Keeping the Romance Alive During Wedding Planning

You’ve had it with his mother wanting to be consulted on every detail, he’s had it with the million questions related to centerpieces and it seems like all you have to talk about is budgets or boutonnieres. If this sounds familiar, it might be time to put a little romance back into your….romance.

Romance is one of those things that means different things to different people. To some it means being whisked away to exotic locations sprinkled with rose petals and being showered with lavish gifts. In reality, romance doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be as simple as leaving a note that says “Thank You for (whatever)”  or picking up their favorite beverage instead of yours. Being romantic is more akin to being considerate, it is remembering the little things that the other person  loves and putting their wants or needs above yours. Unfortuntely romance can often take a back seat to wedding planning.

Here are  7 things you can do to light a romantic fire under your partner without breaking the bank:

1) Make – A card, a personalized playlist for the iPod,  or a special dinner complete with their favorite dishes. Giving of your time is showing the other person that you care. No credit card required.

2) Write – Do something  that says you are thinking of them during the day. Text him on the way home or shoot her an email after a work meeting or call and leave a message on the house voice mail so she will get it when she gets home before you.  Say, “I’m thinking of you”, thats all.

3) Support – When your significant other is upset about something, listen and offer your support. Sometimes they may be wrong but, your job is to support and not judge. You can offer advice later, when the emotions aren’t as raw. Just listen.

4) Clean Up – Offer to put away the dishes or do laundry when its not your turn.  Better yet – just do it. When you see the other person is struggling, step up to the plate. Cleaning off her windshield when she can’t find her gloves will most definitely show her how much you care. Trust me, there is nothing sexier than a man vacuuming or cleaning the toilet.

5) Nurture – Similar to support but nurturing goes the extra mile.  If your fiance is sick, it’s the perfect time to let him stay in bed while you pamper him with 7up and cold medicine. Maybe he doesn’t need to be completely taken care of but, he will appreciate the gesture.

6) Surprise – You know he loves Star Trek, he knows you hate it. Surprise him by setting the DVR to record the whole series to watch together later (it wouldn’t hurt if you wore a ‘Uhura’ costume)… and no complaining. Sharing something the other person likes shows that you are willing to compromise your happiness momentarily and enjoy something together.

7) Remember – Remembering important things like Birthdays and anniversaries is a must but, rememebering the inconsequential things like the right toilet paper or coffee goes above and beyond.

We’ve all heard it is the little things that make people happy. Whether it is giving up your Saturday Golf game to stay home and address envelopes or skipping Girls Night Out to have dinner with his parents, showing the other person you care about their feelings is the one  thing you can do to keep the romance alive…. forever.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago




Invited To A Wedding? Read This First.

Etiquette is one of those elusive things that seem to escape some people, one of those things you don’t really think about until  you’re in the “10 items or less” line behind someone with a full cart of groceries, or you are waiting (patiently) behind someone who is talking on their cell phone during a really short left arrow green light, or when someone is talking really loud in a movie. It isn’t until a social event like a wedding or funeral, where things are quiet and you have time to reflect, that these infractions of common manners become so imposing.

Cell Phones are the worst culprit in modern times. Texting, talking and (God forbid) playing games on your phone during a wedding is rude, don’t do it. Unless you are expecting an urgent call, you don’t even need your cell phone during the wedding…. leave it in the car. If you do need your cell phone with you, turn the ringer off and carry it in your pocket, when the urgent call comes through excuse yourself and go outside where you can converse without interrupting  everything. There is nothing more annoying than trying to carry on a conversation or eat dinner with someone who is glued to their cell phone.

Chewing Gum  is another no – no. Altoids, Tic-Tacs, Mentos work very well for a case of stale breath. Chewing gum in church ( or other place of worship), in the receiving line, giving a toast or dancing is tacky.  The worst part is when people forget they are chewing gum and it shows up in a picture…. YIKES!

Dressing appropriately is hard for some people so, this is a tricky one. I sat behind a man in a hoodie at a funeral this week and couldn’t stop staring at his bright red fleece garment the entire time, thinking to myself,  “Is that all you’ve got?” It was distracting to say the least. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, it is likely that he may have slipped out of work to be at this somber event and I know deep down that he had a really good reason for being inappropriately dressed. You don’t have to wear a pricey designer suits or gowns to be well-dressed. Too much cleavage, not enough skirt, anything denim are all good indicators that you need a wardrobe intervention. If you are unsure about what to wear, take a closer look at the invitation and it should tell you everything you need to know, if you are still stuck, call a wedding professional like a photographer or florist who has been to dozens of these events and they will be able to guide you.

Gossip is also a touchy subject. Asking questions about the cost of the gown, reception, gifts or anything wedding related is tacky, speculating on whether or not the marriage will last is morbid, and the most glaring offense of all is wondering (out loud) if the bride is pregnant. Unless the couple has announced that they are expecting, leave that commentary for another time. Basically, you are there to lend your support, not to openly critique every detail of the wedding. Save that for late , or not at all.

Let’s face it – you can’t legislate good manners. You can’t expect everyone to behave, dress, speak or act properly at all times. All you can do is lead by example and cross your fingers that they all follow your lead. By the time a person is an adult, they should know these few common rules of etiquette and if they don’t – there is nothing you can do to help them. Your best bet when faced with these offenses is to smile and politely excuse yourself from the situation. You will laugh about it later…. or not.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Reviewing the Reviews – How to Really Pick Your Wedding Professionals

As hard as it may seem to believe,  a lot of companies get their online reviews from within. If you have read this blog before, you know that I am the ultimate skeptic and that an online review to me means about as much to me as the paper on which I will never print it. In this case, my skepticism pays off.  A September report by the Pew Research Institute indicates that 58% of consumers purchase goods and services from the internet based in their online reviews. This was right about the same time the New York Times uncovered the truth about online reviews, exposing several companies who admitted to reviewing themselves repeatedly. Oddly enough one such company actual gave their company scathing reviews in order to improve their Google search results, and it worked.

As hard as it seems,  fake online reviews have gotten so out of control that the government is about to step in and figure out how to handle this growing problem. Until then, here are some guidelines to help you figure out how to spot a fake review when selecting professionals to service your wedding:

Name – Including the first and last name of the reviewer are not a guarantee that it is an actual person but, it greatly increases the odds. Generally online names like Bob234 are either automated programs or insiders trying to hide their identity. More information about the reviewer means more credibility.  Also check to see if this one name has several reviews on the same site or on other sites. Multiple postings is a sign that something is not right.

Date and Number – Check to see if there are swarms of reviews around the same date and for the same product or service. Clever marketers hire people to do product reviews based on a number of things like seasonal purchasing and promotional dates. 

Description – A description that sounds too good to be true probably is. Glowing recommendations are fine but, sometimes they go a bit too far and seem (what’s the word?) … phony. Also be careful of descriptions that are too technical to be from an average consumer point of view, they are probably not.

Links – If there is a link in the review, it is a fake. It is being used to drive you back to the original site.

Negative – Be careful of a negative review even if it seems legitimate since disgruntled ex-employees are notorious for going online; ranting and raving within the confines of a pseudonym. You could be passing up the best bridal salon in Chicago based on a sketchy review you read online.

When in doubt, check it out. The best and only reliable way to ensure that your wedding vendors are A+ or D- is to do your own research. Meet face-to-face  with each and every vendor and when you do, ask them for referrals. Ask for samples or examples of their work. Call previous customers who have used this service and find out firsthand about their experience. If you want to take it a step further, ask if you can attend one of their events and then you can decide for yourself.  When it comes to your wedding, you only have one shot to make it right and leaving your decision-making to reviews posted online is risky, at best.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The dreaded “B” word – Budget

When planning your wedding, there are many things to consider; location, time of day, how many guests to invite, etc. But none of them are as important as the actual wedding budget. Couples are faced with so may decisions regarding this one very special day that it can become daunting if you enter into the planing stages unprepared. Before you even think of shopping for the first item, sit down with your betrothed and have a very candid budget meeting. During that meeting you will each  have to make concessions. How much are your families able or willing to spend to help you?

Once you have established your budget, you can being to negotiate the importance of each individual item. What are the most important aspects of the day for you as a couple? Photographs tend to rank higher and things like table favors are lower in the scale of importance. However, everyone is different and no one can tell you what is important to you, except you.  There are some ways to help you stay within budget.

Plan your wedding on a Friday or Sunday. Many venues offer greatly discounted rates for events that are not on Saturday. They will be happy to negotiate with you during off-season as well. When is off-season? It varies from state to state and year to year. The big shift is that more couples seem to get married in December than June ……….. for now. Imagine how spectacular your ceremony would be against the backdrop of fall foliage or spring in bloom!

Shop realistically for your gown. Take someone with you when shopping for your bridal gown. When you first go into the salon, state your price point and politely ask the consultant not to bring anything over your specified amount. It will save everyone time and aggravation. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford. If your gown budget is $2000, you can not be shopping for gowns that are priced at $4000, it will only lead to heartache.

Flowers can be expensive. However, this is a place where you can really save  as well. Using flowers that are in season or grown locally can save hundreds of dollars and give you a better, fresher product. Using non-flowering greenery can also add a touch of whimsy to your centerpiece.  Also – don’t be afraid to use bigger flowers in the centerpieces because it could save money in the end. Explore your options with a trusted florist.

Bigger tables- opt for the big round table that seats 10. Larger tables will require less centerpieces and give guests a chance to meet more people from other parts of your life!

Bridal Expo- yes, you will save money by attending one of our many shows throughout the year. Our vendors offer discounts at the shows and for couples who have attended the shows. Seeing everything in one place saves time which saves money … and with the price of gas nearing $4.00 gallon, driving is money. You can see up to 60 wedding professionals at one time and these are our trusted vendors so the research is done. The bonus is that there are prizes awarded at each show so you could possible win a honeymoon or a valuable gift package.

Call 847-428-3320 to get four complimentary tickets to a show in your area so you can start saving money immediately.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Proud as a Peacock-themed wedding

For the past several months I have been wondering what is up with the  ‘peacock thing’. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, let me enlighten you; peacock themed weddings are the hottest trend in color schemes right now. From invitations to shoes decorated with actual feathers, the peacock  topic is hotter than Vegas in July!

The peacock  is known for its beautiful feathered tail,  which includes shades of iridescent blue and green but also sprinkled with rich red and gold.  But did you know that the peacock also has very spiritual and cultural significance in all parts of the world? Whether it is ancient Greco-Roman mythology, Buddhist spirituality or modern Christianity, there is no doubt that the Peacock and Peacock feathers (by default) symbolize refinement, royalty,  integrity and the beauty you  can achieve when you choose to show your ‘true colors’.  A bonus is that domestic peacocks are monogamous and also assist in raising and nesting their young ones. Sound familiar? In case you were not aware, the peacock is the male bird only, the female is called a peahen. Animal activists can rest assured that peacocks do not have to give their lives in order to fill a feather order, the feathers are harvested by simply picking them up off the ground after the bird has finished molting.

I have no real idea where or when this trend began but, I have my own theory. Remember Carrie Bradshaw’s headpiece from the  first Sex in The City movie? It was a very feathery concoction with a blue bird on it. Was it a real bird? Was it a plastic bird? Was it dead, stuffed bird or merely movie magic? So many questions…. so few answers.  One thing we do know is that headpiece must have struck a chord with brides around the globe because since then the whole peacock thing has taken flight (pun intended). As unlikely as it may sound that this was the genesis of a peacock awakening, it is equally unlikely that  women across the world simultaneously decided en masse that peacock themed weddings were in vogue. We may never know.  

Just like other themed weddings and parties, the approach is simple; decide which elements you want to use to incorporate the peacock and have at it. A theme should run through уουr entire day frοm уουr invitations tο thе flowers thаt уου сhοοѕе tο thе favors thаt уουr guests take home. In order to achieve this you will need to stay very focused and keep a bridal planner at all times to avoid two major pitfalls:

 Use the any theme too sparingly and no one will know whats going on. A good example would be using peacock feathers on the table centerpieces and no where else in the room.  Whats the point?

 You need to stop short of having  bridesmaid’s  nails airbrushed to resemble peacock feathers. However, the invitations, a cake with peacock feather designs, bridal party gowns in iridescent peacock colors, a feathered boutonniere, carrying a peacock-accented bouquet and incorporating all of the rich colors into the decor of the room will add layers of the  theme throughout the night without overwhelming the guests at every turn.

For more ideas on how to carry out your themed wedding, call 847-428-3320 to get tickets to a show in your area where you can see, touch and feel all of the wonderful wedding details our vendors have to offer.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago