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  • Writer's pictureMarylee Marmer

Don't Forget to Bury the Bourbon! - Southern Wedding Traditions

Photo Courtesy of: Style Me Pretty

Weddings are a very special day for families around the country, but in the South they can be larger than life. After practicing twirling around in a big white dress on the night of her debutante, a southern bride dreams about the next big white dress she will wear...her wedding dress. Along with weddings, tradition is taken very seriously. So it’s only natural that the two go hand in hand. Wedding traditions have been passed down through the years and are a necessary part of a wedding for the southern belle bride. Although these traditions started below the Mason-Dixon line, there charm has spread to brides from all over. Incorporate some into your big day for a Dixieland inspired delightful wedding.

Bury the Bourbon Bottle

With beautiful rose bushes, blooming magnolia trees and hanging moss, outdoor weddings are very popular in the South. But a rainy day could put a hold on any blissful lawn wedding daydreams. You can pay for the perfect flowers, cake and dress but you cant pay for the weather. So to ensure that the sun shines for their outdoor weddings, brides turn to southern folklore. The ‘burying the bourbon’ tradition instructs the couple to bury an unopened bottle of bourbon upside down exactly one month at the site of their wedding. Dig up the bottle the day of your (sunny) wedding and share it with your wedding party. I’ve known a couple who did this and they didn’t have a cloud in the sky on their wedding day...coincidence or tradition?

Buffet Style Dinner

While seated dinners are most common in the North, buffet style is the most popular option for southerns. Some say that this is because southerns know how to host a party and forgo the high cost of a seated dinner and instead invest this money into the bar or DJ budget. While we do like to make sure the music plays all night, tradition says that the buffet style is most popular for another reason. Buffet style dinners allow more sociability (we all know that we mingle in the line) and it also creates a family-style atmosphere. Buffets are also great because they give your guests the ability to pick and chose what they want and they have easier access for seconds- or thirds!

Groom’s Cake

A sweet southern belle knows that the wedding day is also about her groom as well. Traditionally, brides purchase a single sheet cake in the groom’s taste and has the baker decorate it in a way that displays his interests or talents. This is a sweet gesture that also gives guests a different option of dessert. A modern twist on this tradition is having “groom’s cookies” or “groom’s brownies”. This a great opportunity to have fun and show some personality that you wouldn't typically get to do with the traditional wedding cake.

Bridal Portraits

If you grew up the South, you’ve heard the phrase “see and be seen”. That’s the essence of having a bridal portrait done. These professional photographs give the bride a chance to elegantly pose in her wedding dress weeks before her actual wedding date. They can be displayed at the reception or used in the newspaper announcement. They are traditionally given to the parents of the bride to be hung in the family home so that the bride can be admired for years to come. Bridal portraits are also a great way to test run your make-up and hair ideas.

Cake Pulls

If you’re looking for a tradition that is memorable and interactive...this one takes the cake! Cake pulls are most associated with New Orleans but this fun tradition quickly spread across the South. This tradition comes to us from the Victorian “ribbon pulling.” Back in the day, charms were baked into the wedding cake by the bride for her single friends to pull out of the cake before it was cut. Today, these charms have been associated with different meanings are are used to predict the future of just the bridesmaids. Another twist on this tradition is that brides are now choosing to do the cake pull during the bridal shower or bridesmaids luncheon. This allows for more privacy as bridesmaids find out their fortune. Here are some examples of charms: Claddagh – Friendship, Love, & Loyalty.

Butterfly – Eternal Beauty. Anchor – Adventure is around the corner. Four Leaf Clover – Good luck. Flower – Blossoming love. Fleur-de-Lis – Love and Prosperity. Kite- Something fun is about to happen. Wishbone – Success. Ring- Next to get married.

What is your favorite wedding tradition? Leave a comment below!

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