Abby and MattImagine planning your big day — rehearsal dinner,ceremony and reception — in five months. Now imagine planning it without once seeing the venue in person.

That was the story for Abby and Matt Englert ofBloomington, Ind., married last June on Folly Field Beach.

“I didn’t feel like planning a gigantic, elaborate wedding — that didn’t matter to me,” said Abby. “It was a little crazy, but it was almost a little bit better. I wasn’t into meeting with people and going over menus.”

A lot can happen in two years, and a lot of things can change. Just ask Jessica Martin Finlen, whose May wedding didn’t exactly go off without a hitch.

“We dragged out the engagement way too long, enough to make anybody crazy,” Jessica said, laughing. “There were a lot of little glitches, to the point we were like, ‘Let’s just go to Vegas or Mexico or anywhere.’ ”

For starters, Jessica’s original venue backed out five months before the wedding. When she visited the site to discuss placement of the tables and DJ, the person in charge was nowhere to be found. Luckily, her father stepped in to save the day. “My dad worked at Sun City for like 10 years. And it just popped in his head, ‘What about Riverbend?’ ” she said. “It’s a beautiful long dock out to the water.”

kimbachelder6.19.10 Kim Bachelder and Hunt Werner

Have you ever been to a wedding that felt like a fairy tale?

That must have been how guests at Kim Bachelder Werner’s casual-chic June wedding at Honey Horn felt.

When less is more

Hot trends in wedding cateringWedding receptions just aren’t what they used to be. While you may occasionally encounter traditional sit-down or buffet-style dinners, many caterers are offering the option of small plates and mini samples instead.

More often than not, the alluring landscape of the Lowcountry sets the stage for outdoor a airs, where guests would rather walk around and mingle than be stuck behind a table. It makes sense, then, that couples are planning menus that allow guests to pick and choose from a multitude of bite-size morsels.

Put a Personal Touch on Your Wedding Dessert

Cakes With CharacterGone are the days of cheesy, plastic bride and groom cake toppers. Couples are thinking outside the box for their wedding desserts, and the result is not only beautiful but delicious.

“Weddings are moving away from the standard for baseline cakes—carrot, white or red velvet were the standards for many years,” said Derek Spendlove, chairman of the baking & pastry arts program at Sullivan University in Louisville, Ky. “Now, the most popular flavors we’re seeing are mousses—flavor infusions to the actual cake or dessert.”

Children can add so much to a wedding day - from the ring bearer toddling down the aisle carrying a pillow with precious cargo, to the flower girl who sweetly perfumes your path to the altar by dropping tender petals in her wake. As special as you feel on your wedding day, you'll want even your littlest helpers to share in the feeling and know that you appreciate them.

To ensure that your young attendants are happy campers on the big day, you'll want to help them look their best and make them feel that they have an important role. Here are some helpful hints that you can put in practice, whether the child is your own or the child of a loved one. Follow these tips, and you'll help ensure the youngest members of your wedding party have a positive experience that they - and you - will remember for a lifetime.

weddingwomanSomething old, something new;
Something borrowed, something blue;
And a silver sixpence in her shoe.

An enduring Victorian tradition steeped in superstitious symbolism, the verse containing a series of old, new, borrowed and blue good luck tokens for the bride dates back centuries in England.

John C. Franke, style expert and faculty member at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, offers a creative spin on the age-old tradition for the bride-to-be in 2010.

balloonsWhen it comes to creating perfection on your wedding day, it's hard to understate the importance of the wedding favor. The favor is the piece of your wonderful day that guests will take away with them. You want it to be something special, unique and memorable, a tangible reminder that they'll turn to again and again.

"We're seeing more brides today turning to wedding favors that marry fun and function, uniqueness and usefulness," says Allison Bergstedt of My Wedding Reception Ideas.com, a leading online resource for brides seeking unique wedding favors and other wedding items. "Perhaps it's a reflection of the times, as we are all tending to be more frugal and practical with our money. The favors of choice today are ones that guests will find useful long after the ceremony is over."

By HEATHER BRAGG

Hilton Head Island has cornered the market on romance with its serene sunsets, light ocean breeze, swaying palmetto trees and miles of pristine sandy beaches. And more destination weddings are taking place on the foot-shaped island than ever before.

“Weddings have changed over the years,” said Charlie Clark, vice president of communications for the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce. “From weddings with a ceremony and reception in one night to these weeklong extravaganzas, people are looking to make the wedding a family reunion or vacation.”

by David Jakubiak

Whether you are a lifelong resident of the area or you are a visitor who has decided to make Hilton Head Island the pristine setting of your destination wedding, any couple getting married in the Lowcountry can take advantage of Southern traditions.

Southern weddings are about much more than groom cakes and blinding white bridal veils. They incorporate a deep celebration of family and community, food and drink, beautiful settings, and, of course a party to be remembered. That said, here are five ways to add a little Hilton Head to your vows.

Brides, you don’t have to worry about what your man is doing for the bachelor party anymore. Gone are the days of guys-only celebrations with heavy drinking in X-rated establishments. More grooms are gathering their buds together for a day full of PG-rated activities.

“They’re taking more trips in general,” said wedding planner Tricia Huddas of Tricia Huddas Co. Weddings & Events. “They are much more extravagant than the stereotypical, raunchy … elements.”

Huddas said Hilton Head offers the perfect place to say goodbye to singledom. Here are just a few ways the guys have fun before the wedding:

As more people strive to reduce their carbon footprint so, too, are couples planning their weddings. Green or at least “pale green” weddings have been the “in thing for the last few years,” according to Richard Markel, of the Association of Wedding Professionals.

He advises couple to talk to their vendors about their desire to be kind to the earth on their wedding day. For instance, ask the electrician how to reduce electricity by 10 percent; or ask the chef for locally grown and organic foods.
Invitations

By Melinda Copp
Engaged? Congratulations! You have plenty to think about as you plan your wedding and new life with your partner. But in addition to choosing a dress and picking a honeymoon destination, getting married includes a few less romantic decisions. When you marry your sweetheart, you combine a lot more than love in a legal contract, including financial obligations, assets and property.

If a wedding is in your future, consider the following questions about how to marry your financial and legal obligations.
Do we need a prenuptial agreement?
Although thinking about divorce before you tie the knot is no fun, for many couples it makes sense to have a prenuptial agreement in place.

By Laura Jacobi

Does your dream wedding include the designer princess gown you dog-eared in a high-end magazine or a gaggle of doves being released when you kiss? These are questions the bride and groom should answer before planning and budgeting for a wedding.

Katy Baker, a wedding planner with the Association of Bridal Professionals, asks her brides and grooms to make specific lists before planning their wedding budget. Each has to describe their dream wedding and promise each other to make at least three of those elements become reality. They then list all the aspects of the big day—such as the dress, flowers and food—prioritized by what they feel is most important.