Destination weddings are growing in popularity. According to, a destination wedding can turn a wedding day into an unforgettable “mini-vacation” for  a bride, groom and their guests.

But air fare is on the rise and the economy is in the doldrums, so many brides are reconsidering those pricey locations in the Caribbean and other exotic, off-shore places. And why not, when right on the coast of the eastern U.S., there are some incredible locations and some are offering incentive to lure wedding parties there?

Savvy wedding planners realize that the coast can be easily reached by car, saving on air fare. That keeps bridal party costs down and makes it more affordable for lots of guests to attend.

Brides who dream of marriage ceremonies on the beach or grooms who fantasize about saying their vows on the 18th green of a spectacular resort course can find just what they want along the South Carolina coast.

One destination growing in popularity is Pawleys Island, S.C., a quaint little beach town about 30 miles south of the hustle and bustle of Myrtle Beach and an hour north of historic Charleston. The area’s premier resort, Pawleys Plantation, is a long-time favorite of honeymooners and, more recently, a top choice for destination weddings. In part, that’s because the resort offers wedding specials that deliver both elegance and extraordinary value. calls Pawleys Plantation “one of the snazziest resorts on the Grand Strand” and Travel + Leisure Golf s are understatements. This is a hidden gem. The place itself is as romantic a setting as you will find anywhere. Think huge moss-draped live oaks, spectacular salt marsh views and an elegant clubhouse with huge white columns. Elegant Bride

The clubhouse and nearby conference center are perfect venues for indoor weddings. From the 4,500 square foot ballroom to the gracious Sawgrass dining room overlooking the marsh, the setting drips with charm and grace.

Outdoors, couples who love golf can exchange vows on the 18th green of  Pawleys Plantation’s awesome Jack Nicklaus golf course with the salt marsh and the ocean beyond. And, when brides choose to say “I do” on the lovely veranda, wedding parties are cooled by breezes drifting in from the Island while beautiful sea birds soar over the marsh and lake. If a beach wedding is on the agenda, Pawleys Plantation can make all the necessary arrangements.

Accommodations for the bridal party and guests are in casually elegant villas built in the Lowcountry style. Spacious and beautifully appointed, the villas line the park-like setting of the Jack Nicklaus golf course, providing magnificent views of the course, lakes and the salt marsh. On-site amenities include golf, tennis, swimming, and a fitness center, and the resort is perfect for strolling hand-in-hand or riding a bicycle built for two.

Pawleys Plantation’s staff is extraordinary and they specialize in staging stress-free weddings and receptions. There’s no need for a designated (and often expensive) wedding planner. When you book a wedding at Pawleys Plantation, a whole staff of planners pitches in, from the events coordinator to the banquet services manager to the executive chef. They can even leverage their business contacts to arrange limousines, horse-drawn carriages, flowers, musicians, and even arrange for a clergyman or judge to perform the ceremony.

Ask about group rates. The more guests who stay at the resort as part of the wedding, the lower the cost. Requesting “group rates” is no problem at Pawleys Plantation. Arrangements can be made for guests to come in a few days before the main event to relax by the seashore or hit the links — or  invite them to stay a few days after. In short, a wedding can become the centerpiece of a resort-managed party. Happy family. Happy friends. Relaxed and mellow.

Now, Pawleys Plantation has stepped up to add some extraordinary value to their elegant surroundings. For those who book their wedding before December 31, 2009, Pawleys Plantation is offering: complimentary round of golf for four; complimentary wedding night accommodations for the bride and groom; complimentary champagne toast for all guests; and a complimentary one-night stay on the bride and groom’s first anniversary. And, when a rehearsal dinner and wedding reception is booked at Pawleys Plantation, there is a 10% discount on food and beverages for both events.

No matter the season, Pawleys Plantation is the perfect spot for a destination wedding. Its rates are well below similar upscale resorts, especially for fall and winter weddings. Check out the look and feel of this fine small resort at

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