About bill@bridalexpochicago.com

Bill Brennan is President and CEO of Bridal Expo Chicago and Milwaukee which produces 31 bridal events and fashion shows. Our attending brides and grooms-to-be live busy lifestyles and are looking for a variety of unique products and services to use for the most important day of their lives. Local and National Retailers exhibit at our shows to connect with our attendees. Our bridal events delivers a mutual benefit between the exhibitor and the bride; an opportunity to interact on a face-to-face and grass roots level. It is a win-win for both to-be-weds and wedding professionals. Bill has a diverse background in special event and meeting planning, bridal marketing and advertising, and sales training.

Exhibitor List – Marriott Chicago Downtown

Thank you to all of our attendees who came out for our Marriott Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile Show.  We are providing a list of exhibitors, phone numbers and weblinks as a convenient way for you to refer back to in case you lost a business card or brochure from a vendor you connected with during the show.

Feel free to refer back to this post whenever you may need to.  We have tried our best to provide accurate data, so if you find an error kindly call our office at 847-428-3320 x221 and we will help you to the best of our ability and make the correction. You can also email us at info@bridalexpochicago.com.

2-28-17 700w Enflyer

AAA Chicago Travel & Honeymoon

(312) 372-1830


Admit One DJs

(630) 205-8237


After Dark Fantasy Bachelorette Party Ideas

(224) 875-2793


Ann Duncan Designs Florist

(630) 782-6353


Arthur Murray Dance Center

(504) 875-9692


Bella Bianca Bridal Couture

(630) 627-4027


Best Western River North

(312) 410-8873


Baby to Bride Boutique Wedding & Gown Accessories

(773) 536-4269


Bloomingdales Gift Registry

(847) 568-6592


Body Movin Dance Entertainment

(219) 614-6936


Brides By Becky

(630) 788-7816


Brides By Demetrios

(847) 605-0015


Brides By Young

(317) 849-3333


Carson Pirie Scott & Co.

(414) 278-5746


Celebrate Your Sexy Boudoir Photography

(509) 332-2803


Christina Wehbe Photography

(630) 550-7516


Christos Furs Wedding Attire

(708) 562-3877


Crowne Plaza Chicago Metro

(312) 602-2129


DBY Events & Invitations

(847) 755-0861


Disco Movil Power Light DJ Entertainment

(847) 658-2959


Divine Designs And Events (Floral and Event Decor)

(773) 428-0042


DreamBoys Chicago Bachelorette Parties

(312) 265-1823


Eivan’s Photography and Video

(708) 263-4351


Essence Photo And Video

(888) 777-7011


Famous Dave’s Catering

(586) 879-5035


Fetch! Pet Care & Training

(312) 235-2409


Firefly Events & Catering

(224) 408-2464


George Street Photo And Video

(866) 831-4103


Island Getaways Travel & Honeymoon

(262) 787-0048


Kebo Media Video

(312) 801-4984


Kendall College Venue & Catering

(312) 752-2556


Knickerbocker Hotel

(312) 867-7510


Kreative Atmosphere

(630) 699-9033


Layla Eloa Photography

(773) 691-1153


LightRx Face & Body

(248) 579-6772


Lipstick Love Cosmetics

(815) 383-7899


Lisa Hoppe Travel Consulting

(414) 258-8715


Marriott Chicago Downtown

(312) 836-6109


Mary Eugene Creative Veils & Accessories

(312) 720-0831


Men’s Wearhouse

(925) 826-5029


Menguin Formalwear

(479) 243-6205


Mezlan Fine Men’s Shoes

(312) 962-8871


Nerium-Robin McKinley Health & Skincare

(604) 505-6696


Nothing Bundt Cakes-Chicago

(773) 697-9263


Paired Wine Co.

(312) 995-9812


Pazzo’s At 311 Catering & Parties

(480) 518-1930


Severin Photography

(857) 265-6170


Simply Luxe Bridal Boutique

(224) 241-8115


Spinnin’ Discs DJs

(847) 818-8330 x34


Studio M Creations Invitations

(630) 330-7713


Sway Dance Chicago

(773) 772-6204


Sweets and Treats Catering

(815) 703-3079


The Gilded Aisle Wedding Planning

(312) 699-7959


The Godfrey Hotel Chicago

(312) 649-2000


Timothy Whaley & Associates

(630) 271-1737


Trend VIP & Laser Engraving

(630) 408-4058


Trolley Car & Bus Co.

(630) 350-7433


Veiled By Chacha

(630) 790-1328


Virginia Wolff, Inc. Florist

(312) 226-1777


Warm Belly Bakery

(312) 265-0780


Warwick Allerton Hotel

(312) 274-6423


Well Told Weddings Inc. Photography

(224) 478-4245


White Wedding Cinema Wedding Films

(773) 517-6597


Window Works-Addison (Home Decor)

(630) 984-7110


Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront-ownership

(312) 346-4549


Wyndham Vacation Resorts Inc

(407) 626-6153


See link below for all gowns, style numbers, salon sponsors below:

8-17-14 cTo see all bridal gowns featured on our runway with links to each store as well as designers names, style and prices, kindly click this link.













Hayley Paige Designer Appearance at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury Event on January 17, 2016

It was an exciting day at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare on January 17, 2016 when we held our luxury bridal show with special guest celebrity designer Hayley Paige. More than 600 brides and grooms-to-be registered for tickets to experience all that is new and unique in wedding planning.

vendor shotsAll event photos by Vito Rade Photography, all rights reserved.

To-be-weds had the opportunity to see 63 talented wedding purveyors that included popular categories such as wedding photographers, travel agents, DJs, table top décor and florists, bakeries, veils and accessories, Chicago wedding venues, caterers, cinematographers, wedding film makers, men’s formalwear and of course wedding dresses.

Second vendor gridAs couples walked through the venue, they could meet the owners of the area’s best wedding purveyors. Many booked appointments with their favorite vendors, sampled wedding cake, and were able to see all the latest trends in floral. The show also featured several wedding day transportation companies including trolleys and limo buses.

Make up TeamWe had Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry work with all of our models to create a glamorous and romantic look to mirror the print campaigns in all the leading bridal magazines featuring Hayley Paige. Accessories by Maria Elena Headpieces were the perfect finishing touch.

Hayley smiling wide There were lots of smiles and our models loved meeting Hayley. As the day grew closer to the highlight of the day where we presented the Spring 2016 collection of designer gowns by Hayley Paige, our back stage production crew was busy helping our models get ready.

Hayley Close upAbove, with her hair and make up ready, our guest designer Hayley Paige was ready for her close up for her on-camera interview with Mirar Productions. Our President, Bill Brennan (below left) reviewed presentation notes behind the scenes with Hayley while Philipe Carvalho worked with us to find the perfect lighting to capture Hayley.

4 pic of Hayley, Bill, Jim, TamaraAbove: Hayley kicks up her heels for a snapshot with Jim Verraros. Top right, Hayley with the team at Tamara Makeup + Hair Artistry, bottom left Hayley with our President, Bill Brennan, bottom right, Hayley makes her entrance to an enthusiastic crowd.

Entire groupOnce our models were ready, we had the chance to be photographed moments before the show began by the incomparable Vito Rade of Vito Rade Photography. Pictured here from left to right is Jim Verraros, Executive Vice President, Hayley Paige is center and Carol Tardi our Fashion Director is on the far right next to Bill Brennan, President.

Hayley by herselfOur audience was thrilled to see Hayley as she made her first steps onto the runway to sit down with our Fashion Director, Carol Tardi to share her inspiration behind the collection.

The opening spotlight scene featuring Hayley’s Spring 2016 collection began with each model walking down the runway to an enthusiastic crowd as evidenced by hundreds of camera phones clicking photos of their favorite gowns.

Crystelle and KristenNicoletta,” (left) and “Lily,” (right) by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography

Eliania and AuroGeorgie,” (left) and “Hayley,” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography

Alijcia solo 2 picsPaige” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography

Rachel, Step and AlexandraGwen,” “Cali,” and “Comet,” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography


Andi and ElianiaTanner,” and “Georgie,” by Hayley Paige, photo by Vito Rade Photography, all rights reserved.

