The Great Pantyhose Debate

Is it just me or does anyone else think the pantyhose industry is hanging on by a very thin lycra thread?? Pantyhose were all but abandoned by women in the mid-1990’s when Princess Diana showed up to an event (mid-divorce) in a  knee-length cocktail dress with a bare leg. Her fans went wild! The queen frowned, Prince Charles hardly noticed and women around the world breathed a collective sigh of relief.

I will admit, I love pantyhose. But, every situation is unique and I can tell you that there are many occasions when I am adamantly opposed to stockings of any kind…hint:  Summer 2012 was a HOT ONE!! Therefore, I can take either side of the pantyhose debate.

Situations where pantyhose or tights or stockings might be preferred : many job interviews, some offices, probably in court, maybe a funeral,possibly to meet the Queen and always if it is very cold outside.

Situations where they are not neccessary: Some job interviews, with a longer skirt, in the summer months, with open toe sandals, to meet the first lady (who rarely wears them) and never when it is 100 degrees outside.

Although there are those of us  who swear the pantyhose days’ are numbered, some say that sales are up nearly 40% from last year. This is due  (in large part) to the current Princess, Catherine, who wouldn’t be caught dead without her super sheer, nude stockings.

Kate Middleton's sheer tights

The only rule for weddings is this: If one bridesmaid wears them, everyone must wear them. For guests, it is up to each individual to decide. Iron this out early and decide if you are comfortable without, go without. But, make sure your shoes are comfortable enough to avoid blistering. On the other hand, if you feel under-dressed, wear them. To avoid looking outdated,  look for something as close to the color of your skin as possible to achieve the perfect ‘nude’  look and whatever you do – avoid suntan pantyhose at all costs (or you may be mistaken for a Hooters waitress)!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago






Wedding Budget – The Breakdown

Being on a budget of any kind is tough. Don’t let anyone fool you – EVERYONE is on a budget and whether it is smaller or larger in dollar value, there is an amount that everyone must stay within. The budget for your wedding is no different, it is just a little trickier.

Decide on the total dollar value you are able to spend on your wedding, and divide the finances as follows, using your preferred wedding budget template. Using a template or specific program is a must – and there are dozens available on the internet!

Remember that taxes and tips are included in the total amount:

40 Percent – Estimate to spend 40 percent of a budget on the reception venue. This includes food, beverages, staffing, taxes and tip. 

10 Percent – Ambiance. Flowers, lighting, decorations will add up quickly.

10 Percent – Music for reception; band, DJ or both.

10 Percent – Photography for the entire event. If you plan a photobooth, include it in this category.

10 Percent – Attire. Brides entire ensemble (headpiece, veil accessories, shoes), groom’s entire ensemble – head to toe.

3 Percent – Favors and gifts for guests, including all attendants’ gifts.

3 Percent – Ceremony. This includes marriage license, ceremony flowers, officiant fee,  musicians (different from reception music). This is it’s own category!

3 Percent – Invitations, save-the-date cards, table markers, guest book, place cards, gift card holder, pen that guests will use to sign the guest book, programs… are all included in this category.

3 Percent – Sweets. Cake, sweet table, individual cakes or desserts.

1 Percent – Transportation costs, bus, limousine, however you plan to get your party from point A to point B (here’s to find out more).

The last 7 percent is for ICE. No, not frozen water… In Case of Emergency. Use this money if something suddenly happens and the cost of one of your categories increases. You fell in love with  gown slightly out of your price range, there is an unexpected surcharge or corkage fee or cutting fee. Having an emergency fund  will save you a lot of aggravation.

It is important to remember that every couple’s budget may vary depending on their vendor preferences and that each couple may have different priorities when it comes to their wedding. You can set yours accordingly, borrowing a percent from one category to make up in an other.

However, there is only 100% so, make sure your figures add up!!!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

How to Spend your Wedding Budget article photo



Honeymoon – Now or Later?

According to industry statistics, an estimated 38% of couples honeymoon immediately after the wedding, about 27% honeymoon within 3 months and the remaining 35% opt for no honeymoon at all. No honeymoon? Hard to believe but,  destination weddings add up to a whopping 19%, which leaves a small percentage of couples who are either unable or unwilling to get away.

Now – The best reason to get away immediately after the wedding is to decompress and relax. Stress has been building since the engagement and with all of the preparations and details under your belt, disappearing with your new bride or groom is about the best thing you can do if it is at all possible. The Thank You cards can wait until you get back. Or better yet … take them with you and send them with an exotic postmark.

Later – There are many reasons that couples may choose to delay their honeymoon; unable to get time off from their job or other commitment, illness in the family, or perhaps weather concerns. Be careful, waiting more than three months after the wedding causes most couples to focus on other matters that need their financial attention, like using their honeymoon fund for a new car or  a down-payment on a house.

Destination – The upside of a destination wedding is the built-in honeymoon. It is a much smaller, more intimate gathering and you will only be able to invite your closest friends and family. The down side is that only about 50% of your invitees will be able to make it.

Whether you honeymoon now, or later or choose no honeymoon at all,  a really great idea is to spend your first night as a married couple in a luxurious hotel, making sure they know you are newlyweds so you can bask in the glory of the honeymoon suite!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago



Managing Your Finances – Together

Many couples today are paying for their own wedding, which makes it no great surprise that they would start their new life together in debt. Debt is that nasty four letter word that no one likes, we all fear and is hard to dig yourself out of unless you are prepared.

Not surprisingly, it is how you handle the debt that determines whether you will be a) successful at removing it and b) your marriage can weather the debt storm. According to financial guru, Suze Orman, money issues play a significant role in 90 percent of divorces.

Tips on managing debt  from Suze Orman:

Budget – The purpose of a budget is to control your spending. Think of it as a diet for your bank account; you cannot charge more than you make or your debt will weigh you down.  Be honest with each other about spending and never go over budget without giving the other person a heads up.

Joint accounts – Having a joint account to pay household bills is a good idea. But, each person should have their own separate account as well.

Equal Contribution – Each person should contribute the same percent of their income to the household. If you make $100,000 per year and your spouse makes $50,000 per year, your contribution will be double. Percent is the key word. If you don’t make equal money, you can’t contribute the exact same dollar amount.

Control – You should always be allowed to control your own money. If your spouse insists that you relinquish all of your money into a joint account and you have to ask for money, this is a recipe for disaster.

In most relationships, there is one person who is a spender and one is a saver. If you can combine your strengths and weaknesses for the greater good, this is a terrific combination. If you are both spenders, you should seek financial guidance early in your relationship so you don’t become a statistic.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Jewelry For The Groom

When you think of jewelry for the groom, you usually think of cuff links,  and a wedding band. But, for modern men there is so much more to offer …..

Nearly 40% of all men have at least one pierced ear and 28% have both ears pierced. Although they may not be interested in a pair of dangling sparklers, your wedding is the perfect occasion for a nice diamond stud.

A handsome watch does more than just tell time. It tells people you have style and class and that you care about being on time.

As with any piece of jewelry, a bracelet is a form of self expression. Large sturdy links of gold or platinum or a cuff  with clean, masculine lines, bracelets are not just for women anymore!

Looking for something a little more expressive than standard studs on your tuxedo shirt? Consider button covers. Available in many shapes, sizes, monogrammed, precious and  semi-precious stones, there is something for everyone.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Chairs – Not Just For Covering!

For some time, chairs have been a vital part of the wedding and reception decor. Now, more than ever, brides are opting to rent beautiful chairs rather than cover up old ones with fabric, ribbon, bows, etc. Yes, you can use chair covers quite effectively and dramatically, the point is that there are so many less-fussy, original and creative chair choices in 2012, you can get just about anything you want!

Chiavari Chairs – Pronounced “kee-ah’-vah-ree” , these chairs are named after the coastal Italian town of Chiavari from which the design of the chair originates. Designed in 1807 by craftsman Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi, these chairs have become a staple at special events all over the world. What makes it so special? Design, construction and comfort. The famous chair has even been re-imagined by modern designer, Gio Ponti. Available in several colors including gold, silver, black, white and even clear lucite, these chairs are used everywhere from weddings to the White House, Grandma’s kitchen to the Grammy Awards. With this chair you will need no tulle, bows or covers, just make sure you rent the pads, too or your guests might not be as comfortable as they would like.

Wooden Folding Chairs – A beautiful white, black or wooden folding chair will make an outdoor ceremony look even better with just a touch of color. The simple fact that there is uniformity and clean lines give the overall look impact and style.

Aluminum Chairs – Having your reception in a loft or art gallery requires a special kind of chair. You will want something that speaks to the venue; chic, modern and  stylish. Consider brushed aluminum chairs, there are even some very nice options in the folding chair family that offer a casual, elegant look.


If you decide to rent chairs for the wedding and/or reception – always make sure you know what you are renting before you sign anything. Go to the company and touch the chairs, look at the quality, make sure it is not a copy or substitute. Cutting corners on something as simple as the chairs may seem like a good idea at first, until your guests are faced with looking at one of these:

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


Weddings for Super Fans!

At every sporting event there are the people who paint their faces, color their hair, run on the field and probably have at least one room in their house completely decorated in their favorite team colors, complete with memorabilia. If your toilet paper has the logo of an opposing team- you are what we (on the outside) call a “Super Fan”. So, how does that translate to your wedding? It’s totally up to you.

Over The Top- Too much for some people is not nearly enough for others. If you want to get married on the football field and serve nachos at a tailgate reception, it is up to you. Don’t expect everyone to think  it is adorable or clever. If you are a Super Fan, do what you do best and don’t worry about what others will say.

groom's cake!

Less is More– Adding touches of your team’s colors, interesting elements of the sport itself or even posing for pictures can be quite fun without going crazy. Choose a team jersey for ‘autographs’ in lieu of a guest book, have a Chicago Bears Grooms cake, or a even cute little cake topper that shows your team spirit. Pinned Image


As we all know, it is easy to get carried away in a theme. It starts out fine and then after you stand back and look at your inspiration board, it looks more like a kids birthday party than a wedding. To avoid going overboard, stay away from anything too matchy-matchy, keep sports themed accessories to a minimum and don’t wear anything with a logo!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago