The tradition, the food, the hospitality...What's not to love about a good old fashioned Southern wedding? We asked expert wedding planners from all across the South for their best tips to giving any wedding a bit of Southern charm! And don't forget to check out the images below from the experts themselves for some truly Southern wedding inspiration!
Make your guests feel welcome - Shanna Lumpkin of Shanna Lumpkin Events in Jackson, MS says it's essential for Southern brides to welcome their guests right from the start! "Whether it's an elaborately packed welcome box or a simple 'happy' (a gift that makes you smile), guests that have traveled to your wedding weekend really appreciate the thought! Your welcome boxes should include treats that are indicative of your area such as Salt Water taffy at the beach, Pralines in New Orleans, local honey in Mississippi or GooGoo clusters in Nashville. You can also throw in vintage postcards from your state and custom maps showing the wedding events as well as where the bride & groom like to have brunch, dinner, a night cap or shop.
Break the ice! - Valerie Gernhauser of Sapphire Events in New Orleans, LA says "facilitating a friendly introduction for your attendees to mix and mingle with each other is staple of Southern Hospitality, and asking guests to 'choose a seat, not a side' allows them the opportunity to make new friends at the start of your celebration that will last throughout the night! You might also consider adding a lounge seating area at the reception so guests can really feel right at home! A sofa and loveseat vignette allows guests to kick back and sit a spell after dinner as they while away the hours with long conversations."
Keep your guests cool - Southern heat can be extreme in the Summer so Hester Parks of Park Avenue Events in Atlanta, GA suggests taking extra precautions to keep your guests cool "such as hydration stations and providing parasols or fans for the guests. Couples are taking steps to incorporate fun items to cool down their guests like providing gourmet popsicles. The cool treats are a delight to guests of all ages!"
Tickle their tastebuds - Erin Mclean of Erin Mclean Events in Raleigh, NC, believes that "the key to any Southern wedding is mouthwatering food! Why not host a Low country boil welcome dinner for your guests? Or a pig pickin' for your rehearsal dinner? At the reception, start by greeting guests with Mint Juleps and Arnold Palmers." Incorporate Southern specialties like "goat cheese topped fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, a filet served with a crab cake or rack of lamb, collard greens and sweet potato smash" for a truly unforgettable menu.
Don't forget to dress the groom! - Southern grooms really go all out on the styling for their big day! Stefanie Miles of Lavender Joy in Fort Worth, TX says "well-tailored clothing and dapper accessories for the groom and groomsmen such as polished wingtips, colorful bowties, and classic gingham patterns will add a bit of lighthearted Southern charm to the wedding party's style."