There’s been a rise in rustic-theme wedding in the past several years and it mirrors a growing hunger in popular culture for all things Southern (think The Civil Wars, J.Crew fashion by Billy Reid, artisan jeans by Imogene+Willie, home-brewed beer). Today’s vintage and rustic weddings are all about embracing simplicity and infusing new life into old things. From location (barns or old warehouses) to furniture & decor (antiques and flea market favorites like chalkboards and Mason jars) to apparel (vintage clothes and even broach bouquets), many couples are opting for the nostalgic feel of the old South, and modernizing it with glamorous touches.
I recently talked with Lara Casey, Editor in Chief and Publisher of Southern Weddings, about the trend. She said, “I think there will always be a love for special Southern touches in modern weddings. Brides are taking family traditions and really making them their own while still honoring their roots.”
Southern writer Eudora Welty wrote, “One place understood helps us understand all places better,” and perhaps this return to Southern roots is best fitted for one’s wedding day. As a couple enters uncharted territory, the wedding ceremony can serve as a foundation for staying grounded in what’s important.
Here are eight uniquely Southern touches that can add charm and a “sense of place” to the first day of the rest of your life, your wedding day.
Location, Location, Location
Nothing will set the scene faster than the actual location of your wedding. Rustic barns, an open field or even a plantation home or country church can provide the perfect backdrop to your Southern-themed wedding.
Families are a hallmark of the South. Make them feel honored and involved in your special day by giving family members corsages or boutonnieres to wear for the wedding.
If you’ve been given a special family heirloom, feature it on your wedding day – whether it’s an antique chest decorated at the reception or a piece of jewelry incorporated into your bouquet.
Mason jars, burlap, Black-eyed Susans, vintage linens – use whatever local materials you have (think nature, flea markets, friends’ houses) and incorporate them into easy centerpieces.
What’s a Southern wedding without sounds of the South? Whether you hire a local band or fire up iTunes, southern rock or bluegrass can give your after party that distinctive celebratory Southern flare.
The groom’s cake is a gift from the bride and a long-standing tradition in the South – and a sweet one at that.
Instead of a traditional wedding cake, why not feature your regional favorites like a peach pie buffet and sweet tea bar?
Pick a Southern destination for your honeymoon to further solidify your theme. You’ll save money by not traveling far and in places like New Orleans, you can get amazing travel deals while helping to stimulate the local economy.
Remember in the end it’s the people that make Southern weddings what they are. Make celebrating those relationships your priority that day and you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.
Examples of great Southern weddings:
- Tennessee Photo Shoot by Brooke Boling
- Twenty-Eight Twelve Wedding by Jessica Charles Photography
- Marlsgate Wedding by Katie Day Photography + Finishing Touch Event Design
- Woodland Farms Wedding by Love Me Do Photography
- Nashville Wedding by Cedarwood Weddings
- Nashville Wedding by Austin Gros
- Fourth of July Photo Shoot by Isari Flower Studio + Event Design
- Rustic Virginia Wedding by Kellan Studios