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House parties, burying the bourbon and cake pulls, oh my! Meet the newest addition to the Southern Weddings Shop: All About Southern Wedding Traditions. The whole office is awfully proud of our new e-book library. Why? Because we are big believers in pretty AND practical and our new e-books are the best of both worlds!

There’s something magical about Southern culture that seems to be magnified when digging into the wedding planning process. Outdoor weddings and receptions are common place and keeping away the rain is paramount: enter burying the bourbon. Whether you were born and raised in the South, moved here as fast as you could, or are simply looking to add a dose of Southern charm to your wedding day, our guide to Southern wedding traditions has you covered!

In this 19-page digital download, we walk you through the six most beloved Southern wedding traditions and offer up ways to personalize six classic wedding traditions. We’ll tell you when, where, why, and how to include each in your celebration!

We believe that your wedding day should be a reflection of your very personal love story. We also believe in the power of weaving sweet details (the more Southern the better) into your big day. Educate yourself and figure out which of our favorite traditions will work for you: All About Southern Wedding Traditions e-book!

P.S. Curious about the overlap of our e-book library and the Joyful Wedding Planner? Our e-books can be used alongside our planner (since we go into more detail on each topic than we were able to in the planner) or in tandem with another planner. We’ve heard from so many brides who were sad to have purchased another planner before finding ours, so this is a way that all of y’all can still get our perspective on individual topics without purchasing a second planner! Our e-books also make a great surcee for the brides in your life!

kristin Written with love by Kristin

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Danielle and Richard wanted their wedding to feel like they were throwing it in their dream fancy backyard, and when it came time to choosing a location for their pending nuptials, New Orleans turned out to be the perfect place! It’s a city they both love, and to Danielle and Richard, it symbolizes “warmth, festivity, and fun”–all fabulous attributes of a Southern wedding, y’all! After checking out 10 venues in 36 hours (woah!), they said an “instantaneous and unanimous” yes to The Terrell House. Of course, when you top off a beautiful ceremony with a surprise second line, it’s a given that your celebration was a blast!

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Maile Lani, for sharing!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had an image in my head of the style of dress that I wanted and did a lot of research online to try and find it. I came across a boutique in Soho called Saja that seemed to have the type of soft, unstructured, simple, yet elegant dresses that I liked. My sister and I went together, and the very first dress I tried on, I loved. I tried on a few more there, and then a few at BHLDN, but soon, I went back to Saja with my mom. When I put that first dress back on, there was no question. I love my dress and I love that I didn’t stress about it.

We did do a first look. We wanted to take all our formal pictures before the ceremony so that our guests wouldn’t have to wait for us (and so we wouldn’t miss any of the party). I was really worried that the first look and our portraits would be awkward., but somehow, our photographer, Maile, made them not LOOK awkward. We were laughing and goofing around the whole time, so it ended up being really enjoyable.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Our first step was choosing New Orleans. We knew we didn’t want to get married in NYC or where either of us grew up (Boston and El Paso). New Orleans is a city that we both love and have visited frequently. It’s also a place that symbolizes warmth, festivity, and fun. On a short trip there, we checked out 10 venues in 36 hours, but our love for The Terrell House was instantaneous and unanimous. We wanted to get married somewhere that would feel like we were throwing a ceremony in our backyard (albeit a backyard nicer than one we’ll ever own!). Since we were going to have to plan everything from afar, it also helped that they do the planning, decorating, and catering themselves.

Describe your wedding flowers. Our flowers were all shades of pink with silver and turquoise accents. We wanted a unstructured, mismatched look with different shaped and sized vases, and no two bouquets looking exactly the same.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It’s just one day and it goes by so fast. Enjoy the planning, because if you are not having fun, it’s not worth it. When decisions come up, make them and move on. There is no right answer, so stressing over the decisions will only make you miserable. Your guests will not judge you on the details (and if they do, they are missing the point), and when you are actually living in the moment, even the things that didn’t turn out perfectly will become endearing. A lot of my guests commented on how relaxed I was as a bride, and I really was. All I saw around me were my friends and family from all around the WORLD, and Rick’s smiling face. It was such a happy day and I’m so appreciative that the whole process leading up to it was an adventure, rather than something stressful.

