Modern love: How to get hitched in style

Jackie Mantey, Columbus Alive

To throw a trendy wedding, all you need is love and a little bit of personality. It's easy.

OK, not that easy. There's an onslaught of decisions to be made. Flowers or herbs for the bouquets? Engagement party or not? Paper or electronic invites? Should Mother really sit by Mother in Law?

Then there's that whole issue of paying for it. The average American wedding costs $26,501, according to the 2011 wedding study done by Conde Nast's Brides magazine brand.

The wedding business is as big as Kate Middleton's rock: Last year the Franklin County Probate Court issued more than 8,100 marriage licenses.

The hot thing right now is making wedding events as individual as the love story that brought the couple to the altar, chuppah or Elvis impersonator.

"We seem to be moving more and more to a wedding really being a very unique and chic expression of the bride and groom's personality," said Kristin Cooke, owner of Big Rock Little Rooster bridal boutique in the Short North.

Take Kristy Hamilton and Matt Tarnowski, the Columbus couple on Alive's cover. They married last Saturday, Sept. 17, at The Bluestone (check out a slideshow from their wedding).

The music lovers' wedding featured personal touches such as a cocktail hour with macaroni and cheese bites and cotton candy, a DJ that played only bands they liked (Pixies, Beatles, LCD Soundsystem) and rock poster-inspired signs designed by EngineHouse13 to announce the couple's nuptuals.

Read on for more examples of how local couples made their weddings unique and for tips on how to make the alternative trends work for you.

Photo by Jodi Miller