By: Kristin Burgess, from 5757 Palm Magazine
Modern brides are finding their “something old” and “something new” can be one in the same, thanks to trendy nuptial touches that are as rooted in local tradition as church on Sunday.
Essential elements of marriage celebration across the country can trace their lineage back to long-standing Southern wedding traditions. Like anything else today, though, those traditions are getting a healthy infusion of modern twists. Here are some of our favorite ways that contemporary brides are adding their own panache to what Lowcountry women have been doing for generations.
Big Bridal Parties
Due to the tight knit nature of many Southern belle friendships, it’s not unusual to see a large wedding party. The modern bride has hung up the ugly dress tradition and instead has her ‘maids choose from a variety of styles and colors, letting each gal’s personality shine.
The Outdoor Wedding Ceremony
Grandiose ceremonies in secret gardens and outside plantation homes have long been a nuptial staple. The modern Southern bride is utilizing beautiful beach, courtyard and garden settings. There is nothing quite like old-growth, Spanish moss-draped oaks donning crystal chandeliers and long floral garlands. Many are even bringing in vintage church pews to make the setting feel just a bit closer to home.
The monogram is a language of love to the traditional Southern belle, stemming from the etiquette and expectations of the early twentieth century, when leaving your mark on what you owned wasn’t just trendy, but it was also expected. At weddings today, the monogram has evolved from shared initials on etched champagne glasses and towels to stylish hand-lettered signage and elaborate, large-scale ceremony backdrops.
Not long ago, it was rare to have a photographer present at a wedding. That meant bridal portraits, a tradition that came over from Europe, were staged before the event. The practice of capturing the bride in her element remains today, but contemporary photographers have departed from seated shots in favor of getting their brides to step into their settings, whether it be a quaint garden or ocean-worn pier.
Many a Southern belle once said, “The bigger the bow, the close to heaven.” While modern brides aren’t sporting oversized bows on their heads, they’re certainly rocking them on their gowns. The dress bow is far from a thing of the past, thanks to the variety of sizes, shapes, and textures, giving modern dresses plenty of sass.
Light Colored Menswear
Khaki suits and light colored tuxedos owe their place in formal wear to Southern heat, which long ago necessitated alternatives to dark, sunlight absorbing jackets. We’re now seeing the trendiest grooms and groomsmen sporting all sorts of sandy neutrals and dusty grays – or slacks with a linen shirt, tie, and suspenders for an even cooler take at the altar.
The Mint Julep
You’d be hard pressed to find a Southern wedding bar that doesn’t have its own spin on the mint julep. But truly innovative ceremonies will take the cocktail’s iconic flavors a step further, like by using mint throughout their décor and tucking leaves into centerpieces or by potting the fragrant plant in tiny terra-cotta pots to be sent home as favors.
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