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Southern Bride: Top 8 Southern Wedding Traditions

Updated on November 2, 2014

As a Southerner living in the “Great White North” (Canada), I try to keep some parts of my heritage with me. I always find it fun to introduce my partner to the Southern way of life. Sweet tea, boiled peanuts, macaroni pie… so far it’s all been a hit. You can take the girl out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the girl. The same goes true when it comes to the “big day”.

There are just some things that can’t be compromised on. That said here are the top eight Southern wedding traditions that should be kept in mind if you are walking down the aisle with a true Southern Belle.

Signature Drinks

What to serve at a cocktail hour or reception? Southern brides and grooms tend to stick with Southern tradition and choose a signature drink that reflects their personal tastes and/or wedding colors. The signature drink at your Southern wedding can be something simple like sweet tea, bourbon, or Crown Royal and coke to something much more detailed. Having a beach wedding? Tropical drinks fit nicely into this theme, but be sure to have some sweet tea or bourbon set out to give a Southern flair to your tropical wedding. Add a chalkboard sign on the bar displaying the name you choose for your drink proudly so your wedding guests are encouraged to order the special treat.

Oyster Bar
Oyster Bar | Source

Southern Cuisine

Southern tradition means serving up dishes that are filling and comforting at the same time. For many Southern Belles (okay, most all), the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and the way you express your affection to the people you love is by feeding them foods filled with love; made from scratch buttermilk biscuits, macaroni and cheese pie, to some delicious Southern fried chicken. Your wedding day should be no exception to this rule. You are inviting all these people that you love to share this special day with you so why not use Southern tradition and charm to treat them to something nice?

There are many different things Southern brides can do to make their wedding day extra special and adding Southern cuisine such as Carolina BBQ, Low Country foods such as shrimp & grits, and more. Check out Southern Food for a Low Country Wedding in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head & Isle of Palms for more! Oh, and don’t forget the buffet style reception.

Copyright Paint the Day Designs | Do Not Redistribute
Copyright Paint the Day Designs | Do Not Redistribute | Source

Mason Jars

These nifty jars are not just for drinking sweet tea out of anymore. Southern brides can fill them with jam, pickled cucumbers, candies and chocolate to create a special wedding favor for guest to take home. Mason jars can be used as centerpieces by putting flowers in them and tying an organza ribbon that matches your wedding colors around them. Southern brides even find ways to light their wedding by filling Mason jars with colored or clear Christmas lights and putting them on the ground or table. Eco-friendly and reusable, you can cover many areas of your Southern wedding with Mason jars and not break the bank. You can even dye the Mason jar to save even more money tracking down the hard to find, expensive jars. Stay tuned for a tutorial on how to do just that.

Mason Jar with Flowers
Mason Jar with Flowers | Source

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Bridal Portraits

Yes, this is a tradition that many brides partake in, but bridal portraits are especially important to Southern brides.

Years ago having a photographer at a wedding was pretty much unheard of, so how did Southern brides keep the memory?

Bridal portraits are a lovely keepsake for parents, grandparents and the married couple that can hang in the home for many years.

Display your bridal portrait at your wedding reception for all your beloved wedding guests to see.

Deer Groom Cake
Deer Groom Cake | Source
Bridal Parasols
Bridal Parasols | Source

Groom’s Cake

Traditionally, the groom’s cake was a gift from the bride to the groom. Nowadays Southern brides are taking it up a notch by getting them themed to their husband-to-be’s personal tastes. Video game themed wedding cakes such as ones that feature World of Warcraft, Halo, Super Mario Brothers, etc. are very popular. There are sports themed cakes that feature the groom’s favorite team’s colors or logo. In the south you are bound to see a sports cake, or even fishing and hunting themed wedding cakes!


Southern brides get to proudly display their new initials in a unique way through a monogram. Monogram napkins, attendant gifts, bridal apparel and more can feature a special monogram that represents the new couple. Brides all over the world are getting into the monogram spirit, but monograms are definitely a Southern bride’s special touch. Visit online venues like Etsy and Ebay to find vendors who can make you a special item with your new monogram displayed on it.


I can’t say this is a Southern tradition I have taken part in. Southern brides who stick to an elegant affair that takes you to the tea party style can be accented perfectly by lace parasols. Replace bridesmaid’s bouquets with colored parasols to protect them from the Carolina sun. Perfect for bridal portraits!

Outdoor Ceremony

Not having an outdoor wedding in areas like Charleston, Myrtle Beach or Hilton Head would be a huge waste. Southern brides do face a dilemma when choosing an outdoor vs. church ceremony due to the fact that many Southern brides have a strong religious upbringing. A good way to look past the outdoor vs. church ceremony debate is to think of an outdoor wedding putting no roof between you and heaven. Either way, areas like the Carolinas offer amazing places to have an outdoor wedding.

A beach wedding in Charleston with your toes nestled in the sand, staring at the big blue ocean would be perfect if you want something more laid back. If you are into fairytale weddings then the garden weddings a Southern plantation next to a massive willow tree can provide is perfect for you; follow the ceremony up with a low country reception in an elegantly decorated Southern plantation home afterward.

Willow trees, the sounds of crickets and tree frogs, and Spanish moss covered Charleston live oaks can make for beautiful backdrops to your Southern wedding ceremony – even Japanese kudzu that overtakes everything can be nice if you string some colored Christmas lights with the vines. It is hard to say no to an outdoor wedding venue in Charleston, Myrtle Beach or Savannah.


In the End

In the end it is all about southern belles and what they want.

Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta features many southern brides who are strong in their family routes and southern traditions.

The video below previews just a few highlights of what it's like to marry a southern bride (and her southern family!) and taking in the traditions that go along with it.

In the end... it's all about Southern Belles

(c) 2013 Paint the Day | All Rights Reserved | Do Not ReDistribute
(c) 2013 Paint the Day | All Rights Reserved | Do Not ReDistribute | Source


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