For some reason growing up, I never considered Virginia to be a very "Southern" place. I always felt like we were kind of the middle ground between the North and South and were kind of a hybrid mix of both.
I started to read up on Southern wedding traditions and boy was I wrong. We are about as Southern as they come. It turns out that all of my favorite wedding traditions are uniquely Southern things. Who knew?
I love outdoor weddings. There is something so beautiful and peaceful about them. The Southern states usually have pretty great weather during the peak of wedding season. It might be a little on the hot side, but usually there are blue skies and plenty of sunshine.
I thought this was something everyone everywhere did. Nope. It's a Southern thing. Most Southern Brides have Bridal Portraits taken a few weeks before their wedding. It's a great time to see how your wedding dress, hair, makeup, and jewelry all come together. The cool thing about bridal portraits is that you can have them taken at different locations other than your wedding venue. Lots of Brides have their Bridal Portraits printed and on display throughout the wedding reception.
Wedding day tears are thought of as good luck. A crying bride meant that she would never shed another tear about her marriage. Some handkerchiefs are passed down from mother to daughter (this can count as your something old). Most brides + bridesmaids wrap a handkerchief around their bouquet in case they shed a few tears walking down the aisle.
I think just about every person who has been to a wedding in Virginia has noticed the signature drinks. A signature drink is when the Bride and Groom each choose a special cocktail to serve at the wedding. Usually these drinks are embellished with fresh fruit and cute straws or served in mason jars.
Since so many Southern Weddings take place outdoors, rain is a really big deal. In order to prevent it from raining on your wedding day, exactly one month from your wedding you are supposed to bury a full bottle of bourbon upside down at the spot you will be married. After the ceremony, the bride and groom dig up the bourbon and take a few swigs before heading to the reception.
Mason jars were trendy in the South before they were popular anywhere else. When you attend any sort of Southern Wedding, expect to see LOTS of mason jars. They serve as centerpieces, vases, glasses, and all sorts of other things. Mason jars add that extra element of Southern charm.
The Groom's cake is a really fun Southern tradition. Since so much of the wedding usually reflects the Bride's taste, the Groom's cake is all about the Groom. The Bride is supposed to have a custom cake made for the rehearsal dinner that reflects some element about the Groom's personality. Usually these cakes are really elaborate. I had a cake made into the shape of a camera for David's Groom's Cake.
Southern food is awesome and you can expect to see a lot of it at a Virginia wedding. Fresh homemade biscuits, mac & cheese, shrimp & grits, you name it. One of my very favorite thing we had at our wedding was sweet potato ham biscuits made by Cater 2 Events. They were out of this world. Who doesn't love comfort food?
Southerners still expect there to be a great deal of wedding etiquette on everything from addressing your wedding invitations to following these special traditions. We might not be prim and proper in our every day lives, but when it comes to a Southern wedding people still expect it to be treated with great respect.
The cake pull is usually reserved for bridesmaids, but can include anyone the bride chooses. Usually only unmarried ladies participate. The baker puts pewter charms in the cake attached to ribbons, which extend out of the lowest level of the cake. Before the bride and groom cut the cake, the chosen women each select a ribbon and pull out their charm. Each charm has some sort of meaning. For instance, the hot air balloon can predict adventure and travel, while the butterfly can mean eternal beauty. Whoever pulls the ring charm is predicted to get married next.