Choosing The Right Photographer

Your wedding pictures are the most important thing you will have to remember your day.  Choosing the right photographer is as important as having the right gown, or venue, or (dare I say) spouse! When making your selection, price shopping is the worst mistake you can make. There are many factors that go into the cost of your photography package; experience, skill, training, overall quality of the product and the overall style of pictures you want to express your wedding.  

First, you should define the style of photos you prefer:

Photojournalism is a style of photography that captures the events of the day   truly candid style.  Very few, if any, of the shots are posed. This is by far the most popular style of photography according to market trends. There are some drawbacks involved – especially if your photographer is inexperienced in this field. Make sure  the photographer has ample references and photos for you to check before you even consider wedding Photojournalism. In addition, without some of the posed shots you may wind up with a wedding album where  quite a few people are missing.

Traditional Wedding photography is exactly what it sounds like. All of the shots are posed, there is very little creativity involved with various settings and events. There is usually a ‘shot list’ and every detail must be mapped out in advance; lighting, background, placement of flowers, etc.You will have an album that your parents will love: filled with photos of your entire bridal party, family and guests but, you might not have that one beautiful photo that is found so often in a candid moment.

Artistic Photography (also illustrative Photography) is a great mesh of the two other styles. Some candid shots, some posed. Many of the shots are ‘staged’ in various places to look candid – but, are in fact posed. The Artistic Photographer will not be cheap since you are paying for an artistic vision which requires more time and work than snapping photos.

Before booking your  wedding photographer:

-Make sure the photographer you hire is the one who will be at your event.

-Do not accept a substitute unless you have seen examples of his/her work.

-Always remember to get everything in writing!

Bridal Expo Chicago is home to dozens of the finest photographers of all styles. For 4 complimentary  tickets to a show  in your area where you can see example of their finest work ,  log on to or call our office @ 847-428-3320 today!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Timothy Whaley photography

Carasco Photography

Angela Swan Photography

Unique Guest Book Ideas

If you find the idea of a traditional guest book slightly boring, there are plenty of fun, new ideas that keep the spirit of the guest book alive but, add a new twist and a little excitement! These fresh ideas allow you to express your creativity and still have the the sentiments of your loved ones to look back on many years from now.

1) Retro – A vintage typewriter will remind your guests of the ‘old days’, and will probably spark a few conversations and definitely a few chuckles. Remember when we used to do our homework on typewriters……with correction tape? Armed with a few sheets of long, white paper, your guests will pluck out a few sentiments and have fun doing it! The best part – you won’t have to break the bank to find an old typewriter at a flea market, garage sale or thrift shop!

2) File This – Talk about organized…. your guests can sign their well wishes in this  file card guest book set and then place their name in the appropriate slot – in alphabetical order! For those of us with OCD – an adorable dream come true. Inexpensive to purchase but, definitely something an avid crafter could DIY!

3) Calendar – Seriously, what could be better than  a sweet note written on a calendar to remind you of your friend’s  birthday?  Another great DIY project, any calendar can be converted into a guest book or you can buy one pre-made especially for your big day.

4) Postcards – Pre-printed with the couples address and adequately stamped, have the guests sign fun postcards and slip them in the mailbox. The best man or maid of honor will drop them in the mail the next day and when you return from your honeymoon, your mailbox will be brimming with well wishes…. which you can file or scrapbook as keepsakes.

However you decide to go, the importance of the guest book should not be overlooked. It is a reminder of your loved ones and how they felt about you on this day. Making it simple for them to sign is the key since you really want your guests to spend the evening with you and not looking for hidden notes or filling out lengthy forms or folding envelops or origami birds. Although some of the more complicated ideas seem like fun, they will get stale (for your guests) really quickly.

Whats’ your favorite guest book idea?

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Wedding Time Capsules – How To

Time capsules have been around for a long time and have consistently offered a fun and mysterious way to capture memories and remember major milestones. As a result, it seems only natural that couples are putting together wedding time capsules in order to succinctly remember specific moments from their wedding day. If you are planning to ‘bury’ a time capsule to commemorate your wedding, here are a few tips to get you started:

1) You don’t need a kit. Although a kit may simplify things, it is not necessary.