We don’t feel particularly drawn to multi-tiered, white wedding cakes, and find that guests don’t often eat them, but Rick LOVES cake. We decided to go with the New Orleans theme and get three doberge cakes in three different flavors. They were a big hit!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking the second line, I was already having so much fun, but at one point, I remembered to turn around and look at my guests. We hadn’t told anyone about the second line, so it was a huge surprise. Seeing their gaping mouths and the thrill in their eyes as we danced through the street, chaperoned by the police, with revelers from the neighborhood coming out of their homes to wave at us…it was the most special moment of my day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Rick and I are both television producers and we met when working on an MTV show. The first place we traveled together was Ohio State, and as we interviewed kids about their personal lives, a spark quickly grew between us. Once we returned home to NYC, we started dating, and it made the rest of our work travel a whole lot more fun. Almost exactly three years later, we were married.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had been talking about our future for a while and knew we wanted to make that commitment, but then I got a job working on a show where I would have to live in Chattanooga, Tennessee for three weeks a month for five months, so we put our plans on the back burner for a little while. Since both of us travel for work, we try to take advantage and visit each other when one of us is out of town at an interesting location. Rick came to visit me for a few days and we got to explore the city. One day, we went to a rock climbing haven at a golf course, and at one point, when we were resting on the top of a boulder, Rick proposed to me with my great-grandmother’s ring that he had gotten from my mother. It certainly wasn’t where I had expected to get engaged (I was wearing sweatpants and no make up!), but there was romance to the randomness of it. It symbolizes to me that no matter where life takes us, we can find a way to make any place we land special.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 85
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My 86-year-old grandmother traveled from Toronto to New Orleans–a very long trip. It was important to me to honor her by having her read at our ceremony, so she read “Blessing for Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Having the love and laughter from our friends and family all around us. When all is said and done, that is 100 percent what we remember most.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into?
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? The Terrell House has a deal with a liquor distributor, so we were able to order bottles at wholesale cost and then return the unopened bottles. Our liquor costs were way lower than any quotes we received from caterers. Also, I taught myself photoshop so that all the programs, welcome letters, etc., were handmade.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just returned from our honeymoon–a safari in Tanzania, Africa–and now, it’s time to enjoy our lives together. I would be lying if I said we haven’t both talked about being sad that our wedding is all over, but it’s nice to have the time together where we don’t feel like there is something we have to plan.

Photographer: Maile Lani / Venue, Flowers, and Caterer: The Terrell House / Cake Baker: Debbie Does Doberge / Band: 504eva Band / Bride’s Gown: “HB6633” by Saja / Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Make Up / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Groom’s Attire: Loro Piana

Maile Lani is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Charleston Wedding Videographer reply

    Absolutely love browsing through the photos of this wedding! Gorgeous greenery, floral arrangements and New Orleans theme. Simply stunning.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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Y’all, can you believe that John and I have been married for almost a year?? Sometimes it seems like just a few minutes ago that we were sharing our wedding photos and film.

Tanja Lippert

We’ve been discussing for a few weeks how we’d like to celebrate our first married milestone, which got me thinking about the traditions that surround anniversary gifts. I did a little digging into the history behind the list, and thought you might be interested to hear what I found!

The practice of giving certain gifts for certain anniversaries seems to have originated in Medieval Germany, where friends [or the husband, depending on your source] were said to give a wife a wreath of silver after she had been married for 25 years, and a gold wreath after fifty years. Both materials represented harmony.

In 1922, Emily Post listed “eight anniversaries known to all” (1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th) and associated gift materials in her Blue Book of Social Usage. In 1937, the American National Retail Jewelers Association published a more complete guide; they later updated it with a second set of “modern” choices. This is the list we still refer to today:

Of course, as cheesy as it sounds, the best anniversary gift I think you could ever get is another year with your spouse — marriage is a gift in itself, don’t you think? But it’s also absolutely a thing to be celebrated, and gifts are a lovely way to do that. While it’s handy to have suggestions to fall back on when you’re stumped for ideas, and it can be fun to try and think of a creative and meaningful gift within the bounds of each material, the traditional list is in the end just a list of suggestions. John and I love to travel and experience new things, so I’m sure there will be some years when we don’t exchange material gifts at all, but instead choose to take a trip together!

There is one thing I love about the traditional anniversary gift list, however: each material has a symbolic value, and the value increases every year to symbolize the increased investment each partner makes in the other. The idea that my marriage will grow more precious with time is a beautiful one, I think. Here’s to many, many more anniversaries ahead of us all!

Tell me: What anniversary are you celebrating? What did you get each other, if anything, for your first anniversary? Do you follow the traditional list of gift materials? I’d love to know!

P.S. Check back next week — I’ll be offering up some gift ideas for specific anniversary years!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Ashleigh reply

    I love that the modern gift is included in the list, but I am a traditional gal at heart. I saw an ad for Love Book the other day and (while I’m approximately 49 weeks away from my first anniversary) I loved the idea. We like to travel, as well, and have already planned our 1-year anniversary getaway to a foreign land – so a small gift like Love Book might be appropriate versus a lavish gift on top of a trip! Great post, Emily!

  2. avatar Elizabeth reply

    My husband I just celebrated our year anniversary. I got him a watercolor of our home. It’s beautiful and he loved it. I wrote a sweet message on the back. I guess that it’s traditional in that it’s paper. I like the fact that we will always have the painting of our first home together. He got me a necklace that is my monogram. Although not traditional, I love monograms and couldn’t have asked for something better!

  3. avatar Welcome To The Weekend – Elizabeth Anne Designs: The Wedding Blog reply

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  4. avatar Southern Traditions: Anniversary Gifts, Part 1 « Southern Weddings Magazine « wileysphotography reply

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  6. avatar Southern Traditions: Anniversary Gifts, Part 2 – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] of all things anniversary! I loved learning the history of the traditional gift materials last week, and now we’re back with suggestions to fit the first five years. The best part about the […]

  7. avatar Morgan reply

    First off, can I just say how much I ADORE this blog?! I love you all!

    My husband, Derek, and I were married on June 2, 2012. We decided to celebrate our anniversary each year with the traditional gift! For our first year (paper!), he made me a frame and placed a picture of us from our anniversary dinner in Charleston inside it. I made a sheet that highlighted my favorite memories from our first year together as a married couple! I am looking forward to celebrating our second year soon (cotton!)…I am going to get us monogrammed robes from Pottery Barn, which is fitting since we’ll be moving into our brand new house!

    xoxo Morgan

  8. avatar Janice Collins reply

    For our first Anniversary I got my husband a “paper” gift certificate for a deep sea fishing trip off the coast of Charleston, SC (where we live). He was thrilled! He really enjoyed the day of deep sea fishing and even brought home plenty of fish for us to eat.

  9. avatar Cheri Dunn reply

    9/23/15- celebrating 9 years of wedded bliss today!
    We married on Bermuda in 2006 in a beautiful ceremony with many symbolic moments, the memories of which we will treasure forever!! We returned to Cambridge Beaches, Bermuda for our first anniversary and stayed in the same cottage as honeymoon. The resort manager gave us the key to the cottage! Our first anniversary gift was a beautiful watercolor painted by a local artist–on paper, of course!

  10. avatar Erica Broker reply

    My sister in law received a sketch of her wedding dress. It was the perfect one year anniversary gift framed.

  11. avatar Rebecca B. reply

    For our first anniversary my husband got me an anniversary sundial that he found online, it is made of glass and sits on the window sill and was handmade just for us so it would work where we live. It is a clock that tells time by using the sun, but the coolest thing is that it makes really vivid rainbows in our home when the sun shines. He had the guy who made it add a date line to our sundial that the time shadow follows on our anniversary day each year, and there is even a special mark on that anniversary line to celebrate the actual MOMENT we got married! My husband tells me that the sun and moon and planets all move every day, but they will always align for us on our day together (awww) It really is a great gift though because it also makes brilliant rainbows on the floor when the sun shines, and our toddler loves to play in the colors on the floor. I don’t remember what it’s called but you can find it online with a search – it has become a real touchstone in our home and it does something really cool every year on our anniversary!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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