Having grown up all over America, I have had the opportunity to see all sort of different traditions. I must say, it is truly amazing how culturally diverse the United States is.
For many years, I lived in the South. Needless to say, they do things different there, even when it comes to weddings. Southern wedding traditions are some of my favorites, as they truly bring personality to the table.
The groom’s cake is an example of this: The groom’s cake was originally a fruitcake, placed beside the bride’s cake, and later cut and boxed for the guests to take home. There was a superstition that the women who slept with a slice of the groom’s cake under her pillow would dream of her future husband. Nowadays, the groom gets to have complete say over this part of the wedding day. The groom’s cakes can be any type of cake (although traditionally they have been chocolate or red velvet cake), and are often shaped to highlight the groom’s lifestyle. If he’s a bowler, it might be a bowling ball; a fisher would maybe have a cake of a lake with a boat in it or a bass; a policeman could have a badge…You get the idea!
Following tradition is an important custom of the South. It is vital for Southern brides’ families to follow traditions – whether that be the traditions of the family, or of the South itself. Southern weddings are generally very traditional, and rules of etiquette are strictly adhered to. Church ceremonies are a part of the tradition, and are often followed by outdoor celebrations.
The bride, often the bridesmaids, and even sometimes the groom and his entourage can be seen wearing gloves; the ladies will often don hats as well. You can expect the scent of magnolias, gardenia and freesia to be incorporated into the florals, especially the bouquets and boutonnieres.
The father, of course, gives away the bride; in the absence of dad, a brother, uncle, or even brother-in-law would step in. This is the bride’s male figure endorsement, to all witnessing the ceremony, that the groom is the best choice for the bride. Don’t be surprised if you also see rice still being tossed on the bride and groom’s exit from the church.
All the trimmings of a reception are traditionally seen, including place cards, a formal dinner, the first dance, father-daughter dance, speeches by the best man and father of the bride, bouquet and garter toss, and many more customs worked into the day. One of the things folks in the South are often proud of is their baking, so it is not unusual to see a pastry or dessert made by a family member to compliment the cake.
All in all, Southern weddings tend to be over-the-top affairs. Guest lists can easily run into the hundreds. Small armies of bridesmaids and groomsmen are commonly encountered, so expect a Southern affair to be quite the drain on the pocketbook, unless you reign it in.
Oh, and any of you men marrying into a Southern family…. Don’t you dare forget to carry her over the threshold. It’s a tradition steeped deeply into the South and although your bride-to-be might not let you do it, you should at least give it a go!
For more information on Muse – A Wedding & Event Planning company based out of Portland, Oregon, visit www.eventmuse.biz. Thanks for stopping by!