Here's how to fix the inevitable Bad Bridesmaid Dress problem.

Last month, as we here at Monthly sat in the conference room brainstorming story ideas for the bridal section you now hold in your hands, we found that three words seemed to especially animate the ladies in the room: Bad. Bridesmaid. Dresses.

Many of us have seen them, some of us have worn them and all of us know that they've affected, in some way, weddings all over the globe throughout the history of time. And that got me thinking where such a strange, universal phenomenon could have come from in the first place, and how it could be demolished forever.

markstaffphotoWhat's new in greetings, gifts, bouquets, catering - and everything else

By Marianna Barbrey and photography by Mark Staff

GROOM/GROOMSMEN ATTIRE

The black and white tuxedo is still the quintessential wedding look for grooms and groomsmen, but classic doesn't have to be boring. Many grooms are personalizing their looks with simple touches that show off their personalities, like having the wedding date or the bride-to-be's initials stitched onto their shirt cuffs, or giving their groomsmen bright argyle socks to wear with their tuxes and special sunglasses to don immediately after the ceremony or when entering the reception. HaIR Let your hair down, ladies.

33pp_bottlefavors_2

Photography by 33 Park Photography

Of all the photos in a wedding album, few tell the subtle story of your special day with character and sentimentality like the close-ups of wedding favors. Whether they're candles with ribbons that carry on the colors of the day's decor or savory stuffed boxes of sweet take-home treats, these special gifts are a token of the couple's gratitude and happiness. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

By Robyn Passante
Crab cake photo by Mark Staff
Other photos courtesy Sheri's Edible Designs

crabcakegroomcakeIf a wedding cake is Sunday morning - refined, subdued, classy - then a groom's cake is Saturday night. It's informal and amusing, a piece of personality on a plate. And

just like Saturday nights, the stakes continue to get higher for groom's cakes, local bakers say.

beachbrideBy Robyn Passante and Photography by Rob Kaufman

Here's the dream.
You and your groom are exchanging vows beneath a blue sky on a hilton head island beach, set against the intoxicating backdrop of a gentle sea breeze, the rolling surf and a gorgeous sunset.

Story/photography by Rob Kaufman

videographerLooking for something different in your wedding photo album? More couples are opting for fusion - the marriage of audio, video and film. There has never been a time when technological innovation moved so quickly. It seems like the latest, greatest "iThing" debuts every other day and most of us haven't even upgraded to Cool Toy 2.0 before Version 3.0 hits the shelves.

From inexpensive high-quality cameras to powerful image manipulating software, photography is at the heart of this modern technological boom. The advancements have allowed the creativity of great photographers to be unleashed - and brides and grooms everywhere are benefiting from the boost.

Here’s the dream.

Monthly’s 2011 Bridal Guide - PHOTO BY MARK STAFFYou and your groom are exchanging vows beneath a blue sky on a Hilton Head Island beach, set against the intoxicating backdrop of a gentle sea breeze, the rolling surf and a gorgeous sunset.

Here’s the reality: That gentle sea breeze is often called “wind,” and it can whip that sand, your decorations and your perfect hairdo all over the place. The blue sky is not always blue; in fact, sometimes it leaks water all over your wedding. The rolling surf can make it difficult for guests to hear you say “I do.” Oh, and if you want the sun to be setting over the water while you wed, you’re on the wrong coast altogether.

A wedding on the beach can be a truly romantic event, but couples who want such a wedding need to understand all that comes — and goes — with an event at the water’s edge. Here’s a start.

CRAB CAKES: Recent work by Sheri’s Edible Designs, which is featured this month on an episode of TLC’s “Fabulous Cakes.”If a wedding cake is Sunday morning — refined, subdued, classy — then a groom’s cake is Saturday night. It’s informal and amusing, a piece of personality on a plate. And just like Saturday nights, the stakes continue to get higher for groom’s cakes, local bakers say.

