Planning a Modern Southern Wedding
The quintessential Southern wedding—Gone With the Wind via Boxwish
Being in transplanted in the South, especially in Coastal Georgia, it is so nice to see the different traditions in place for weddings. Even those who are not from our area and come for destination weddings still want to include a southern tradition into their wedding ceremony or reception. With great locations like plantation houses, low country mansions or the regal playgrounds of the rich, like the Jekyll Club, there are so many places that can lend themselves to create a nostalgic event experience. Moreover, you could allow them to continue to influence the flow and concept of the rest of the event. Get inspired by the grounds, decor colors, etc. and tie them in with your invitations, linens and other parts of your wedding
But what if you want to kick it up a notch? What if you want glitz and tradition, or contemporary design and classic heritage? Let’s look at a few well-known traditions and see how we can have “you” written all over it.
Groom’s Cake—This was once only a southern tradition but has spread across the country as another way to include the groom and his personality (like the one above). Any excuse for more cake works for me. Southern brides would “gift” their grooms with a single layer cake at the wedding. The grooms cake is typically chocolate or frosted chocolate, but as you can see, it has gone into a work of art itself. While the wedding cake has been for the bride (in an unspoken understanding), the groom has an opportunity to represent during the wedding. It is not restricted to being chocolate either—designs vary from different cake flavors to cupcakes and even fondant covered rice krispy treats! Surprise him by making it something that reflects his interests and present it at the rehearsal dinner or at a scheduled time during the wedding. See the Top 5 Groomscakes of 2008 at Pink Cake Box.
Liquid Refreshment—Sweet Iced Tea (seen here from Southern Living) is a staple here in Georgia. It makes it appearance at every meal,so be sure to include it in your wedding, along with other Southern fail safes: lemonade, mint juleps, bourbon and whiskey. We previously talked about Southern Cocktails and Signature Drinks and making them more modern. What other things can you add? Try changing up the way you present them: opt for lucite trays, oddly shaped glasses or even mason jars, as well as “props”. For example, add a magnolia or gardenia bloom to the trays of passed drinks. If you want to go for a non-alcoholic bar for your southern wedding, offer sweet tea, lemonade, Arnold Palmers (a mixture of the two) and dress them up—rim the glasses for your drinks with colored sugar. Or really spice things up by adding different flavors like mango, strawberry or blueberry. Peach is a hit in Georgia (go figure!). Include lots of fresh fruit as garnish.
All in the family—Believe it or not, it was once tradition for members of the family to bring a “covered dish” to the wedding. While you don’t want to necessarily go pot luck for your wedding, you can add an interesting twist. Prior to your wedding, ask all bridal shower guests to send in or bring their favorite recipes and a picture of themselves. Have a family member compile them all and put them in a photobook from places like Blurb or PhotoWorks, as a gift to you and your new husband. This family cookbook will be a great heirloom filled with the loving memories and aromas of kitchens past. If you or your fiance have a special dish that your parents, grandparents or other family members make, give it to your caterer! See how they can create a more modern version with killer presentation.
When in Rome… Another great way to tie in your Southern location is to share the experience with your guests. A great way to do this is through your favors. If you are opting for a candy bar, check out southern favorites like pralines, toffees, caramels, brittles, etc. Don’t forget to add your pecans and peanuts if you’d like to add a twist. Southern Candymakers is a great resource! Another idea for favors is to incorporate your Southern wedding location. For example, if you are having your wedding in Georgia, offer personalized peach preserves (like those featured above from Dewey’s) as a favor or personalized hot sauce for Louisiana weddings and painted Valencia oranges for those in Florida.
Other great modern resources for your wedding in the South are Southern Weddings—the blog is full of inspirational pictures and ideas of weddings in the South. Also check out the queen of weddings in the South as well: Tara Guerard, and her book, Southern Weddings: New Looks from the Old South. Remember, two of the greatest Southern wedding traditions are grace and family. Be a good hostess for your guests and work creatively and fervently to bring your two families together.