Before you plot where you'll be burying the bourbon, read on.


The holiday season may be over, but if you're newly sporting some bling, a new spell is on the horizon: Wedding Planning Season. Before you're knee deep in cake testing, color boards, and bridal magazines (okay, too late on that one), consider making these resolutions that wedding planners wish every Southern bride would follow.

1. Always check the college football schedule before planning a fall wedding. We'll repeat that first word in caps: ALWAYS. "In the South, college football games can trump a wedding! Southern brides-to-be should check to see that their teams are playing away or have a bye that week," says Patti Hasting, a former Arkansas Razorbacks cheerleader and owner of P. Hasting Design in Georgia. "If you are locked into that date, why not provide a big screen at the reception for the football fans? They will love you even more!"

2. Be true to your internal pinterest board. Your childhood wedding dreams. Yourself. "Sometimes brides let the opinions of friends and family confuse their decision making process. Don't let your Southern hospitality get in the way of making the right decisions for YOUR (and your fiancé's) special day," says Jessica Sloane, a Nashville-based event designer and planner. "Make sure your planning efforts make sense to you (the couple) and that you're personalizing your event with what you both envision. This can certainly be done in conjunction with considering the guests experience...just don't lose sight of what's important!"

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3. If you're planning an outdoor wedding, have a backup location you love. Don't fool yourself about the weather here. "For brides-to-be planning an outdoor wedding ceremony the #1 resolution is: Have a backup plan. Here in the South, weather can be unpredictable pretty much anytime of the year, but most everyone knows during the warmer months an afternoon storm [or] shower is almost a guarantee," advises Myrtle Beach Wedding Officiant Eric W. Hunt. Even if it doesn't rain on your big day, the peace of mind you'll have from having a contingency plan—yes, rent that tent—is worth it.

4. Embrace your southern roots. "Hosting a Southern wedding encompasses everything that hosting guests at your southern home would," offers Wedding Managers Kellie Ryan and Caroline Grogan at Georgia's Sea Island Resort. Certainly a mantra worth repeating! "Your family and friends are expecting to experience gracious hospitality, and with that comes a little bit of entertainment, some fun and unique cocktails, and unexpected twists on amazing southern comfort food! Embrace your roots, and your style and personality will be felt through the all of details including décor, menu selections, and formalities and traditions."

5. And hold onto those Southern roots even if you're having a destination wedding. Just because you're headed to the Carribean or Colorado mountains doesn't mean you have to leave out flourishes that honor your home state. "It's important to communicate with your wedding planner to let them know what Southern traditions that you want incorporated into your wedding," says Stephanie Brown, owner of Off The Beaten Path Weddings. "It could be a specific welcome drink, your grandma's recipes that might not be part of a traditional wedding meal in other locales, or flowers that might not be native to the area. Not only will these touches be important to you, but also to your guests that are traveling from afar to share your special day."