The gowns were simply stunning and our team at Spinnin’ Discs provided fabulous lighting for the runway as well as the music styling for the show.

4 Grid of Pics Hayley waivingAside from designing bridal gowns, Hayley also designs a full line of attendant dresses under the name Hayley Paige Occasions.

Hayley has also designed many Red Carpet ensembles for celebrities including Chrissy Teigen, Maria Menounos, Hilary Rhoda, Adrianna Costa and Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Be sure to watch E! News for the next Red Carpet event to see who else might choose to wear a piece from her Red Carpet Collection.

Hayley and Aura Finale“Hayley is an incredible designer and her personality is so kind and loving,” says Jim Verraros of Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury. We were honored and blessed that she was able to take time out of her busy schedule to be with us especially since she travels the country so frequently for trunk shows and designer appearances. I could tell that she was a big hit with our audience because the applause as she walked our runway seemed to last an eternity!”


***For more information on Hayley and/or where to find her gowns, visit Bella Bianca Bridal Couture in Oakbrook and Chicago where you’ll find her collection available for purchase. To schedule an appointment, call 630.627.4027 (Oakbrook) or 312.787.2377 (Chicago).


***Follow Hayley Paige on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram!

Spotlight on Bridal Designer Ines Di Santo

Brides, you’re invited to a very special bridal event! Join us on Sun., Feb. 22nd at the Marriott Michigan Ave Chicago as we present an afternoon of all things luxury! We welcome celebrity designer Ines Di Santo as we present her newest couture bridal collection live on the runway! She’s dressed Carrie Underwood, Angela Bassett, Kesha, Serena Williams, Giuliana Rancic and so many more! For your four complimentary tickets, visit: www.BridalExpoTickets.com, and use the promo code, “FB-0127!” But hurry-this offer won’t last long! We can’t wait to celebrate your engagement and help to plan your dream wedding!

From LA to NYC and everywhere in the world, Ines Di Santo gowns capture the imagination of fashionistas everywhere!

From LA to NYC and everywhere in the world, Ines Di Santo gowns capture the imagination of fashionistas everywhere!

Ines Di Santo’s gowns are so beautiful that even celebrities have chosen her designs to wear on their most important day. From the recent nuptials of Jenny McCarthy and Courtney Mazza to Nicole Polizzi (Snooki of Jersey Shore) and Niecy Nash, the stars are clamoring to wear her couture confections.

Courtney Mazza photographed by Kevin Weinstein

Courtney Mazza photographed by Kevin Weinstein.

Our upcoming luxury bridal event on Sunday, February 22nd at the Marriott Michigan Avenue in Chicago will be the perfect place to see Ines and her newest and most glamorous collection to date. We look forward to this event and hope to see you!

True Bridal Luxury at Drury Lane Theatre on September 10th

Save the date and reserve your tickets to this season’s largest luxury show!  It’s all happening on Wednesday evening, September 10th at the historic Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook.  The doors to the event will open at 5:45pm for early arrivals and Chicago’s top wedding vendors will be on display and available until 10:00pm.

This is a great opportunity for couples and members of their bridal party to walk through aisles and aisles of incredible displays featuring invitation specialists, catering ideas, wedding cakes, florists, decorators, photographers, honeymoon experts, wedding gowns and everything else any bride or groom would need to plan a wedding of their dreams.  And if you are looking for the perfect gown, you’ll want to take a seat for the couture runway show running from 8:00pm until 9:00pm. We’ll open our show with a spotlight on gowns by Victor Harper Couture.  (To reserve tickets, order at www.BridalExpoChicago.com/Tickets )

8-17-14 aWith more than 60 exhibitors, you and your entire bridal party will discover new resources, find creative ideas to express your individuality and be able to talk one-on-one with exhibitors and experts. It’s a one-stop shop filled with amazing experts!  (Above; runway photos by Just Love Me {Photography + Design} and the gorgeous exhibitor shots are by Angela Swan Artist and Vito and Julia Photography.)

8-17-14 bIn this series of images from previous luxury bridal shows held at The Drury Lane Theatre and produced by our company, you can see previous displays by Taylor & Company- a table setting and chuppah by Taylor & Company, invitations by Greenstar Paperie, cupcake samples by Oak Mill Bakery, a place card floral display by Lavish Weddings, a giant 6-tier wedding cake by Delicity Cakes, bridal gowns by Fiancee Couture and rehearsal dinner options by Seasons 52 restaurant in Oak Brook. This is just a small sampling of what you’ll find at our September 10, 2014 event.

8-17-14 cOur fashion show presentation will run from 8:00pm until 9:00pm and include gowns priced for every gown budget: from under $1,000 to more than $10,000.  Set to music and an incredible sound and lighting experience, your journey into the world of fashion will be fun and exciting.  We’ll present bridal gowns by Lazaro, Tara Keely, Hayley Paige, Matthew Christopher, Rosa Clara, Luna Novias, Rivini by Rita Vinieris, Justin Alexander, David Tutera for Mon Cheri, Sophia Tolli, James Clifford, Cristiano Lucci, Liancarlo and Victor Harper Couture.

We’ll also show you the latest attendant gowns by Alvina Valenta, Jim Hjelm Occasions, and Noir by Lazaro. Each model is accessorized with the latest creations by Maria Elena Headpieces and all veils are provided by Nilah and Co.

Bridal Expo Chicago is simply the best show in the Windy City.  Wedding show tickets can be reserved at www.BridalExpoChicago.com/Tickets for just $10 in advance or $15 at the door.  If you have a promo code from our Facebook Page, you may qualify for 4 complimentary tickets only while supplies last.  Above runway photos are by Just Love Me {Photography + Design}.

To see and watch a video from one of our past events at Drury Lane Theatre, click below:







Drury Lane Theatre, Oak Brook – February 19, 2014

Join us for an unforgettable evening of true wedding luxury!  It all begins at 5:30pm when the doors open to Chicago brides and grooms-to-be along with their bridal parties on Wednesday evening, February 19th at The Drury Lane Theatre in Oak Brook. You'll See Lovely Displays Attendees will have the chance to see well over 60 exhibitors ranging from florists, to photographers, bakeries, travel agents, table top decorators, bridal salons, formalwear and so much more.

The evening will also feature our couture runway show with a special spotlight on Matthew Christopher Couture Wedding Gowns.  Matthew will join our Fashion Director, Carol Tardi on the runway and present his latest collections for 2014.  The show continues with another 60 gowns elegantly presented in easy to follow scenes.  Each attendee will receive a beautiful four color fashion show program which will list each designer, style number and price guide.

2014 Gowns by Matthew ChristopherTo get tickets, use the promo code found on our Facebook page and for a limited time, receive 4 complimentary tickets.  But hurry, offer may expire without notice.  Then ticket price reverts to the regular price of $10 in advance or $15 at the door.

Visit: www.BridalExpoChicago.com/Tickets for show details and to place your order

Chicago Marriott O’Hare, Sunday, January 19, 2014

All of us at Bridal Expo Chicago Luxury Events are very excited about our upcoming show coming to the Chicago Marriott O’Hare on Sunday, January 19th from 11:30am until 4:00pm.  We’ll be featuring more than 60 of Chicago’s best wedding purveyors ranging from bridal boutiques to invitation specialists, wedding cakes, formalwear, florists and just about everything you’ll need to plan the perfect wedding.

Rosa Clará

Rosa Clará
See the very latest couture gowns on the runway.

In addition, we will feature a fabulous couture runway show in the Grand Ballroom with a special spotlight on designer Rosa Clara and her latest 2014 collection.  This is a rare opportunity to see these gowns as most local retailers have not received their samples for their stores and the general public.  After the 10 piece collection, the show will continue with 60 additional gowns by world famous designers ranging from $900 all the way up to $10,000.  You’ll also see some of the latest attendant gowns in colors that you’ll love in many different silhouettes.

