The Five People You Meet at Bridal Expo

A newly engaged couple may think they have been transported to heaven when they enter the doors of one of our Bridal Shows. The shows are jam-packed with the most spectacular vendors in a serpentine trail leading to seating for the fashion show which leaves even the most jaded brides talking for days about the unbelievable gowns they saw on the runway.

It is not heaven, it is Bridal Expo. A long time ago in a zip code not so far away, Bridal Expo began hosting weekly shows for vendors to meet with brides and showcase gowns on the runway. The formula has not changed much since then but, the dynamic is different and the stakes are high. The goal is for brides and grooms to be able to meet face to face with wedding  professionals (photographers, bridal salons, tuxedo companies,etc) and save valuable time and money by attending one show. It would be physically, technically  impossible to  visit each of these vendors in one day without attending the show so, don’t try it.

Today’s engaged couples are smarter, more inventive and they want to be WOW-ed by the displays. You won’t see any blank-looking department store mannequins here, our salons bring uber-stylish dressmaker forms. Many of our vendors have laptops or large screen TV’s with power point presentations and videos. Most or all of them have examples of their product or service, many of the vendors bring product samples and some vendors bring items they can sell to you right there – on the spot. The hair product sample given by the Charles Ifergan Salon at the Sheraton Bridal Expo  has drastically changed my life forever and given my previously unmanageable hair it’s very own Happily Ever After.

Which brings me to my original thought, at each and every Bridal Expo you will meet someone who could possibly change your life.  I know that sounds lofty and presumptuous – let me explain. True Story: A close friend of mine hired a friend of a friend to do her wedding photography. She paid the deposit, the photographer came to the wedding where she paid the balance and never saw one photo from her wedding… ever.  This was not a backyard BBQ wedding, either. This was a high-end, spare no expense, hand made wedding gown kind of event. She has one snapshot from one of her fittings – other than that not one picture. If she had come to Bridal Expo, she would have seen examples of work that would have blown her away. She wouldn’t have been able to resist booking her photographer almost on the spot and she would have a wedding album that would make anyone proud.  This is not fiction, I will tell you her name if you ask.

There were five people at last Sunday’s Bridal Expo that have the potential to change your wedding and possibly your life. Was it the Party bus from Aries Charter? Did you get a mini-massage from Alliance Health and Wellness? Perhaps you were awed by the benefits of uplighting from Five Diamond Audio Visual?  Maybe it was Shinto Japanese Steakhouse! They were all there…. and more.  Who were your five?

-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

Outdoor Weddings- What to do when Mother Nature takes over

Yesterday  the temperature reached 90 degrees in Chicago which is a new record, breaking the previous record which was held for 115 years. So, it seems, today is great day to think about outdoor weddings and possible pitfalls the weather could bring.

Outdoor weddings can be so beautiful, having the sunshine and flowers surrounding you while you take this momentous step forward. Unfortunately, Mother Nature may not have the same idea as you. When you plan an outdoor wedding, it is always essential to have a backup plan. Most venues have a staff which can assist you in developing this plan. It is essential that you develop an emergency plan well in advance – this is not the kidn of thing you want to have to come up with at the last minute. In some cases, you have little warning regarding the weather and you will need to put your plan in place very quickly. If you are planning a destination wedding, study the weather trends in the area surrounding your wedding venue for that time of year so there are no surprises at the last minute.

Tornado season in the midwest is  April through July. Planning an outdoor wedding in Spring when all of the flowers are in full bloom is both beautiful and tricky. Discuss the option of an indoor pavillion available  in case of high winds or rainfall or perhaps you can move the ceremony directly to the reception site. In reality, the ideal outdoor wedding location has an indoor location waiting… just in case. It is good to note that tents may not always be  a good idea during wind or rain. It is also important to make sure the bride, groom and attendants all use a little extra  product to keep their hair in place.

July, August and even September can be hot, really hot. In order to make sure your guests don’t overheat during an outdoor ceremony on a blistering summer afternoon, provide each chair with bottled water and perhaps a hand fan.  Make sure that there is  shade available to provide some relief. Those having a daytime outdoor wedding should orient the ceremony so that the sun will be on guests’ backs rather than in their eyes.

September through November is the perfect time to take advantage of the colorful trees and foliage before they go into hibernation for the winter.  But, even the most beautiful fall day can come with setbacks. November in particular can host anything from rain to snow. I would limit a fall wedding to end of October, knowing that if the weather takes a sudden dip you might have to provide outdoor heaters or…. move the ceremony inside.

Remind your guests to dress accordingly. If it suddenly gets cool, make sure you add a layer of outerwear and maybe gloves. If you anticipate even one raindrop, bring an umbrella.

Make sure the venue does not have any maintenance scheduled that day. You don’t want your voices  drowned out by weed-whackers and lawn mowers.

A sound system that includes microphones for the bride and groom might be a good idea since there may be other outisde noise. Airplanes and sirens come to mind. Talk to your DJ about this, it may be something he or she could easily include in your package.

Lastly, always remember that for every problem there is a solution. And always, always, always have a backup plan!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridal Expo Chicago Coming to Belvedere Banquets Elk Grove

The last few weeks have been bustling at Bridal Expo Chicago’s corporate offices in spite of so many brides and vendors being on vacation. (July is usually the slowest month of the year for retailers)  We are looking forward to our next show coming up on Sunday, August 8th at Belvedere Banquets in Elk Grove.  Located minutes from the Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg, this venue always delivers a highly engaged crowd.   The venue is simply gorgeous and their staff mirrors the quality and attention to detail one would expect to witness at The Ritz Carlton Chicago or The Four Seasons.

The pace of this luxury event is a tad slower than others we produce in Chicagoland, but its none the less a highly successful show with lots of connections and serious bridal consumers. Vendors usually do extremely well because attending brides have immediate needs for their fall weddings and they are giving up a valuable day of the week to immerse themselves into all things bridal-a Sunday. We’ve heard success stories from some of our vendors that they actually contract with brides on the spot.  Show hours are from 12p-4p and the comprehensive 45 minute fashion show presentation starts at 2p.

It’s a win-win for both brides and exhibitors.  So if you are an area to-be-wed, we encourage you to pre-order tickets on-line at prior to Thursday, August 5th, otherwise tickets are $15 per person at the door.  And while vendor space is nearly booked up, their still remains a few great spaces inside the retro-glam ballroom at Belvedere Banquets.  Call 847-428-3320 while space is still available.Layout 1