“It used to be simply a round cake covered with dark ganache and chocolate pearls, and maybe a ‘G’ for Georgia or something. Ten years ago that was pretty much it,” said Signe Gardo, owner of Signe’s Heaven Bound Bakery and Cafe on Hilton Head Island. “Now it’s anything. Some of them get very, very involved.”

Of all the photos in a wedding album, few tell the subtle story of your special day with character and sentimentality like the close-ups of wedding favors. Whether they’re candles with ribbons that carry on the colors of the day’s decor or savory stuffed boxes of sweet take-home treats, these special gifts are a token of the couple’s gratitude and happiness. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Local favors (with local flavor)

EDIBLE FAVORS

We already mentioned probing palates with a sweet treat. Personalized chocolate bars, individual truffles, cake-shaped cookies, fresh fruit or slices of a groom’s cake — a Southern tradition — top the lists at the Wedding Channel. Try packaging a variety of diminutive desserts in a gift box wrapped with colorful ribbon.



PERSONALIZE YOUR GROOMSMEN ATTIRE Many grooms and groomsmen are personalizing their looks with simple touches of color; for instance, Lakers purple.GROOM / GROOMSMEN ATTIRE

The black and white tuxedo is still the quintessential wedding look for grooms and groomsmen, but classic doesn’t have to be boring.

Many grooms are personalizing their looks with simple touches that show off their personalities, like having the wedding date or the bride-to-be’s initials stitched onto their shirt cuffs, or giving their groomsmen bright argyle socks to wear with their tuxes and special sunglasses to don immediately after the ceremony or when entering the reception.

RED RIDING HOOD Unless you are heading straight from the wedding back to your toy shop in the North Pole, this dress may not be the way to go. How to fix the inevitable Bad Bridesmaid Dress problem.

Last month, as we here at Monthly sat in the conference room brainstorming story ideas for the bridal section you now hold in your hands, we found that three words seemed to especially animate the ladies in the room: Bad. Bridesmaid. Dresses.

Many of us have seen them, some of us have worn them and all of us know that they’ve affected, in some way, weddings all over the globe throughout the history of time. And that got me thinking where such a strange, universal phenomenon could have come from in the first place, and how it could be demolished forever. It is the singular plight of women everywhere to want — nay, need — to look their best at all times, especially in those extra-double-important public appearances with photographers all over the place. Luckily, we know our figures, and we know how — or at least how to try — to dress them correctly.

By Robyn Passante

In recent months, celebrity magazines and gossip blogs have been buzzing about the supposed trend of celebrity wedding vow renewals. In June, Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott featured their re-nuptials on the season finale of their reality show, "Tori and Dean." Heidi Klum and Seal reportedly renew their vows every year. And Khloe Kardashian and NBA star Lamar Odom just said "I still do" on their first anniversary in October.

For many families, weddings are reunions. For weddings in the Lowcountry, weddings are a weeklong affair, a chance to not only spend quality time with loved ones but to see the sites. Imagine a wedding ceremony and reception that occurs all in one place amid live oaks draped by Spanish moss and a picturesque bridge crossing a lake.

It's a place where family members stay together in luxury homes walking distance from tennis and bocce courts, a Pete Dye gulf course, a spa, a swimming pool and health and fitness center and driving distance from Hilton Head Island, Savannah and Beaufort. You can expect all of this and more at Hampton Hall, a luxury gated community in Bluffton.

orange

by Marianna Barbrey
Photos by Amy Daring

When you think of wedding flowers, orange is probably not the first color that comes to mind. But when assembled and paired properly, orange florals can make a beautiful statement, and provide a memorable pop of color to any wedding celebration.

Orange gets a bad rap for its association with Halloween - especially around this time of year - but it shouldn't be stereotyped. In fact, orange can be used in any season and any setting. A few popular orange options include calla lilies, orchids, roses, gerber daisies, lilies, carnations, dahlias, tulips and chrysanthemums.

Like the idea of using orange but stumped on how to incorporate it into your floral scheme? Here are some ideas: