The South is steeped in tradition. Celebrations below the Mason-Dixon line have been handed down from generation to generation. From naming children to holidays and everything between, Southerners have unique ways of celebrating special occasions.

Weddings are no different. 

Countless Southern wedding customs hold a special place in the hearts of couples as they prepare for their big day. If you’re planning a Southern-style wedding, here are six Southern traditions you’ll love.

Outdoor Ceremonies

Choosing the perfect location is an essential part of planning a wedding. A longstanding tradition for Southern brides and grooms is holding the entire wedding, both the ceremony and the reception, outdoors. The Southern scenery is too good to pass up, even with the heat and threat of rain.

Speaking of the heat, there are Southern wedding traditions for dealing with the discomfort of spending so much time outdoors. It’s not uncommon to see a groom and his groomsmen wearing seersucker. Not only is the material lightweight, but the men look rather dapper as well. 

For a Southern bride and her bridesmaids, parasols provide a traditional way to ward off the sun’s harsh rays. In addition to providing sun protection, shades make an excellent prop for photographs.

Burying Bourbon

An outdoor ceremony may be gorgeous, but some risks accompany that decision. During the wedding planning phase, it’s impossible to know how the weather will be. While the day could be perfect, there’s also the risk of rain.

Southern brides and grooms have a tradition of warding off rain, which involves burying a bottle of bourbon. Every step in this tradition is vital:

  •   The container must be buried precisely one month, to the hour, before the ceremony.
  •   You must use real bourbon, of course.
  •   The bottle must be unopened and placed upside down in the ground.
  •   Once the service is over, the bride and groom can then dig up the bottle and share it with their guests.

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Cake Pulls

Cake pulls date back to the Victorian era. The tradition provides a fun way for the bridesmaids, and other single women at the wedding, to tell their futures. Ribbons are tied to charms that are then baked into the bottom layer of the wedding cake. Each member of the bridal party grabs a ribbon and pulls.

The charms each have their special meaning and are supposed to tell the bridesmaid, or single wedding guest, what her future holds:

  •  Heart: soon to find love
  •  Four-leaf clover: good luck
  •  Anchor: adventure is coming
  •  Rocker: long life
  •  High chair: children are in the future
  •  Ring: soon to be engaged
  •  Crawfish: a treat-filled life

Creative Groom’s Cakes

When it comes to wedding cakes, elegance is a bit of an understatement. A bride can spend hours choosing the perfect cake to serve as the centerpiece for her wedding reception. 

Along with the wedding cake, there’s also the groom’s cake. While these cakes aren’t only found in the South, they are a Southern tradition. With a groom’s cake, the bride gets to surprise her new husband with a good representation of his personality, talents, hobbies, or interests. 

Unlike the wedding cake, the groom’s cake is meant to be a gift to the bride’s new husband. It may be presented at the reception, beforehand, or even after.

Bridal Luncheons

Wedding planning can be hectic. The bride has a lot on her plate. While she may have chosen her closest friends to be her bridesmaids, she doesn’t typically get much time to spend with them. 

A bridal luncheon gives the bride a much-needed opportunity to spend quality time with her bridesmaids, family, and friends before the wedding. The luncheon typically takes place the day before the ceremony and gives everyone a chance to relax. The bride may also use the gathering as a chance to gift each of her bridesmaids a personalized token of her appreciation.

Carrying a Family Heirloom

The saying “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” isn’t exclusive to the South. Brides all across the US follow this tradition. The “something borrowed” has special meaning for Southern brides, though. 

The borrowed item Southern brides use is generally a family heirloom. It’s been passed down for generations it gives the bride a sense of connection to her past as she begins her new life with her husband. Part of your wedding planning involves choosing a theme. Considering a Southern-style ceremony, it’s only natural to incorporate some Southern traditions. The traditions are meaningful, but they’ll also help make your special day all the more memorable.

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