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When I travel (and I do travel, often!), I always make it a point to try the local delicacies. If the restaurant we’re eating at has a famous dish or drink – that’s what I’m ordering. So you can bet that if I was at The Brown Hotel in Louisville, I’d be ordering the Hot Brown!

I must admit, though, I didn’t know too much about this delicacy before I sat down to write today’s post, and I still have never tried it myself. Who’s in for a Southern Weddings field trip to KY?

Photos from Seven Spoons, One Lovely Life, and

I love the story of how the Hot Brown was born, so throw on your longest strand of pearls, your grandmother’s long white gloves and your favorite shade of red lipstick, and let’s head back to the 1920’s! Back then, The Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dances (whoa!). Guests, dancing into the wee hours of the morning, would take a break from Charleston-ing and head to the hotel’s restaurant for a bite to eat. According the Brown Hotel, their resident chef, wanting to offer party-goers something besides the standard ham and eggs, devised an open-faced turkey sandwich complete with bacon and Mornay sauce. Voila – the Hot Brown was born!

If you’d like to try your hand at whipping up a Hot Brown, we suggest first heading to the Brown Hotel’s website, which lists the original recipe here. We also found a few fun variations of the recipe, including Hot Brown Cheese Grits and Hot Brown Biscuits. Yum! I think I might need to pop on my seersucker apron and start trying some of these!

For those who are more into aesthetics, we also found this neat version of the Kentucky Hot Brown at Stately Sandwiches. Kelly’s on a mission to make a sandwich for each of the 50 states, and the hot brown was her pick for Kentucky! You can see other states, including Southerners Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, here!

Image courtesy Stately Sandwiches

Do you have a Kentucky Hot Brown recipe? Have you tried the Hot Brown? Let us know in the comments below!

Still hungry? You will be after you read a few more of our Southern Delicacies!
Sweet Tea
Deviled Eggs
Chicken and Waffles

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Mary Kate F. reply

    Absolutely love this-
    As a Louisville native, it is wonderful to see Kentucky culture getting some limelight :)
    The Brown Hotel definitely has the best Hot Brown, and the atmosphere can’t be beat!
    Thanks ladies for sharing!

  2. avatar rachel reply

    As a Louisville Native, and bride getting married in downtown louisville with all the local flair, I will be having a Chicken stuffed hot brown for our main course at our reception with beat and biscuits (country ham biscuits) and local pies from the pie kitchen! Thanks for featuring Louisville! And check out the Galt House hotel (it is the only still owned by a local louisville family hotel) in louisville!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Oh Rachel, that sounds so divine! My mouth is watering just thinking about all that yumminess in one place! I’m sure your wedding will be wonderful! Best of luck! xx

  3. avatar Ruff House Art reply

    … Wow. That looks… Incredible! Would love to sink my teeth into that! Yumyum.

    – Noëlle

  4. avatar Brynn Snyder reply

    We would love you to come visit Kentucky! If you come I would love to take you to get a hot brown! When my mom came to visit, I took her to try one, they are great! Now I just need to learn how to make one!

  5. avatar kimber reply

    After leaving my beloved Tennessee home, KY welcomed me with open arms and the deliciousness of this open-faced lovefest on a plate. The Brown Hotel has a great hot brown, but Ramsey’s in Lexington has a good ol’ down and dirty hot brown that does the trick and it’s closer to home.

    Mini-hot browns at my wedding…Yes!

  6. avatar Melissa C. reply

    I don’t even know what to say about that first picture, but when is the first flight from Reagan to Louisville? Y-U-M.

  7. avatar Sierra reply

    Have y’all ever tried a Hot Brown at a Chick-fil-A Dwarf House?

  8. avatar Katherine reply

    Hands down, my favorite version of this is the Southern Living take on it, and it’s “light” too! I love making mini versions with pumpernickel squares you can find near the deli counter.

  9. avatar Mason-Dixon Madness: The Round of 32 – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] it was a long shot for a Kentucky Hot Brown or benne wafers to make it out of the first round, I have a feeling that these Southern delicacies […]

