Ever wonder what makes a Southern wedding so distinctive? Read about 7 Southern wedding traditions and peculiarities that express our unique Southern joie de vivre.
The cutting of the cake… the first dance… the throwing of the bouquet…
Tradition and weddings go hand in hand, and you are probably familiar with all of the above wedding rituals. Down here in the South, though, we aren’t content with these typical customs. No, we Southerners have to put our own unique spin on weddings, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of attending one, than you probably noticed a few oddities.
Many of our Southern wedding traditions have been handed down for generations, and they have deep heartfelt meaning. Others are simply happenstance, stemming from our unique Southern joie de vivre.
These 7 Southern wedding traditions and peculiarities will delight and amuse you, whether you are planning a wedding and looking for ways to make it distinctly Southern or you have been invited to one of these lovely events and simply desire to understand your experience better.
7 Signs You Are at a Southern Wedding
No. 1 The wedding decor includes one or all of the following:
Magnolia leaves, cotton stems, mason jars, mint julep cups, monograms and more monograms
The ambiance and decor at a Southern wedding is sure to exude romance, sophistication, and charm. In part because we love decorating with the classically Southern. The elegance of magnolia and mint julep cups cannot be denied, creating the perfect decorations for any Southern wedding. For those with more rustic tastes the mason jar is a classic Southern emblem that has received a lot of decorating fanfare of late. Of course, Southerners love their monograms, so the opportunity to display the new couple’s letters is just to irresistible.
No. 2 There is a hilariously outrageous groom’s cake à la Steel Magnolias’ “bleeding armadillo” cake
An antiquated Victorian tradition to some, Southerners still embrace this wedding tradition as a playful way to celebrate the groom. Traditionally, made from fruitcake or dark chocolate today’s groom’s cakes come in all shapes and sizes, but usually pay homage to the groom’s career, hobbies, favorite sport’s team, or an inside joke of some kind.
No. 3 No one stays seated for “Sweet Home Alabama” or “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” or “Carolina in My Mind”
What can we say? These Southern anthems simply get our toes tapping and bring us to our feet!
No. 4 There is lots of bourbon and some might even get buried
Legend says that if you bury a bottle of bourbon upside down on a sunny day at your wedding venue you will guarantee beautiful weather for your big day. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, best to try any good luck charms you possibly can because we all know weather here in the South can be unpredictable to say the least. And that which doesn’t get buried will be drunk with joy!
No. 5 Classic Southern cuisine is a requirement for any Southern wedding
Whether the bride and groom hail from the low country or the Appalachians, you can be sure they will celebrate some of their favorite regional food at their wedding celebration. There is a good chance biscuit appetizers, shrimp and grits, BBQ, or a Southern style dessert will be served.
No. 6 There is something handmade and there is something passed down for generations
You know the wedding rhyme: “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” but Southerns take this to the next level, incorporating meaningful handmade elements and family heirlooms in abundance. Whether it is heirloom jewelry or a passed down handkerchief, brides find some way to incorporate a little bit of history into their personal ensemble. Antique silver and china are another way to incorporate the vintage feel, and many brides and grooms choose to display photographs of relatives’ and their past weddings as a way to tie themselves to generations past.
No. 7 Probably more than one Southern gent has on cowboy boots or seersucker or a bowtie
Hmmm…a combination of all three is actually not unlikely!
Happy Wedding Season!
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*All photos are from my wedding in June of 2013 and were taken by the fabulous Chicks with Cameras!*
Marry when June roses grow and over land and sea you will go.
~Victorian Wedding Rhyme
Love birds are chirping, church bells ringing, and romantic warm evenings encroaching. June is upon us and that means wedding season is in full swing. I am declaring June wedding month here on P&P for one very special reason: S. and I are celebrating our 5 year anniversary this month!
I can hardly believe we have been married half a decade already. It truly seems like yesterday we were picking invitations and rings, taste testing cake, and preparing for the big day.
In looking back on that happy event, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some wedding advice, tips, and insight we gleaned from our lovely experience. If you are interested in seeing details of our wedding check out this post on the ceremony and this post on the reception.
Featured on P&P’s June Wedding Month:
7 Signs You Are at a Southern Wedding
How to Prepare for Your Bridal Portrait
How We Made Our Wedding Unique & Meaningful