2) A picture is worth a thousand words. Make sure you enclose pictures from the wedding, whether it is a photobooth strip, polaroid or another form of instant snapshot. Don’t wait for the formal photos, the point of a time capsule is for it to be sealed on that specific day. Keep the pictures in airtight plastic storage bags. Be prepared, the images of  loved ones (especially those who are no longer with you) on your happy day may bring some emotional memories rushing back and you may have to take a moment to compose yourself upon opening.

3) It doesn’t have to be buried. Digging a hole in the yard may sound like a good idea but, only if you know exactly where you put it, don’t disturb it during a backyard renovation or plan to move from your current residence. It can be kept in an airtight container on the mantle, in the back of the closet or in a safety deposit box if you desire.  If you do bury it, make sure you have the location documented accurately and remove it if you move to another home.

4) Include personal notes from each other and close family/friends. You can also have a ‘Time Capsule’ station at your wedding, a place where family and friends can write notes or answer a few pre-determined questions about your future. The smaller, the better – no one is going to feel like filling out a 2 page survey during the reception. Pick one or two questions like “Where do you think the couple will live in ten years?”  or “How many children do you think they will have?”

5) Paper goods . Enclose a copy of all printed material; Save the Date, Wedding Invitation, Menu Cards, Place cards for the Bride and Groom, Engagement or Wedding announcements, and a copy of the current newspaper in the city where you live for that day.

6) Decide on a date to open. If you plan to have children, you might want to make it at a date late enough for them to help you, maybe 15 or 20 years.

7) Pick a secure container. The actual container does not have to be made of any particular material but, you might want to stay away from glass jars. Metal shipping tubes, vintage leather suitcases or a wooden boxes all make great time capsules. Keep in mind where it will be stored and for how long.

The only thing more fun than putting together a times capsule is opening one. If you plan to have a time capsule to commemorate your wedding, a little planning goes a long way and you will be surprised at how much fun you will  have, especially if you do it together!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Celebrity Weddings – Summer 2012

This season, we have seen a slew of celebrity weddings and summer isn’t over yet! Still awaiting my save-the-date for Angelina and Brad’s nuptials but, for now I’ll re-cap what we’ve seen so far. The most interesting trend in celebrity nuptials is the private ceremony in a remote location, usually a friend’s home far away form paparazzi, far from the helicopters and the multi-million dollar fiasco reminiscent of the Kardashian debacle of 2011, these power couples opted for quiet, romantic, heartfelt nuptials.

Natalie Portman wore Rodarte for her simple candlelight ceremony to Benjamin Millipied.

Natalie Portman Wedding Dress

Ellie Kemper in NYC headed to the altar wearing Judd Waddell.

Mrs. Alec Baldwin, Hilaria Thomas, wearing Amsale for her early summer nuptials also in NYC.











 Priscilla Chen chose this stunning  Claire Pettibone gown under an assumed name, assuming marrying MArk Zuckerberg might raise a few eyebrows… and alert the media.








Drew Barrymore opted for an unusual design by Chanel. This is a love or hate gown, for sure.

Camila Alves  wore a delicate beaded lace wedding gown handmade by Brazilian dress designer Ducarmo Castelo Branco. Alright, alright, alright!

Best Wishes to all of the happy couples of Summer 2012!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Pass The Fruit & Vegetables, Please.

Using vegetables and fruit with (or without)  various flowers to adorn the center of a dining table has been around since Julius Caesar first asked, “Who hid  the grapes?” It only seems like a new idea when it shows up on the cover of a magazine or when it is done in such a dramatic, interesting way that you have to stand up and take notice. ZFor best results,  use them in conjunction with your particular theme or food choices.

Rustic Italian – Entice your guests with an abundance of ripe fruits or vegetables to symbolize fertility. Shown on a crisp white linen tablecloth to make the colors pop!

Earthy –  Group colorful fruits and vegetables with candles, clay pots and wrought iron candlesticks to please mother nature.

Summer Splash – Adding brightly colored citrus fruit to a simple centerpiece will  add a touch of whimsy and color!

Why Stop at the centerpiece? If you are using fruit or vegetables ( or both) why not carry the theme to other parts of the wedding, like the cake…

Remember when your mother told you not to play with your food? This is a good reminder to not get too carried away! Plus, food belongs on or near the table.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Worst Wedding Photos… EVER!

Although a picture may be worth a thousand words, these example of bad wedding photography left me speechless. I am not talking about photos of the worst weddings or gowns or bad examples of themes…. I am talking about the actual photography. The pictures where a trained, professional photographer should never dare to go.

Why is the bride superimposed in the center of a rose? It may sound quaint and possibly romantic when described but, the end result is tacky and forced.

Perfectly posed looking out the window and yet, the photographer failed to notice the workmen in the background. Lets hope there was a re-take. Even still, the lighting is all wrong, along with just about everything else

One more time,  pay attention to what is going on in the background.

I’m not sure I understand the significance of the tiny groom in the shoe.Maybe someone was trying to be clever. Trying to be clever and unique is a bad idea unless you are a skilled professional.

How about a tiny little bride sitting in the groom’s hand. Even worse, there is water squirting up into her nether regions….. I don’t get it.

This man has the choice of two brides, a tiny bride and a regular sized one. Why are there two brides?

Adding ethereal backgrounds is lazy… and weird.

and why are there a bunch of roses in between the bride and groom?


and the winner is…………….. (drumroll, please)

A bride, superimposed on a bunch of roses, looking at herself in various poses. Is this narcissism at it’s worst (look at me) or perhaps a bad photographer who talked this woman into a photo she didn’t quite understand. I’m with her, I have no idea what this is about.

Okay, just one more…. seriously?

When you book your wedding photographer, make sure you have a clear understanding of what to expect and  their specialty.  Talk to their past clients, look through their photo albums, and if any of these photos show up, run as fast as you can!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Chandelier Wedding Cakes!

In the ever-changing world of weddings, there is always something new on the horizon. Someone with ample creativity and talent takes a traditional item ( in this cakes the wedding cake) and literally turns it upside down. For those of you who have not seen the Chandelier Wedding Cake, here it is:

Beautiful, delicious, and suspended from above, Chandelier Cakes take artistry and imagination to a new level. It seems to defy the laws of gravity and common sense but, it hangs with great stability. The cake is decorated in stages and then put together using a special cake ‘stand’ that inverts the order of the stacking from smallest on bottom to largest on top.

3 tier chandelier cake stand image












Chandelier Cakes are just starting to get some notoriety but, look out for them to become very popular, thanks to Pinterest and other sites that encourage creative expression. According to Judy of Judy’s Cakes, they are easily dismantled, layer by layer from the bottom, for cutting.

I’ll have to trust Judy on this one because this sounds very complicated to me. But, this one really takes my breath away and I am looking forward to seeing more Chandelier Cakes in the future!


chandelier cake supports image


















-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bride and Groom Gifts

Although you will be deluged with wedding gifts from friends and family, probably the most meaningful and special will be the gifts you give to each other. This is not one of those time-honored traditions that has to be handled one way or another or someone will be offended. This is a private matter and it doesn’t have to be a costly or grand gesture that makes everyone’s jaw drop. All is has to be is something you know your beloved would cherish.

If the bride and groom are paying for the entire wedding, that might be the gift in and of itself.

You will probably have a photographer for the wedding but, how about gifting each other a snazzy expensive camera to take fabulous honeymoon photos?

He would love cufflinks, you would love a diamond bracelet!



 How about having each other’s rings engraved with a personal sentiment?

Whatever you decide, it should be from the heart and done when the two of you are alone. Flashy gifts given in front of a large crowd are highly suspect in intention and sometimes lose the real meaning of gift-giving. Edmonton gift baskets are perfect for such occasions. This should be be between the two of you, given during one of the quiet moments you share before, during or immediatley after the wedding.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago