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Over the past five years or so, I've attended a lot of weddings (including my own). It's so much fun to see how each bride and groom make the day unique.

There were those who mixed colored sand in a keepsake jar, shared handwritten vows promising fidelity, laughter and even ChapStick, and those who set up an informal photo booth at their reception.

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One bride and groom departed their reception by boat; another couple borrowed lines from "The Princess Bride" and opted for instrumental Beatles songs for their procession. And there was the couple who introduced a special vase where a flower could serve as a no-words-needed peace offering throughout their marriage.

Me? I got to showcase the musical talent of my husband and his three brothers through the gift of an original piece on viola and the performance of my favorite Hawaiian song accompanied by ukelele. (My family was twice stationed on Oahu.)  And, after performing at all three of his children's wedding receptions, my father claims he has retired his Elvis act. A true shame if you've never witnessed this spectacle.

Needless to say, I was jazzed to work on this bridal-themed issue — to have an excuse to flip through bridal magazines and window-shop at the Turf Valley Bridal Showcase.

So the magazine staff took this theme and ran with it. Inside you'll find everything from pets in the bridal party and how to discern the dress code from the invitation to the best portrait locations in Howard County and tips for how newlyweds — or any couple for that matter — can keep the happy in happily ever after.

Our cartoonist, Glenn Foden, even obliged with a wedding theme in Last Laugh, a new feature that begins in this issue. There are plenty of witty people in Howard County, and if you're one of them, I hope you'll participate in Last Laugh by sending us your funniest caption to accompany the cartoon. You'll find the details on our website, www.HowardMagazine.com.

And don't forget to follow the magazine on Twitter at HowardMagazine. There, you'll find links to our expanded coverage online, including web extras and more photos than we could fit in print. Additionally, you'll get a glimpse inside the magazine office through tweets from our writers and designers.

Jennifer Broadwater

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