Sweet-smelling flowers. Rich, flavorful cake. Breath-taking atmosphere. The perfect white gown. And tear-jerking vows. This is a southern wedding.
After graduation I plan to become a wedding planner. Recently I’ve been searching for internships where I can learn all the in’s and out’s of the event planning industry.
I discovered that everyone has their own personal wedding style. Some like formal, black-tie ceremonies at museums of modern art. While others prefer outdoor ceremonies under a big oak tree at a ranch.
I feel like it is important, as a wedding planner, to be able to adapt your taste to fit that of your client.
But I can’t. Because my heart fully belongs to one style, and one style alone: southern weddings.
They’ve taken over my life and they’ve taken over my world. I read magazines about southern weddings. I browse blogs about southern weddings. I pin pictures of southern weddings. I make collages of southern weddings. And after I graduate, I will plan southern weddings.
I feel like I’ve actually learned a lot about them over the past four years of my obsession. So it is to the tune of “Here Comes the Bride” that I present the 12 tips to create a southern wedding.
1. The Bride
She’s polished. She’s classy. She looks like she belongs on top of a cake. She’s just that perfect. One of the most important things to a southern bride is her wedding dress. If the sleeves aren’t too hideously poofy, some brides will choose to wear their mother’s wedding dress. While others will opt for lacy designs, Cinderella skirts, or open backs. Southern brides tend to keep their dresses modest and as elegant as they are.
2. The Groom
It can be easy to get caught up in all the details while planning a wedding, but it’s important not to forget about the groom. After all, if it wasn’t for him, there wouldn’t be a wedding at all! Casual southern grooms usually wear lighter suits in colors like tan or gray. Bow ties tie in a little bit of cuteness to a handsome groom. Pinning boutonnieres can be difficult but if you can figure out how to pin a tuft of cotton onto your husband-to-be, you won’t regret it.
3. The Bridal Party
Also known as all your closest friends! These people are important. Choose wisely. Remember you’re going to be spending the next several months working closely with them. There is no set number of bridesmaids or groomsmen to have in a wedding, but it’s safe to aim for around four or five. Don’t forget to ask the toddlers to be the flower girl and ring bearer! As for attire, current brides are fans of mixing and matching. Having your girls wear the same exact dress is a little outdated, don’t ya think?
4. The Invitations
These few pieces of paper set the mood for your wedding. If you have cute invitations, your guests will expect a cute wedding. If you have formal invitations, your guests will expect a formal wedding. It’s the first thing people see and it forms their opinions about your big day. How could anyone regretfully decline to attend your wedding when your invitations look like this? But if you’re going to go all out with the stationary, make sure your ceremony and reception deliver as well!
5. The Ceremony
For most southern parents, the church is what defines the wedding. It’s the most sacred part. There are lots of options from huge cathedrals with high ceilings and stained glass windows to small chapels with creaky wooden floors and lots of natural light. My favorite is the chapel. I feel like it captures the beauty, simplicity, and history of the South.
6. The Ring
This little item is what starts the wedding festivities! After he proposes, your engagement ring will become your new favorite accessory. From this point on make sure you always have clean or polished nails. They’re going to be the stars of a lot of upcoming pictures. Trending styles come and go but nothing is more meaningful than a family heirloom ring. Today’s most popular style for southern brides is a square cut diamond with small diamonds surrounding it.
7. The Bouquet
So many options! With hundreds of different flowers blooming each season, it can be hard to choose which flowers you want in your bouquet. Florists can come in handy and come up with a few designs that they think would look best. For longer lasting bouquets choose flowers that are currently in season. Southern belles tend to opt for colorful wildflower bouquets!
8. The Traditions
The South was built on tradition. And southern weddings are nothing short of that. Technically grooms are not supposed to see their brides on the day of the wedding until she walks down the aisle. But many couples still want pictures together before the ceremony. So photographers have come up with a solution. The picture above is a perfect example. The bride and groom are on different sides of the house so they can’t see each other!
9. Something Blue
Something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new. This is another tradition that brides are encouraged to include in their wedding. And they’re getting creative! This bride stitched the date of her wedding onto the hem of her dress. By using blue thread, she counts this as her something blue!
10. The Reception
After the vows are said and the tears are shed, it’s time to celebrate! After all, that is why you invited all your friends and family. I think that the most beautiful southern wedding receptions are held in old, rustic barns and have an elegant feel. Lights can really break or make the atmosphere of your reception. Bulbs strung across the ceiling give off a warm glow that will last all through the night.
11. The Entertainment
Southerners love their yard games. And weddings have become a perfect opportunity to initiate a little competition. Having your reception on a ranch or field? Set aside an area for bocce ball, croquet, ladder ball, horse shoes, or cornhole! It’s fun for the adults and the kids. Personalize your equipment with your new couple monogram and the color palette of your wedding.
12. The Cake
Mmmm, who doesn’t love wedding cake? It seems to have its own distinct taste from other kinds of cake no matter what flavor it is. Throughout history southern brides used to favor tall, white, ten-layer cakes. And while these cakes are beautiful, they aren’t very conventional for actually eating. Today southern brides look for a few smaller cakes with colorful designs and innovative floral decor. After the cake is cut and the smiling mouths are fed, it’s important for the bride and groom to sit back and relax knowing that this is the first day of the rest of their lives together.