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Like I’ve said, I love Southern traditions. A lot! I’m also rather proud that I know a whole dang lot of them. Well, y’all, I was officially stumped when it came to today’s Southern tradition – burying the bourbon.

Image credit: Photo Lady Love

I think this one falls under the heading of “crazy traditions,” but I am still a bit disappointed in my Southerness that I hadn’t even heard of it. My research was inconclusive as to where this tradition began, though some sources said Virginia, and some Tennessee. Regardless of the location, Southern folklore says that if you bury a bottle of bourbon at the site where the bride and groom are to be married, then it won’t rain on their wedding day. According to many believers, this must be done exactly one month before the wedding, the bottle must be completely full and it must be buried upside down in order for it to keep the rain away.

Image credit: Jodi Miller (see more images from this super Southern wedding here).

Did you bury bourbon prior to your wedding? Did it keep the rain at bay? Have any more details about this tradition? Leave us a comment below!

P.S. Looking to learn more about Southern traditions?
A Moment of Prayer
Sorority Sing
The Handkerchief

marissa Written with love by Marissa
44 Comments
  1. avatar madelynne miller reply

    That is so funny and neat – but I can’t very easily bury a bottle of bourbon in a church sanctuary!

  2. avatar AmandaR reply

    My future sister-in-law told me of this tradition and I have since insisted that we do it for our June 9th wedding! Our reception is being held outdoors, on my mom’s Tennessee farm, so I need all the help I can get, superstitious or not. We also plan on drinking a bourbon and coke cocktail after we’ve dug up the bottle in our monogrammed Mason jars! And our party favors for our guests will include mini Jack Daniel’s bottles in the Mason jars, it’s all about a theme, right?

    • avatar Christina S. reply

      Hello,

      Did you have your wedding yet? Did the Bury the Bourbon work? Also, did you bury it 1 calendar month before or 4 weeks before?

      Thanks!

  3. avatar AmandaR reply

    One other thing: According to Wikipedia :) Although Jack Daniel’s whiskey generally meets the regulatory criteria for classification as a straight bourbon, the company disavows this classification and markets it simply as Tennessee whiskey rather than as Tennessee bourbon. So we are going with Wikipedia’s classification for our Tennessee wedding and burying the bourbon – Jack Daniel’s!

  4. avatar Melissa reply

    Wish I had known about this on my wedding day! It rained cats and dogs! Probably would have had to “bury” (read: under a bush and not in dirt) it at the country club reception, as the church did not allow any alcohol on site ;-)

    Rest assured, plenty of bourbon was enjoyed that evening!

  5. avatar Sarah O reply

    This is such a cute idea! I’m going to try the reception site option too since I don’t feel right burying bourbon on the church grounds. Hopefully it will still work for a South Carolina wedding! ;)

  6. avatar Julia C reply

    We did this for my sisters wedding though our understanding was that you should chose a day that you want the weather to be like and then we buried the bourbon. The hardest part was deciding which day was the best weather and thankfully it worked!

    Being that the reception was in my parent’s backyard there weren’t any issues with being allowed to do it. However, we never dug it back up! In all the craziness it is still in the garden.

    Love the idea of photographing the event as well as digging up the bottle and drinking it in celebration!

  7. avatar Caitlin reply

    I love this website! My fiance and I are both southern, as well our whole families live below the Mason Dixon. We are going to do this for our September 1st wedding!

  8. avatar Katherine reply

    We are having an outdoor ceremony on June 9th and I am so nervous that it is going to rain. When I read about this tradition, I just knew we had to do it! Just last weekend my fiancee and I went to our ceremony site in Charleston, SC and buried a bottle of bourbon. Now let’s just keep our fingers crossed that it works!!

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Oh how fun! You’ll have to let us know if it works! Fingers crossed for you!! xx

    • avatar Katherine reply

      Our wedding was June 9th and thanks to the bottle of bourbon we had fantastic weather!! Bright and sunny skies with a little breeze and cooler than normal in Charleston for June. We were esctatic and had a wonderful wedding day!

      And then the next day it was overcast and raining off and on So in my opionion, the tradition works :)

  9. avatar Wedding Traditions ✈ Southern Belle | Fly Away Bride reply

    […] Ulmer Studios via Green Wedding Shoes | Burying the bourbon:  Jodi Miller Photography via Southern Weddings | Drinks: A Sweet Pea Chef | Hostess with the Mostest | Whole Foods Market | Outdoors:  Paige […]

  10. avatar Abby @ Belle & Beau Antiquarian reply

    We love your post and we have included it in a roundup of Southern traditions. We linked it back to your post. ;) Check it out here: http://belleandbeauantiquarian.blogspot.com/2012/11/10-southern-traditions-that-yall-should.html

  11. avatar Burying Bourbon | A Tasty Life reply

    […] Southern folklore says that if you bury a bottle of bourbon at the site where the bride and groom are to be married, then it won’t rain on their wedding day. According to many believers, this must be done exactly one month before the wedding, the bottle must be completely full and it must be buried upside down in order for it to keep the rain away. […]

  12. avatar Rebecca reply

    Please help. We are supposed to be burying the bottle today. Today is 31days before our wedding. But it’s raining :-( can we do it tomorrow since it technically will still be one month away?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi sweet Rebecca! My vote would be to do it tomorrow! :)

    • avatar Heidi DeBoet reply

      My daughter Chessie is burying a bottle of bourbon today for her April 12 wedding…its rainy and windy today will let you know how it worked in a month…

  13. avatar Brenda Buchanan reply

    There is a poem that accompanies the tradition of burying the bottle. Have you heard of it? I’m searching for it.

  14. avatar Julia reply

    It worked for us in Virginia this past August!

  15. avatar Southern Traditions: Cotillion – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] y’all know, I normally talk about Southern wedding traditions – from the sweet to the kind of wacky! Well, today’s tradition is not necessarily associated with weddings, but it still features a […]

  16. avatar Rainy Tennessee Wedding by Kristin Sweeting – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] to wedding weather woes–whether it stormed on your big day or you’re getting ready to bury the bourbon, unpredictable weather is a nerve-wracking factor that every outdoor bride has to endure at some […]

  17. avatar Pink Beach Wedding by Vue Photography – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] We buried a bottle of Woodford upside down at the ceremony site, and the boys dug it up just before the ceremony. They toasted the occasion with the bourbon they had just retrieved–the bottle ended up empty, so I’m glad I didn’t bury a bigger bottle! New to this Southern tradition? Read our post on it here! […]

  18. avatar Angie reply

    I was the photographer at a wedding where they buried the bourbon and… it worked! The rain was horrible leading up to the wedding! That whole week seemed like it would lead up to a site that was water logged or we would be boating in! On Friday, the rain finally stopped around noon but it was calling for more the next day. When we showed up for the rehearsal, everyone was in rain boots and the bride had full confidence that the 3 inch deep puddles would be dry on Saturday. When we arrived on Saturday, it was dry! I will never doubt this southern tradition and plan to do this when my daughters marry!

  19. avatar Christina S. reply

    Hello,

    I am wondering how specific do you have to be regarding the ONE MONTH rule.

    Example: Our wedding is Saturday Oct 4th. Does that mean we bury September 4th (Which is a Thursday) or 4 weeks before (would be September 6th a Saturday like our wedding)

    -Christina

    • avatar Robyn reply

      My wedding is October 4th as well and we will be burying ours tomorrow, September 4th. Our venue has had 26 weddings and it only rained once. That was because they didn’t bury their bourbon!

  20. avatar rachel vetter reply

    We do not have a wedding at Walnut Way without burying the Bourbon! We are at 100% sunshine since we began having weddings. Our couples have fun with the tradition by having a picnic. If the couple is from out of town I bury it for them and send photos. It is frequently the first photo in their wedding album and digging it up is the last. We have had weddings that couldn’t have their rehearsal due to rain and the next morning the sun came out. Other weddings have had the rain begin the following day. Walnut Way

  21. avatar Potato Hill Farm Kentucky Wedding Photography reply

    […] The ceremony was held at St. James Church in Dover KY and the tented reception was held at Potato Hill Farm. The Farm is actually owned by Brian’s family and provides a Rustic and Farm style accommodations. I also experiences a Sourthern Wedding Tradition of Burying the Bourbon […]

  22. avatar Susan Harrington reply

    When I was a kid in west Texas, a family friend found a bottle of bourbon buried on their property. It was over 100 years old. Nobody had a clue why anyone would bury bourbon underground. As an adult when I moved to the Carolina’s I learned it was a tradition. Looking back, most of the settlers that came out west were from the Southern states. So as far as I can say, the tradition has been around for over 100 years.

  23. avatar Lauren reply

    We’re having a destination NYE wedding in Hilton Head and of course they’re predicting ‘storms to end the year’ down there. We still may bury the bottle on a nice sunny day where we live just for the heck of it and see what happens. Anyone else try this for their destination wedding?

  24. avatar Van reply

    Do you dig up the bourbon bottle and drink it after the wedding?

  25. avatar Bev reply

    Yes Van! Drink and toast!

  26. avatar Anna reply

    We did this a month before our wedding (9/19/15) we buried a new bottle of Jim Beam upside down at our wedding ceremony site. It looked like it was going to rain ALL day up until I walked down the aisle at 4:30. The skies opened up with the sun shining down on us. The reception was tented and we had perfect “fall”cool (low of 65) weather for the rest of the evening/night. We’re convinced it was due to our dirty bourbon that we dug up before we went to join our guests at the reception.

    • avatar Anna reply

      The only thing we did different and I forgot to mention is that we saved it for our anniversaries. We’re gonna have a drink with it for big anniversaries: 1,5,15,20,25,30,35, etc

  27. avatar Laine reply

    My husband and I buried our bourbon exactly one month to the minute from the start of our ceremony and it worked like charm! For our summer wedding this month, we had unseasonably cool temperatures and clear, beautiful skies! This is definitely a tradition to hold tightly to!

  28. avatar Spring Wedding at Magnolia Plantation reply

    […] they buried a bottle of bourbon at the ceremony site one month before their wedding. According to Southern Weddings, “Southern folklore says that if you bury a bottle of bourbon at the site where the bride and […]

  29. avatar North Carolina Wedding Photographer and Wedding Invitations reply

    […] the bride, Ashley tells me get ready for diggin’ up the bourbon, I was stumped. Come to find out it’s an old Southern tradition and I think this one falls […]

  30. avatar Megan reply

    We are planning on doing this, but cannot gain access to the venue until a few days after the day that would be one mom. Hopefully, it still works! We have had issues with rain or our engagement photos and my bridal photos already, so keeping the rain away on wedding day is huge!

  31. avatar Chelsea + Cory :: Shawano, WI Wedding Photography » Marshfield and Wisconsin Wedding Photography reply

    […] to the lone oak, it was a photography dream. After Chelsea + Cory’s intimate ceremony and digging up the bourbon, (which worked because the sky was cloudless and blue)  we headed to the Shawano Park Pavillion to […]

  32. avatar Morgan reply

    We are planning to do this tradition, however we hit a road block! We knew we couldn’t bury the bottle at our ceremony site, as we are getting married at a church, but our reception venue has said that we can not bring outside alcohol onto the property. Does anyone have any suggestions on how we might be able to alter the tradition (read: get around this rule) and still participate?

  33. avatar MOTHER OF BRIDE reply

    So my kid wants to use Fireball instead of bourbon. Thoughts?

    • avatar Emily reply

      Haha! You can certainly bury whatever you want, but whiskey might not work as well as bourbon, at least according to tradition :)

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

When it comes to Southern traditions, I love them all. Yes, even the crazy ones! But, when we scheduled this feature, I didn’t even have to search for images, because I have a a whole folder on my computer filled with brides, grooms and wedding parties praying. It’s one of my VERY favorite wedding moments ever.

After much research, I found that there isn’t usually a specific prayer being prayed, just a sweet moment to pause and give thanks and ask for blessings. Usually this takes place in the last few moments before the ceremony, when everyone is just buzzing with nervous excitement. You might notice that in most of the images the group is placing their hands upon the bride or groom. In Christian churches, the practice of placing your hands on the bride or groom is used as both a symbolic and formal method of invoking the Holy Spirit. If you’ve experienced this yourself, I’m sure you know how calming and emotional it can be.

I haven’t been able to find where the moment of prayer tradition originated, but it is rooted in faith, a spirit of thanksgiving, and love.

Image credit from left to right and top to bottom: Brooke Courtney, Millie Holloman, Our Labor of Love, Studio A Photography, and J. Malahy.

One beautiful way to incorporate a friend or loved one who isn’t in your bridal party is to ask them to lead the prayer. This would be a perfect request for a godparent or another close relative, and I’m sure they would be touched to be asked.

Did you or will you pray before your ceremony? Do you know where this tradition came from? If you do, leave comment in the section below.

Want to learn more about Southern traditions?
Bridal Portraits
Cake Pulls
Groom’s Cake

P.S. Three years ago today, I married the love of my life. Happy anniversary BDK! xx

marissa Written with love by Marissa
16 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Beautiful post, Marissa! I’m going to ask one of my best friends (who is not in my bridal party, but whose faith I very much admire) to lead us in prayer right before the ceremony. It’s one of the parts of our wedding day I’m most looking forward to!

  2. avatar Nancy Ray reply

    LOVE this post. So much. Beautiful images!

  3. avatar RachelC reply

    I follow you in twitter – rchamberlin7

  4. avatar RachelC reply

    I have 6 wonderful bridesmaids: my sister, my fiance’s sister, my fiance’s sister-in-law, two of my sorority sisters, and my best friend who I’ve known since 1st grade

  5. avatar Madelynne Miller reply

    This brought tears to my eyes! I can’t wait for this special intimate moment at my own wedding. What a sweet and wonderful tradition – it never even occurred to me to call it such. It is SO ingrained in our culture!

  6. avatar Amanda Noel reply

    Happy Anniversary Marissa! that was a BEAUTIFUL post. This tradition will definitely be included in my wedding :)

  7. avatar Havens reply

    I wish people in the UK would adopt more of these “Southern” traditions. These pictures have captured those few moments of silence and contemplation brilliantly, you can see how it pulled everyone together and calmed the atmosphere.

  8. avatar Desiree reply

    ahhh ~ totally a favorite moment of mine! I had a moment of prayer with my mother and father before our ceremony and I asked my uncle (a former minister) to give the dinner blessing. His dinner blessing was above and beyond what I ever expected. Sort of like the ‘laying on of hands’ that Marissa described, but he requested that ALL of our guests reach our their hands towards us, and they shouted “Bless Them! Bless Them!”. I literally felt my world shake and I knew that I had an entire community’s support in my marriage. THANK YOU for reminding me of this, Marissa! xo

  9. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] told us about her very favorite Southern tradition this week: a moment of prayer. This tradition is rooted in faith, a spirit of thanksgiving, and […]

  10. avatar Lisa reply

    Always such a special, touching moment, and these pictures are breathtaking. I definitely want to do this someday!

  11. avatar Tradition! | The Budget Savvy Bride reply

    […] Photo courtesy of: Brooke Courtney via Southern Weddings […]

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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
33 Comments
  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

      Lauren:

      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 :)

  15. avatar Southern Weddings Mini-Feature » Little Rock Wedding Photographer reply

    […] a screenshot of the post and I’ve included a link here, […]

  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

    […] know we love a good sorority sing, and this one looks like it was a complete […]

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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