Bridal Gown Shopping Can Be FUN!!

If you are one of the thousands of couples getting engaged this holiday season I have something to share with you:  For bridal salons across the U.S., the entire month of January is ‘Black Friday’. In fact, if you have even a hint that you might be getting engaged over the Holidays, it might be wise to book an appointment now because on December 26th you might be on hold for a while.

Before you arrive for your first appointment to try on bridal gowns it is wise to be prepared:

LOOK YOUR BEST– Do your hair and makeup – you might want to take a snapshot of the gown you bought. Cell phone cameras and  cameras seem to enhance skin flaws and dark circles. Look your best head to toe and you will feel better, after all you are trying on wedding gowns and the better you feel the better you will look.

UNDER THE GOWN – Wear your nicest undergarments,  heels (the height you plan to wear) and pantyhose if you like. Also if you feel like you might need some extra control, take some spanx with you.

SUPPORT GROUP -Your mom, sister, best friend or anyone who will offer support and a reality check but, don;t take too many people or their opinions may drown each other out. Take only the peope who have an opinion you trust. If someone asks to go and you dont want them to – tell them the bridal salon limits the number of people who can accompany you, its actually true in many cases.

FIRST TIME’S A CHARM – It is true that many bride’s fall in love with the first gown they try on. This happens when the bride has a clear vision and can verbalize her choice (including budget) to an experienced Bridal Consultant. Your consultant knows the store’s inventory and how each designer’s gowns are cut and priced. If you can get her to visualize your description – you are that much closer to success!

PICTURE THIS– Take photos of gowns you found in magazines or on  the internet. But, make sure the salon carries that designer. It is your responsibility to do a little homework and find salons that carry the gowns in the styles and price range that you like. Imagine going into a Mercedes dealship with pictures of Toyotas….

CHECK PLEASE– Bring whatever form of payment you will want to use because once you have found a gown that you love, it is time to stop shopping. Salons require a 1/2 deposit to order the gown and the balance is due upon arrival.  The deposit is usually based on the entire balance, including tax and extras (extra length, size or custom orders).  While you are at it, make sure you read the sales contract thoroughly so there are no surprises.

If you show up for your frst appointment fully prepared, you are more likely to have a successful and stress-free shopping experience – it can even be fun!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago




A Very Twilight Wedding

This Friday (Thursday at midnight) fans of the Twilight series of books and movies will not only be moviegoers, they will be guests at the wedding of Edward and Bella.

I will share a secret with you: I am not a Twilight fan. Sorry, folks I just don’t get the whole vampire thing or the cult following. However, I love weddings. ALL weddings… even a Vampire wedding. I would go to a werewolf wedding, a trailer park wedding, a dog wedding – any wedding. Invite me and I’ll be there. You will recognize me immediately because I will be the one smiling from ear to ear, hopping up and down, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every detail.. Why? Because I love weddings. So here I am.. in a pickle, deciding whether or not to go to the wedding. Oops… I meant movie! I’ll keep you posted on that.

I am very excited to report that Bella Swan’s  gown was designed by famed fashion icon Carolina Herrera and (according to her) took six months to design. She immersed herself in the books to get a feel for the character and what she would wear. Her goal was to make it reminiscent of the early 1900’s to mirror the engagement ring.  Breaking news: the gown will actually be  available in salons after the first of the year so loyal fans planning their own wedding can immerse themselves in the Twilight experience.

Will this be a huge influence in the bridal fashion? Only time will tell. I thought Kate Middleton’s gown was going to change the face of bridal fashion, I thought at least one of Kim Kardashian’s gowns would be  a showstopper. I was wrong on both counts but, I still wouldn’t bet against this one. Carolina Herrera was designing clothing when I was still in diapers and  mastered the art of  effortless style long before that. She is one of the most sought after and talented designers in the bridal industry to date and if you add to this the unbelievable dedication of the Twilight fans – you might just have a breakout style influence for 2012. One can only hope!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago



Spring 2012 – What’s in Store?

As the New York Bridal market is about to begin, retailers anxiously await the unveiling of the new collections. Color, fabric, cut and style… who will be showing what and which gown will be the one that sets women’s hearts fluttering?

Since the Spring Collections will be available in Bridal Salons in January for the busy season, this is the big one. The trends for 2012 will be defined at the Spring Bridal Market.

My predictions are for more color in Bridesmaid dresses. I firmly believe that women are ready to come out of the dark ages and express themselves with a burst of color, getting away from the  little black bridesmaid dress. The most popular colors? Greens, Oranges, Yellows and Reds. White could be a big color for bridesmaids, having seen several examples of the monochromatic scheme done in spectacular fashion this year!

Continuing the hiatus from extravagant veils, I believe women will  focus more on  glamorous headpieces and more natural hairstyle with lighter veils. Accessories are big. The right necklace and earring can make or break the look  and accessories are a crucial part of the wedding ensemble.

As for Bridal gowns, I think this season is going to show us a lot of tulle. Tulle skirts, big or small will be popular. Also heavily encrusted bodices and perhaps (dare I say) a few designers will produce something other than strapless. The designs will probably first manifest  in the form of spaghetti straps but, its a start. Belts will continue to accentuate mermaid and other slim styles and corset tops will still be popular with voluminous skirts made from yards and yards of various ruffled fabrics.  I also think we will see less of the pick-up skirt which I personally think is difficult to manage, anyway so “buh-bye”.

I can’t help but wonder if any of the high-profile weddings this year have inspired copies. I will be waiting with baited breath to see how many designers will come forward with their version of Catherine Middleton’s gown! Since the Kardashian gowns are already being copied by Vera herself, there is no need for anyone else to follow suit. But this is where I think the heavy tulle influence will come in.

I am equaly sure as our fashion team gets photos they will be posting them from New York, so stay tuned to see if any of my predictions are correct- and don’t be afraid to tell me I was wrong!

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Whats Hot in Bridal Gowns – 2011 Trends Sneak Peek

With Spring just around the corner and designers about to reveal their new  fall  lines, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for brides who are not sure they want to go strapless.

Did you notice it at the Oscars? A little sleeve here and there. Not long, puffy leg-o-mutton sleeves like the 1980’s (God forbid) or severe turtleneck dresses like the 1970’s. Just a little something  to comfort the bride who is not sure she is ready to bare her shoulders completely.

For years, the strapless bridal gown has dominated the runways and magazine pages as the ‘style choice’  for nearly every major designer for over a decade, couture and otherwise. This spring, that could all change.

Although strapless gowns are still the majority shareholders of our attention and account for most bridal gown silhouettes, I counted 10 of the top 50 Knot Picks for favorite wedding dresses as having  some sort of strap or sleeve. If you’re counting at home, that is about 10 more than this time last year.

What does this mean to the bride-to-be?  The sky’s the limit and the choice is once again, yours. The designers have heard your voices, asking  for “something on top” and they have responded by giving you exactly what you want. Maybe its a modesty issue, maybe its a matter of taste, perhaps you have a figure concern and feel strapless is not the right choice for you. We get it – and now we know that designers all over the world (from haute couture to the most affordable) will be showing you what you have begged for… a little coverage.

That’s not to say strapless has gone by the wayside – quite the contrary. The strapless gowns that we see today seem to magically camouflage some of the most common figure flaws. Built- in bras, petticoats, corsets, these things take away the guesswork and the end result is a gown that makes you look and feel like a million bucks on your wedding day. 

Each week at Bridal Expo you can see the hottest looks in bridal and attendant gowns straight from the designer’s runways to ours. If you or someone you love is getting married, please take a moment to watch our couture runway video and call 847-428-3320 to get four complimentary tickets to a show in your area.

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago