Beat The Stress Of Holiday Weddings

If you are getting married over the holidays, you probably have a to-do list that is as long as your arm. Although this is the best time to blend a family celebration with a wedding , it is also the busiest time of the year for shopping, running errands and getting just about anything done. How do you handle all the stress?

1) Unplug. Make a certain time of day to unplug your cell phone, computer and do nothing. Even if it is for only one hour, the act of doing nothing will refresh your outlook. This is the perfect time for guilt-free nap, which can be quite beneficial.

2) Find a release. Engaging yourself in a hobby will occupy your mind in other areas. Don’t try to do anything too complicated, just get your mind off of the wedding and holiday planning. Crosswords and online games work just fine as does a round of zombe-killing on Xbox. Set a limit of 30 minutes a day or you may find yourself addicted to ‘Words with Friends’.

3) Release the endorphins. Take a walk, go to the gym or put on a workout DVD and get moving. Endorphins are natural pain and stress fighters that are released from the brain during  physical exercise (and intimate activities) . You can also get an endorphin boost from chili peppers and chocolate.

4) Ignore the voices. If your family is like mine and they all feel like their every opinion is so valuable that it needs to be voiced immediately, ignore them. When they call just tell them you’re busy and you’ll catch up after the wedding. They will try to drag you into a conversation but, avoid it.

5) Off- hours. Try calling business during non-peak hours so you aren’t wasting as much time on hold.  If you can, try avoid rush hour traffic as well since road rage can come out of nowhere and have disastrous results.

6) Pamper Time. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking some time out to do something you want to do for yourself can be the single most therapeutic thing you can do this time of year. Get your nails done, get a full-body or  foot massage or just sit and watch a movie you have wanted to see for a long time. Anything you have put on the back burner should be placed in the front  because pampering yourself  (even just a little) will help you unwind.

7) Drink. Even my 9 yr old knows that if you are feeling sluggish, a glass or bottle of water will perk you up. Carry a water bottle everywhere with you  and make a note of where the bathrooms are located. Drink early and often! For every cup of coffee, soda, wine, beer or juice, drink a bottle of water.

The last thing you want to do is ‘snap’. Over-scheduling, lack of sleep, too many energy drinks and family pressure can lead to an epic meltdown days before your holiday wedding. Taking it slow, sticking to the essentials, delegating responsibilities and staying hydrated will keep you in focus and out of ‘panic mode’.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago



The Most Common Wedding Etiquette Mistakes

The purpose of good manners is to make other people feel comfortable. For centuries, manners have been dictated by society’s standards of conduct and this has worked out pretty well. Unfortunately some people never got the memo. In order for your wedding guests to feel comfortable, try to avoid these ‘most common etiquette mistakes’.

 1) Watch – I know that being late to your own wedding may seem inconceivable but, sometimes outside forces take over and you can’t control them. However, there should always be a plan in place to avoid being late. If something unforeseen occurs, make sure you are in contact with someone at the ceremony site to make an announcement at the time the wedding is supposed to start and give updates until you arrive. Being late for no other reason than you can’t keep track of time is rude in any situation, especially your wedding.

2) Save the Date – Sending someone a “Save the Date” card means they are also invited to the wedding. Both lists should be in sync. If you make a mistake and send someone a Save the Date and do not invite them, call them once you find out you have erred and apologize. If you send them an invite but had somehow omitted them from the Save the Date list, a call would be nice. In reality, Save the Date cards are a relatively recent custom so there is nothing that says you have to send them. Although nice, they are  not completely necessary so dont fret if you choose not to send them.

3) Invitations – Send the invitations 6- 8 weeks before the wedding. Sending the invitation two weeks before the wedding is rude and it makes the guest think they were an afterthought. If the invitation you sent came back to you for any reason, call the invited guest and explain to them what happened.

4) Church – Having a boombox instead of live music (strings or organist) is a huge mistake. This small expense will ‘class up’ your affair by leaps and bounds. Having boxed music at the ceremony seems a bit tacky, no?

5) Thanks – Sending Thank You Notes in a timely manner shows that you care. It shows that you are aware of your guest’s gift and you appreciate it. Waiting for nearly a year (or more)  to send out a Thank You Note is completely inconsiderate.

6) Gifts – Never list where you are registered in the invitation. You can put this information on your website if you have one but listing on the invitations is like saying “Come to my wedding and bring a gift.”

7) Flow – Make sure you have a qualified, trained and experienced DJ to keep things running smoothly during the reception. The last thing you need is to have  people introduced incorrectly or, even worse, not at all. The DJ  should have a script to work from and be well-versed on your specific wedding customs as well. A great DJ will almost certainly ensure a great reception.

The best thing you can do for yourself and your guests is to ‘forecast’ problems and plan ahead. A good wedding planner and a checklist will help. If all else fails, pick up the phone and ask for help… or forgiveness, whichever you feel is in order.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago





Wedding Etiquette – Who to invite?

In 2011, the average wedding will include about 150 guests. Although that seems like a lot of people, most people find limiting it to 150 becomes a task. Your co-workers, close friends, family, your fiance’s co-corkers, close friends, family all add up very quickly and it is hard to establish a cut-off point. This is one of those subjects that can easily escalate into an argument and cause tons of stress. I’ve put together some pointers to help you to understand when enough is enough. 

1) Get a pen and paper. Make a list that includes absolutely everyone you would like to invite to your wedding. Now comes the hard part. If the number of people on your list exceeds the number of guests you have budgeted for, you have some tough decisions to make. Take a deep breath before you move on because this is where you must be willing to compromise a little.

2) The one year rule. If you have not had a meaningful conversation with a friend in over a year, they do not need to be invited. This applies to friends only, not family. Mark them off of the list and move on.

3) Extended Family –  You don’t need to invite cousins, second cousins and long – lost relatives from all parts of the country if you have no real relationship with them. Invite only the people you are closest to.

4) Payback -You do not have to invite everyone who has ever invited you to their wedding. Relationships change and some couples have weddings with 500 guests.

5) No Children.  Inviting a family of six can easily be reduced to a table for two with two simple words on the invitation: no children.

6) Include names. If your invitation is for 2 people only, make it clear.  The Anderson family could be 4 or more people. Mr & Mrs. Anderson is simple and direct.

7) Co-workers – Only invite co-workers if you socialize with them outside of work and have a personal relationship with them. You do not have to invite everyone you work with. If you are obliged to invite your boss, make sure you handle this discreetly and invite those who may make a difference in your next promotion.

8) Do not send a save-the-date card to anyone you are not going to invite to the wedding, it is in very bad taste. There is one exception: if there has been a serious falling out since the save the date was sent, you are not obligated to send an invitation. However, this might be a good time to bury the hatchet and settle your differences unless you want this feud to continue and fester for a long time.

9) Ex-lovers or spouses. Realistically not all brides and grooms are marrying the first person they dated and they first person with whom they were intimate. There are  conditions; only if you are on good terms, you both agree,  they can be invited without causing a stir, and your guest limit allows.

10) 25% rule. One -fourth of your invited guests will not come for whatever reason….that’s a good thing.

Once you have your list together, make a legible copy to keep in your planner so when the replies start to come in you can keep track of them easily.

If all esle fails and you really can’t whittle down your list, have a candid conversation with both sets of parents and ask them to help you!

Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago