a destination wedding.

For many years,  destination weddings have been on the rise.  Usually held at tropical locations, they combine the honeymoon with the wedding itself. Guests travel to the location and can spend up to a week celebrating with the couple.

 There are several reasons that couples opt for a destination wedding… one of which is  to save money! Believe it or not, couples who  have destination weddings typically spend less overall.

According to Travel & Leisure magazine, the top wedding destinations are as follows:

1) Mexico. No surprise here. Mexico is close and  entices couples with its warm, sunny weather, colorful culture, extensive coastline, spicy cuisine, and wide choice of accommodations. You will not be disappointed.

2) Jamaica. A lush island, Jamaica has beaches, waterfalls, mountains to explore. With more all-inclusives than anywhere else in the Caribbean and a reggae beat, and it’s no wonder it’s so popular!

3) Dominican Republic. With fine boutique hotels and price-competitive all-inclusives, this is a wonderful place to begin your lives together.

4) Bahamas. Just off the coast of Florida you can find everything you want whether you opt for developed Nassau, Freeport, Paradise, and Grand Bahama Island or one of the low-key Out Islands.

5) Hawaii. You don’t have to bring a passport to enjoy a tropical paradise, just ask anyone who has ever been to Hawaii.

Honorable Mention goes to any of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Whether you choose St. Thomas, St. Croix or St. John, you will not have any problems except deciding which of these islands is best for you. They are all magnificent and they are all U.S. territories so there are no legal hassles.

No matter which destination you choose   it is important to use a reputable Destination Wedding Specialist. They will know all of the in’s,  out’s and pitfalls of the particular resort you have chosen. They will also more than likely be able to get you a better deal and more extras.  You can do it all by yourself but, it can be quite a bit of stress.

Better to sit back, relax and stick a little umbrella in your drink!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Bridal Hair – Do’s and Don’t’s

You’ve found the  perfect dress and the perfect headpiece. All you need to complete your look is  the perfect hairstyle. After seeing 30 years of weddings and witnessing first-hand their successes and disasters, I can tell you it is very easy to overlook this one tiny thing and regret it later.

Remember, you will be photographed more times in this one day than you can imagine and you will want your hair to compliment the gown, the headpiece and your face. Keep these tips in mind when you begin to think about hairstyles so you don’t wind up with pictures you can’t bear to look at because you didn’t plan ahead.

DO:

Schedule your first appointment a few months before your wedding.  Be very clear about what the appointment will entail. Is this a consultation or an actual trial run?

Pick a Hairdresser you trust. This is not the time to try out a new stylist – make sure you have someone who’s work you like.

Take tons of photos with you. You cannot imagine how hard it is to describe a haircut. Take a ton of pictures with you so you can describe in great detail what you like and don’t like.

Keep the headpiece and the gown in mind. Don’t overpower a simple gown with a giant hairdo or confuse an already busy gown with too much going on.

Get a deep conditioning treatment a month or so before so your locks will be luscious.

DON’T:

Don’t make  drastic changes. One month (or God Forbid, one day )before your wedding is not the time to decide you want to go blond or cut all your hair off. You will be scrambling for a solution. There are solutions to everything but, they can be costly.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with a hairstyle you like but think won’t work. There are extensions, hairpieces, lifts, all kinds of things to make your hair thicker and fuller looking.

Don’t forget to take your headpiece to your hair appointment. It is vital to the overall look.

Don’t  be afraid to ask questions. You will never be sorry.

Don’t try to look like someone else. You will, and you won’t like it.

Don’t get  stuck in a  time warp. The big bangs and over-permed hair looked great in the 80’s. I know, I had it. Today’s brides have a more natural and sophisticated look. Stay current!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Winter Wedding Bouquets That WOW!

Winter is not necessarily the time of year we associate with an abundance of flowers. But, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there… in full bloom!  “To make the most of your winter wedding, use flowers that are in season and have a winter appeal.” says Ryan Turner of Stemline Creative in Chicago, IL ” Nothing is off-limits. Don’t be afraid of soft pastels, vibrant jewel tones or large textured blooms, just because of the season.”

With just that in mind, here are some of our favorite winter wedding masterpieces:

Glistening Pine Cones-

Glistening Handful

Pinecones tipped in glitter around dusky blooms of mauve roses and miniature paperwhites.

Holiday Reds-

 

 Velvety, perfectly opened amaryllis blossoms and Hypericum berries offset by lacy sprigs of arborvitae.

Blue and Silver Stunner-

Silver-and-green foliage surround billowy garden roses and just-blossoming scilla. Velvety lamb’s ear and dusty miller commingle with the plumes of two kinds of grasses and ethereal skeleton leaves. 

Pure white-

Delicate orchids, stephanotis and roses make up this dreamy classic.

 When planning a winter wedding, it is important to take your flower choices into consideration when selecting your color scheme. Not all flowers are available this time of year and chooising wisely could save you time, money and aggravation in the long run.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

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

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

Tuxedo Troubles… What To Do!?

Every now and then some well intended couple decides the groomsmen should wear a non-traditional tuxedo. You know, something edgy and fun and interesting (to them) and something that most men would never wear in a million years.

In no particular order, some mistakes to avoid when trying to be creative:

Colored tuxedos. Chocolate is not the new black. It is brown and not everyone looks good in or cares to wear brown. Aside from Psy, not many people are wearing colored tuxedo jackets, either. Look for this ‘Gangnam Style’ tuxedo jacket to surge in popularity. Cute for a music video, but not so much for a wedding.

Colored shirts. There is only one color for  tuxedo shirts and that is white. Not peach, blue, red, orange, you get the idea.

Hats. There is no need for a groom or any one of his make attendants to wear a tophat or a bowler or a fedora. They may wind up looking like this:

Last but not least – ruffles. Ruffled shirts are retro ( to say the least) but don’t really have a place at weddings in 2012. Save them for Halloween and awkward family photos.

When shopping for tuxedos, the best thing to remember is: “The classics never die”. Be creative with the tie, the studs and boutonniere and leave the tuxedo alone.

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago