Ten Trends We Loved in 2011

From luxury shoes to cultural influences, 2011 brought us some of the best trends in wedding and reception styles that we have seen in a long time. Many people this year have been booking their venues with Tradewinds Hotel. Brides and grooms channeling their own personal style, incorporating pop culture and following the advice of well-known wedding stylists have embraced these styles above all others.

1) Two Gowns. Having a gown for the wedding and a separate, less formal gown for the reception is not only acceptable, it has become extremely popular since Kate Middleton embraced this trend last  April.












2) Aisle Runners. Custom aisle runners have become the latest must-have. Available in an array of colors, monograms, styles, this is a trend that is going to explode in 2012.



3) Flash Mob. Having the entire wedding party take part in a choreographed but, seemingly impromptu dance is a big hit and makes a great wedding video.


4) Headbands.  Smooth, sleek, spectacular and sparkly, the headband was the headpiece of choice. The number one reason is that a great headband will look good with any hairstyle.
















5) Going Green. Couples have taken note of environmental concerns and continue to place the future of our planet among their top priorities and are willing to pay more for green, eco-friendly products.


6) Culture. Couples are infusing their cultural heritage into the entire event from start to finish. Blending cultures, food, dance, music makes a warm welcome to all members of the family.












7) Luxury. Couples are cutting back on non-essentials to spend more on luxury items. Figure out what is important to you and spend the money there, whether it is food, top shelf liquor from https://www.bullfrogwineandspirits.com, an exceptional cake, Bvlgari cufflinks or a couture gown – you will never regret treating yourself to something fabulous and tasteful.





8 )  Shoes. The bridal shoe has gone from ordinary to extraordinary, explaining why brides everywhere are so excited about their shoe; wearing color, over-the-top sparkly platforms and opting for fabulous designer shoes for their wedding.











9) Less is more. Classic Black & white photography,  monochromatic decor, engraved invitations. The classics never die and and ‘”Simple”  is a style statement that needs no explanation. You won’t see any leopard prints here.

















10) Seating. One of the best trends in receptions is the ‘conversation area’.  Beautiful furniture to match your decor, arranged  in the bar area to give the appearance of a lounge. The benefits are endless; in addition to adding an element of style, you provide an area other than the table for guests to meet and mingle.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Green Weddings Part Two – Invitations

One thing is certain when you are planning your wedding; the invitation should give the guests all of the information they need to know about what kind of event it will be. Aside from the printed words describing the date, time and dress code, the  style of invitation and the actual paper itself are big clues as to what one can expect on your big day. You should choose your invitations accordingly and don’t forget to order the matching Thank You cards!

When you add the layer of eco-consciousness to your affair, it might seem that you will have fewer choices. In this case, it is the contrary. Make no mistake, though, when your guests get your invitation they will understand that you are making an effort to reduce waste . Take this into consideration: Half the trees felled in the US every year are used for paper, and an estimated 30-40 percent of our landfills are filled with paper waste. And in case you didn’t know, the manufacture of paper is a nasty, toxic process that leaves a trail of waste and destruction. WOW! …and YUK! 

Conscientious  retailers and clever manufacturers have finally realized these devastating facts and have started making and marketing paper products that are eco-friendly and attractive! Your guests will understand your commitment to the environment as well as to one another.

Recycled Paper is made from post-consumer waste. Specifically, old paper. Recycling paper saves tons (literally) of trees. Paper can be whole or part recycled and can also be mixed with other pulp products. One thing is for sure – when it is recycled, it is clearly marked. Look for the “Recycle” logo. It will look and feel just like any other paper.

Tree Free Paper is made of various fiber rich products like hemp, sugar cane, kenaf, bamboo or (ready?) elephant dung. Not one tree is used and all of these papers are made from the surplus of one product or from a highly sustainable resource. Hemp paper was used by Thomas Jefferson to draft the Declaration of Indpendence and also used to print the very first Gutenberg Bible… so it has been around for some time and lasts forever without yellowing. All of these papers look and feel organic, they have texture and a timeless, elegant beauty similar to parchment.

Plant-able Paper is  hugely popular!  Imagine after the wedding instead of throwing out the invitation, your invited guests can actually plant the invitation into the ground and flowers or herbs will grow. An amazing reminder of the day, this will be the most talked about invitation ever received.  The instructions are easy and are included with each invitation. A powerful message to remind other subliminally that love grows like a plant and it needs some nurturing along the way.  These papers have some depth due to the implantation of seeds, don’t let that discourage you, the papers are wonderful to hold in your hand, if only for a moment, before they go back to the earth. You’ll be tempted to save them – but don’t.

The only option for Greenies that I strongly disavow is the urge to go paperless. For Tupperware parties, children’s birthdays, and neighborhood pot lucks, e-invitations are fantastic. It saves time, money and trees. However, your wedding is such an important event in your life and of those who love you, to even entertain this idea for a wedding invitation is simply a big no-no. Times change and so someday this may become the norm. I’ll let you know when that happens.

If you are interested in eco-friendly options for your invitations or if the environment is your cause du jour, following three simple rules will allow a good night’s sleep and a clear conscience.

1) Talk to your stationer about eco-friendly options.

2) Make Sure the paper being used is 100% recycled waste.

3) Use a company that uses products made from sustainable, renewable  or plant-able products. By making this commitment to your partner and the earth together you can rest assured that your invitation will stand out as one that is unique and memorable. The earth will thank you.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago