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What Kind of Wedding Do You Want?

Kind_of_Wedding_You_WantOnce your beau pops the question, your first thought (after saying "Yes," of course) will probably be, "Well, about time!" But then you'll have to start thinking about the most important thing: the kind of wedding that you'll have. Your first steps into wedded bliss ought to be perfect, but naturally perfect varies from couple to couple. Do you want a full-fledged traditional wedding paid for by your Dad, a carefree wedding in the park, a Hawaiian beach wedding complete with leis, or something altogether less mundane? It's all up to you and your spouse-to-be, and the variations are endless, assuming you make sure to dot all the legal I's and cross all the religious T's. Even a Star Trek-themed wedding isn't out of the question, but might we suggest a Klingon wedding over a Betazoid one? The former might seem a bit solemn, but at least you get to keep your clothes on, unlike the latter.

There's an old saying, applied to societies everywhere: "If it happens once, it's an accident; if it happens twice, it's tradition." We humans do have a tendency to stick with what we're comfortable with, which is why traditional weddings remain the most popular type in most societies. In America and most European nations, this means a church wedding with lacy white dress for the bride, accessorized with tasteful jewelry and a veil; a tuxedo or formal suit for the groom; an exchange of wedding rings and vows, and many guests from both sides of the family. By tradition, the bride's father is supposed to pay for the wedding, and of course he's supposed to pay for a grand reception as well. During the ceremony, the bridesmaids wear ugly dresses that no one in their right mind would wear normally, in order to point up the bride's beauty, and there are little kids throwing flower petals everywhere and carrying the rings around on couch pillows. Hypothetically there's a multi-tiered wedding cake, and the best man is supposed to propose a rambling, drunken toast to the bride and groom. After that there'll be dancing to all hours of the night. Right? Right.

This is the standard to which most modern weddings are held, and there's many the wedding that goes off just like this one. Of course, in this modern era the bride's father isn't always expected to impoverish himself for his daughter's wedding; sometimes the happy couple pays for it themselves. Even if Dad does pay for it, it needn't be overly grand; a snug little church wedding can be just as happy an occasion as one held in St. Paul's Cathedral, and just because the reception's held at the VFW Hall doesn't mean there won't be plenty of dancing and the traditional best man speech.

A popular modern option is the informal wedding, which can be either civilly recognized or purely symbolic. Basically, an informal wedding can be anything you want: you can write the vows, get married in any location, invite anyone and everyone, wear whatever you want, the options, really, are as unbounded as a child's imagination. Remember that Star Trek wedding? This is where you can take advantage of that option, especially if you've always wanted to get married naked. If you don't, many designers make informal wedding dresses for exactly this sort of wedding. A good wedding planner can set anything up, whether you want to get married at the Grand Canyon or in a mock-up of the Starship Enterprise.

Speaking of informal weddings, informal beach weddings have become quite popular. Traditionally, the bride and groom stand in the surf, shoeless, while the minister officiates nearby and the guests wait on the shore. One problem with this option is, of course, sea gulls. They're liable to dive-bomb you, and given their devilish dispositions, may try to use your dress for target practice. One amazingly hip way to avoid this? Get married in Hawaii. Although few people are aware of it, there are no sea gulls to bother you in the Fiftieth State, and that's only a minor reason why you should go. The people there are open and friendly, the food is varied and out of this world, and you'll be stunned by all the beauty; think of it as a wedding and honeymoon rolled up in one. Though Hawaii's a bit expensive, it's cheaper to get there than you might think, and it offers a huge variety of beaches and other informal wedding locations. Not only are some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world in Hawaii, the Islands are also home to a number of beaches with sands of uncommon colors. If you don't mind the occasional nudist (they seem to have a thing for colored sands), you can get married on green sand, black sand, or even red sand beaches. Some are hard to get to, but they're worth the effort. Leis and brightly colored wedding outfits are standard, along with a luau afterward.------------------------------------

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