May Showers Bring Humidity

As a woman, there is nothing like than spending an hour doing your hair, smoothing, curling, styling, or even just brushing and then looking out the window to see rain or, even worse, step out to a wet blanket of humidity. The truth is that humidity can not only affect your hair  but, also have an impact on your entire wedding day. Humidity (simplified) is the amount of moisture in the air. Although there are several complicated ways to calculate the actual and relative humidity, all you really need to know is that warm air can hold more moisture than cold air. So, if it rains on a hot day, you have a recipe for a humidity disaster.

The best fabrics to wear in humid conditions are natural fibers such as cotton, linen , silk and believe it or not wool because they breathe. This goes double for tuxedos since there are shirts AND jackets to take into consideration. In addition to being more comfortable, they will also stand up better to the humidity because although they are equally likely to wrinkle, the wrinkles are easier to remove. Your best bet is to wait as long as possible to get dressed to avoid wrinkling too badly.

Humidity can also have a disastrous affect on your floral arrangements. Make sure you speak to your florist about which blooms hold up best in hot humid conditions and use the ones that are geared toward a more tropical climate.  Humidity increases the rate that flowers absorb water and also the rate at which they wilt. A huge bouquet of droopy, wilted flowers is not a pretty sight.


Makeup has a harder time staying on your face if you are sweating profusely. Consult with a makeup professional and make sure you are prepared with an emergency kit… just in caseAlways make sure you are wearing the right foundation for your skin type – which in some cases is mineral powder.


Humidity vs. Hair is a huge problem for some of us. If you have frizzy hair, you you might need more than one product on a humid day. In addition to the texture of the product, take into consideration the smell and the way it reacts with your skin. Oily serums can clog your scalp pores and cause breakouts. Water based products may be too mild for severe humidity. The reality is that for this occasion you may want to invest in a good relaxer. For me, the relaxer is the only sure fire way  I know my hair can be styled with ease. For those with fine, limp hair, humidity will do the exact opposite and flatten in down. Every curl you make with the curling iron will be flat in five minutes. For you, a perm may be the way to get some extra volume. And don’t forget to use volumizer, again taking the smell and content into consideration. Either way, make sure your stylist uses plenty of hair spray to hold the completed style in place. 

Planning your wedding in the spring or summer months means being prepared for the heat and possible humidity!!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Pet Friendly Weddings

Are you considering having your pet in your wedding? Let me reassure you, there is nothing with having pets involved in your wedding. Dressing  dogs in tuxedos and tulle is completely adorable – even though I’m not sure I get it. Are the dogs getting married, too? Having cats and or dogs part of the ceremony is not a brand new concept but it is one that  sparks controversy and rolling eyes everywhere. Just remember; you are entitled to invite or include anyone you want (canine, feline or human) , as long as you both agree.

This is your wedding, if you both decide you want your pet in your wedding, you can do so with great style and good taste. There are a few things you can do to reduce stress:

1) Make sure your pet does well around strangers. All you need is for your dog to bare his teeth to one guest and the party is over.

2) Hire someone to handle the dog before,  during and immediately after the ceremony since you will have other obligations and things to do. You cannot be chasing a pet around the church or picking up poo in your bridal gown.

3) Make sure the pet is groomed immediately before the event, including a good teeth cleaning. Dog breath can be pretty bad.

4) After the ceremony, make sure the pet is taken home right away. Although the ceremony may be okay, the reception is no place for any kind of animal UNLESS it is your home and your own backyard. They still might find themselves under foot so keep your eye on the cake table and always have a back up plan.

5) Make sure you discuss the pet with all of your vendors, especially the photographer so they will know there may be extra work involved. If your pastor or officiant is allergic to dogs and you have a dog at the altar, this could be a bad thing.

Last but not least, consider your pet’s feelings. If this an animal that handles attention well, is obedient, and can handle some extra responsibility, move ahead. If your pet is easily frightened, does not walk on a leash well, has too much energy, slobbers all over the place, sheds like crazy or has not had proper obedience training, you may want to leave them at home or with someone who can watch them for the entire day.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Weddings and Politics

It is often said that in order to have a pleasant time, one should avoid the topics of religion and politics. It is kind of hard to avoid the topic of religion at some weddings but, politics – that’s an easy one… unless your wedding date falls the weekend before or after the first Tuesday in November of an election year. 2012 is an election year, and a big one. There are issues at stake that affect nearly every U.S. citizen and the presidential race is already getting heated nearly 7 months before voters decide who will take the oath of office in January 2013. For couples of mixed political views, you have my sympathy and for couples who are the lone voice of dissent in a family of either political party; I feel your pain. So how, exactly,  do you get around the touchiest of topics at your wedding?

Engage a friend. Maid of Honor, Best Man, dear friend, all make a good go-between if you have that certain relative that can’t stop talking about  politics and their remarks often border on offensive. Let’s face it – we all have those folks in our midst.

Good humor. Do some research and prepare for the loud voices of un-reason. You can stop a political bully in their tracks with the right come-back  (a witty one-liner can do wonders to lighten the moment). No personal attacks or anything racist, please. Good humor means funny, light, witty and nothing insulting. The funniest jokes of all times are not at someone else’s expense.  Sometimes talking openly and laughing about your differences makes them seem small. Whereas, sweeping them under the rug makes them a lot more difficult to deal with later.

A more perfect union. If you are getting married very close to a big election, use that as your theme. One couple even designed their own campaign logo and used a red, white and blue color scheme. The “Perfect Union” theme was represented throughout the entire event, the invitations were playful, personal and gorgeous. Their solution was bringing everyone together and having fun with it. Jib Jab mastered this with their 2004 campaign video “This land is your land”. Still the funniest satire I have ever seen about any election…ever. It’s worth watching if you’re considering this option.

Seating. Let’s say you have a cousin who is a big fundraiser for the Democratic party and a beloved aunt who is a staunch Republican contributor. In addition, each one of them happens to be the type who can only talk about one ting: politics. Do your best not to seat them at the same table. You can’t tell people what to talk about at your reception but, putting two heavily invested people directly next to each other is a bad idea. They cannot help themselves because most people generally think their opinion is the only one that matters If you don’t believe me, just go on facebook and scroll through various status updates.

What makes each of us choose our political persuasion is life experience. Oddly enough, the same experience that turns one voter off will turn the next voter into a supporter. You cannot expect everyone to share your passion for an issue or a candidate, you can only accept the differences and move on. In addition, if you decide to turn your wedding into a one-sided political party event, be prepared for some no-shows or dissenting opinions.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

A wedding party stops by GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum's headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina on the state's primary day, January 21.

RSVP up close and personalCampaign logo

The Down Side of Micro-Managing Your Wedding

I’ve heard the term ‘micro-managing’ used for years, never knowing the exact definition of it until last summer when I encountered a young woman about to get married. This well intended young lady actually took on the task of overseeing every minute detail of her wedding to the point where she wanted the exact same number of green leaves in each bouquet. She examined every picture and product under a figurative microscope to a degree that probably sent every vendor to therapy after the event was over. This  management style, known as “micro-managing,” is defined by a petty  approach to managing every detail of one’s business. Imagine Donald Trump checking the copier every day to see how much toner is left… that’s micro-managing.

So, how do detail oriented couples get past the urge to micro-manage?

Start with a list. Prioritize everything that you, as a couple, find important and sign it. Use that list to avoid future arguments and make sure you both have your list at all times. This way you can say “Hey, that’s not on the list – so let’s not worry too much about it.”

Divert attention. Keeping yourself otherwise occupied will remind you that you are not defined by this event. Making it a priority and letting it consume all aspects of your life are two entirely different things.

Delegate. If someone offers to do something for you, let them do it. Pick up color samples, drop off a deposit check, place stamps on the invitation envelopes…. these are things that can be done by any responsible person. Responsible is the key word.

Hire professionals. Hiring reliable, trustworthy professionals to do the work will alleviate a lot of stress. A certified wedding planner will look after every detail so you don’t have to. They have established relationships within the industry, they can find deals, shortcuts and have experience with common mistakes. Using a wedding planner will cut your urge to micro-manage in half.

The one detail you can and should manage is to always check references. Never use a vendor that has no portfolio or client testimonials. Don’t settle for what they have listed on their website or in a brochure, you need to do some legwork; talk to clients, check with the BBB and other resources.

If you remember your priorities, trust each other and hire reliable vendors, there will be no need to spend every waking hour filling your appointment book with trivial, time-consuming, meaningless tasks.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Fools For Love – April 1st Wedding Pranks

For some couples getting married on April Fools Day, the temptation to pull a few pranks is just too hard to resist. Although not a national holiday, April Fool’s day is  recognized in nearly every corner of the world and has been celebrated with trickery and foolishness for over  500 years. 

You see, until 1582 April 1st was the beginning of the calendar year. Along comes Pope Gregory XIII who orders everyone to change to the Julian Calendar and when some people resisted they were referred to as April Fools. So while everyone else was ringing in the New Year in January, these fundamentalist hold-outs were maintaining April 1 as New Years Day. As such, they were considered fools and were the butt of many jokes and pranks. I’m sure there are many Chicagoans who can sympathize with the hold-outs considering the whole Sears/Willis Tower and Macy’s/ Marshall Fields debate that still conjures emotional outrage from some die-hard fans of the previous residents of either building. To them I say, “Happy New Year!”

So, how exactly would you go about pranking guests on your April Fool’s Wedding Day? It is tough because emotions are high and when under that much stress, most people seem to respond negatively to pranks and practical jokes. To prank like a pro, follow these Do’s and Don’ts:


Do anything that even suggests break up, fights, cheating or anything else tawdry. This is beneath you – only amateurs will resort to the lowest common denominator.

 Pranks that involve property damage or stains are also low-brow.

 Avoid anything that involves physical antics or you may risk injury at your wedding.

THE #1 DON’T: Don’t plan a  prank at someone’s wedding without their approval.  The bride and groom should always be aware of any hi-jinx so they can enjoy it and not be on needles and pins, or worse, be caught off guard by something that could potentially become a source of embarrassment.


Consider small gag gifts in place of wedding favors. A lovely wrapped box at each place setting and when they open it …BOOM! The classic snake (formerly in a can) pops out!

Instead of a toast, recite a monologue from a movie that you know most everyone has seen. Something completely out of context would be good. You could also do a montage of famous movie quotes. Either way you will have most people scratching their heads and/or laughing.

Arrange for one of your guests to be in on the joke; when the officiant asks if anyone objects-  someone stands up, adjusts their clothing and sits down. Hearty laughs will follow.

Know your audience. If you are both Master Pranksters and all of your guests know this, they will be expecting something, going small might be out of the question. If you are low-key and hardly ever engage in anything less than serious, your friends and family will react differently when you pull off the prank of all pranks.

The end result should be a day of joy and merry-making, not a a three ring circus where everyone is trying to out-prank one another. A few light hearted jabs here and there will definitely lighten the mood and lift everyone’s spirits… even the hold-outs! 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


How Many Bridesmaids?

The average number of attendants has risen over the last few years from 3 to 6 since 2000. Six bridesmaids is a lot to manage. Statistically you will probably have at least one who is married, one who is pregnant, one who is difficult, one who is broke, and one who has issues. In addition to planning the wedding you will also have to keep a watchful eye on bridesmaid gown orders, shoes and  and at the very least be aware of the fittings, etc when the gowns arrive. You will have to be sensitive to each of them and at certain times flexible so keep that in mind when it seems like a good idea to have 8 bridesmaids. Ask yourself, “Do I have the patience to handle this?”

The most important thing you can do if you are having several attendants is to have a very reliable maid of honor. She will need to oversee all of the scheduling and act as a buffer between you and the difficult one, anyway. Without her, you will be drowning in drama. Have a heart to heart talk and tell her that you need her to keep things in check, remind her that you are counting on her to help things go smoothly. If she flinches, you need to pick someone else.

Myth: You can’t have an odd number of bridesmaids.

Fact: You can have any odd or even number including the (unlucky) 13.

Myth: There has to be an usher for every bridesmaid

Fact: Grown women are perfectly capable of walking up and down the aisle solo. In fact you can have one usher escort two bridesmaids if necessary.

Myth: There should be  one bridesmaid for every 50-60 guests.

Fact: You can have a many or as few as you like. The record? Jill Stapleton of Ohio had 110 bridesmaids at her wedding in June 2010. To be fair, you should not have more attendants than guests.

No matter how many bridesmaids you choose, make sure they are all on board with the planning, the spending and the entire affair. The last thing you need is to be worrying about everyone else’s problems.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Our (Lack of) Wedding Party  :  wedding bridesmaid groomsman tallahassee Vintage034 vintage034

Your Mother’s Gown – A Delicate Matter

You have seen your parent’s wedding portrait hanging in the house for years. As a little girl, you probably thought your mother’s gown was the most beautiful thing you had ever seen. As a teenage girl, you probably thought it was dated or possible hideous. As a newly engaged woman, the idea of wearing your mother’s gown has probably entered into conversation at least once. She ‘saved’ it, had it heirloomed or preserved in acid-free tissue so that you would one day be able to walk down the aisle in the gown she chose so many years ago.

Just a few problems with this scenario: 1) She chose it for herself, not a child that had yet to be born. 2) It probably is dated. 3) You are more than likely not the same size. 4) What if you have sisters? Are you all supposed to wear her gown… all of you wearing exact same gown?

Let’s face it – you probably don’t want to wear it. You probably have an idea of  how you want to look on your wedding day and it doesn’t involve anything from your mother’s closet. It’s not vintage enough, it’s not retro enough, its just not enough!

So what do you do when she brings out the giant heirloom box and starts to talk about how beautiful you are going to look? Be gentle, be kind but, be honest.  tell her your exact feelings as nicely as possible. You should definitely try it on, tell stories and laugh! When the time comes, just  tell her that you want a different style or color or whatever the case may be.  you may be shocked at how easily she takes the news. You see, as a mom, I can tell you that when you save these things for your children you are really saving them for yourself.  
A compromise may be to use parts of the gown for something on your wedding day ensemble. Adding some of her lace to your gown is a beautiful sentiment and it leaves other elements for siblings to use as well.  Putting the edge on a handkerchief or using some of the fabric for a purse or to decorate a card box is equally nice.

Your wedding gown is probably the single costliest clothing item you will ever own, you will be photographed more wearing this gown than anything else you ever wear, you will hang your wedding portrait in your house and probably keep it in the same spot forever.

Whatever gown you choose, make sure to include your mother in the process ( and not just her wallet) so that she feels as special on your day as she did on hers so many years ago.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Beat The Stress Of Holiday Weddings

If you are getting married over the holidays, you probably have a to-do list that is as long as your arm. Although this is the best time to blend a family celebration with a wedding , it is also the busiest time of the year for shopping, running errands and getting just about anything done. How do you handle all the stress?

1) Unplug. Make a certain time of day to unplug your cell phone, computer and do nothing. Even if it is for only one hour, the act of doing nothing will refresh your outlook. This is the perfect time for guilt-free nap, which can be quite beneficial.

2) Find a release. Engaging yourself in a hobby will occupy your mind in other areas. Don’t try to do anything too complicated, just get your mind off of the wedding and holiday planning. Crosswords and online games work just fine as does a round of zombe-killing on Xbox. Set a limit of 30 minutes a day or you may find yourself addicted to ‘Words with Friends’.

3) Release the endorphins. Take a walk, go to the gym or put on a workout DVD and get moving. Endorphins are natural pain and stress fighters that are released from the brain during  physical exercise (and intimate activities) . You can also get an endorphin boost from chili peppers and chocolate.

4) Ignore the voices. If your family is like mine and they all feel like their every opinion is so valuable that it needs to be voiced immediately, ignore them. When they call just tell them you’re busy and you’ll catch up after the wedding. They will try to drag you into a conversation but, avoid it.

5) Off- hours. Try calling business during non-peak hours so you aren’t wasting as much time on hold.  If you can, try avoid rush hour traffic as well since road rage can come out of nowhere and have disastrous results.

6) Pamper Time. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking some time out to do something you want to do for yourself can be the single most therapeutic thing you can do this time of year. Get your nails done, get a full-body or  foot massage or just sit and watch a movie you have wanted to see for a long time. Anything you have put on the back burner should be placed in the front  because pampering yourself  (even just a little) will help you unwind.

7) Drink. Even my 9 yr old knows that if you are feeling sluggish, a glass or bottle of water will perk you up. Carry a water bottle everywhere with you  and make a note of where the bathrooms are located. Drink early and often! For every cup of coffee, soda, wine, beer or juice, drink a bottle of water.

The last thing you want to do is ‘snap’. Over-scheduling, lack of sleep, too many energy drinks and family pressure can lead to an epic meltdown days before your holiday wedding. Taking it slow, sticking to the essentials, delegating responsibilities and staying hydrated will keep you in focus and out of ‘panic mode’.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago