Monday, September 28, 2009

Chicago Bridal Expo Madness!

Yesterday, Tabitha, her fiance, and myself all attended the Chicago Bridal Expo at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare. Let me just say: Holy crap. It was the closest I ever want to be to that many crazed brides ever again. They gave them stickers to wear, but you could easily identify them by the wild, staring eyes, hungry for cake, dress, centerpiece, photo, and venue pamphlets. I think we were lucky to escape with our lives.

Seriously, though, there were an ass-load of people there, and we all paraded down aisles of tables, gazing longingly at things that in the normal world we would have happily ignored: things like linen napkins, leather photo albums, or tiny petit-fours. Yet, in Bridal Expo-land, these things become intensely important. Look! It's another book of some anonymous bride's photos! Over here is yet another table covered in invitations! Fondant! My god, look at the fondant! The tables were five and six deep with brides, mothers-of-the-bride, maids-of-honor, and a few husbands-to-be, but they mostly walked around looking like Bambi after his mother was shot, carrying large, overstuffed bags brimming with pamphlets.
Yes, it seemed like everyone in that room wanted to give you a card an a pamphlet, and boy did we collect a lot of them. Everything from barns to boutiques, spas to vacations in Spain, we got them all. We also tasted so many different kinds of cake, tart, and tiny eclair that after we left we immediately had to eat large amounts of beef to counteract all the sugar we'd been fed.

There were some really cool vendors there, however. One of the best parts of the day for Tab and I involved a place called Pristine Image; they were offering free bridal makeovers of hair and makeup, and I quickly signed Tabitha up. We waited a few minutes, but then she sat down and started getting primped and pampered. She looked a little abashed at all the attention; her silver "VIB" sticker meant everybody we talked to was focused on her, and she wasn't used to it. I told her, "Buck up, buttercup! This is all about you!"

A lovely girl named (I believe) Magdelena did Tabitha's hair in a charming side-sweep style; all she needed was a big white flower and a bird-cage veil, and she was ready for her close-up:)

I wasn't planning to have mine done; I figured this was for brides, and I didn't want to take a chair from one of the important girls there. But, a chair opened up while Tabitha was still having her hair done, and the stylist asked me if I wanted my hair done too. After a little protest I sat down, and the fabulous Robert got to work.

We chatted and laughed while he got my hair red-carpet ready, and I was suitably impressed with the results. In fact, we liked them so much, we're going to look them up when it comes time to get hair and makeup for the big day!

There were a few bridal boutiques there, and there were lovely dresses on display. Tab took notes and pictures, and we're going to be making an appointment for her to try on styles pretty soon, though she's having a friend make her dress. Thankfully, it seems pick-up skirts are on their way out (finally!), and Hollywood glamour is making a comeback.

I fell in love with a beautiful one-shouldered purple dress, in satin with a chiffon overlay. When we asked who it was by, my champagne taste struck again: Badgley Mischka Bridesmaid. This is probably a $900 dress. Oh well.

The below is probably a Love by Enzoani. Lovely, though of course I'm still hooked on the super-expensive dress!

The fashion show was a bit of a let-down, mostly because they spent so much time talking, talking, talking. A. was ready to poke his eyes out by the time the first dress walked the runway, and we only stayed for about half the show.

The dresses were pretty nice, but Tabitha didn't see one that jumped out and shouted to be gotten. It was mostly a tedious experience, and we left to go to the VIP lounge after a half-hour or so.

The little VIP lounge was pretty cool, with table vignettes set up by Edved Events, who handles wedding coordination for the Hyatt and others. We ate more tiny cream-puffs and listened to one of their salespeople extol the virtues or letting someone else handle the details of the day, which sounds pretty wonderful to me, though probably cost-prohibitive. I can see myself that Friday morning, setting out twenty centerpieces, arranging tent cards and favors, and assembling the wedding cake all before rushing back to get myself ready.

All in all, it was a pretty whirlwind day, but we did come away with a few useful ideas and some very nice hairdos. It does kinda make me glad I'm not the one getting married though . . .


Anonymous said...

Ginger--both you and Tabitha need to know that the Badgley Mischka one shoulder gown retails for less than $300. The brooch that was on the gown is not included--A L'Amour accessorized all of the gowns to appeal to our brides. Hopefully we will be meeting you soon when you set up a time to come in. Mention that you blogged about this fabulous dress. The dress arrived just a few days before the expo and our entire staff is in love with it as well! We couldn't wait to put it on display.

Ginger said...

Thanks! We have to coordinate several schedules (mom, best friend, etc), but we'll definitely start looking at dresses and making appointments soon!