Top 10 Southern Wedding Traditions

The South is steeped in elegance, beauty, grace, and—the part your grandmother will never let you forget about—tradition. Here are popular southern wedding traditions.

By Kate Lynn Nemett

The South is steeped in elegance, beauty, grace, and—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 reflects all of these things and allows a couple to honor the past while celebrating the future. Although there are so many to choose from, here are some of our favorite new-old Southern wedding traditions.

1. Outdoor Weddings

It’s hard to say no to an outdoor wedding below the Mason-Dixon line. From garden weddings to ceremonies on the lawns of beautiful estates, many couples uphold the Southern wedding tradition of celebrating marriage in the great outdoors, even if that means hot summer nights and threats of rain. The Spanish moss-covered live oaks dotting cities like Charleston and Savannah are not only to die for, but are undoubtedly one of the biggest draws for couples when choosing an outdoor Southern wedding venue.



2. Bury the Bourbon Bottle

Probably because so many Southern couples dream of an outdoor wedding, and so of course fear that it may be ruined by weather, this Southern wedding tradition is still going strong. Southern folklore says if you bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down at your wedding venue exactly one month before your wedding day, you will keep rain away. Although this tradition is a bit of a head-scratcher, it can’t hurt to give it a try… and makes for interesting engagement photos.


Photo Credit || Jen Fariello Photography

3. Parasols

Again, because of the hot-hot Southern sun, many brides opt for uber-feminine parasols for themselves and their bridesmaids to cary down the aisle. Bonus: this Southern wedding tradition provides many opportunities for cute photo compositions.



4. Southern-Style Beverages

Southern couples love to honor their heritage, and there’s no better way to do this at a wedding than by offering quintessential Southern beverages. From mint juleps and neat bourbon to sweet tea and Coca-Cola, there’s a Southern beverage to quench the thirst of young and old wedding guests alike.


Photo Credit || Jen Yuson Photography


5. Groom’s Cakes

Traditionally, a groom’s cake is a gift from the bride to her groom and is meant to showcase his talents, interest, or hobbies. It presents an opportunity for the bride to get creative and really “wow” her future husband. Cake designers can really show off their artistry through this sugar-sweet Southern wedding tradition.


Photo Credit || Amanda Mays Photography


Photo Credit || Jen Fariello Photography

6. Bridal Portraits

Bridal portraits are a big deal 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 what the bride looked like on that special day. Traditionally, Southern parents-of-the-bride display the portrait in their homes. This Southern wedding tradition makes a true keepsake, even if you don’t have it mounted over the fireplace.



Photo Credit || Kelly Ginn Photography

7. Light-Colored Menswear

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


Photo Credit || Sandi Rufo Photography


Photo Credit || Jason Hurst Photography

8. Pearls

What is a Southern bride without her pearls? From a bride’s ears, neck, and wrists, to her wedding cake, invitations, and bridesmaids’ attire, pearls rule when it comes to jewelry, and accessories in the heart of Dixie.


Photo Credit || Jeannemarie Photography


Photo Credit || Red Shutter Studio

9. Southern Cuisine

Serving sumptuous food has always been a Southern tradition, and your wedding day is no exception. Luckily for everyone, Southern fare makes for some of the most delicious and crowd-pleasing wedding menus. Shrimp and grits, pulled pork, roasted oysters, fried chicken, mac and cheese… who could complain? Southern couples usually like to serve dinner buffet-style, to ensure that the party never stops and guests are always mingling.


Photo Credit || Click Chick Photography


Photo Credit || Richard Bell Photography

10. Mason Jars Galore

We love how innovative our Southern couples get with these simple, upcycled decorations. Whether you use them as vases, hang them from trees as candle votives, or fill them with your signature cocktail, shabby chic décor has become a new Southern wedding tradition.



Photo Credit || Pictilio

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