The Charlottesville Wedding Blog

Wedding Traditions

Top Ten Southern Wedding Traditions

Top Ten Southern Wedding Traditions

The South is steeped in elegance, beauty, and grace, but most importantly—the part your grandmother will never let you forget about—tradition. It should come as no surprise that a truly Southern wedding is one that honors all of these things and sets a tone for the couple to continue to honor the past while celebrating the future. Although there are so many to choose from, here are Borrowed & Blue's Top 10 New Southern Wedding Traditions.

1. Outdoor Weddings

It's hard to say no to an outdoor wedding in Charleston. From garden weddings to ceremonies on the lawn of beautiful Southern plantation homes, many in the South cannot resist the wedding tradition of celebrating marriage in the great outdoors, even if that means hot summer nights & threats of rain. Charleston's live oaks, covered in Spanish moss, are to die for, and, no doubt, one of the biggest draws for destination brides to be married in one of the many outdoor wedding venues in Charleston.

2. Bury the Bourbon Bottle

Probably because so many Southern brides dream of an outdoor wedding in Charleston, & so of course fear of it being ruined, this Southern tradition is still going strong & is no doubt, hands-down, my favorite Southern wedding tradition. Southern folklore says if you bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down (so "they" say, these details matter) at your wedding venue exactly one month before your wedding day, you will keep rain away. The co-founders of Borrowed & Blue did it before wedding day &, as you can see, they had bright & sunny skies despite the threat of a hurricane. It can't hurt to give it a try, & is an awesome event around which to center your engagement photos.

3. Parasols

Again, because of the hot-hot Charleston sun, many brides-to-be choose picture-perfect & oh-so-chic parasols for them & their bridesmaids to carry down the aisle. We love every second of this Southern tradition.

4. Southern-style beverages

Southern brides love to honor their heritage, & the quintessential beverages of the South are the great way to do so. From mint juleps & neat bourbon to sweet tea & Coca-Cola, there's a Southern beverage to quench the thirst of young & old wedding guests alike.

5. Groom's Cakes

A groom's cake is a gift from the bride to her groom & is meant to showcase his talents, interest, or hobbies. It presents an opportunity for the bride to get creative & really WOW her groom. Since so much of the wedding is about the bride & her style, this is a great way to honor the most important man in the room. Charleston's wedding cake designers create insanely incredible groom's cakes… I have no idea how they do it.

6. Bridal Portraits

Bridal portraits are a big deal here in the South. Back in the d-a-y, it was extremely rare to have a photographer at the wedding, so the bridal portrait was really all you had to remember the beautiful bride on that very special day. Traditionally, Southern parents-of-the-bride display the portrait in their homes, and today, they're still elegantly framed & put on prominent display at the wedding reception for each & every guest to see. These make such a keepsake; even if you don't have it mounted over the fireplace, they're wonderful to have for years to come.

7. Light-colored Menswear

Is it any surprise that so many of the South's most time-honored wedding traditions have something to do it with beating the Southern heat? It's just too darn hot down here to force your men in stuffy tuxes, which is just fine with us. We love our dapper dudes in casual tan & light grey suits, & I expect they're pretty grateful as well.

8. Pearls

What is a Southern bride without her pearls? From a bride's ears, necks, & wrists, to her wedding cake & decorations, we just can't get enough. After all, Charleston is oyster country, right?

9. Southern cuisine

Serving sumptuous food has always been a Southern tradition & your wedding day is no exception - as a matter of fact, it's the highlight. (Don't think so? Ask Meemaw.) Your guests will certainly be thankful when you treat them to some of the best of lowcountry fare. With shrimp & grits, Carolina BBQ, oyster roasts, mac & cheese, and more, who could complain about your wedding menu? Charleston's best caterers ensure you serve it up right. Oh, and of course - Southern brides usually like to serve dinner buffet-style, to ensure that the party never stops & guests are always mingling.

10. Mason jars galore

We love how innovative our Southern brides get with these simple decorations & hope this wedding trend never dies (at least, I do). Whether you use them as painted vases, hang them from Charleston's Iive oaks with candles inside, or serve your signature drink inside them, these always set a perfect tone for your Southern wedding.

Thanks so much to the following Charleston wedding photographers for these incredible photos of Real Weddings at Magnolia Plantation: Juliet Elizabeth, King Street Photo Weddings, Richard Bell Photography, Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay, Diane Deaver Weddings, Jeanne Mitchum Photography & Shannon Michele Photography.

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