What’s Hot and What’s Not at Southern Weddings?
By RJ Walters
When’s the last time you participated in a “dollar dance” at a wedding? The advent of apps like Venmo and CashApp would make it easier than ever to pad a new couple’s bank account.
And have you been alive long enough to remember when it was the unwritten rule to sit on the left side of the aisle if you were with the bride’s family and the right side if you were with the groom’s family?
The truth about weddings is some traditions are as long-standing as the garter toss, but others come and go as quickly as couples’ big days themselves.
If you are playing a game of Family Feud, or you find yourself in the planning stages of an upcoming wedding, here are some highlights and lowlights to familiarize yourself with, tying in several nods to the region of the country we call home.
According to a survey by The Knot, 66% of couples are incorporating eco-friendly elements in their weddings. That includes donating leftover food, choosing environmentally-friendly venues, and using compostable dinnerware. It also extends to people opting for more vintage dresses, rented suits and clothing made out of eco-friendly fabrics that reduces the environmental impact.
Wedding planners will tell you that modern couples love bright and bold hues, so move over pastels! The most popular palettes are metallics like gold, silver and bronze, as well as a variety of shades of green. Also on the up-and-up are hot pinks, deep purples, and bright blues.
Whiskey Bars, Sweet Tea, and Lemonade
It’s become on-point in the South now to provide guests curated selections of bourbons and whiskeys to enjoy. On the non-alcoholic side, couples are being extra sweet by showcasing a variety of flavors of lemonade and sweet tea to keep people refreshed.
From digital guestbooks to live streaming ceremonies, tech-savvy couples are incorporating technology in a variety of ways to enhance the experience, so even Grandma can join in on the fun. In a survey by WeddingWire, 43% of couples said they would consider live streaming their ceremony for loved ones who can’t attend.
Due to the pandemic, smaller weddings with fewer guests have become more popular, and couples are embracing the trend of having weddings of 50 or less guests. Micro weddings are intimate, personalized, and often more affordable, making them a great option for couples who want to keep things simple but still want some of that trademark Southern charm—or whatever their preferred style is.
We have the weather and scenery that people travel from around the world to enjoy, so it’s not surprising that outdoor weddings have cemented themselves as a primary option for Floridians. Gardens, vineyards, farms and historic homes are some of the most popular venues.
Oversized Wedding Parties
Southern hospitality is all about making everyone feel at home, but that doesn’t mean it’s a requirement to have a big wedding party to pull that off. The Knot estimates the average wedding party is around four people on either side for modern American weddings. Smaller, more intimate wedding parties are becoming the norm to keep the focus on the couple and their love.
Formal Sit-Down Dinners
The South is known for its comfort food, so it’s no surprise that casual dining options like food trucks, grazing tables and family-style meals are gaining popularity for a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere that’s still finger-lickin” good.
A Wedding Hashtag
The artist formerly known as “pound sign” has long ago been eclipsed, but it appears his replacement has lost steam with engaged couples. The Knot estimates that over the last five years distinctive wedding hashtags to represent a couple’s big day have decreased nearly 25%, and only about 1 in 4 couples use that kind of social trademark.
Traditional Wedding Favors
As mentioned before, we believe in hospitality, so generic wedding favors like Jordan almonds or plastic trinkets just don’t cut it. Personalized gifts that reflect your Southern hospitality, like local food or drink, handmade items, or charitable donations, are becoming increasingly popular.
According to WeddingWire’s 2022 Wedding Report, more couples are embracing unique dessert options like donut walls, s’mores stations, and dessert bars. Classic wedding cakes are just that—classic—which means there will likely always be a market for them, and they are a distinctive part of wedding culture, but the approach to sweets at weddings is more multi-tiered than ever before.