Rosa Clará

Rosa Clará

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door, but for a limited time and while supplies last, you can use a promo code found on our Facebook page for 4 complimentary tickets!  But hurry, the offer will end soon and without notice.   www.BridalExpoChicago.com/Tickets




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: https://www.bridalshowexpo.com/video_gallery.html

Spice Up Your Invitations!

Wedding invitations have evolved into something so personal and unique that you can actually get a feel for the wedding itself just by seeing (and touching) the invitation. Whether you choose parchment, custom engraving or print the invitations yourself, there are dozens of things you can do to spice up your invitations without breaking the bank.

Photos – Consider incorporating your engagement photo into the invitation or save the date to make an impact.

Words – Using your own words, maybe some sort of prose, will add an artistic flair.

Be Creative – Use touches of your culture with color and font.

Sparkle – A little sparkle never hurt anyone, right? A touch of glitter, a rhinestone or iridescent ink is very exciting.

DO NOT  add confetti – no one likes opening an envelope with confetti in it.

Consider calligraphy instead of printed address labels, it really makes an impact.

Postage – Using a stamp with a specific theme is a nice idea. Take it a step further by using  custom photo stamps for all of your wedding postage. Also making sure you have the correct postage will save a ton of headaches. Can you  imagine having 150 invitations returned?

The most important thing to keep in mind when selecting your wedding invitations is that you don’t forget your personal style. Keep the event and location in mind and let that dictate the style of the paper, ink, font and wording.  With literally hundreds of choices, it can get very confusing but, don’t despair – there is a style out there just right for you. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago





Changing Your Name – For Better Or Worse

Taking your spouse’s last name can be as simple or as difficult as you want it to be. The most important thing is to have your facts in place and agree 100% on this before announcing it to family because (trust me) you will be questioned about it. 

If you do decide to go a less traditional route (other than changing your last name to his last name) there are options.

 How about a compromise?  You could use your maiden name as your new middle name. In fact, many women of a certain social stature have used their mother’s maiden name for the children’s middle names for decades. Rose Fitzgerald gave her son John Kennedy her maiden name as his middle name. His daughter, Caroline has her mother’s maiden name, Bouvier, as her middle name and the media rarely (if ever) refers to her as Mrs. Schlossberg, even though that is exactly who she is.  You can also consider changing your name legally and keeping your maiden name professionally.

Pros  of changing your name:
-It is easier. Maybe not today or tomorrow but, when children become involved there are always complications. It is easier when you all have the same last name.

-Having the same name as your new family makes you feel more a part of things. You are already bonded with your family,  use this as a stepping stone to bond with his.

– Your last name is complicated, un-friendly, hard to pronounce or you just don’t like it. Now is a good time to fix that.

One thing is for sure, this is a decision that needs to be made by the engaged couple and no one else. Who cares if Aunt Fanny doesn’t like it? It is your name, your life, your marraige, your choice. Once you (as a couple) have reached your decision, announce it to all and stick to it. If you are one of the 10% of women to choose to keep their maiden name, you may encounter some rough road but, stick to your guns. If you are one of the 90% who decide that change is okay, keep doodling.

Cons of name change:

– You have established yourself in the workplace and changing your name could likely become complicated and may make it difficult to re-establish your reputation. Harldy anyone will remember Elizabeth Warner but, she certainly made headlines as Elizabeth Taylor. There was  never a need for her to go by any other name and you may agree.

– You may feel like you have lost your identity. You have had this name for your entire life and now you are not the same person, anymore.

– It goes against your personal principle that a woman is expected to change her name and a man is not.

 Changing your last name is technically easy. Once you have the forms from the Social Security office you can get a new Social Security Card (the number is still the same) and then a new drivers license. After that, you are basically done. Take your new forms of identification with you to the bank and have your name changed on the account, call your credit card companies, and anyone with whom you have credit (mortgage, student loans, etc) and you are finished. If that is too complicated, you can buy a Name Change kit.

Getting used to a new name is a different story; you may have doodled your merged names a hundred times in your wedding planner, but having someone refer to you as “Mrs. Frulla” for the first time will stop you in your tracks.  You may ask youself why you had to change your name and he didn’t.  In reality, you didn’t.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


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