Top 10 Wedding Trends For 2012

Congratulations on your engagement! Now that you are about to begin wedding planning in 2012, take a deep breath, we are  here to help you.  After scouring the internet, news sources and consulting multiple event planners; we have compiled a list of the top 10 wedding trends for 2012:

1) Bridal Gowns – What you will see in 2012 are  more flirty, high fashion dresses that are shorter in length,  also gowns with layers of texture and (finally) a  little something on top. Inspired by Kate Middleton, designers have incorporated sheer laces and illusion on top to offer brides an alternative to strapless.

2) A great way to add interest to an otherwise simple gown is with an embellished belt. Look for these belts to explode in 2012.

3) Feathers continue to be the most popular accent for shoes, bouquets and hair. Peacock and ostrich top the list.

4)  For 2012 you will see couples continue to take a more active part in the ceremony rather than simply standing at the altar, repeating the words that someone else has written.  Writing your own vows is meaningful, personal and helps the couple to express their love for one another in their own unique way without hesitation.

5) Couples are opting for smaller, more intimate affairs with 100 of their closest friends rather than 1,000 people who they may not know very well. Spending less per head allows couples to have a celebration that is more lavish and yet controlled, it’s quality versus quantity.

6) Standard wedding videos are out, movies are in. Imagine if  you could have Steven Spielberg edit your video footage into a ten minute movie with a plot, climax and happy ending! You can still keep all the footage but, you will have a mini-masterpiece to share with your family and friends that won’t put them to sleep or bore them to tears. Find the right videographer and this dream can be your reality.

7) High-profile event planner Bryan Rafanelli says party favors and accessories are becoming more and more customized to the individual couples to reflect their interests and tastes.  For the music lover, using cleft note place-card holders and musical note candle as gifts will tie everything together.

8) The vintage trend continues as couples embrace the look and feel of antique table settings, flowers and attire. Old Hollywood, Victorian Vintage, and 1940’s Big Band themes are a popular and all have a comfortable, relaxed charm.

9) Color is everywhere. For those brides who find picking a particular color a daunting task, rest easy – the current trend is multiple colors. Color can be the only theme you need if you find the right combination; dusty rose and silver for a vintage feel or turquoise and purple for a more modern look. Either way, color can leave a lasting impression and create impact.

10) Grooms have more choices than ever with tuxedos but nothing will ever beat a classic notched-lapel tuxedo with a bow tie. For men who want to shake it up a bit, experiment with  studs that express your personality or try a classic white bow tie and vest.

Planning your dream wedding is easier than ever. Call 847-428-3320 to get tickets to a Bridal Expo Luxury Event so you can experience all of the most exciting trends in bridal attire and wedding planning.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago










All Bridesmaid Gowns Are Not Created Equal

Interestingly, the strapless  trend  (you know, the one that has been lingering around bridal gowns a bit too long) has not had much affect on bridesmaid gowns. Bridesmaid gowns have gone from bad (in the 1970’s) to horrible (1980’s) and then slowly back to good. The early years of the last decade of the 20th century (1991 & 1992) seemed to bring us what we had been searching for… tasteful dresses that look good, made of nice fabrics that can be (dare I say?) worn again. It seemed to happen overnight, designers began producing bridesmaid gowns that were flattering and affordable and since then, bridesmaids everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.

That doesn’t solve all the problems since all women are not created equal, some are created ample and some gowns just don’t look good on everyone. So how do you decide on which gown for your nearest and dearest friends when you want them all to look good? When it comes to selecting bridesmaid gowns you only have a couple of choices:

All the same. Same color, same style no matter what.  Best friend is a size 4 and sister is a size 22? Same dress. You have your style laid out and this dress is perfect. You  can make it work. Best bet: Only look at gowns that come in a wide range of sizes and avoid anyting too exposing if you have a larger bridesmaid. 

Same Color, different dress. Give your bridesmaids a choice of which gown to choose as long as they are the same color. T his works well only when you limit the choices to those offered by the same company. Otherwise the color may vary and the fabric may be incompatible, causing it to show up completely different in photos.

There are pros and cons of either but,  haven been given the option of both at various points in my life, the latter option seems to work the best and is also the most popular among brides and their maids. Everyone is happy and comfortable and gets to select a gown she looks good in and feels good wearing. It also takes into account that a larger women will not be comfortable wearing the same thing as a smaller woman. Most importantly it gives everyone the opportunity to have a gown they love and if the planets are aligned properly….wear again.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Wedding Insurance 101

I have seen my share of wedding disasters. From power outages to outrageous storms to personal injury, there is always the likelihood that something may go terribly wrong  just days before the wedding, leaving both the bride and groom wondering how they can possibly continue under these adverse circumstances. Even more unfortunate is the possibility of cold feet. It seems logical that wedding insurance would enter into the picture.

Although this may seem like a relatively new concept, wedding insurance has been around for some time. Also known as ‘Event Insurance” it became popular in the late 1970’s  when large weddings started to become the norm. Today’s wedding insurance has evolved into a comprehensive policy designed to protect you from the unthinkable.

Wedding Insurance policies typically cover the following:

Weather– postponement of the wedding due to in-climate conditions. Does February1, 2011 ring a bell with anyone? 22 inches of snow can make it hard fro anyone to get to a reception.

Illness or Injury of a significant member of the wedding party. This includes mother and father of the bride or groom.

No-Show vendors – having to book a last minute limo to replace a missing driver may cost double or even triple your original expense.

Location – whether it is fire, weather damage or even going out of business days before your scheduled event,  having the right policy may offer you the opportunity to re-coup almost all of your loss AND re-book another location immediately.

Additional coverage than you may want to consider:
Military Service– Being called to duty just days before the wedding can bring things to a screeching halt.

Gown and Tuxedo damage or loss.

Gifts – protects against loss, theft or damage.

Liability – in case someone gets injured through no fault of their own.

Honeymoon – in case you have to postpone your travel plans due to any of  the conditions listed above; bad weather, illness, injury or worse.

Cold Feet – some policies carry a rider for this  and some don’t. Even if you think you don’t need this , it never hurts to ask!

Unfortunately, all policies are not created equal. Some policies may offer coverage for a lost, stolen or destroyed bridal gown but not offer any compensation for bridesmaid gowns. Imagine the bridal salon closes it’s doors just days before your wedding and you have no way to get your garments – the bridal salon may or may not have insurance to cover this and you are stuck purchasing new garments the day before your wedding…. paying rush charges for alterations and interrupting your already over-booked schedule.

You should ask each and every vendor what type of insurance they have and make sure you get it in writing. I know it may seem ridiculous to ask a photographer what type of insurance they have but, ask anway. It will start a very beneficial conversation and you can move forward from there. What if you find out they do not cover your loss if the photographs, negatives and equipment are somehow lost or destroyed?  Have the conversation now so you can sleep later.

If you decide to purchase wedding insurance, ask questions before you sign anything. Insurance policies are filled with a lot of legal mumbo jumbo that can make it hard to read. Take the time to have everything explained to you properly so that you will not walk away with any questions remaining.

If you ask me –  having insurance of any kind is never a bad idea, especially when there is this much at stake.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago.

Do it Yourself Weddings – don’t try this at home

I’ll admit it. I am an obsessive do-it-yourself-er. I am an amateur at some things and an expert at others. I can do just about anything given enough time and internet access or a library of books on the particular subject. I am also heavily opinionated about when to do it yourself and when to call in the professionals. There are just some things that are not a good idea. Weddings, in particular are one of those times.

The months, weeks and days leading up to your wedding are busy. Most women have to work and plan this event in their free time. There is barely time to sleep so taking on an extra task is unthinkable to most brides-to-be.

However, there are some couples faced with wanting or needing to cut costs so fervently that they decide to tackle the Do-It-Yourself wedding. Maybe they are just gluttons for punishment or they really do think they are capable. I’m not sure – but I can tell you this has more of the potential for disaster than asking Rosanne to sing the National Anthem.

DIY nightmare #1 -Bridesmaid Dresses. Sewing is easy, you get a pattern, cut it out, thread the needle and begin, right? NO. Sewing properly is an art form not to be taken lightly. Sewing delicate fabrics requires patience, skill and concentration. Unless you are a professional seamstress with your own studio filled with eager employees, do not attempt to make your own bridesmaid gowns. You will not only be disappointed when the gowns come out looking like a bad Home Ec project, you will also hate the pictures because they will magnify every poorly sewn detail. You also risk having bridesmaids who will never speak to you again.

#2 -Flowers. This has the potential to be a major catastrophe. Imagine staying up all night, the night before your wedding day clipping flower stems and ribbon-tying bouquets. That’s a best-case scenario and it goes downhill quickly from there. Ask yourself if you have a cooling system large enough to house the completed centerpieces and bouquets. You can’t put them in your refrigerator ta home because there are natural gases in food that will destroy the flowers. not to mentions flower arranging is very difficult and time consuming if done properly. Ask yourself if you will truly have time to enjoy your wedding week if every second of the last three days is spent focusing on flower pick up, purchasing and arranging only to wind up with an arrangement of half dead flowers. I doubt it.

#3 – Photo/Video. So you have decided to just put single use cameras on the table and let everyone take photos at the reception? Really? Maybe you handed a cam-corder to Uncle Bob and asked him to tape the whole thing. Maybe it would be a better idea to have everyone hold up their cell phones and snap random pictures out of focus with bad lighting. Or you could just have a courtroom sketch artist  depict the whole affair. Hire a photographer, even if it is just for an official portrait…. hire a photographer.

#4- Cake. Speaking from experience, decorating a cake is not easy. Martha Stewart seems to show up, squirt icing on the cake and it looks fantastic. The truth is that she had years of rigid training, attention to detail and only now after decades of hand-piping by herself in the confines of her own kitchen, she has a staff to handle this for her. Her staff has been trained and re-trained and practiced on more cakes than you can eat in a lifetime. In all fairness, they do make it look easy on TV. Don’t attempt to make your own cake. It took 5 weeks to complete the cake for William & Kate’s Royal Reception. 5 weeks of sugar flowers, 5 weeks of hand rolling  petals made of frosting to mirror an actual rose. Not to mention the added worry of transporting without dropping it. You would be better off buying a cheap cake at the grocery store than attempting to make one yourself. I’m not wrong about this.

In the end, it is the actual ceremony that matters the most but, why waste time and money trying to do it yourself only to have a fiasco weeks, hours or even minutes before the ceremony?

There are a few things you can do yourself. You can print or make  labels for bottles of wine as gifts, you can carefully arrange and/or wrap the favors that will be sent home, you can also cut and tie the netting or paper rice holders, if you are having rice thrown at your wedding. Other than that, I would advise against any attempt at handling these tasks yourself.

I won’t bore you with endless DIY disaster stories. I will share only one. A close friend of mine decided she would do her own hair and makeup, as well as the entire bridal party. They even went so far as to get together and do a practice run so she knew what everyone wanted. That’s a  lot to remember if you ask me. Anyway, fast forward to her wedding day when due to a traffic snafu she was literally putting on makeup right before she walked down the aisle. The bonus is that she was not familiar with photography-style  makeup so she and every bridesmaid looked comopletely washed out and borderline macabre. Big Mistake.

Hire professionals to have professional results. Visit to find a qualified, reputable, professional baker, florist, bridal salon or photographer in your area.

– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Royal Wedding Workout – guilt free viewing!

The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton is less than 24 hours away! My alarm is set for 3 am and the DVR is set to BBC America for commercial free, uninterrupted, live coverage of the events. I have even designed a mini-workout so I won’t be tempted to doze off since 4 am is a little early for me,  I don’t want to miss a thing and I don’t want to turn into a couch potato! My phone will be charged and by my side in case I need to compare notes with a kindred spirit.

I am sharing my workout with you so we can all get our day started shaking things up and not gluing our butts to the sofa for the wedding marathon!

Items you will need:
Water (bottled or otherwise) … LOTS of it!

Sneakers or shoes suitable  for movement!

Lets get started!  When the coverage begins, or when you begin watching, you can start the workout right away. Find a comfy seat with lots of room around you and you are ready!

Every time the host  says ‘Prince William’ you must take a drink of water. It is important to stay hydrated so you can stay focused and not be tempted to curl up and doze off.

Every time they say ‘Catherine Middleton’ (or any variation of her name prior to the nuptials) you must stand up, bend over and touch your toes. This reminds you that you must bow before the queen. They will be saying this a lot BEFORE the wedding but, not much after since she will have been bestowed a title by the time the affair takes place.

Every time they mention the ‘late Princess Diana’, stand up. With your feet planted shoulder width, stretch your arms up into the air five times.

When the Queen arrives, stand up and do ten jumping jacks. If she is wearing purple, do 20 more jumping jacks. I am actually excited to see what she will wear. She is known for her love of weddings and extreme love for her grandchildren, so I would bet this is probably the happiest day of her life, so far. She may be an aging monarch but she is still  a woman so, I would be willing to bet she is pulling out all the stops. Jewelry? Yes, please …..and lots of it!

When the bride’s parents arrive,  stand and bring one knee at a time up to your chest. Do this five times for each leg.

When Prince Charles arrives, do five lunges. First on the left side and then the right.  This is just to remind us all not to rush into anything no matter how good of an idea it seems at the time.

When Camilla arrives, run in place until she is seated.

When Prince Harry is shown,  stand one one foot, balancing for five seconds and then do the same with the other foot. If you can do this without picturing him in that unfortunate NAZI Halloween costume, you get an extra slice of wedding cake.

When Catherine’s car arrives, stand up once again. You are now in the presence of a future queen. Remain standing until she is at the altar.

When William and Catherine emerge from the church, stand up again.  Run in place, stretch, jog or whatever you wish. After the couple enters the carriage and begin their journey to Buckingham Palace, you can sit down.

The wedding day will more than likely begin around 2:30 am Central Standard Time so any time after that when you join, you can start right away. You can also add your own touches. I just wanted a way to get energized that early in the am without killing myself! 

For me – there is really no place I would rather be than watching this lovely couple exchange vows ….. even at that ungodly hour and from thousands of miles away!!

Since television around the world will be fixed on this wedding , so I encourage everyone to raise their glass to toast the happy couple!

Cheers!  Mazel Tov! Slainte! Prost! Salute! Skaal! L’Chaim! Kampai! Sante’!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Proud as a Peacock-themed wedding

For the past several months I have been wondering what is up with the  ‘peacock thing’. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, let me enlighten you; peacock themed weddings are the hottest trend in color schemes right now. From invitations to shoes decorated with actual feathers, the peacock  topic is hotter than Vegas in July!

The peacock  is known for its beautiful feathered tail,  which includes shades of iridescent blue and green but also sprinkled with rich red and gold.  But did you know that the peacock also has very spiritual and cultural significance in all parts of the world? Whether it is ancient Greco-Roman mythology, Buddhist spirituality or modern Christianity, there is no doubt that the Peacock and Peacock feathers (by default) symbolize refinement, royalty,  integrity and the beauty you  can achieve when you choose to show your ‘true colors’.  A bonus is that domestic peacocks are monogamous and also assist in raising and nesting their young ones. Sound familiar? In case you were not aware, the peacock is the male bird only, the female is called a peahen. Animal activists can rest assured that peacocks do not have to give their lives in order to fill a feather order, the feathers are harvested by simply picking them up off the ground after the bird has finished molting.

I have no real idea where or when this trend began but, I have my own theory. Remember Carrie Bradshaw’s headpiece from the  first Sex in The City movie? It was a very feathery concoction with a blue bird on it. Was it a real bird? Was it a plastic bird? Was it dead, stuffed bird or merely movie magic? So many questions…. so few answers.  One thing we do know is that headpiece must have struck a chord with brides around the globe because since then the whole peacock thing has taken flight (pun intended). As unlikely as it may sound that this was the genesis of a peacock awakening, it is equally unlikely that  women across the world simultaneously decided en masse that peacock themed weddings were in vogue. We may never know.  

Just like other themed weddings and parties, the approach is simple; decide which elements you want to use to incorporate the peacock and have at it. A theme should run through уουr entire day frοm уουr invitations tο thе flowers thаt уου сhοοѕе tο thе favors thаt уουr guests take home. In order to achieve this you will need to stay very focused and keep a bridal planner at all times to avoid two major pitfalls:

 Use the any theme too sparingly and no one will know whats going on. A good example would be using peacock feathers on the table centerpieces and no where else in the room.  Whats the point?

 You need to stop short of having  bridesmaid’s  nails airbrushed to resemble peacock feathers. However, the invitations, a cake with peacock feather designs, bridal party gowns in iridescent peacock colors, a feathered boutonniere, carrying a peacock-accented bouquet and incorporating all of the rich colors into the decor of the room will add layers of the  theme throughout the night without overwhelming the guests at every turn.

For more ideas on how to carry out your themed wedding, call 847-428-3320 to get tickets to a show in your area where you can see, touch and feel all of the wonderful wedding details our vendors have to offer.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago