Wedding Traditions in the South

Wedding Traditions in the South written by Rock Creek Event Coordinator, Kayleigh Clinkenbeard

                                                         PHOTO: Justine and Wayne Photography
​Below the Mason-Dixon Line, you will find traditions handed down from generation to generation. From learning Grandmother’s homemade apple pie recipe to blessing everyone’s heart, southerners have their irreplaceable ways of celebrating special occasions. Weddings, of course, are no different.

Southern wedding traditions are a key component when our couples are preparing for their Best Day Ever. If you are in the process of planning a southern-styled wedding, here are some traditions that you will love and may consider having on your big day.

                                                         PHOTO: Leslie Hollingsworth Photography
Burying Bourbon
One of the most well-known southern traditions is burying bourbon. According to many believers, if a bride and groom go to the site of their wedding day and bury a bottle of bourbon, it will not rain on their wedding day. It is not that simple though. The bottle of bourbon must be completely full, should be placed upside down and buried exactly one month, to the hour, from the big day. Furthermore, the bottle should be buried in close proximity of where the couple will say their vows, or so tradition says.

                                                                                     PHOTO: A Bryan Photo
​​Cake Pulls
Most monumental celebrations end with cake, especially in the south. One of the oldest traditions, dating back to over 75 years old, is the cake pull. During the bridal luncheon or wedding day, the bride will gather her single or eligible female friends around the cake. The cake will have various charms with ribbon tails inserted in the middle. Each friend will pick a ribbon tail and on the count of three the women pull a ribbon, exposing a charm. The charm is meant to signify the woman’s future.
Of course, each of the charms have their own special meaning. Below are a list of some examples and the significance of each charm:
  • Telephone – Good News is Coming
  • Anchor – Adventure is Coming
  • Heart – Soon to Find Love
  • Rocker – Long Life
  • High Chair – Children are in the Future
  • Four Leaf Clover – Good Luck
  • Ring – Next to be Married
  • Boot – You Will Travel Soon​
It's Good Luck to Wear Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue
This tradition isn’t exclusive to the South. Brides across the nation are known for incorporating these traditions. The “something borrowed,” though, tends to hold a special place in a Southern Bride’s heart. Something borrowed tends to be a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation. Most heirlooms come with heart-felt stories that leave the room speechless. We have seen brides wear their mom’s wedding gown, grandmother’s brooch, family jewelry and so much more. “Something borrowed” doesn’t have to mean something tangible. Borrowing a first dance song has been a more recent trend that I am sure will carry on for generations to come. It is a great way to show a couple(s) how much they have inspired you and mean to you.

Groom Cakes
Although the wedding cake is usually a stunning, jaw dropper, one of a kind cake - one of my favorite details of a wedding is the groom cake. The Groom’s cake can be traced back to the Victorian Era where there were actually three different cakes at a wedding – the bridesmaid’s cake which was served to her maids, the wedding cake which was served to guests and the groomsmen cake, which you guessed it, was served to the groomsmen. The future Mrs. has been known to design the groomsmen cake and it be a surprise for her Mr. to see on the wedding day. My favorite groom’s cake over the years are the ones that are picturesque and represent the groom.


                                                         PHOTO: Justine and Wayne Photography
First Looks
For decades, the bride would not see her groom until she walked down the aisle…We have started seeing a new tradition in the south where the Future Mr. and Mrs. will take a moment out of their day for a first look. This moment is a special time where the couple can pray together, share heart-felt words and calm each other’s nerves as they are about to embark on their new journey as one. Often times when I witness a first look, it seems as though time stands still. The joyful smiles, contagious laughter, teary-eyes and moments of peace are all captured in that moment. This newer southern tradition is definitely becoming one of my favorites.
Until Next Time,
Kayleigh Clinkenbeard