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

Wedding Planning 101 – Attending Bridal Expo

I am sure you’ve often 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 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

 

The Trouble With Tweens – Dressing For A Wedding

Whether they are attendants or guests, the consensus is the same: it is nearly impossible to find an age appropriate dress for a young lady between the ages of 10-12. No longer a little girl and not yet a teenager, they ( and their parents) are faced with the dilemma of finding something that is attractive, flattering and comfortable that is also stylish. The biggest problem is that most dress manufacturers almost completely ignore the complications associated with this particular demographic and continue to offer designs for little girls and teenagers only.

Consider these tips when shopping for a dress that your tweenager:

Nothing strapless. Most  little girls don’t have the necessary equipment to hold a strapless garment in place. If they do have the ‘right stuff’, they will look too grown up in the dress and (whats the word)…. sleazy. Instead, consider something with a spaghetti strap and a bodice that fits loosely enough to be able to move but tight enough that you don’t see through the sides.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Length is a factor. The best length for a young girl is directly at the knee. Lower if you wish, floor length if you want but, never any shorter than the knee. It is too much responsibility for an untrained young lady to constantly have to check to make sure she has her knees closed, is bending from the knee, isn’t squatting to pick up something. A lot of responsibility goes with super short skirts and girls this young are just not mature enough to understand the ramifications of their actions. 

 

 

 

Neckline. Plunging necklines are not comfortable for young women who have just begun wearing a bra. In addition, they will not be comfortable having to worry about becoming a victim of a wardrobe malfunction. Consider a modest ‘V’  or scoop neckline. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details. The most important thing is to find some details that make the dress fun, flirty and fashionable. Dresses with a bubble hem, a gorgeous ribbon sash, a sparkly brooch at the waist or even a decorative silk flower can turn a simple dress into a stunner and make your not-ready-for-dating daughter look and feel like a prime-time princess (suitable for all audiences).

 

 

 

 

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Ringing In The Season – Holiday Engagements

With twinkling Christmas lights, jingling sleigh bells and chestnuts roasting on open fires, not to mention jewelry commercials  — it’s no wonder December reigns as the most popular month to pop the question. Thirteen percent of marriage proposals happen in December, while February, despite Valentine’s Day, accounts for just 8 percent, according to the Conde Nast American Wedding Study.

Holiday proposals can be among the most romantic because there are so many creative ways to pop the question. These are my top five favorite  Holiday Proposals.

1) Spell out “Will you Marry me?” with Christmas lights. There are actually companies that will orchestrate the whole thing for you including setting up the lights or you can spend an afternoon (like Clark Griswold) toying with lights and extension cords – it’s up to you.

2) Wrap the ring box inside a large box and then successively smaller boxes so that your sweetheart will initially think the gift is quite large. Nesting boxes are great for this and often come in sets. As each layer is opened, the laughs will grow. Get down on one knee right as the last box is opened.

3) Decorating the Christmas tree together, you hand her an ornament which has the ring tied to the top of it. Make sure she is not standing on anything or she might fall off!

4) Organize a scavenger hunt. Start off with a simple clue to someplace nearby, then get more complicated as the scavenger hunt progresses, and have the final location be a place where you can hide and then pop out and get down on one knee.

5) Buy a scrabble game, spell out the words “Will you marry me” and glue the tiles onto the game board. When she opens the gift, make sure she opens the whole thing so she can see the tiles, and then present her with the real gift – the ring!

Whatever method you choose, this is a spectacular time to get engaged, since the holidays are all about family and celebrating with the people you love the most.

-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

Tis the Season – Holiday Proposals

Whether you opt for the grand gesture, something private or somewhere in between…. this is definitely the most popular time of year to pop the question. But, before you rent the Times Square ticker on New Years Eve, make sure you know your fiance well enough to know what kind of proposal she will be the most likely to respond to in a positive manner. There are only 3 rules to popping the question:

RULE # 1 – Know your audience . I will admit that I watched the Kardashian Khaos long enough to see Kris Humphries on bended knee with rose petals scattered into the words “Will You Marry Me?” A seemingly intimate proposal with a twist: reality tv cameras rolling for the world to see their personal romance unfold.  Ladies, there is some accountablity on your part as well. Make sure your fiance knows your likes and dislikes and what she considers romantic vs. sappy.  The reality: Humphries proposal should have come with a stack of pancakes and it only reinforces my somewhat skeptical view of grand romantic gestures. However, this proposal was designed for a woman who loves the spotlight. He knew exactly what he was doing and who he was proposing to…. a quiet dinner without an audience would have left his future ( and now former) fiance wanting more.

RULE #2 – It’s your proposal, too. If you met at a Cubs game, went on your first date to a Cubs game, have season tickets together and named your dog Wrigley… getting engaged at the season opener is definitely the way to go. If you share hobbies like playing golf or wine tasting, these are great time to incorporate that into your proposal. If you are both wacky, go wacky! If you are both animal lovers – use that. Be careful, though, dogs have been known to swallow diamond rings.

RULE#3 – Never propose without a ring. Every woman is different, we all have different wants and needs, we all have different taste. And trust me, not every woman wants or needs a 10 carat diamond. The 3 month salary guideline was set by the diamond industry not by lawmakers. Spend only what you are comfortable spending, a proposal from the heart with a modest ring beats a sparkly reminder of debt every time. But, make no mistake a proposal without a ring is not a proposal.

One of the most exhilarating and romantic part of your wedding is the proposal; the story will be told re-told for years to come. Of course no matter how you decide to propose, it is important to wait for the right moment and always, always  make sure you know the answer.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

11/11/11 Weddings – Your Lucky Day!

Most people pick their wedding date based on family events like birthdays or other anniversaries, some like the idea of getting married on Valentine’s Day, Christmas or New Years Eve. Then there are those dates like November 11, 2011 that have  a more celestial meaning. Since the year 2000, there have been one of those dates every month, only a handful falling on a weekend day and there are only a few left in the entire 21st century. These dates are referred to as ‘paradigms’ because they follow a distinct pattern and couples around the world believe in their power. In fact  11/11/11 was voted the the ‘luckiest’ wedding date of the entire year beating out Valentines Day by 26%.

Thousands of couples will be flocking to Las Vegas this weekend to take part in their own personal version of making history in order to get married on November 11th and hopefully hit the jackpot by using a lucky wedding date as a starting point. To be exact, it is estimated that over 3,500 couples have already booked wedding packages.

So does having this date guarantee a lifetime of happiness? Maybe.  Numerologists believe that each number has a trait and a “vibration” attached to it. So, you take the number by itself and then you also break down each two-digit number into a single digit. In this case, you add one plus one to get two and two in numerology equals love. Even math is romantic on this day!

11/11/11 is not just for weddings, either;  florists are offering specials for  11 roses delivered on Friday for couples who are feeling romantic …and lucky!  Is all of this just  an odd coincidence? Maybe…. but why take the chance? Bonus: If you are getting married and your birthday is this Friday, I would buy a lottery (ticket just in case).

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Courthouse Weddings – Facts and Myths

There is nothing that says a courthouse wedding can’t be fabulous. As with all brides and grooms, this is your event to plan any way you want and nothing is stopping you from having a memorable event… at the county courthouse.

Myth: You don’t have to get dressed up to get married at the courthouse.

Fact: You should wear something special. Buy a beautiful dress, some new shoes and jewelry, have your hair and makeup done. Maybe you don’t want a traditional wedding gown but, this is a great time to wear something really fabulous. I can’t be the only one that thought Carrie Bradshaw’s courthouse look was way better than the “bird on her head” wedding getup. Men should wear at least a sport coat or a tie. You are beginning your lives together and for that you should look your best. Set the bar high and don’t ever forget what a special day this is.

Myth: You don’t have to bring anyone with you

Fact: You should bring the people who mean the most to you. Let them witness this important event and remind you of the commitment you made. They will be happy you asked and you will be happy they came. In fact, you can bring  several people with you but, I would keep it to your immediate families so that no one gets hurt feelings.

Myth: You don’t need flowers.

Fact: You should have a small bouquet, and he should have a small boutonniere. It doesn’t have to be fancy or super-expensive, it should be simple and elegant and smell really good.

Myth: All you need is a few snapshots – from your cell phone!

Fact: You should definitely hire a photographer, even if it is only for a couple of hours. Since the majority of their clients get married on the weekend you may be able to hire a photographer for a much lower rate, it never hurts to ask. You will not be sorry that you have a few beautiful photos of your wedding no matter where it is.

Myth: If you get married in the courthouse you shouldn’t have a reception

Fact:  There are many reasons that some couples opt for a simple courthouse wedding. Sometimes it is due to economic difficulties, logistics,  and then there are some people just prefer the privacy of a civil ceremony. This doesn’t mean that you cannot have a celebration afterwards. Plan a simple family dinner at your favorite restaurant or an entire reception if you want, although you may not want to call it a ‘reception’ since that term is reserved for an event immediate following the ceremony. If you decide to go this route and wait a few months, consult your invitation specialist to change the wording accordingly. Don’t wait too long –  the sooner the better!

This is your wedding, your commitment, the beginning of your lives together, celebrate it how you want and remember this: no matter how low-key you want it to be… it can still be fabulous.

 -Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Bridal Stress Got You Down?

If you are lying awake at night counting centerpieces instead of sheep, if every minute of every day is spent talking about, thinking about or obsessing about wedding plans….. it might be time to unwind a little.

The thing about stress is that it affects you not only mentally but physically. Some people gain weight while others lose, some people have insomnia while others oversleep. No matter how you look at it, being stressed out in the weeks and months before your wedding is bad for your health.

How to De-stress your life :

Stay Organized – Make sure you have a great wedding organizer or even a simple binder and a checklist.

Budget – Stay within your budget and do not overspend. Debt is a huge stress for anyone.

Help – Hire a Bridal Consultant or Wedding Planner if you can afford it. If you can’t, ask friends or family to handle the small things for you and do not second guess every detail.

De-Activate – Don’t plan so many social events that you have no time to yourself, decline a few invitations and use that time to read or catch a good movie.

Unwind – Find time to do something out of the ordinary….nothing wedding related. Having coffee with the bridesmaids is a guarantee that you will talk about nothing but the wedding. Physical activities are guaranteed stress busters; Zumba class,  Laser tag, Aerobics, biking or anything that will increase your heart rate and get your mind off of things.

 Hire – Use only trusted professionals so you don’t have to worry about whether or not the caterer will show up or if the flowers will wilt before the end of the night. Check our each wedding vendor completely so there are no surprises and your work is done.

The worst thing you can do is to try to avoid the problem or mask it with alcohol or  prescriptions. A glass of wine is nice with (or without) dinner. But no amount of wine, or beer or vodka will not get rid of your problems, it just makes them worse. Facing the problems and dealing with them is the only way to make it go away.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago