Hire A Pro Vs. Do-It-Yourself

Often I hear of couples trying to shave a few dollars off of their wedding costs by doing things themselves. Being an avid do-it-yourself-er, I applaud their tenacity and willingness to sacrifice their time and energy to make their wedding a success. However, there are some cases when DIY  is complicated, time-consuming and exhausting which all add up to a recipe for disaster.

Catering-  Although rare, there are some brave brides and grooms who have the inconceivable idea that because they are proficient in the kitchen the can handle catering their own wedding. There is no circumstance where this is a good idea. There is no time of day, location, theme or moment in time where this is going to have a happy ending. The end result will be stress, mess, and little success! If you are having the most casual outdoor wedding possible, find a restaurant that caters food you love and have it sent in, even if you don’t have servers, have it sent in and give the delivery person a tip to do some set up for you. Pasta looks great on the table but not so much on your wedding gown.

Cake – Second only to catering, this DIY has the potential to wreak unimaginable havoc. Making the cake yourself is a  bad idea, having a friend who makes really cute Christmas cookies do your cake is a bad idea. If you cannot afford an over-the top confectionery masterpiece  from the best bakery in town, don’t fret. Today bakeries offer cakes that are  beautiful, tasty and affordable at the same time. We understand – staying within your budget is as important as finding a cake that tastes and looks good.

Flowers – One of the most often attempted and most likely to produce an epic fail. Choosing a great wedding florist is easy,doing your own flowers is not quite so easy;  flowers need to be handled carefully so they won’t get crushed, arrangements should be done no more than a day or two before the event and flowers need to be refrigerated properly (not in the same refrigerator as food) so they won’t wilt, change color or completely die. Ask yourself this question: Which would you rather be doing the days before your wedding: relaxing, pampering yourself and enjoying the pre-wedding festivities or staying up all night arranging, twisting  and fretting about flowers? Even if you are a trained florist it is better to find a colleague or co-worker to handle this for you.

DJ– Making several mix tapes in college does not qualify you to host an entire wedding, much less your own. Having the right DJ will change the mood of your event (for the better) and can create an atmosphere that is positive and upbeat.  Since the DJ is the host of your entire event, he or she will handle the timing of all of the wedding announcements (cake cutting, first dance, toasts), transitioning from one segment to another flawlessly and effortlessly take charge of the room. Doing this yourself means you will be responsible all night for handling all of the details and timing. So in the middle of a conversation with a friend you will have to stop whatever you are doing and go to the microphone and announce that you are about to cut the cake. Find  reliable DJ and familiarize yourself with him or her before the event.

Hair and Makeup – The reason brides book professional makeup artists to handle everything for the entire bridal party the day of the wedding is simple: it makes things easier. If you decide that you are going to do everyone’s hair or makeup ( or both), you will spend the entire morning working and most likely be stressed out by the time the wedding starts. The reason people get paid to do hair and makeup is because it is work! There is also skill and talent and products involved but, it is work and should be respected as such.

Photographer – Hire a professional wedding photographer. The idea of putting disposable cameras on the table is cute as a bonus but, it was never intended to take the place of the real photographer. Now, couples are opting for photo-booths in lieu of table cameras in order to get their funny and candid guest shots.

If you are determined to get your crafty hands on one of the wedding projects, find something you can do well in advance so that you won’t be spending the days and hours leading up to the wedding stressed, overworked and worrying about the end result. There are so many better ways to spend your time, not to mention you could wind  up spending  more since you have to compensate for your failure on top of hiring someone in the end. Do things yourself like tying ribbons on table favors, bedazzling a card holder, wrapping attendant gifts or designing beautiful wedding programs. Leave everything else to the professionals and you are likely to have a  Much happier ‘Happy Ending’.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago
















Matrimony & Maternity – Surprise!

Not so long ago when an engaged woman found herself  pregnant, she had two options; move up the wedding date or push it back.  Lately, brides have decided that being pregnant is not such a big deal, you don’t have to rush to the altar and lie about the due date any more – just forge ahead, find a flattering gown and smile ( knowing that you are carrying a much more precious package behind the bouquet than anyone could ever imagine). The number of brides-to-be who are walking down the aisle with a bun in the oven has increased 6.2% in the past year alone and there is good reason: For women who are getting married older, the fear of not being able to conceive (tick tock) can send them into a frenzy so generally they stop using any form of birth control the minute the wedding planning process begins. The invitations are selected, the venue is booked and presto! The stick turns blue.

So how do you plan a wedding when you are pregnant? In addition to modifying the style of your wedding gown, there are a few other things to remember when you are an expectant bride:

Shoes – your feet may not swell until the final month, then again there is a chance they may start changing right away. Find a comfortable shoe with a heel height you can manage. An extra pair of equally comfortable shoes is advisable.

Gown – Find a gown that has a forgiving style.  Empire waist gowns can camouflage a pregnancy, a strapless mermaid gown … not so much! You don’t have to sacrifice your own personal style, if you want something non-traditional – it’s out there. Designers began including maternity options in their collections many years ago since trying to hide a pregnancy with a too tight dress is a mistake. Remember that you MUST talk to your bridal consultant at the time of purchase regarding your condition so he or she can help you select a style that has room for growth.

Rest – Wedding planning is stressful and being pregnant is an emotional time. You may find yourself on an emotional (hormone-induced) roller-coaster at times. Rest whenever you can and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Smile – Trying to hide a pregnancy until after the wedding is ridiculous and archaic. It is really your business to tell everyone in the way you see fit. Being pregnant can be the happiest time of your life and if anyone starts to ask too many questions  just smile and walk away. Babes are a cause for celebration, not shame. Tell people as much as you want them to know but don’t be surprised if some people make unflattering comments since we all know not everyone has enough good sense to keep their opinions to themselves.

Support – This is time when you will need your most trusted and wise family and friends to support you. Ask them for their help, include them in the process as much or as little as you like. There will be one day when everything seems to go wrong and you will need someone to lift your spirits. Make sure you reach out to your nearest and dearest and don’t try to keep it all inside; it is not healthy for you or the baby!

Speaking from experience, not everyone does things the same way. I got engaged on my honeymoon which was 4 months before our wedding. I gave birth three months after the wedding. If I had to go back in time, I would not change one thing. Being pregnant was not an inconvenience at my wedding, it was truly the happiest time of my life. I ignored all the comments and innuendos, I endured all the ‘shorgun wedding’ jokes with a smile, I married the love of my life and gave birth to my first some shortly after so, I figure – the joke was on them.

The most important thing about your wedding is beginning your lives together as a family and since you will have a head start on the family part, don’t let anyone or anything spoil your happiness.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago