Quality vs. Quantity – Small, Sumptuous Weddings

Last week we unveiled one of the wedding trends that began developing in 2011 and will most likely continue into 2012 is downsizing. Many couples (not just those with budget restrictions)  are opting for smaller, more intimate gatheringe where their dollars are spent on quality vs. quantity; having  a luxurious, lavish affair for 75 people rather than a 350 person sit down dinner.  The problem is, where do you draw the line?

How to keep your small affair a small affair:

1) Make your guest ‘wish’ list and decide on the exact cut off number. This list is the closest people in your life, the people you cannot live without.  Decide immediately if you will be able to allow  single guests to bring a date or  parents to bring their children, stick to your guns and be prepared to have to defend this decision.

2) From the beginning, tell anyone who asks that you are planning a small, intimate gathering. This will prevent most from asking if they are invited. Be polite and tell them honestly, ” Jason and I have decided to have a smaller wedding and we will only be inviting family and our closest friends.” Of course, this means you should not be constantly talking about wedding plans to co-workers who are uninvited, save the juicy details for the maid of honor or your sibling. 

3) Be prepared to get some flak. Some people will a) not think this is a great idea and b) be offended they are not invited. This is your celebration, it is your choice to handle it as you see fit. Whatever reason they give you for their dissenting opinion –  ignore them.

4)  As soon as you have whittled the guest list to the desired number, find and book your location.  Once you have secured your location, everything will begin to fall in place and any negative feedback will be drowned out by the beauty of what you can accomplish for the same amount of money.

5) Keep the wedding party small. There is no hard and fast rule for this but, if the guest total is 75, stay with one or two attendants. Kate Middleton had only one bridesmaid and her wedding was enormous, keep that in mind.

The benefits of a smaller wedding are many; you can spend more money on things that really matter to you like an exclusive location,  maginficent meal, extraordinary flowers, glamorous gown, elaborate invitations,  A-list photographer and a sumptuous sweet table. In the end it truly is a matter of quality versus quantity.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago










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




James Clifford Makes a Personal Appearance at Bridal Expo Chicago

It was our distinct pleasure to have recently featured James Clifford, bridal designer for the James Clifford Collection a division of Mon Cheri Bridals owned by successful businessman Steve Lang. This year marks 50 years of designing for James whose Spring 2010 collections delighted audiences at a recent Luxury event produced by Bridal Expo Chicago. He has redefined affordable luxury this season making it possible for so many more brides to enjoy his classic designs with gorgeous accents. Known for his intricate beading and re-embroidered lace gowns, James did not disappoint our attending brides as evidenced by hundreds of camera phone flashing throughout the runway presentation. Our audiences also applauded the simple one-shoulder silhouettes crafted in fine silk and elegant draping. To find the retailer in Chicago/Milwaukee closest to you, visit his website at https://jamescliffordcollection.com/James Clifford Photo for Blog1