You already know about the burying of the bourbon. But if you are not from the South, you might not know all there is to know about southern wedding traditions. Whether you are planning on getting married there or not, it’s worth your time to check out these unusual, beautiful, and time-honored traditions
Sure, the South didn’t invent outdoor weddings. But they certainly do it best. Pinterest is chock-full of images of brides and grooms saying their I-dos beneath beautiful, live oak trees, surrounded by the bright greenery you can only get in the US South. Now, you don’t have to be getting married in the South to have a luxurious outdoor wedding. Ask any friends you have in the South to ship you some Spanish moss (it’s everywhere down here, seriously) and use it in your bouquet or decor. Just make sure to clean it all up– it can be invasive. Or use a Southern, green palette for your decor. Choose a local barn for your reception place (they’re everywhere in the South) and pick a nice, beautiful tree to get married under. Voila! Southern wedding.
It’s not a secret that Southerners love whiskey– but they especially love bourbon. Make sure to do your research and check out all of our cocktail lists to find drinks that match your event– like our
- winter whiskey cocktail list,
- fall whiskey cocktails,
- warm bourbon cocktails
- pink whiskey wedding drinks
- easy whiskey cocktails
No matter what option you go with, you are bound to find something your guests will love– and want to make on their own for years after.
It seems like everyone does groom cakes these days, but the tradition comes from the American South! Back in the day, a groom’s cake was a good way for a bride to show her new husband not only that she could cook (or rather, bake). These days, groom cakes are a way for brides to either surprise their husbands with something they like– for instance, a fondant cake shaped like their favorite Marvel character– or a way to get them involved in (and excited about) helping with the wedding planning. Never fear, bad bakers– the expectation for the bride to make the groom cake has been left in the past! You’ll have too many other things on your mind.
Light-Colored or Linen Menswear
If you have never spent time in South during summer, whoowhee! It gets hot and muggy, and no one– NO ONE wants to be in a full, back tuxedo. Even a simple vest can cause you to sweat out all the alcohol you’re imbibing. Who wants that?
To combat this, Southern grooms often choose to wear light-colored or linen suits. Of course, the choice is up to you whether you’re getting married in the South or not. But try not to fall into the trap of thinking that tuxes are the only way. They’re not– and there are so many examples of beautiful, light-colored and light-weight menswear out there.
Bride’s Luncheon (with a Cake Ribbon Pull)
This tradition is pretty much exclusively Southern. Bridal showers are nice– but they often happen months before a wedding. Which is problematic when most of your family/friends live out of state. A Bride’s Luncheon helps fix that. It happens two or three days before the wedding proper, once out of town guests have arrived, and is pretty much exclusively for the women (although WhiskeyMade believes anyone can have their own wedding luncheon).
Friends and family gather (typically at someone’s house instead of a restaurant) to help the bride with any last-minute wedding chores, eat cake, and give advice.
And speaking of cake, some Bride’s Luncheons feature what’s called a Cake Ribbon Pull. You can find out how to make one here. Basically, the baker includes small, metal charms in the cake, with ribbons tied to them hanging out of the cake. Each unmarried woman takes a ribbon and pulls out their charm. Whatever they receive predicts their future: for instance, a pacifier charm might indicate they will have a lot of babies with their future spouse. A compass might indicate a foreign love, or a relationship full of adventure and travel. The tradition is so popular in the South (and in particular, New Orleans) that companies actually make pre-ribboned charms and sell them in sets you can buy online (like this shop, on Etsy).
This is not exactly what you’re thinking! A pounding party can happen right before the wedding, or months before, or even after the wedding. Family and friends show up at the newly-to-be-weds house and deliver the sort of items they might overlook while moving in together: staple foods like flour, sugar, and spices. Another excuse to party is always a good idea.
Whiskey Barrel Guestbooks
We already talked about how much Southerners love whiskey and bourbon, but did we talk about how much they love whiskey-related decor? Whiskey barrel guestbooks may be the new, ‘it-thing,’ but they’re so classy, they aren’t going anywhere.
“Another party?” you say. “Geez, these Southerners love to party!” But a house party is more like an extended bridal party. The bride and groom pick friends and family to have certain, specific jobs on the wedding day– like making sure the rings don’t go missing, helping out the caterers, making sure the guest book is signed, or greeting guests. This is a nice way to show friends and family you still want them to be a part of your big day– while not crowding the altar.
You are probably used to bridal portraits from weddings– where the bride is pulled aside during the reception to have her photo taken alone. But in the South? Bridal portraits are SERIOUS business. In fact, it’s not unusual for brides to do their hair, make-up, and put on all of their bridal regalias, then go get their photos taken. It’s a great idea if you are worried about missing most of your reception, or if you want to have pictures taken somewhere that isn’t your reception location.