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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We love when things come full circle! Samantha + John’s photo in our Engaged Reader Round-Up was too adorable (read their proposal story and it gets even better!) Their April wedding by the water took place just a few miles from the Southern Weddings office and was full of community-made charm. I love that Samantha’s lace dress was a Goodwill find and that she and her new hubs decided to mix their two favorite love songs together for a dream walk down the aisle. (And bonus points to Samantha for sharing one of my favorite songs, too!) We’re dishing out big hugs to our friend, Nancy Ray who captured all of S + J’s sweet moments.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: We had a very tight budget to work with ($2000), and I had just seen a feature in which the bride found her dress at a second-hand shop. I kind of scoffed and thought, “Well that would be nice, but how often does that actually happen to people?!” A week later, I was in Goodwill and saw a gown bag hanging, and thought I’d give it a look-see, preparing for 80s-style gigantic tulle sleeves. Instead, I found a lovely, simple white wedding gown. It was marked at $100 and I was alone, so I just kept walking. For months I wondered about that dress, but figured it had already been bought. Later, I went back with my roommate looking for a pie plate and left with THAT gown, which had been marked down to $50 and fit me like a glove! The manager of the Goodwill actually stopped and shook my hand, saying “We’ve been waiting for the right lady to find that dress, and you’re it!” I may not have had a boutique experience, but that was perfect!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided not to. I adore first look photographs, and think it’s a great decision for many couples! John and I both felt the same in waiting until I was coming down the aisle. I just think there is something so precious and timeless about a bride being revealed and presented as she walks down the aisle toward her husband-to-be.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Our friends made up a small acoustic ensemble of a guitar, banjo, violin, and piano. It was phenomenal and just what we wanted! John and I are both musicians so the songs we chose and the instrumentation were very important to us. I had always hoped to walk down the aisle to the theme of one of my favorite movies, Romeo + Juliet, Balcony Scene/Kissing You.” John had always dreamed that his bride would walk down the aisle to a song from his favorite movie, Braveheart, “The Secret Wedding.” We arranged both themes together in one song, and it was absolutely gorgeous and perfect for us! We recessed to the We Bought A Zoo theme by Jonsi. Our first dance was “This Magic Moment” by Ben E King and the Drifters, a la Squints and Wendy Peffercorn from The Sandlot.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did. I was actually freaking out a bit because it was the last thing we had to figure out and we did it the day before the wedding! John and I met the morning before our wedding day, prayed, developed a kind of structure we’d go with, and parted ways for a few hours. I went to the dock by the lake and prayed again and then just started writing. Later we met with our friend and officiant, Dan, who helped us make some small tweaks, but was clear to tell us how perfect our vows were! It’s hard to pick a favorite line or phrase because every line was packed with meaning. It was definitely a special moment for us and for everyone who was there to witness.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Psalm 45, which was originally written as a wedding song. It’s beautiful.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Both John and I were born and raised in Raleigh, with both of our families having a long heritage in the area. I’ve always wanted an outdoor wedding, so when we were offered the house and considered the budget, all of those quaint and lovely Southern details came about very naturally. We used hay bales for seating and decor, rocking chairs, mason jars for drinking and decor, corn hole that my brother-in-law made, and many Southern vintage touches all over.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: I asked the many Southern cake-makin’ women in my life to bring their best homemade cakes and pies for all to enjoy! We had a mix of coconut cake, pineapple cake, carrot cake, apple pies, and more. Southern women are serious about baked goods.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Food! Our good friends are amazing chefs and have experience in catering, so they purchased all the ingredients and spent two days making all of the food! It was like a good ol’ family reunion. We had potato salad, baked beans, three kinds of cole slaw, and of course, a pig pickin’.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. John and I met almost 10 years ago! He is my best friend, Jess’s little brother. The many years that I spent at their house eating meals, making music and hanging out, John was always just like my little brother — but everyone knew he had special eyes for me. I went off to college and we both dated other people and lost touch with one another. When I graduated and moved home, I was single and began working at the same Chick-fil-A as John. It was there, on our lunch breaks, that we re-kindled our friendship and I got to know John as a very wise, adventurous, loving, and handsome young man. Soon after I moved home, however, he moved to Africa for three months, leaving our relationship being a little difficult to interpret. After 10 years, we had never once spoken about any romantic feelings between us! So, I waited and hoped he was feeling the same as I was. When he came home, it was clear. He was a man on a mission to win my heart! We dated for a year and were engaged for four months.
Describe the proposal. John and I had openly talked about our intentions and had been looking at different styles of rings, so I knew a proposal was coming but had no idea how surprised I would be! One night, after falling asleep, I heard a knock on my bedroom window. Certain there was an intruder, I turned on the light prepared to run into my roommate’s room when I hear “Sam! Sam! It’s me John!” Still groggy-eyed and heart racing, I opened the door to him with a huge smile on his face. He passed me a note and said, “I’ll be out here when you’re ready.” The note had a list of things to pack: two outfits, one warm and one nice. We were off on a midnight road trip! John had made a bed for me in the back of the car, complete with blankets and pillows. Hours later, we arrived at a small cove at one of our favorite beaches. John parked the car facing the sunrise, set up the back with roses and candles, and after some sweet words, got down in the sand on one knee.
In what month did you get married? April
How many guests attended your wedding? Approximately 130
Describe your wedding flowers: They were a mix of tulips, stock flowers, snapdragons, and asters, cut fresh and locally grown from Homestead Flower Farms. They were arranged by family and friends.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The fact that so many of our closest friends and family came together that weekend and helped make it happen. A friend of mine told me later that it reminded her of the Amish. People just came together and brought whatever was needed to make sure it happened beautifully — and it did! Everyone loved having a hand in making it happen. When the sun went down and the trees lit up with lights and hanging lit mason jars, that was pretty magical!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It’s so difficult to pick just one, but I’d have to say the whole ceremony. There was something so tangible, special and inclusive about our ceremony. I’ll never forget how blue and intense John’s eyes were as they set on me, coming toward him down the aisle. We just locked our gaze. The sun was just over us, peeking out from behind the clouds with a light breeze, and I had a peace and presence of mind the whole time to remember it all. Saying our vows was the most precious moment, and many of our guests agree that it was theirs, as well.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Embrace the craziness. A good friend of mine told me that there would be stressful moments, and no matter how great I was at planning and organizing, there was no way around it. So don’t be discouraged! Embrace the stress, craziness, and alleged “imperfections” as good, normal, beautiful things. You’re getting married — aim to enjoy it all!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? John and I love to make music and we love to travel. We’re currently set up in our cozy home in Raleigh with our instruments and dreams of living in a number of other countries as ministers. We’re also looking forward to having lots of kids! We’re not sure how those things all go together, but we’ll find out.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Lauren reply

    Everything about this wedding is absolutely perfect, right down to the shot gun shells stuffed with flowers! I dream about a wedding like this one! Thank you for sharing your special day.

  2. avatar amanda reply

    It’s not very often that a GROOM catches your attention but that groom is adorable!! He looks SO insanely happy I can’t stand it! LOVE LOVE LOVE. The pictures at the end with the bride in the short dress are my fave, they are so dreamy! It’ just a fun wedding filled with l-o-v-e! Perfection!

    • avatar Nicole reply

      Hi Amanda! I absolutely agree — I love how happy this groom is to marry his sweetie! Their engagement photo is just as adorable.

  3. avatar Victoria reply

    I think the humility and genuineness of this couple shines so much through this interview and the way they handled their wedding, so precious and inspiring!

  4. avatar Ashley reply

    What a beautiful wedding! I love Suzanna’s Antiques and I’ll definitely be shopping there for my upcoming wedding :) Such sweet details!

  5. avatar Maddison reply

    Who is that lovely man in the suspenders? Is he single? I love this wedding! I just love down to earth weddings!

  6. avatar Liz reply

    Nicole/Anyone know where the flower crown that the bride is wearing in the last couple of pictures is from?!?! I love it :)

    • avatar Samantha reply

      Liz: Hi Liz! Here is the link to this head piece

  7. avatar wedding wednesdays : 6.27.12 | beka stays reply

    […] post credit : southern weddings […]

  8. avatar Megan reply

    Hello! I was wondering where I can find a mint colored gingham shirt! I love the look but have yet to find one for my future hubby!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Megan! J.Crew is always my best source for gingham shirts. They don’t have any online right now, because they’re not really in season, but check early next spring! In the meantime, they do have this solid oxford that looks like it’s mint:

  9. avatar Lauren Shaw reply

    Hello! I love this whole look. Can you tell me where this venue was? Thanks!

  10. avatar Pamela reply

    The Wedding was beautiful …they are so cute

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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I’m going to a wedding today, friends! Yahoo!! I’m using this awesome film from our friends at The Reason to get in the mood for this afternoon’s festivities, and I think you should, too! Enjoy!

P.S. Don’t you adore Emily’s fascinator?

From the bride:

Our wedding day couldn’t have been more perfect to us! Growing up in Atlanta our whole lives, we wanted to get away from the hustle and the bustle and therefore, picked Neverland Farms as our wedding venue. It is a cozy little vintage farm situated within the wine region of the North Georgia Mountains. Without much surrounding it, the venue allowed us and all of our guests to be completely immersed in the day and all of its lovely details! The horses, pastures, hand-made wooden fences, and windy dirt roads made for the perfect nostalgic, simple, yet chic wedding day that I had always dreamed of. I rode up to the ceremony in a horse and carriage with my dad and then away with my husband as we got a private tour of the grounds- just us as Mr. & Mrs. The reception consisted of some good ole southern cooking- bacon mac & cheese, beef brisket, corn chowder…and a whole LOT of dancing!! We wouldn’t trade our wedding day (or this video) for the world!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar kristina reply

    Yayy!! Looove this couple, and this video! :D

  2. avatar Christie Evans reply

    I just realized that I sent the email to the wrong place. Sorry! I was looking at the article for The Reason and I wanted to see their video. But, you must have a password to view. Sorry about the inconvenience!

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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