Cancellation Crisis – When Vendors Let You Down

Imagine for a moment that you have been looking forward to your first meeting with  a particular florist, or  baker, or  wedding planner. You have done your research; called referrals, made sure they are accredited and have a good rating with the BBB. You make your appointment well in advance and then, suddenly, they cancel at the last minute. What do you do? Although I’m usually  in favor of giving everyone the benefit of the doubt, there are cases when a cancellation might be a red flag. 

If the vendor cancels because they have overbooked, you might have cause for concern.  This could mean there is a time management problem.

However, if the vendor cancels because another event had a legitimate crisis that had to be handled immediately, this says the vendor is as concerned with keeping their existing clients happy as they are booking new clients.

If the vendor cancels because of weather, health or personal family issues, we can all understand… these things happen. Of course, if it happens more than once, this could be someone who has a lot of drama in their life and it could be time to take a closer look at whether or not you  can handle their drama.

In essence, when a vendor cancels you need to use your best judgement to decide whether or not they deserve a second chance. If the reason is weak or there really is no reason,  you should begin your search for another vendor to replace them … someone who is able to keep appointments. This is especially true for a bridal or wedding consultant. You are hiring them to manage your entire wedding and this is no easy task – there must be total faith and trust.

The last thing you need to be doing on the day of your event is chasing vendors  or worrying if things will be done properly. 

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago



Planning A Balloon Release? Think Twice

I remember when I was a kid and I got a  helium balloon, I thought it was  the coolest thing ever. Then, mylar balloons came out in the late 1970’s and that was definitely the coolest thing…. ever! In the 1980’s people were doing massive balloon releases at weddings  and it looked so cool- all of those balloons going up at the same time! But, the 90’s hit with a eco-fervor (for me) and I started to ask “What happens to all this stuff after they land?” The answer is not  good. Maybe this is why balloon releases are out of fashion –  for good reason.

1) Bad for the environment. Although it is true that latex is a natural resource coming from rubber trees, it takes a long time to break down into the environment and can cause a lot of damage ( to various species) during that time.

2) Mylar is metalicized polyester and even worse- it conducts electricity. No real good reason to take part in this debacle.

3) Helium shortage – True. There is only a limited supply of helium on this planet and once it’s gone…it’s gone. Unless you want to go to Pluto.

4) Allergies. In case you haven’t heard of this;  there are people allergic to latex….. there are a lot of people allergic to latex. So many, that schools have signs stating that balloons are not permitted.

5) Chinese lanterns have the same impact, maybe worse.

In lieu of releasing dozens ( or hundreds) of toxic balloons into the environment, try these more organic alternatives:

Release trained doves– There are reputable facilities around the country that offer the release of doves. These birds are trained to return to the facility; no matter where the birds are released they will fly back home. No harm is done to the birds or their wild relatives.

Blowing bubbles– Blowing bubbles is always fun; watching them bounce around towards the sky and twist with the wind. It also requires you to exhale and breathe.

Although it is still perfectly legal and somewhat socially acceptable to release balloons, lanterns and other non-organic components into the environment in some areas, there are some cities and states that have already banned this activity.  Think about it, do some research and decide if it is really worth it for you before you sign up for a balloon release.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


The Big Splurge – Is It Worth it?

Everybody is guilty of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” from time to time. What you should have said to someone, what you should have worn, something as simple as what you should have eaten for lunch. With weddings, there is a lot of this since it is a big event in your life and looking back, there are many things that brides and grooms would do differently. So when it comes to a big splurge, ask your self this “Is it  worth it?”

Worth It

Hair and makeup –  Hands down, brides agree this is one area where they are pleased to have spent a few extra dollars.

Music – Adding 2 extra pieces to an orchestra or band can make a noticeable difference, or if you choose a DJ, make sure to hire a professional. Music is the pulse of the event.

Wedding Planner – Even if you go with the simplest service and just hire a ‘day of’ planner, you will be happy that (for once) someone else is worrying about all the details and not you.

Food – Paying a little extra ‘per plate’ to get better food is a no-brainer. Great food = happy guests, happy guests=worth it.

Photo/Video – No one ever says they got too many pictures at their wedding, or the pictures were too good.  Plus a great video will provide you with years of entertainment and happiness.


Not Worth It

Extra Appetizers – Too much food during the cocktail hour will result in the guests not eating the delightful dinner that lies ahead. Keep it to a minimum.

Extravagant Favors – One area where the extra money does not pay off. Many people will leave the favors and then, what are you going to do with all the extras? Most couples suggest something simple and thoughtful or nothing at all.

Extras – Adding toiletries in the bathroom to match your wedding colors, extravagant place cards, really pricey garter or other non-essentials. You will never reap the rewards from these odds and ends. Again, make an impact with the things that are the most meaningful.


Of course, these are just opinions from past brides and grooms. Maybe favors are your big splurge and you have decided that it is worth it. If it is, do it right and make sure it is done in a way that will leave you with nothing to regret Monday morning except an empty bank account.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Reality Of Wedding Costs

If you ever wondered what determines the cost of weddings… wonder no more! Here are the answers, broken down in a way that is easy for anyone to understand.

For a wedding and reception with 150 guests

The cost of an extravagant wedding in Cook County, IL is $72,000

The cost of the average wedding in Cook County, IL is $33,000

The cost of a simple, pared down wedding in Cook County, IL is $22,000

Want to save some money and have your wedding in Naperville? The location won’t make that much of a difference, which is a big shock to me since I always thought that having a wedding in the city had to be more expensive than in the suburbs. Using several zip codes with varying demographics, the cost of any of these three weddings is within a thousand dollars of the average given the same number of guests and style of wedding.

What does that mean? An extravagant wedding in Schaumburg costs about as much as an extravagant wedding in Chicago or Lake Forest or Oak Park or Burr Ridge. You will have to travel more than 75 miles from the city for the location to make any noticeable difference in price.

What makes the biggest difference in the price? The extras; wedding planners, couture gowns and tuxedos, exceptional video, location photography, custom wedding rings, artistic cakes, extraordinary flowers, top notch musicians, anything that goes above and beyond. Oddly enough, one of the biggest factors that will affect your total cost is wedding favors!

Thanks (in part) to Pinterest, DIY wedding are very popular. But, that’s not going to save you nearly as much as you think. Why? Because the same flowers that a florist could provide for $6,000 will cost you nearly as much in materials alone and if you add your time ( if your time is as valuable as mine) you have spent nearly double the amount. You will never get the same discount or special rate as a professional florist and you will never be able to do the same arrangements for the same cost. The same formula goes for musicians, photographers, invitations, bakeries, bridal ensemble accessories and so on.

For the best DIY wedding, do only the simple things yourself; the add-ons, the small touches, table numbers, favors, etc. Tackling the big projects will leave you breathless and broke.

In the end, the only real way to save money is to have a smaller affair. Inviting 75 guests rather than 150 will allow you to spend more on the things that are important to you and less on the overall (per person) package.

If you have a few minutes and would like to play around with some numbers, here is a link to a simple, fun and fairly accurate wedding cost calculator that will  give you an idea of what to expect in your area.

-Penn Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Wedding Band or Wedding “Brand”?

From time to time, we discuss men’s wedding bands. Should they wear them? Do they have to? Should they match the bride’s wedding band? Should they be simple or plain, gold or platinum, yadda, yadda, yadda. Never before has it entered my mind that the wedding band is intended to keep your husband from cheating on you after marriage. I thought it was to signify that your love is like a circle, it has no beginning and no end.  It appears as though someone has other ideas.

Introducing the titanium “anti-cheating” wedding band, which temporarily brands your partner’s finger with the words, “I’m Married.”  The ring is available on, a  website that specializes in inappropriate gifts. Inappropriate?  You bet! Problem solved? Not so much.

One problem is that someone thinks a wedding ring stops cheating. Everyone who thinks this is true, raise your hand ( put your hands down). Do you think Rielle Hunter had no idea John Edwards was Married? Do you think this ring would have stopped her…or him?

Another problem is that if you are placing this on someone’s finger (for real) in a wedding ceremony it means you think they can’t be trusted. If you don’t trust them on your wedding day or in the beginning of the marriage, you don’t have a chance in five years.

Having said all of that, I do think there is a market for everything.  If you are into satire and have a delightfully inappropriate sense of humor, this might be the perfect ring for both of you. Otherwise, you are better off exchanging rings with tracking devices.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago


With this ring, I thee view with paranoia: This titanium "anti-cheating" wedding band temporarily brands your partner's finger with the words, "I'm Married."