The Hottest Thing in Wedding Favors? Flip Books!

Finding the right wedding favors can be a daunting task. Candles,  photo frames, keychains… they are all good and useful ideas. But, every now and then an idea comes along that is so good I can’t believe no one has thought of it until now. I present to you: Flip Books.

Flip Books  are individually crafted mini books, created using your own short (approximately 30 second ) digital video. Small, compact and durable, they make great mementos and are economical as well. Even less expensive if you buy several at once.

In addition to wedding favors, they make great attendant gifts. Make a short video from your bridal shower, a staged video of the two of you dancing or laughing or doing  just about anything!

The way it works is that the video is taken apart frame by frame and each frame is placed on a right side page. As you ‘flip’ through the book, it is like watching the mini video – without any devices involved. Genius – pure and simple!

You can also customize one (or more)  for your own keepsake after the wedding to include a bouquet  toss, reciting your vows, or a portion of your first dance.

The flipbooks are made with durable, heavy-duty binding, the photos are printed on  heavy bond digital paper which makes your video spring to life. There are several websites that offer flipbook so make sure you see their work in person before you  buy anything.

My best advice for anyone who wants to use this idea: Start filming short ( 2 minute) videos of wedding activities  as soon as possible. This way you can edit the video down to highlight the best 15-20 seconds of action. Upload, place the order and you are done.  Although most sites offers different covers, customized labels will add your own personal touch!

Happy Flipping!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

greeting card flipbooks

Weddings Are Not Casual Friday

The other day my son asked me why men used to wear suits to baseball games. Isn’t it interesting that even a 9 yr old noticed that people don’t dress properly anymore?  There have been those occasions when I wear pajamas to drop my kids off at school in the morning, knowing I am not getting out of the car but, if my foot steps out onto the pavement you had better believe that I am fully dressed in a (somewhat) presentable fashion.  Which is why it is so odd to me that when I go to a wedding, I always see someone underdressed. In order to help you understand how to be the perfectly dressed guest at a wedding, I have put together some guidelines: 

Daytime Casual –  does not mean wear jeans and flip-flops. Wedding casual is different from ‘running to the grocery store’ casual. Wedding Casual means you could get by with a floral dress, sweater and skirt set, or even a sundress (weather permitting). For men open necked shirts with no tie are perfectly acceptable, in fact a nicer Hawaiian shirt for a beachfront venue is striking.  Men and women both need to take note of the location of the wedding – if it is beach or grass, make sure you are wearing shoes that can handle nature without aerating the soil or sinking into the sand. For evening casual just kick it up a notch -no need to break out your finest but, perhaps a touch of sparkle wouldn’t hurt, either. Always keep the setting in mind.

 Semi- Formal – Dress as if you were headed to the theater. A flirty cocktail dress and heels, or a dressy pantsuit. You want to be comfortable, able to move easily and to dance, of course. Avoid long dresses, it is too formal. For men- your suit  doesn’t have to be  black even though it is always a safe choice. You can also wear a blazer and slacks as long as you have a tie.

Black Tie Optional – this indicates that you can go  formal if you want, but you don’t have to. Women can wear a dress that is long or short, as long as it indicates elegance. Some beads and/or sequins are acceptable. Men can wear a tuxedo or a nice dark suit.

Black Tie – this is when you can bring out your finest and not feel over-dressed. If the invitation says Black Tie – its time to bring out the beads; beaded accessories,shoes,  sparkly earrings and perhaps a long silk wrap you have tucked away in a closet somewhere. Although in the past long dresses were required, it is acceptable to wear tea-length gowns but, avoid  short cocktail gowns. Dress as if you were invited to aPresidential Inaguration Ball or the Academy Awards!  For men it simple: Wear a tuxedo. Wear the tux with studs and bow tie and don’t forget to shine your patent leather shoes since no tuxedo is really a tuxedo without the right shoes.

 If the invitation does not specify what type of event it is, look for clues so you aren’t over or (God forbid) under-dressed. The venue, the type of invitation, the time of day will all give you insight into what you should be wearing. If all else fails, call the bride or groom (if you feel comfortable) or a close member of the wedding party.

The most important thing is to feel comfortable in your choice. If you can’t move, sit or eat one bite – you will be miserable not able to enjoy this lovely event!

For more great tips and ideas on weddings, be sure to get tickets to one of our bridal shows in your area. Call 847-428-3320 for complimentary tickets to show in  your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Gift Giving Made Easy

We have all heard the old adage that is it better to give than to receive and I know from experience that there is that one occasion where you can’t wait to give someone that most special gift. The one thing they have always wanted or the one thing that will brighten their day. It could be a small kitchen appliance that they really, really want or something as large a s a bundle of cash. When giving a wedding gift (or any gift) the most important thing to remember is that ‘presentation is everything’.

Don’t re-gift. If you received a serving platter that you don’t like and you can’t return, move on. Giving it to someone else is only acceptable if they have coveted it and you have agreed they can have it. In any case you still owe them a wedding gift. The worst gift horror stories involve monogrammed items or items with the original gift card enclosed. Take some time and put some thought into a gift.

Cash is King. If you prefer to give cash as a gift, it is frowned upon to hand someone a roll of bills rolled into a ball with a rubber band wrapped around them (unless you are my father-in-law). Buy a lovely card, go to the bank and get brand new, crisp money and put it in the envelope. Checks are okay, too but the most important thing is finding a card that expresses your sentiments.

No receipt.  The most beautiful thing you have ever seen in your life may not be beautiful to someone else so, always include the receipt. Either tape it to the gift or tape to the inside of the card to make sure that it wil not get lost. Stores now give a nice receipt with no numbers, so it can be returned discreetly. Not giving them a receipt indicates that you don’t care if they like it or that you are embarrassed that you didn’t pay retail. I was given a gift one time with no receipt and the tags cut off…. not cool.

Last but, not least:

Wrap it up. If you are one of those people who thinks a gift bag with some tissue crammed into it is a substitute for wrapping a gift, it’s time to take a course in gift wrapping.  No matter how cute it is, suitable ‘wrapping’  for taking a gift to a casual birthday gathering is not suitable for a wedding. Buy some  beautiful wrapping paper, a roll of scotch tape, some nice matching fabric ribbon and wrap the gift. Wrap the gift and tie a bow (a real bow) on the gift. Don’t forget a matching gift card or gift tag with a nice handwritten note. Because, if it truly is the thought that counts, put some thought into it.

 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Who Makes The Cut? How To Trim Your Guest List

Once the budget  is determined for your wedding it is time to start planning! Of course it sounds like fun but, the devil is in the details and when it comes to whittling down a  guest list – be prepared to feel some stress.

If you are planning a large wedding with a limitless budget and an over-sized guest  list this can be even harder since everyone you have ever known (even peripherally) will expect to be invited. Look at all of the media attention devoted to the supposed ‘snub’ of the Obamas at the recent royal nuptials in April.

So how does one go about keeping their guest list under control without offending ?

1) Keeping your budget in mind, decide how many guests you will be able to invite.

2) Make a  list of everyone you would like to invite and see how close you are to that number. Remember that roughly 25% will be unable to attend so factor that into the equation. There are several ‘guest list’ templates available for computer use.

3) To begin eliminating immediately, use the one year rule for friends and extended family. If you have not seem or spoken to them in over a year, you are not obligated to invite them to your wedding.

4) Eliminate children. Address the invitation to the parents only and spell out very clearly that it is an adults only reception. You can do this in many ways but the easiest is through the save the date cards.

5) Ask both sets of parents to help you  reduce your list.

6) You do not have to invite co-workers unless you have a close friendship outside of work. Also if you invite one co-worker that you are very close to, you do not have to invite everyone. You shouldn’t have to defend your decision so if someone mentions the fact that they weren’t invited and another co-worker was, look them squarely in the eye and say “I am close friends with Sandra, of course she is invited!” If they are too thick to understand your implication, just walk away.

7) Unless you are of some political or social stature, every one of your parents’ friends and co-workers do not have to be invited. Keep the ones with whom you have a special relationship and move on. Of course it is good manners to allow the parents to invite a few guests.

8) You do not have to reciprocate. If you were invited to some one’s wedding fifteen years ago, this does not mean you have to invite them to your wedding. Things change and they know this as well as you do.

9) Don’t worry about inviting the same amount of people from both sides of the family. If he is from a large family and you are an only child there will be a difference in numbers.

At the end of the process, you should have a guest list that is within your budget and everyone is satisfied. Use this list as a master list and make changes as they occur. Never invite anyone to a shower or send ‘save the date’ cards unless they are invited to the actual wedding. Remember, an open dialogue will solve everything and you do not have to feel bad if you cannot invite every single one of your ‘facebook friends’. The most important people are your immediate family and closest friends and the two of you.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago