Royal Wedding Anniversary

It was one year ago that I set the alarm for 4 am to make sure I caught the first glimpse of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton. For some time I was left shaking my head wondering why the wedding was so conservative ….. I get it; social unrest, economic downturn, high unemployment but, there was still the  lingering doubt in my mind that for the same amount of money spent (roughly $32 million US dollars) they could have had a little more pizazz. Then it dawned on me – this is not a flashy couple. This is a very conservative couple with very conservative taste and by anyone’s standards the task of organizing and planning an affair of this magnitude was oppressive. One year later I think they did a fantastic job of nearly every aspect.  Although neither of the future Queen’s bridal gowns was life-changing, as I had hoped, there are some very interesting facts surrounding the gown, the couple and the entire affair.

The needlework team, from the Royal School of Needlework, that was given the task of  cutting and re-assembling the delicate lace appliques on the gown, shoes and veil with intricate hand sewing, was required to washed their hands every thirty minutes and replaced needles every 3 hours to keep their work fresh.

Upon his coronation, Prince William will be the tallest British monarch ever, at 6ft 3″ tall, making him one inch taller than Edward Longshanks who was the creepy, villianous King with the white curly beard and alleged gay son depicted in Braveheart. Remember when Mel Gibson was the good guy? Ahh the 90’s.

Princess Catherine was the oldest royal bride in history at the age of 29 years, 3 months and 20 days old….not that anyone’s counting. The youngest royal bride was Isabella of Valois, who was aged just six when she married Richard II in 1396. That would have been a great reality show, if only they had TV in the 1300’s.

Princess Catherine is allergic to horses, although she has never missed a game of Polo in which Prince William was playing.  Would you?

Princess Catherine’s mother-in-law, The Duchess of Cornwall (Camilla) is required to curtsy to the future queen, her daughter-in-law, unless her husband,Catherine’s father-in-law is in the room. In that case, Princess Catherine is required to curtsy to both of them. Princess Catherine is second in curtsy protocol only to the Queen. Can you imagine family reunions? I would need a scorecard…. and a cane.

After the wedding, Catherine placed her wedding bouquet on the tomb of the unknown soldier, as her husband’s mother and grandmother both did. Touching and thoughful….maybe that’s something all brides should do.

The wedding rings for the marriages of King George VI to the Queen mother, Queen Elizabeth to Prince Philip, Princess Margaret to Antony Armstrong Jones and Prince Charles to Princess Diana were all made from the same nugget of Welsh gold. The gold was all used up in 1981 so, the Queen commissioned a new nugget. The Duke and Duchess of York, Princes Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall and Princess Catherine’s rings were all made from this new nugget. FYI- Welsh gold is quite rare and very expensive to buy…. was there any doubt?

By the way – Prince William is the only Royal  in history to NOT wear a wedding band. Does it make a difference? I doubt if there is anyone who can read or owns a television who doesn’t know he is married so, not really that big of a deal.

Happy Anniversary William & Catherine!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago




Monaco Hosts First Royal Bash in 55 years!

Once the world’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Albert of Monaco tied the knot last Saturday to Charlene Wittstock in both a civil and religious ceremony ending the day with a massive celebration.

I know its hard for young women to believe this middle aged, balding and somewhat pasty looking man was once arm candy but he was. This man dated the world’s most beautiful women – for over 30 years.  He has fathered at least two children out of wedlock, he has been photographed with more Hollywood A-listers than Oprah, he had hair and style and tons of money, he is the prince of Monaco and his mother was Grace Kelly. I mean really – who could ask for anything more?  But for those same thirty years he would never quite commit to marriage… until recently. Charlene Wittstock is not your typical princess. She is a trained athlete whose primary interests were swimming and running rather than fashion and partying. In addition to being extremely beautiful and elegant, she is also the global ambassador for the Special Olympics. Smart, compassionate and beautiful, a winning combination for Prince Albert, 

The bride began the wedding festivites on Friday with the civil ceremony wearing a blue chiffon palazzo pantsuit created for her by Chanel. If you saw this – it was an odd ceremony with everyone seated and Prince Albert winking the whole time. Odd. Of course it was in French so I didn’t quite know what they were saying but it did not seem as somber to him as everyone else.

Saturday was the religious ceremony for which the bride wore a white silk, off the shoulder bridal gown by Giorgio Armani Prive with an 18+ ft train embellished with over 20,000 Swarovski crystals! According to reports,  the gown took over 2500 hours to complete. Looks can be deceiving since it was a very simple and showed no signs of that kind of laborious detail. I felt the neckline was a little odd shaped for her athletic body type and the entire gown was rather bland.

At the dinner (wedding reception) that followed the religious service, the princess wore another Armani creation – a white silk chiffon gown with a broad neckline and embroidered four-tier train. This was a mature look for a young-ish woman. I would like to have seen her in something less flouncy and more flowing. But the truth is that when you have a figure like hers you can wear anything and look great. And she did.

There were seven maids of honor (aka flowergirls)  around the age of 7 who wore traditional Monegasque outfits designed by Jean-Michel Lainé, the director of the costume workshop of the Ballets de Monte Carlo. The costumes (I mean gowns) were made of precious silks and fine fabrics rather than the cotton counterparts they represented. They wore lace up ballet shoes, silk pantaloons, velvet chokers with a small gold cross and  broad brimmed straw hats adorned with cream mimosa, lined with silk toile, Their outfits were so charming and picturesque they completely stole the show.  I actually thought they might break out in song but, no such luck.

As for the (former) playboy prince, he wore basic black suits ( probably custom, definitely expensive) to both the civil ceremony and the reception but opted for a  dress white uniform for the religious ceremony. His father, by comparison, wore a black jacket when he wed Grace Kelly. I am not sure of proper Royal attire or Head of State protocol on these matters but, I preferred the darker suit. I think the white uniform made him look like the Love Boat Captain.

Of course the highlights of the reception were the massive cake and the fireworks display for the entire principality to enjoy!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Friday Fun – Bridal Things I Never Knew!

It’s Friday! It also happens to be the Friday before Memorial Day weekend so there is a buzz in the air that makes everyone feels a little less serious today. So lighten up, grab your coffee and relax while I share some  odd bridal ‘things’ with you.

Royal Lego Wedding– Nearly a month before the actual wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, Legoland in California made a gigantic model mock-up of what the wedding would look like. Buckingham palace, the horses, the guests and the happy bride and groom were on display for on-lookers to marvel at the wonder we call Legos. Bravo, Lego masters… very creative. The day after the wedding, the outfits were customized to reflect the actual ensembles worn by family and friends. FYI- I could not find a copy of the famous hat worn by Princess Beatrice made in Lego fashion.

Attack of The Clones –There are two things I love in this world without question: My family and weddings. So when my kids wanted to watch Star Wars Episode II (Attack of the Clones) I made the popcorn. I can’t really tell you what this movie was about but I can tell you at the very end of the movie was a wedding. The princess or queen or senator (depending upon how I remember it) married future Darth Vader in a beautiful lace gown. The headpiece was over-sized but still  remarkable and it didn’t hurt that the completely gorgeous Natalie Portman was the bride. It is just a shame that the biggest movie franchise of all time had a secret wedding … with no reception and no guests except R2D2 and C3PO. Seriously? Note to self: If you have to keep your marriage a secret, it’s probably not a good idea to get married.

Caroline Conspiracy – Famed fashion designer and style icon Carolina Herrera’s big break  in the wedding industry was when she designed  Caroline Kennedy’s bridal gown  in 1986. Ms Herrera  had unveiled her first couture collection a  few years earlier but became an overnight sensation in the bridal industry when (Sweet) Caroline appeared, looking radiant, in this one-of-a-kind, shamrock lace gown created just for her. Carolina Herrera launched her bridal line in 1987 and was an instant success.

Trick or What? In Finland it is customary for the bride to go door to door with a pillowcase collecting wedding gifts from friends and neighbors. Her father accompanies her carrying an umbrella over her head. I call that Halloween. I wonder if she gets Snickers or the cheap stuff?

Happy Friday! Enjoy the long weekend if you have the chance.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Urban Legends – Wedding Style!

I love it when I open my email and someone re-cants story that happened and I know before I finish the first line how it is going to end! When the story has been repeated so many times that people begin to actually think it is true. Of course the details change slightly but, everyone knows the end result…. Urban Legend. Where do these things get their start? Some urban legends are like fables and they have an underlying moral; the hair braid legend is to remind parent’s to wash their kids hair at least once a week. Some are made up from what people secretly wish happened; Donald Trump pays off their mortgage. Some are purely  mean-spirited; Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fake. And some some are just pure entertainment; the pregnant turkey comes to mind. Whatever the occasion, there is an urban legend to delight everyone. Since today is Friday 13th I am sharing my favorite wedding urban legends with gamophiles everywhere.

The Fatal Tan is a horrid tale of vanity and stupidity. A bride feels she is too pale to look good for her wedding so she goes to several tanning salons every day for the maximum allottedtime at each salon.  On the fifth day she is found dead, it seems  her organs sunburned from the inside. It is important to note that in some versions of this story the bride is described as a blonde at this exact point in the story… for reasons I am not quite sure. The moral of the story is not to be tan, or not to be vain, or not to be blonde, I guess.

Bride and Seek is not a pleasant story, either. The bride and groom engage in a game of hide and seek at their reception which is being held in a barn, warehouse or wherever and the bride cannot be found. The groom is furious but move son with his life. After a few weeks she is found in an old trunk. She was inebriated, knocked unconscious and died. This is the kind of story you make up to remind the bride and groom not to drink too much. I feel it leaves a lot of unanswered questions: Who has a wedding reception in an abandoned barn or warehouse?  Why was someone cleaning  an abandoned barn or warehouse? If the maid found her in a trunk, why couldn’t the groom or the guests find her?

Rice at Weddings  is another gruesome tale (I’m seeing a pattern, here). Supposedly written by an actual photographer at an actual wedding who saw this first-hand. While at a wedding snapping pictures of the couple leaving the church as all the guests were throwing rice, the photographer immediately noticed  red spots appeared on the bride’s gown. He was able to capture the look of horror on the guest’s faces as nearby birds began ingesting the rice and immediately exploding. Okay, where are the pictures and what kind of rice was it? Exploding rice? Everyone who thinks this is true raise your hand. Everyone put your hands down.

Last but not least – the king or queen of all wedding legends is the Clemson/Mastercard/Disgruntled Bride or Groom legend.You see this legend has enough power to spread from the bride to the groom effortlessly. It can be in Clemson University or anywhere. It can take on a life of its own and be either before, during or after the actual wedding and could also apparently be used for a Mastercard commercial. The most popular version is during the reception, by the groom at Clemson University. Here goes:  A man and woman are married in a lavish ceremony (maybe at Clemson, maybe not) and after (or during) the wedding the groom (or bride)  stands up and thanks everyone for coming and informs them that there is a special gift for them taped under their seat. Everyone has received a manila envelope with 8×10 glossy photos of the bride with the best man or (groom with the maid of honor) in various stages of undress, obviously having an affair. The Mastercard version ends with the tag line: Priceless. I think you get it.

I saved the best for last. This is a brand new one and you may not have even seen or heard this.  I came across the ROYAL wedding photo hoax three days after the  Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. It is well-done, even though the pictures are rather fuzzy it renders the feeling of an artsy wedding photo. Not terribly well thought out since the gown, cake and not much else is a match but, adding the Corgis was an especially nice touch.  I will go out on a limb and say the Queen of England and Elton John did not engage in a conga line but, if these pictures are not  hilarious, I will eat my words!

– Pernny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Hats and Misses – Royal Wedding Fashions

If you missed the royal wedding coverage, don’t despair! I am here! Too bad the  “E” channel didn’t let Joan Rivers and the rest of the Fashion Police (minus the tasteless Kelly Osbourne) loose on the royal wedding. Joan vs. everyone who attended the royal wedding? I would buy a ticket!

In lieu of that, I am going to let my proverbial guard down and get right to it:

Worst Dressed: Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. I don’t know which one is which but, in this case it doesn’t matter. The redhead seemed to think that ‘heroin-chic’ makeup was good for daytime and a hat that looked like a cartoon uterus was a fine idea. The brunette opted for raiding the closet of the costumer from “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”. Both equally bad ideas. Maybe they were making a rebellious statement in response to the fact that their mother was un-invited. Someone needs to remind them the best revenge is living well, and looking good!

Best Dressed Guest: Lady Sophie Windsor wore exactly the right suit with exactly the right hat. The Armani Prive silk suit fitted her perfectly and her Philip Treacy hat was flawless. What she did right that so many other, including the mother of the bride, did wrong was her hair. When you are wearing a hat, your hair should be styled into the hat.  Her look was glamorous for a daytime wedding and pure Audrey Hepburn.

Best Dressed Future Monarch – Charlene Wittstock wore two of the best accessories a woman can have;  a beautiful smile and Prince Albert of Monaco. Her suit was stylish and  dignified and her hat was simple. Having recently become engaged to what many consider the world’s most eligible bachelor works well for her.

The “Enough is Enough” award goes to Tara Palmer Tomkinson. This picture is only worth a few words. Here goes:  The hat, shawl, gloves, shoes and dress don’t all need to be the exact same color, it makes you look like a children’s cartoon character, ezpecially with that particular hat.

Speaking of which, Queen Elizabeth chose yellow. Not the best color choice. The suit was fitted perfectly and had some nice detail. I kept thinking it was a familiar look and then I found this picture….. Smokin!

The “Everything but the kitchen sink” award goes to Miriam Gonzalez Durantez. Hurry, hurry, step right up! We have polka dots, big flowers on the head, satin,netting and more. Too many confusing elements make this outfit one of my least favorites.

Best Turquoise outfit of the day – Princess Michael of Kent. This is how it’s done. Everything doesn’t have to match! The pearls! The hat! the jacket! The hair! She has taste and knows how to put a daytime outfit together.  Turquoise was a big color, also being worn by Prince Harry’s on again off again girlfriend in an ill-fitting, too busty, unflattering suit (don’t get me started on the hair) and also by Samantha Cameron, wife of David Cameron, the prime minister of England. Samantha arrived sans hat and completely under-impressed me with a ruched dress, carrying an orange shawl.

What was your favorite look?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Royal Wedding – Fashion Roundup part 1

If I am writing with a British accent today, it’s because I am still totally immersed in the Royal Wedding.

My Fashion Round-up for the day:

HRH Princess Catherine emerged from her hotel under the tightest of the contract security guards today wearing a simple, elegant gown by Sarah Burton of the Alexander McQueen label.  It was everything we thought it would be and less. Less?  It was simple and very refined,  it mirrored the sentiments of the worldwide economy –  modest and unpretentious. Her gown reminded me very much of the gown worn by Princess Grace of Monaco in her 1956 wedding  which suggests that fashion and good taste are indeed timeless.  Even the veil was similar, edged in lace and draped smoothly (not poufy) over her face. In reality it draped a little too close and seemed to flatten her hair en route to the ceremony. The reason? Veiling is very light and lace can be heavy, particularly the re-embroidered kind that edged her fingertip veil.  No real damage done since after the veil was lifted from her face it settled over the back of her head and cascaded from the simple Cartier tiara borrowed from the queen.  In case you didn’t notice, the lace also edged the hem of her gown, and was added in the folds which gave some much needed detail to the train which her sister Pippa fluffed and arranged beautifully.  Her bouquet was equally simple and understated.  A bit on the small side, it incorporated the traditional Myrtle from Queen Victoria’s garden, Lilac, Hyacinth and Sweet William, a tribute to her husband.

Pippa Middleton, maid of honor was also dressed in Sarah Burton. Her slender, ivory mermaid gown with shoulder pads ( are they back?) and a deep V cowl neck, appeared to be a bias cut gown made of 4 ply silk crepe.  Bias cut  is extremely hard to wear unless you have a near perfect figure, which she does. At first it seemed a bit tricky for her to navigate the steps since it was very close fitting around the knees and at one point I was afraid she was going to have to hop up the stairs but, she shortened her step slightly and paused before each step. Very clever of her, and exactly the kind of move you need to anticipate if you plan to wear this type of gown.  I absolutely loved the flowers in her hair!

Carole Middleton was stunning in pale blue. When I heard pale blue I winced slightly thinking it would resemble a washed out Robin’s egg. This was more of a cornflower blue which worked out beautifully with her tanned skin. The cut and style of her entire ensemble was dynamic on her svelte figure.  Good news, it  looks like the  Dukan Diet works!

Camilla wore a two- tone, hand embroidered ensemble by Anna Valentine which was well suited to her frame. I am not sure I understand the color combination but, I was slightly distracted by the size of her hat. I really wish she would tone down her hair a bit since she is getting older and the bat-winged hairdo is a little dated.  Jimmy Choo shoes….. good choice!

Queen Elizabeth was dressed head to toe in yellow. The primrose dress, coat and hat were all designed by Angela Kelly. The hat was a bit square and I have seen her wear more flattering colors but she was all smiles and hardly seemed to be able contain her joy. Bonus: She was perfectly color-matched to the Dean of Westminster,  was that planned? My favorite QE moment was when she was escorting the bridesmaids (flower girls) onto the balcony. At that moment I hardly saw the Matriarch of  one of the most revered Monarchies, I saw a grandmother doting on her flock.

The bridesmaids’ dresses – ivory with ballerina length pleated skirts, puffed sleeves and gold sashes tied in a “sumptuous” bow – were created by bespoke childrenswear designer Nicki Macfarlane. Again, the term bridesmaids here is used to describe what we refer to as flowergirls. Bespoke is a term used to describe anything custom-made to the buyer’s specifications.
Prince William chose to wear his royal guard suit. Since he has trained in all branches of the military, he could have chosen to represent any of  those in the official military regalia with great pride. His choice was especially touching since the sole  job of  the Royal Guard is to protect members of the Royal Family.
Prince Harry not only looked truly handsome  donning full military regalia but, maintained his mischievous grin the entire time. Perhaps he was thinking of how he would ask Pippa to dance at the reception. Is it just me or would they make a cute couple?
For me, the best part of the day was when they came out onto the balcony for the  ‘kiss’  first made famous at their parents’ wedding 30 years ago. It was quick, of course.  PDA is out, and now (it seems) so is opulence. Simple is the new black and less is once again more!
Tomorrow Part 2:  Hats and Misses
-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Royal Wedding Workout – guilt free viewing!

The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton is less than 24 hours away! My alarm is set for 3 am and the DVR is set to BBC America for commercial free, uninterrupted, live coverage of the events. I have even designed a mini-workout so I won’t be tempted to doze off since 4 am is a little early for me,  I don’t want to miss a thing and I don’t want to turn into a couch potato! My phone will be charged and by my side in case I need to compare notes with a kindred spirit.

I am sharing my workout with you so we can all get our day started shaking things up and not gluing our butts to the sofa for the wedding marathon!

Items you will need:
Water (bottled or otherwise) … LOTS of it!

Sneakers or shoes suitable  for movement!

Lets get started!  When the coverage begins, or when you begin watching, you can start the workout right away. Find a comfy seat with lots of room around you and you are ready!

Every time the host  says ‘Prince William’ you must take a drink of water. It is important to stay hydrated so you can stay focused and not be tempted to curl up and doze off.

Every time they say ‘Catherine Middleton’ (or any variation of her name prior to the nuptials) you must stand up, bend over and touch your toes. This reminds you that you must bow before the queen. They will be saying this a lot BEFORE the wedding but, not much after since she will have been bestowed a title by the time the affair takes place.

Every time they mention the ‘late Princess Diana’, stand up. With your feet planted shoulder width, stretch your arms up into the air five times.

When the Queen arrives, stand up and do ten jumping jacks. If she is wearing purple, do 20 more jumping jacks. I am actually excited to see what she will wear. She is known for her love of weddings and extreme love for her grandchildren, so I would bet this is probably the happiest day of her life, so far. She may be an aging monarch but she is still  a woman so, I would be willing to bet she is pulling out all the stops. Jewelry? Yes, please …..and lots of it!

When the bride’s parents arrive,  stand and bring one knee at a time up to your chest. Do this five times for each leg.

When Prince Charles arrives, do five lunges. First on the left side and then the right.  This is just to remind us all not to rush into anything no matter how good of an idea it seems at the time.

When Camilla arrives, run in place until she is seated.

When Prince Harry is shown,  stand one one foot, balancing for five seconds and then do the same with the other foot. If you can do this without picturing him in that unfortunate NAZI Halloween costume, you get an extra slice of wedding cake.

When Catherine’s car arrives, stand up once again. You are now in the presence of a future queen. Remain standing until she is at the altar.

When William and Catherine emerge from the church, stand up again.  Run in place, stretch, jog or whatever you wish. After the couple enters the carriage and begin their journey to Buckingham Palace, you can sit down.

The wedding day will more than likely begin around 2:30 am Central Standard Time so any time after that when you join, you can start right away. You can also add your own touches. I just wanted a way to get energized that early in the am without killing myself! 

For me – there is really no place I would rather be than watching this lovely couple exchange vows ….. even at that ungodly hour and from thousands of miles away!!

Since television around the world will be fixed on this wedding , so I encourage everyone to raise their glass to toast the happy couple!

Cheers!  Mazel Tov! Slainte! Prost! Salute! Skaal! L’Chaim! Kampai! Sante’!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Crown Jewels – How much Bling is too much?

For centuries, bridal tiaras have been worn by brides during their wedding ceremony. The purpose of a crown or tiara has always been, to portray the wearer as someone special, someone ordained by the gods. Tiaras were worn exclusively by royalty since no one else could afford the diamond and jewel  encrusted headpieces. 

Today brides everywhere adorn their bridal up-do’s with tiaras, crystal embellished headbands and glittery hair combs to remind us all that we are all special and deserve a place among the gods.

Catherine Middleton has a rare opportunity. As a ‘commoner’ she will be the first woman of no royal lineage to ever set her head under one of the priceless tiaras in the collection of the British Monarchy. It is feasible that she could wear any of the tiaras in the collection, some of which are downright garish. Fortunately she seems to have impeccable taste and will not opt for one of these huge, gaudy or over-embellished pieces. Unfortunately she will probably be wearing something ‘gifted’ to her from Queen Elizabeth so her choice will be not as much of her’s  as one would think.

There has been talk that she might wear her hair down. Perhaps, although I don’t think so. Realistically she will look fantastic no matter her hairstyle. However, she will keep in mind that her wedding portrait will  a) become a stamp b) be  forever immortalized in the portrait gallery of Buckingham palace and c)  also be featured on every gift, knick-knack and teacup in any gift shop in England… and beyond. She can wear her hair down for the rest of her life. This will be the most talked about, copied, over-analyzed wedding in history, give us an up-do for God’s sake. I would speculate her reasoning for considering wearing her hair down is that it symbolizes her down to earth, conservative nature and does not portray excess, especially during hard economic times.

 In case you were wondering; a tiara should be worn in the middle of the head, not the front, and slanted at a 45-degree angle. The tiara is usually backed by an up-do which means that you can’t see through it–the hair acts as a backdrop to the tiara and allows the headpiece to become part of the hairstyle rather than a separate piece. Never perch your tiara at the front of your head like a beauty pageant winner or prom queen! Remember, you are a princess bride, not a bride wearing a tiara.

Which tiara will she wear? In this case, the sky is really the limit. There are dozens to choose from! Since the engagement ring belonged to William’s mother, I personally think it would be odd to wear his mother’s wedding tiara. Diana wore the “Spencer Tiara” as her ‘something borrowed’. It was made around 1830(according to some reports)  for lady Sarah Spencer, Diana could trace her name back to the tiara so it had some personal and historical significance. Kate had none of this so it would be redundant.  My choice for her would be Queen Elizabeth’s wedding choice, the “Fringe Tiara”. It is the long shot by betting standards and London bookmakers have placed the odds at 12-1. I’ll still take the odds. My reasons are simple: There are two things we know about Queen Elizabeth, she has a killer jewelry collection and she adores her grandchildren. She will want to be as close as possible to his wife since we all know what happens when there is a rift with the royals! Sharing a wedding tiara is a significant step in the right direction.

It is entirely feasible, however, that the Queen will gift to her the Cambridge Knot Tiara worn by the queen herself and Princess Diana numerous times. This would forge a bond between the three of them, never ot be broken.  It was returned to the Queen After the divorce of Diana and Charles as she was no longer representing the state at functions.

Occasionally I hear or read that the future princess will wear flowers in her hair. I think this is pure speculation. I highly doubt a this choice is significant enough for this event. I also think she is smart enough to know that.  I might have to eat my words but, I doubt it. Catherine Middleton does not strike me as impulsive or rebellious, and although her recent Chelsea past seems rather bohemian to some, it is not bohemian enough to instantly become a flower-child.

Again, whatever she chooses Will become an instant global sensation. Flashing cameras will capture her image and within hours of her first appearance, copies will be available.  Sit tight, future princesses, less than 48 hours until the Royal Wedding!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Royal Fruitcake with Royal Icing

Details have been revealed about the Royal Wedding Cake! Or should I say cakes? Cake #1 – (the main cake) is being designed by  Fiona Cairns and it is described as a traditional, multi-layered fruitcake decorated with royal icing in the Joseph Lambeth method using cream and white. Cake #2 was requested by Prince William and is described as a chocolate biscuit cake by McVities, who has been baking for the royal family since 1893.   Two cakes is really not  excessive  considering  William’s mother and Father had 27 cakes at their reception in 1981.

That is a lot of information. To most of us here on the West side of the pond, it doesn’t really make sense. Fruitcake? Chocolate biscuit cake? What is going on? Where’s the fondant? What about buttercream? Forget everything you know about American wedding cakes for now and open your mind to some new, international  possibilities.

Fruitcake – I have to admit I was taken aback when I heard the words Royal wedding and fruitcake in the same sentence.  I remember the fruitcakes my mom used to get as gifts at Christmas and make us  eat a piece to be polite to whomever gave it to us.  No thanks.  Now I did a little research and it seems that the bastardized version of fruitcakes is like that of anything else… inferior. The fruitcake that William and Kate will be sharing with their guests is something we would consider ‘bread’ or, more appropriately,  a muffin.  Imagine a dried cranberry, apricot, almond, raisin muffin! Possibly infused with some kind of alcohol, brandy perhaps? Now, thats more like it! Add frosting? Yes, please!

Royal Icing is a pure white icing that dries to a smooth, hard, matte finish. It colors beautifully and is really the best frosting option when you need intricate piping or ornate scrollwork done. When you see those beautifully decorated, intricate cookies on the covers of magazines, they are decorated with royal icing. The application is similar to spreading room temperature butter over the entire cake.

Joseph Lambeth method- Who is Jospeh Lambeth?  No surprise here, the Lambeth method is very popular in Great Britain and has been around since Joseph introduce his first book in 1934. What makes this method unique is the use of over-piping to create lacy, floral and ornate patterns and is is easy to recognize. Imagine a  cake with piping and scroll-work. Now imagine you added a layer of piping on top of the piping and scrollwork. On top of that piping  and scroll-work you added thinner piping and even more details. The end result is a very 3-dimensional cake that has so much depth you wonder how deep the icing really is and if there is any cake at all. Between the fruitcake and the icing and considering it is multi-layered (probably 6 or 7 layers) I would imagine this cake is going to weigh well over 500 pounds, in weight … not currency.

Chocolate biscuit cake is a no-bake cake that is described as one of his childhood favorites. He shared this cake with his mother and grandmother for afternoon teas throughout his childhood. This is more of a “grooms cake” which, until now has strictly been an American custom, that will be served alongside the main cake. Back to the no-bake part since this is right up  my alley. I won’t go into the recipe details even thought it is so simple I could make a few of these without blinking. Just imagine breaking up a bunch of shortbread cookies and basically gluing them together with melted chocolate in a buttered cake mold. After it is removed from the mold, drizzle it with white, semi or milk chocolate ( or all three) and serve with tea. My only question is : Will they be serving seconds? YUM!

The price tag for both cakes has been reported as $80,000 GBP and is being covered by Prince Charles, personally. If your currency converter is broken, that is roughly $132,000 US for the two cakes. With a guest list for the casual afternoon reception totalling  1,900 guests that is about $70 per slice.

My best guess is that even the cakes will set new trends. American Brides and fruitcake? Anything could happen!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago