Southern destination weddings are the outdoor lover’s dream, and the best of them feel like a honeymoon with family and friends before the honeymoon for the bride and groom. For you and your intended, the days before your wedding will be filled with flirty afternoons in paddle boats, how-we-met tales by the firepit, and lakeside “I do’s” among family and friends.
For your family and friends, southern destination weddings are a whirlwind of fun activities punctuated by peals of laughter and a lot of southern charm. In short, these events are all about bringing people together who are connected by the bonds of love most ideally expressed by “I do’s” under a tent of stars.
Choosing Your Venue: Planning Your Destination Wedding
Many couples don’t fully understand the value of finding their wedding venue in Alabama before making decisions about the caterer, the photographer, and other wedding details. For example, many wedding venues don’t allow off-site catering; it all needs to be done in-house in many places.
But there’s more to finding a venue for your wedding in Alabama than trying to avoid a list of can’t-do’s. One of the reasons why soon-to-be-marrieds gravitate toward southern destination weddings is because of all the things they can do.
Many venues offer wedding packages that help the couple plan wedding activities that appeal to various tastes. They also have contacts in the wedding industry that can provide the couple discounts on services like photography or wedding DJing. Once you choose your venue, you can and should inquire about onsite photography, catering, and more as part of the wedding package.
And most importantly, couples who are planning a southern destination wedding will want to choose a venue that can house all the guests for the duration of the wedding activities and celebrations.
Now that we’ve addressed that general issues let’s look at the different advantages each season offers a couple when deciding on the location for their southern destination wedding.
The Benefits Of Weddings In The South Throughout the Year
Since destination weddings are held year-round, it’s essential to know what benefits each season offers you and your guests. Knowing this information makes it easier to plan the rest of the wedding, including photography, catering, and the like.
Below, you’ll find a snapshot of each season’s benefits. The list should help you decide which season would be best for your destination wedding plans.
Destination Weddings In Summer
During the summer, outdoor living is in full swing in the South. The porch replaces the living room as the meeting place of choice, and as expected, the outdoor lovers’ wedding activities rule the day. The warm southern sun infuses these nuptial shindigs with warm hospitality and plenty of time for outdoor sports, experiences, and chats among old and new friends.
In the off-hours leading up to the wedding, it’s not unusual to hear the clang of horseshoes in the yard, and sporting clays in the air as the groom and crew blow off some steam. As for the ladies of the bridal party, old-fashioned sweet tea on the porch and big floppy hats make an appearance as brides and bridesmaids get caught up with friends and family who’ve come from afar.
For the guests of these destination weddings, rounds of golf or even an afternoon off-site to catch a Baron’s game is all in a day’s play at a southern destination wedding.
In between all this, wedding menu planners cook up ideas for an outdoor barbecue celebration that would make James Beard proud. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that the food at a southern wedding shares top billing with the bride and groom, and summertime food overflowing with the flavors of the South is one of the best reasons to hold an outdoor summer wedding.
Best Outdoor Wedding Activities for a Summer Wedding
- Biking and hiking
- Bocce or croquet
- Swimming and river floating
- Barbecuing and cookouts
Destination Weddings In Fall
Fall wedding activities in the South feature hayrides, pumpkin patches, apple orchards bursting with the fruits of the season, and the brilliant colors of fall. Flower girls and ring bearers have been known to plop themselves down into piles of leaves and get lost for a while, only to emerge from their leafy forts out of breath with laughter.
From a wedding photography standpoint, it’s hard to beat southern destination weddings. The natural beauty of the lush landscapes that dominate the South makes a stunning photo backdrop. Think of photos of brides and grooms sitting on bundled haybales, proposals in the frosted mists of the golf course, and father and daughter dancing underneath barn rafters, and you understand the power of fall weddings in the South.
Best Outdoor Wedding Activities for a Fall Wedding
- Horseback riding
- UTV touring
- Golf course history tours
- Corn mazes, pumpkin patch visits, hayrides
Destination Weddings In Spring
Southern weddings in the spring come with many of the same advantages as the fall weddings but with a different color palette. The reds, golds, and browns of fall disappear, only to be replaced by delicate purple, pink, and yellow florals. The return of the warm air captures the scents of spring, causing them to linger in the air and the memory.
Downtime spring wedding activities center around yoga and wellness, horseback rides through fairy tale landscapes, and fly fishing. Long walks or bike rides in the spring-scented air also count as popular activities and photo ops for onsite wedding photographers.
Afternoon weddings are a favorite during the spring months. People long to be outside after a long winter, and casual afternoon tea weddings, with light sandwiches and an assortment of teas, are popular. These low-key weddings give people the chance to bask in the sun and take in the scents of the blossoming flowers without the pressure to do too much.
Best Outdoor Wedding Activities for a Spring Wedding
- Nature walks and flower gathering
- Photography or urban sketching
- Outdoor yoga
- Biking and nature walks
- Tea parties on the lawn
- Off-site activities include afternoons at minor league baseball games, wine at a jazz bar, or guided history tours.
Destination Weddings In Winter
Winter destination weddings in the South may not mean snow, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had. Adding winter activities to a destination wedding creates a sublime experience. Further, cooler temperatures encourage you to provide your winter wedding guests with an opportunity to mix activities, meaning that it’s perfectly fine to include both indoor and outdoor activities for your guests to try.
Best Outdoor Wedding Activities for a Winter Wedding
- S’mores and hot cocoa at the Fire Pit
- Christmas Movies at the Alabama Theatre
- Driving around to look at Christmas lights
- Trips to the Christmas markets (Never forget that Alabama made Christmas a legal holiday before any other state in the US did.)
Best Indoor Wedding Activities for a Winter Wedding
- Paint and sip nights
- Board game nights
- Live portrait painting (where an artist paints the couple as part of the wedding entertainment)
Final Thoughts For Planning Weddings In Each Season
By their nature, many destination weddings are outdoor lovers’ weddings. They include wedding activities that get the soon-to-be-marrieds outside playing with their friends and family. They’re also incredibly intimate affairs. Only those closest to the couple get an exclusive pass into this sacred event.
And if we can say so ourselves, destination weddings in the South are the best because they mix great food, southern hospitality, and an abundance of love that just seems to sprout up from the ground here like spring flowers.
Naturally, we especially love weddings in Alabama. It has been home to our family for generations, and we’re honored to share your wedding day with you. It’s the day that you create your own family.
Contact us today to get a proposal for your destination wedding at Pursell Farms.
Cover photo by T2 Photography