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The Best Southern Wedding Traditions

If you consider yourselves a southern couple and want to highlight these special aspects of your relationship, this is the article for you!

The Best Southern Wedding Traditions by Joy Photo and Video

Here are ten of the best southern wedding traditions that you aren’t going to want to miss.


Traditions for Southern Couples Before the Wedding


Host a bridal brunch: A bridal brunch is held the weekend of the wedding (and often the day before.) It’s supposed to be a special time to honor the bride before her wedding day and help her to feel surrounded by strong women. This is a great time to share marriage advice and begin to talk through the details that she’s looking most forward to on the day of. This isn’t a typical bridal shower because that often involves a gift exchange and is held much earlier. In this case, this is when the bride also has a chance to honor the women in her life. This is a good time for her to give the bridal party gifts as well, so that it’s one less thing to worry about. (Plus, if it involves something that will be used or worn on the wedding day like a robe to get ready in, then it will come in handy to give this beforehand.)

Southern wedding tradition: Bridal portraits

Take bridal portraits: This is an extra photoshoot done prior to the big day which will allow for some extra photographs to be taken of the bride in additional settings. This will allow her to get comfortable in front of the camera, without taking up time from the wedding day timeline. One of the other perks is that it will allow the bride to do a trial run of all of her styling—from the makeup and hair to the dress. Photos are typically printed and framed to be featured at the reception.

Bury the bourbon: This is a well-known tradition that is on almost every list sharing tips for planning a southern wedding. This tradition involves doing exactly that: burying a bottle of bourbon. It’s recommended to do this exactly one month before the wedding, at the venue location. According to ‘A Southern Wedding,’ “The bottle of bourbon must be upside down in the ground and must be completely full and unopened. Make a map or mark the spot with some sort of marker so you can find it on your wedding day.” On the day of, you would dig up and open the bottle to enjoy with your guests. (P.S. if you can’t do this at the venue, choose an alternative location like the home where you plan to get ready with your wedding party.)

Feature a wedding monogram: A monogram with one or both of your initials (with a focus on the last name) is a well-known detail which can be woven throughout in different ways. If the bride is changing her name, then her new initials could be featured in a customized wedding gift. Or a dual monogram with the couple's names could be included on the save-the-dates. Here’s what The Knot has to say about monograms, “The earliest examples of monograms go back to the fourth century B.C. when monograms of Greek cities were on Greek coins. Many cultures use monograms now, but Southerners are known for embracing this practice as a way to mark the merging of two families. It is tradition for the couple to have separate monograms before the wedding with their first initial on the left, middle initial on the right and maiden surname initial in the middle, which is the largest of the initials. Once the couple is married, they share one monogram. For couples of the opposite sex, the marriage monogram displays the wife's first initial on the left, the husband's first initial on the right and (if they're sharing a last name) the first letter of the couple's married last name in the center. Once the couple is married, they show off their new union by presenting their married monogram on napkins, wedding favors, reception chairs and much more.”


Now that you’re ready to combine your monograms then you’re ready for the big day.


Southern Wedding Details on the Wedding Day

Here are more of the best southern wedding traditions for the big day.


Select a southern wedding theme: Start with the foundational elements and incorporate a well-known southern theme like rustic, shabby chic, or farmhouse. Details could include a mix of down-to-earth and fancy, or soft and hard— like burlap or lace.

Have the guys wear seersucker or light-colored suits:

Wedding planning tips: southern wedding traditions and why they matter

This is a southern wedding tradition because it’s often hot in the southern states, and many ceremonies take place outside! Clothing with lighter fabric will help the groom and groomsmen stay comfortable. Plus, it looks great with the white bridal gown! Top it off with a bowtie that complements the colors worn by the bridal party, and these will make for some great wedding photos.

Have the ladies wear dainty accessories: From corsages to parasols or pearls, feminine touches help to amplify the southern charm!

Serve southern drinks: Start off the ceremony with sweet tea and fresh lemonade. Then once at cocktail hour, plan to serve some of the favorites like a mint julep, bourbon punch, old fashioned, or beer. And if you want to take it over the top—serve the drinks in mason jars!

Enjoy southern food and desserts: From a shrimp and grits bar, to custom baked potatoes with sides like pulled pork, or macaroni and cheese balls—food is a great way to incorporate southern traditions. And don’t forget dessert. Forgo just another wedding cake and line up a variety of pies on a dessert table for your guests to devour.

Texas wedding planning tips: southern food and desserts

Showcase a second cake with the groom's cake: Speaking of desserts…we couldn’t have a list with the best southern wedding traditions and not include a groom's cake. A groom's cake is a second wedding cake that helps to showcase the groom's personality. It might be something like his favorite car, sports team, alma mater, hobby, or career. This will help to complement the more traditional wedding cake and infuse more of his personality into the wedding reception.

Southern wedding tradition: groom's cake

We hope you enjoyed learning about the best southern wedding traditions! If you’re looking for a photographer or videographer to capture these special moments, we support couples in Texas and Florida.


For a limited time, we’re offering a free engagement session with the purchase of a wedding package. We’d love the opportunity to bring more joy to your wedding planning process. Get in touch with us today.


[Photoshoots in the spotlight: Macy + Erick in San Antonio and Maria + Carlo in Houston, Texas.]


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The Joy Team