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.

The next time you’re at a wedding, take a good look around.

Not at the ring bearer and flower girl jumping around with frosting all over their faces. And, no, not at the tipsy uncle haphazardly trying to dance.

Take a look at the gargantuan outdoor tent, comfy white chairs, silky table linens, shiny dishware and even the twinkling lights. Everything you see was carefully picked out, planned and prepared.

“Some people don’t know. They think it magically comes together,” said Barbara Yontz, outside sales consultant for Classic Party Rentals in Bluffton.

by Rob Kaufman

Selecting the right photographer for your wedding is undoubtedly one of the most important decisions you will make. After all, when the flowers, the dinner, the cake and the bridesmaids’ dresses are all just fond memories, the photography you commission will still be a tangible asset that you can share and enjoy.

The process of finding your photographer can be a little daunting; there are many shooters out there at all levels of skill with all sorts of different styles. Unlike shopping for most other things, there is no real consistency as far as pricing is concerned. And to top it off, nearly every photographer has their own assortment of products and services they offer. But with a little homework and a little legwork, hiring a photographer for your wedding day will be an experience you’ll enjoy.

Signe's Heaven Bound Bakery & CafeFor more than 37 years Signe Gardo has been creating custom wedding cakes for brides throughout the Lowcountry. From classic and traditional to trendy and whimsical, this creative confectioner has done it all. And to top it off, she manages to run a full time café and bakery which has grown to be a favorite among locals and a “must-see” for visitors. Always on the go, Signe takes a break to share with our readers about her popular cake business.

“Choosing a cake is probably one of the more fun aspects of wedding planning,” Signe says. “However when a bride is busy planning out every detail, anything can become overwhelming!”

Signe meets with each bride and/or couple for an initial private consultation and tasting. “It’s important to get to know the couple and understand their vision for their wedding. Your wedding cake should be a reflection of your wedding style as well as your personal story.”

By SARAH PETERMAN

Between the cake tasting, finding the perfect caterer and added stress of planning for your big day, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds. Here are a few tips to help you stay in shape for your wedding without depending on eating only grapefruit for the last few weeks of your single life:

by Sarah Peterman

The craziness of the wedding is over. You are now officially someone’s wife (or husband) and you deserve a break—hence, the honeymoon. However, without some advanced planning and preparation, the honeymoon could be even more stressful than the wedding. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

by Sarah Peterman

There couldn’t be a more perfect location for a honeymoon than Hilton Head Island. With miles of beaches, beautiful sunsets and activities for every taste, happy couples will love beginning their life together on this beautiful island. Here are our top pics on what makes Hilton Head the perfect place to celebrate your honeymoon: