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Howdy, ladies! We have a really fun week coming up, where we’ll be unveiling the top five finalists in our second Ultimate Southern Challenge. A few weeks back we asked y’all to submit your best ideas for the most Southern and inspiring mason jar concepts, and we were once again delighted by the submissions! We’ve decided to post the top five this week, and the winner (who gets Southern Weddings bragging rights!) will be determined by reader popularity (i.e. the number of comments on their post) and the opinion of the SW editors. So let’s get cracking!

First up is the dynamic duo of Nancy Ray Photography + Erin McLean Events! Read on for all of the details behind their red velvet mason jar cake pull extravaganza!

From the ladies:

“Here is a fun little styled shoot, featuring mason jars as red velvet cake containers with whipped cream cheese icing. Also featuring the fun, traditional “cake pull,” where each ribbon baked inside has a little charm attached for whomever pulls it out. It’s a two-in-one wedding cake + wedding favor duo!”

Thanks so much, Erin + Nancy! Readers, if you love this idea, be sure to let us know in the comments! And remember, you’re welcome to give a vote of support to more than one concept.

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar lauren jolly reply

    what an amazingly adorable idea!! i love reading creative ideas like this to keep in mind for my future wedding! this is sooo cute!!

  2. avatar Jenn reply

    SUCH a cute idea!! and so perfectly southern! might have to pass this along to a friend or two :)

    LOVE Nancy Ray and Erin McLean, both!

  3. avatar Robyn reply

    SO pretty, and what a unique idea!! Love it! :)

  4. avatar Amy reply

    These are aesthetically pleasing and look delicious! Love them!

  5. avatar Amy reply

    Love this shoot! Such a creative wedding favor! I’ve never even heard of a cake pull before! So cute!

  6. avatar Allyson reply

    What a great idea!! Love the charm idea :).. And great photography as always nancy! I love your work :)

  7. avatar Jordan reply

    LOVE this idea. So cute.

  8. avatar Southern Weddings : Featured » nancy ray photography reply

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  9. avatar Jess reply

    Looks delicious!! Not to mention these would make the cutest wedding cakes and favors! Too bad our wedding has already passed but it’s still fun to see the creative things folks come up with. At least we were blessed to have beautiful photos like these of our wedding day :) You’re great, Nancy!!

  10. avatar Melissa Tuck reply

    These are too adorable and so creative. Love!

  11. avatar Amber reply

    I absolutely love the lace, and yum love the red velvet cake. What a wonderful, traditional, and tasty way to send your guests home!

  12. avatar Brandy reply

    These are so adorable and look absolutely delicious! It helps that red velvet is my fave :) Wish I would’ve thought of something like this for my wedding a couple of weeks ago…

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  14. avatar mike gothard reply

    Fantastic concept and photos…exactly what I’d expect from these super creative ladies! Way to go, Nancy & Erin :)

  15. avatar shelby reply

    Love everything about this! My favorite part is the cake pull…you hardly see this anymore I feel like (unless you’re from New Orleans!), so it’s such cute way to incorporate this southern tradition in a modern wedding!

  16. avatar Linnea reply

    This is beautiful! Well done Nancy & Erin! I just want to grab a jar & eat up!

  17. avatar lindsay reply

    i would love to reach into my computer screen, take one of those mason jars, and dig my spoon right in! anyone would enjoy eating cake out of a mason jar! what a lovely idea.

  18. avatar Bethany Ann reply

    I LOVE this idea! I especially love that they added a cake-pull in it. :) Wonderful!

  19. avatar denise reply

    This idea is so clever, and not just because I LOVE red velvet cake. I would love to know what kind of charms they used. I am not familiar with this tradition, but I think it is so sweet!
    Way to go, Nancy and Erin!!!!

  20. avatar Noreen reply

    That is the most original and adorable idea! It is cute to introduce some “southern charm” especially if you are not from here! It is so unique!!

  21. avatar Shannon reply

    Love this idea! You could use it so many places:)

  22. avatar Kristina G reply

    Love!!! Makes me wanna eat my computer looking at it. Such a cute and creative idea.

  23. avatar Stephanie reply

    I love this! Super cute! I love things that make me feel childlike elegance. It makes me think of the tea parties that my mom used to set up for me and my friends. I love it.

  24. avatar cyn reply

    YUMMMY! And gorgeous images! Did y’all make me one ;)

  25. avatar Food in a Jar – Cupcakes – Pie – Salad – Soup – Chili | LuxeLiving — The Spotlight reply

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  26. avatar Penelope reply

    I did something similar at my own wedding and used cake pulls from and everyone loved them!

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Love Southern wedding traditions and want to include them in your wedding? We wrote our e-book just for you!

Today we have a really fun tradition to share with y’all! You see, my Southern wedding tradition knowledge only goes so far, so when Emily sent me this adorable image from Meredith Melody I knew just who to turn to. Miss Sierra is not only our super adorable and talented assistant art director, she’s quite the sorority girl! Since her sorority does not have a “sorority sing,” she did what any good Southern girl would do… she asked her mama!

On a bride’s wedding day, sisters of many sororities show their love through different traditions. Mrs. Piland says that the tradition of her sorority, Alpha Gamma Delta, is to give their gift to the bride and her new husband right before the guests send them off on their honeymoon. Often done at the reception if there is not a traditional sendoff, the sisters present the bride with a red rose (the sorority’s flower) and serenade the bride with a song that they had sung together many-a-time.

Photo by Amanda Pair

The tradition is always carried through, whether with a full chorus, a shaky duet, or just a single rose and a hug as the bride makes her getaway. Sierra’s mama says that “the gift to the bride was not the rose or the song, but for her to remember that she would always belong to her sisters, and they would always belong to her.” Seriously, how sweet is that?! Can I please get an “aww”?

Photo by Jenny DeMarco

Does your sorority have a sing or a tradition for weddings? Are you planning something special for your sister’s big day? Are you looking forward to a sing on your own big day? Let us know in the comments!

P.S. Learn more about our crazy Southern traditions in these posts:
Bridal Portraits
Cake Pulls
Groom’s Cake

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Abby reply

    My sorority (Phi Mu- a very southern sorority!) does sing and I’ve been in many weddings where we sing a song “Never say goodbye” after the toasts! I love it and will definitely have it sung at my wedding too!

  2. avatar Southern Bride reply

    I will NOT being having any rituals related to my sorority at my wedding. I recently went to a wedding where almost every female in the room was in the same sorority. Those of us who weren’t were basically removed from the room during a few rituals. I felt like an unwelcome trespasser in the room. I didn’t want to be there. I vowed not to exclude my guests in a similar way at my wedding.

    • avatar Emily reply

      Aww, I’m sorry to hear that, Southern Bride! We love traditions when the focus is on inclusion, not exclusion. Happily, everyone has the option to choose what to include and what not to include at her own wedding, based on her feelings and guest list!

  3. avatar Meghan reply

    My sorority (Kappa Kappa Gamma) actually sings more than one song. I know different chapters choose different songs, but most of them have one in common and it involves more than just singing- slapping the floor, snapping, etc. I had it at my wedding and wouldn’t take it back! It’s always such a memorable time during one’s reception.

  4. avatar Ashley reply

    I was a Phi Mu @ Alabama and we have a sing that we did at the house when someone was pinned or engaged that we serenade the bride & groom with. We also sing “I Will Be Here.”

  5. avatar Lauren reply

    I am a Delta Gamma and at my wedding, the sisters in attendance sang our Dream Girl song. I don’t think it is an official tradition, but we have done it at all the recent weddings in our close circle of sisters.

    • avatar sadie reply


      Our DG chapter has always sung Dream Girl at every sister’s wedding… even if it was just one poor girl singing alone!

    • avatar Alli reply

      sadie: I’ve heard of DG chapters singing Dream Girls but our chapter does not. Which song is it? We sing Watershed by Indigo Girls often. But I don’t think at weddings (but I might at mine)

  6. avatar Kelly reply

    Eeee!!!! This is one of the parts I’m most looking forward to at my future wedding. I am a sister of Alpha Sigma Tau, and we serenade brides at their receptions with our fraternity hymn. I’m also incorporating my sorority’s flower (the yellow rose!) into my wedding bouquet + florals. Love love love!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      What a great idea, Kelly! I love that you’re incorporating your sorority flower into your florals! I’m sure that will be gorgeous! xo, Marissa

  7. avatar Marialeen reply

    I am also an Alpha Gam at the University of Alabama at Birmingham! The song that we sing at weddings is our “sweetheart song” – it’s the same one we sing when a sister get’s engaged. It is such a sweet and touching moment between everyone, especially for the bride! I am so excited to be in one of my sisters weddings this coming spring, who is also our chapter president and cannot wait to continue on this beautiful tradition!

  8. avatar Kate reply

    I am looking forward to doing the Pi Beta Phi “ring ching” at my wedding, since a number of my sorority sisters will be there. It’s a nice way to acknowledge and include girls who are special to you beyond those in your bridal party.

  9. avatar Tammy reply

    I went to college in Memphis, TN and was part of Zeta Tau Alpha. After moving to NYC, i found out the alumnae group that the other chapters throughout the US also sang the same song for special occasions, which brought a sense of connection. I hope when i get married, I will have loved ones from my past and present there to wish me well in such a meaningful manner.

  10. avatar Kay reply

    In my sorority, we don’t have an official song nationally, but our chapter sings ( and dances) to the same two popular songs we do at all our functions. It’s a great way to include the sorority but not make it feel exclusive.

  11. avatar Sierra reply

    I might just have to start this tradition among my friends, Marissa! Thanks for the fun post. Like some of y’all others have mentioned, my sorority has a special candlelight for engagements… my fingers are crossed for at least one this year!

  12. avatar Stephanie reply

    My Alpha Kappa Alpha sorors will definitely sing to me! It’s silly but it’s one of the things to which I’m most looking forward at my reception.

  13. avatar Kristen reply

    Having my sorority sisters sing to me at my wedding reception is one of the things I’m looking forward to the most! I’m sure I will have a mixture of emotions of tears, smiling and laughing like the rest of my sisters. Going to a Kappa Delta (my sorority) wedding is one of my favorite things to do with my sisters. Our chapter tradition is that we wear all black to the wedding. It signifies the sadness of losing a sister (even though we know it isn’t true- but we still do it). We definitely stand out from the rest of the guest. I couldn’t imagine my special day without my sisters. I mean most of my bridesmaids are my sorority sisters!

  14. avatar Caitlin reply

    I am an alumni of Chi Omega at UF and we have a special wedding song! It is also the song we sing during our candlelight ceremonies for Lavalieres and engagements! It’s our way of wishing the bride well on her next journey. It was one of the most special parts of my wedding reception this summer when they all surrounded me to sing. It made me truly appreciate all the special friendships I made during college and I’ll have for a lifetime :)

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  16. avatar Cindy reply

    I think this goes just for my chapter but we have 2 special songs we sing at weddings. At the reception right before the groom takes the bride’s garter off, we have a special song that is a bit risque and is a funny wedding night send off. It is sang only to the bride so that no one else can hear, and we all have a lot of fun with it. Then just before the bride and groom leave the reception we sing her “Never Alone”. It is our chapter’s signature song and is really special to all of us.

  17. avatar Southern Wedding Tradition: White Bible « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] yet? Send it my way! P.S. Here are a few of my faves: Burying the Bourbon A Moment of Prayer The Sorority Sing xo Marissa January 10, 2012 | view Marissa's blog 0 viewcomments hidecomments What […]

  18. avatar Cassandra Lackey reply

    I am in alpha gamma delta so i assume when the time comes for me to get married that my sister will do this for me. I know one of my sisters is getting married soon so i assume when i go to her wedding i will be doing the same for her.

  19. avatar Gold Ranch Wedding by Josh McCullock – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

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Today’s tradition is very near to my heart because of the photo of my grandmother below. Due to hurricane damage, we only have a few photos of my grandmother left, and this one is by far my favorite. I’ve always loved how beautiful and happy she looked in her bridal portrait, and how uncanny it is that she somehow looks like my mom, my sister and myself all morphed into one!

My maternal grandmother before her wedding. Isn’t she a gorgeous bride?!

Originating in Europe, bridal portraits (or “bridals”) were historically oil paintings of royalty in their bridal regalia and were traditionally commissioned by the bride’s family to commemorate such a special occasion. It’s unclear how this tradition made its way below the Mason Dixon, but before World War II, it was rare to have a photographer at your wedding, so bridal portraits were taken in the photographer’s studio before or after the couple’s wedding. Not long ago, bridals were a rite of passage for Southern debutantes and a family keepsake that was displayed on an easel near the guest book and then hung in the bride’s parents home for years to come.

The bridal portrait is still a very popular tradition in the South, however, the days of stone-faced studio sessions are long gone. Now brides are opting for a more personalized and natural setting that not only conveys the bride’s beauty, but her personality, as well (see above for one of our favorite examples from Brooke Schwab!). Many brides choose to use this day as a trial run for hair and makeup, as well as a great way to become more comfortable in front of the lens prior to their wedding day.

Did you take bridal portraits? Will they be displayed at your wedding or in your family’s home?

Do you love going through old family weddings photos as much as I do? We’d love to know your family love stories of old!

P.S. In a bridals mood now? Check out past bridal portrait features below:

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Southern Wedding Traditions :: The Sorority Sing « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

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  4. avatar Chris Saper reply

    Yes, she’s gorgeous and what a grand gown!! Of course as a portrait painter I’d love to see the original oil bridal portrait added to the tradition!

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    […] style. With any tradition there is  history behind its evolution. According to Southern Weddings, bridal portraits originated in Europe and were commissioned oil paintings of the bride in her […]

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