Southern Wedding Traditions

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photo credit: Photography by Mandi White

 

While we are technically south of the Mason-Dixon line, D.C. might not seem like the hub of southern culture and tradition.  Rarely do you find born and bred natives (like me), and most locals would not identify themselves as Southerners.  D.C. residents are from all over the country and the world which makes for a very unique culture.  Should you be getting married in the D.C. area and want to include some Southern traditions as a nod your family’s background or just for the heck of it, I wanted to share with you some of the top Southern wedding traditions.

  • Stand in Bride- At the wedding rehearsal the bride will not walk down the aisle with her father but rather send a friend or bridesmaid (usually the maid of honor) in her place as it is considered bad luck for the bride herself to walk down the aisle at the rehearsal.
  • The Father of the Groom is typically the Best Man and the bride’s brothers serve as groomsmen.  The bride’s brothers being groomsmen is not too surprising but the Father of the Groom is not something you see every day in most parts of the country.
  • Groom’s cake- Why have one cake when you can have two?  A groom’s cake at the reception is an opportunity for the groom to show off his personality a little bit or pay homage to his favorite sports team or hobby.  They can range from tacky to classy and are catching on throughout the country.
  • Brides will often receive pearls from her mother as a gift, from the time the girl is seriously dating a boy as a hint to hurry things up (as I have first hand experience- Southern mamas are relentless) or at some point during the engagement or on her actual wedding day.
  • Monogramming- Not just for weddings, Southerners love to monogram everything.  One of my favorite bridesmaid gifts I’ve seen given is pink satin robes monogrammed with each bridesmaid’s initials that they wore while getting their hair and make done.  If you are going to be using your monogram on thank you notes for wedding presents, proper etiquette is to use your maiden name initials before the wedding and to not start using your married name initials until after the wedding (it’s considered bad luck).
  • Registering for silver and china was traditionally a huge part of getting married and coming of age for a southern lady.  This tradition is slowly becoming less and less prevalent as brides are getting married later in life and already have (mostly) fully stocked kitchens by the time they get married.  Formal entertaining where silver and china is required is not on the top of most couple’s wish lists.


For more Southern Wedding inspiration one of my favorite resources is Southern Weddings Magazine.  Whatever your culture or heritage, I always encourage brides to incorporate it into their big day!

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Julie Daniel is currently pursuing her Master's in Interior Design at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia and works as a consultant for area design firms.

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