North, south, east, and west: See how couples across the country are celebrating their weddings.By: Rachel Griffiths
What is it that makes Southern hospitality feel so special? Luke Wilson of Luke WilsonSpecial Events in Charleston, South Carolina, tells us how to get that lowcountry charm.
“The biggest thing brides are concerned about is the hospitality factor,” Luke reports. “It starts with
the first piece of paper guests receive.” Southern brides favor large-packet invitations, with maps, restaurant picks, even suggestions for local activities. Next, they turn their attention to the welcome basket: goodies might include a map, local magazines, and favorite Southern tipples, such as Charleston’s Firefl y Sweet Tea Vodka.
A glowing, sunset-lit reception. (Photography Credit: Kim Graham Photography)
Brides are very choosy about their venues. Country belles have their pick of mansions and plantation houses surrounded by mossy oak trees, but Southern city girls also like walled gardens and Victorian houses. Because historic buildings tend to have smaller receiving rooms, the receptions for Southern
weddings often take place outside in glamorous swagged tents with perhaps just the cocktail hour or cake cutting inside.
Mansions and plantation houses are the venue of choice. (Photography Credit: Kim Graham Photography)
Southern brides don’t mess around when it comes to cuisine. “They want a quality selection of things
people really enjoy and that are local to the region, such as shrimp and grits,” Luke says. “We’re passing mini waffl es with southern fried chicken, or mini fried green tomatoes with pimiento cheese.” For dinner, Luke’s brides prefer dual entrées, such as braised short ribs au jus with grouper or a crab cake. “We always have crab cake,” notes Luke.
After dinner, the food keeps coming. Expect mini pecan pies, key-lime cheesecakes, or tiny ice cream
cones. And don’t forget the wedding cake. Luke reports that Southern brides insist on a showstopping cake, as well as a groom’s cake at the rehearsal dinner.
Vintage elegance, Southern style. (Photography Credit: Kim Graham Photography)
Even the most traditional belles bring in the fun with music.While Luke reports that many weddings still feature a traditional big band, music comes with big helping of Southern soul. “They’ll do classic standards but in a lowcountry way so you get that local feeling.” And when the band has played their last song, there’s one last hurrah before the night winds down—the getaway. “We always do a big send off—no matter where we are, there are rose petals or sparklers and a horse carriage or vintage car.”
Think Texan weddings are all about yellow roses and chicken fried steak? Think again, says Rebecca
Hackl of Rebecca Hackl Events in Dallas. While the cowboy culture has its place, Rebecca reminds us that Texas is America’s second largest state by population and has a large mix of cultures. But while her brides aren’t likely to wear Stetsons down the aisle, there is one thing that all Texas brides have in common—their weddings have to be grand. Texas brides like to make Texas-sized statements. “I had a wedding that was a mix of Indian and Lebanese cultures, and we had Lebanese and Indian dancers perform three dance numbers throughout the night. It was so much fun!” says Rebecca.
Another trait that Texas brides share is their oversized hearts. Favors are a must at a Texan wedding, but the most popular favor of all? Charitable donations. “I think that represents what Texas is,” Rebecca explains.
“Florida is the clubbing capital of the world!” announces Tamara Cohen of TC Event Design in Hollywood, Florida. Her brides want a wedding that mirrors that sexy, tropical vibe. The look is inspired by the iconic Delano Hotel in Miami’s South Beach—and calls for lowslung lounge furniture and sweeps of sheer draping. Sunshine State brides shy away from the sit-down dinner. Instead, they opt for stations with easy-to-manage food such as sliders or mac n’ cheese on Asian spoons. Everything is eaten during breaks on the dance fl oor because the music doesn’t stop all night long.
But while high-octane glamour is always an in look, another style of wedding is gaining ground. “It’s
beach natural,” explains Tamara. A new type of Florida bride is going for a vintage feel, with flowers in galvanized buckets and huppahs hung with starfi sh on raffi a streamers. What do these breezy brides have in common with the club set? The ocean! Tamara says that all of her brides want a view of Florida’s famous crystal-blue water.
Check out more Southern weddings!