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14 Southern Wedding Trends We Love

Southern Wedding Trends

We asked some top wedding experts in the southern half of the country to give us a report on what’s hot in weddings down South. Whether you’re a Southern bride or just a fan of Southern style, we think you’ll love these new trends and old traditions:

1. Family-style feasts: The “community table” concept so popular in restaurants has taken hold at southern weddings, where meals are increasingly being served family style. “It’s the perfect compromise for a bride who can’t decide between a buffet and a seated dinner,” says Erica Schnell, events director at The Ice House in Louisville. “Plus it brings your guests together and invites conversation.”

2. Down-home delicacies:

“Many couples are choosing more casual fare, like food stations with oysters, fried green tomatoes and mini pies,” says Betsy McKay, event planner with the Cadre Building in Memphis.

3. Late night bites:

“We’re seeing a trend of serving snacks toward the end of the evening, like duck fat fries or a homemade pretzel bar,” says Schnell.  “It’s a great way to soak up some of that alcohol.” McKay also sees couples giving their guests late-night treats like “donuts and chocolate milk, French fries served in paper cups, and mini tacos.”

4. Pie bars:

“Move over cupcakes, it’s pie’s time to shine,” says Schnell, who reports that pie bars, filled with a mix of flavors elegantly displayed on pretty pedestals, are replacing elaborate wedding cakes for many of her couples. “Pie bars are fun and offer a ton of variety for your guests. We still suggest a small cake for the bride and groom to cut, but not splurging on a huge elaborate cake—you can put your money elsewhere, like toward an extra hour of fun for you and your guests.” Georgia’s Buttermilk Pie Co says that they’re fulfilling more wedding orders than ever.

5. Metallic moment: 

The trend of mixing shimmering accents in tones of gold, silver, bronze and copper is big all over the country this year and the South is no exception. Schnell sees couples “using a variety of metallic photo frames, antique candleholders, metallic votives and mixed metal flatware.”

6. Traditional penmanship: 

To provide a contrast with our texting and emoticon-filled everyday lives, old-fashioned calligraphy and quirky hand lettering are both big on Southern place cards and other wedding signage. Check out the website of Texas-based The Weekend Type for lovely inspiration.

7. Romantic bridal attire:

“Bridal fashion trends for 2014 see brides stepping away from the overly glamorous, to a more minimalist romantic vibe, and lace will continue to be huge,” says Lacy Pool, designer for Grayson Elise bridal accessories and a bridal boutique buyer in Austin, who adds that southern bridal accessories are now “about individualism,” meaning cool headpieces rather than tiaras and veils, and sashes featuring a “sparkly or pearl piece.” Because Southern brides like things steeped in tradition, says North Carolina wedding planner Emily Schwartz, they frequently incorporate heirloom or vintage jewelry into their ensembles as a “something old.” Southern Bridal Trends

8. Unique and antique rentals:

Southern brides are no longer satisfied with cookie cutter rentals and are seeking out unique pieces such as vintage sofas from rental companies like Vintage Treasure Rentals near Dallas and Paisley and Jade in Virginia.

9. Lush flowers:

Classic feminine flowers reign below the Mason Dixon, with bouquets filled with peonies, garden roses, hydrangea and tulips, says McKay, who adds that less tradition-bound brides are “incorporating succulents into centerpieces, bouquets and boutonnieres” and that “we are seeing honeysuckle, mint and maidenhair used as greenery filler.”

10. Jamming bands:

Couples in other regions may be more likely to stream a playlist for after-dinner dancing, but Southern couples love live music, especially soul bands and “cover bands that they enjoyed listening to during their college days,” says McKay.

11. Favors with feeling:

Rather than giving guests an impersonal trinket, southern couples like favors that are homemade or have an extra-personal touch, says Schwartz, such as a jar of homemade jam or a beautifully printed card featuring a favorite family recipe.

12. Regional signature drinks:

Down South couples tend to skip the fussy cocktail recipes in favor of regional classics, says Schwartz. Think mint juleps, whiskey sours and anything made with bourbon.

13. Moody and romantic photography:

 Southern brides and grooms are moving away from sterile, posed portraits and opting for more warm or naturalistic styles, like the soft, yellowed look favored by Georgia’s Kelly Anne Photography or the relaxed documentary style of Virginia Beach’s Keith Cephus, who says “There’s been a significant shift from static and posed portraits to a more relaxed and documentary style.  Photographers are using longer lenses to create dramatic depth of field images.” Another trend: Embracing stormy weather. “Photographers are using off camera lighting to highlight the rain on a dark night, or shooting the couple under an umbrella and using an off camera flash behind them to create a magical image,” says Cephus.

14. Old-fashioned etiquette:

“Though a Southern bride may be as entrenched in technology and social
media as everybody else, tradition will dictate that she go about planning her wedding
using proper Southern decorum,” says Schwartz.

Final Thoughts

Are you a Southern bride-to-be?  What do you think of these trends? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter or in the comments section!

Photo credits: Kelly Anne Photography, Al Gawlik Photography


virginia m. waters Says:
February 7th, 2014 at 5:29 am

How wonderful it is that brides are trying to keep weddings to a sensible price. This is so the couple can buy either a home or a condo and entertain there for a first anniversary for just real friends and not all the families and distant friends. It’s just impractical to spend thousands on a wedding and then be broke paying for it for years later. Parents are also paying for a house rather than a huge costly wedding. Couples are watching to see if their jobs remain in tack. Some are “let go” right after the wedding. I like the trends of the Southern ways, for it can be romantic as well as

David Says:
February 9th, 2014 at 1:34 pm

Glad to see “southern style” making its way back to the forefront !

Daria Neal Says:
February 9th, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Ummmm….my parents are from the south and I studied there. Where are the brides of color? The African Americans who get married at the chapel on their HBCU’s campus? The African Americans who jump the broom? Though I don’t have enough knowledge about traditions of my Native American kin, they aren’t featured here either. How you can write ANYTHING about the south without picturing people of color is beyond me. Black men and women get married. So do Native American men and women. Your “south” is sadly whitewashed and non-inclusive. And this is a trend that I find is truly unsettling.

Katie Says:
February 9th, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I agree with all of these. I’m from a down home kind of culture in the desert where the men are served first then children the women when it comes to a buffet dinner in grandmas house. Old style beans and pork, church super cake and cherry cobbler are all favorites. I’m planning to show a lot of this country love in my wedding but I’m trying to figure out just how I want to do this. And for my wedding favor I’m planning on making half pints of tea jelly. And I love the pie bar idea. I’ve thought about it a little before but if its trully a trend then I may just go for it.

Debbie Says:
February 13th, 2014 at 12:52 pm

For a large wedding, thats going to be a HECK of alot of Jelly, I’m just saying…

Wake Up Says:
February 14th, 2014 at 9:38 am

We are starting our lives together so lets spend all our parents money in one day or be in debt forever bc we had to put on a show!! We are so smart, corporations love that we NEED their products to get married. We became the sheep they always knew we could be.

Laura Says:
February 14th, 2014 at 12:26 pm

Please, Please, Please, MUST we drag race into EVERYTHING??!! Why can’t we just enjoy the article as written? If you want to include every single ethnicity, then how about all the Germans and Cheks living in Texas? There is also, Dutch, Amish and multiple others. Please!

Granny Pam Says:
February 15th, 2014 at 6:46 am

The authentic South is all about family, faith, and tradition. We place a lot of importance on good food, personal touches, and beautiful settings. This is how we show our love to those we share our lives with. Since weddings are such important occasions, we go all out with the details! I’m glad the rest of the country is finally catching on to how great we are at planning memorable weddings, not only for the couple but for the guests as well!

Jean Says:
February 16th, 2014 at 8:27 am

As someone now retired from a long career as a wedding planner, I hope prospective brides and grooms will not concern themselves with what’s trendy and simply plan a wedding that suits them. Most things I have seen being called new and trendy (for example, family-style dinner service) are things I was doing 15 or 20 years ago.

Leanna Says:
February 16th, 2014 at 11:34 am

Men bring served first. Psst. Children should always be served first, then the oldest female, and then everyone can served themselves.

Leslie Macchiarella Says:
February 16th, 2014 at 3:48 pm

Such wonderful ideas! I love the family feast tradition and can just picture the long tables with honeysuckle and hydrangeas — and regional signature drinks, gifting a homemade jar of jam. I can picture it all! 🙂

Amy Says:
February 16th, 2014 at 7:38 pm

I wonder why Daria is convinced this is only for the white bride? I actually skimmed back through it looking for such biased verbage. Was it the trend towards sofas, old fashioned calligraphy or lace that offended you with such obvious prejudice? It never ceases to amaze me how some people are hung up on subjectively feeling inclusive, when nothing intimates exclusivity. We’re a country founded on oppression & comments like that only further the trend of prejudice… the preconceived opinion that is not based on reason. Daria, if you’re looking for stereotypical trends, maybe try a less inclusive site that doesn’t cater to all southern girls.

Susan Says:
February 17th, 2014 at 8:04 am

Don’t race bait Daria. Do recipes have a race? Can Lush flowers only be used by whites? Yep, a jamming band is certainly a “white thing” only. We can’t forget how racist those pies can be also.

Not one of the 14 points in this article are for a particular race why are you trying to make this about race?

Imniah Says:
February 17th, 2014 at 10:12 am


I CONCUR! Too often mainstream media and other outlets are so focused on themselves that the fail to include a MULTITUDE of other cultures and ethnicities. It’s REALLY UNBECOMING and myopic-minded in its’ presentation.

Hannah Whiteside Says:
April 11th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

I just got married in Los Angeles and have never lived in the South. That being said, we served family style sides at dinner, handmade wood-burnt coasters for both the wedding favor/escort card, served mini-pies/mini-pie bar with toppings, had vintage pearls as my wedding jewelry, had a live band, seasonally-inspired signature drinks, unique furniture rentals–like wine-barrel tables and park benches….I don’t think this has really anything to do with the south. I think it’s a romantic, old-time sentiment that I sweeping the nation. And honestly, when I planned my wedding, I did so without being inspired by any wedding websites or “trends”

Nanni Says:
April 12th, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Maybe Daria’s comment could have been put more politely, but it is true that this was written non-inclusive of people of color. Everyone complaining at Daria’s comment: Learn to accept it for what it is rather than being defensive, which isn’t changing anything in the article. It is what it is. Don’t need to get all angry either…just take the comment to gain awareness and mindfulness of people other than yourselves in future readings or situations. Don’t start shutting them down like they don’t matter.

Former FOB Says:
February 22nd, 2015 at 5:08 pm

Obviously, modern Southern brides have removed their mothers from the planning process

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