The recipe for a great wedding usually includes one excited couple, lots of loved ones, and an “I do” (sealed with a kiss). And like many recipes that we Southerners have tweaked, this one has a few ingredients added to make it our own. For some, it’s a dash of seersucker, for others it’s a pinch of monogrammed goodies or a whole bottle of bourbon—buried in the ground. Other than soul food, our enviable weather, and reception full of syrupy drawls, here are our favorite things that’ll you’ll only find at a Southern wedding.
10 is a very lucky number. A wedding party with 10 bridesmaids is pretty standard. There are the bride’s grad school friends, sorority sisters, college roommates, high school teammates, 1st cousins (and 2nd cousins), sisters-in-law to-be, and, heck, her best kindergarten playmate—all of whom she’d never leave out and risk hurting feelings!
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We're all for a ‘house party.” When there are even more people the bride feels inclined to include in her big day, but doesn’t want to have a giant wedding party, that’s when the “house party” (or having all the ladies in coordinating dresses, but not standing at the altar) comes into play. Even our editor-at-large, Jenna Bush Hager, had adopted this smart idea to include all of her besties.
Groom trades his tux for seersucker. Traditionally, the grooms and groomsmen wear the most formal of menswear—a tuxedo—for a wedding ceremony. Down South, though, many have lightened up a little on the wardrobe. With outdoor weddings in the sweltering heat of summer, it’s only natural that seersucker—a fabric developed to combat New Orleans humidity—would make an appearance.
Bride and groom can be found burying a bottle of bourbon in the ground. A tradition from Southern folklore that promises to bring great weather on your wedding day, “Burying the bourbon,” requires that you bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down at your wedding site on the kind of day you’d like to see during your nuptials.
Wedding celebration starts with a parade—a second line parade. In a city where the police department has a division dedicated to solely to parades, it makes sense that one of the most popular wedding traditions in New Orleans is the second line parade. Behind the first line—made up of brass musicians, and sometimes even a Grand Marshall to energetically lead the newlywed couple, wedding party and guests—the second line is full of dancing, singing, and handkerchief flinging all the way to the reception.
Nothing can interfere with game day. Not even your Big Day. As we all know, when it comes to college football, Southerner’s don’t play around—game day is a very serious matter. And if a couple makes the ill-advised decision to have their wedding during football season, or even worse chooses the day of a crucial match-up to say “I do,” they better be prepared to give the rabid football fans among the guest list (and we are willing to bet there are quite a few), what they want—a big screen with the game. And who knows, you might just hear the bride and groom belting out battle cries!
Monograms are mandatory. While it’s bad luck for the bride to monogram her new married initials onto anything before the wedding day by the standards of superstition, it’s perfectly acceptable for her to monogram everyone else's. We’ve seen the wedding party sporting everything from hankies, to bow ties, to pocket squares with their respective monograms stitched in the wedding’s color scheme.
Single ladies pull their fate out of the cake. For a couple who wants include the single gals in something that requires less athleticism than diving for a bouquet, the popular tradition of the cake pull is like a more fun version of cracking open a fortune cookie. With a variety of symbolic charms tied on the end of ribbons and baked into the bottom layer of the wedding cake, each single lady pulls a one to reveal her destiny. Pull a hot air balloon and you’re destined to live a life of adventure and travel. See the twinkling of a star charm and all your wishes will come true. And if you’re lucky enough to find a butterfly on the end or your ribbon, you can count on being forever beautiful.
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Cowboy boots are the bride’s best accessory. The farther South you travel, the more likely you’ll be to find brides trading Louboutin pumps for Lucchese boots. When you’re married on a farm, it only makes sense to sport the proper footwear.