Wedding Traditions: Southern Charm and Northern Flair, Pt. II

By Wedding Blog Contributor Kim Francis, experienced Mother of the Bride (and Groom) and author of Kim’s Korner on The MOB Blog.



Another idea that many have about southern weddings is that no alcohol is served. To have or not have alcohol is something that is decided upon by each couple & is usually dictated by their religious upbringing. Many southern weddings will offer alcohol but it is not at all uncommon or frowned upon if the wedding does not have alcoholic beverages. Many times the southern reception is held at the church which may dictate a reason to the no alcohol policy.

One idea where we southerners seem to differ with northern weddings is the idea pertaining to bridal showers. In the south, more times than not, the bridal showers are given by friends, family, churches & often co-workers. It is not at all uncommon for a bride to have 3, 4 or even 5 showers. When a family member announces an engagement, the plotting & planning begin. Playing hostess to the bridal shower is almost as important as the wedding itself. Brunches, garden parties & tables covered in lace add to the southern elegance & help to turn bridal showers into something truly special. It is not expected for the bridal party to pay or play hostess at these functions. Many times the bridal party is not in attendance at these gatherings & the bride along with her mother are perfectly fine with their absence. The one shower the bridal party might plan & attend is the bachelorette/lingerie party.

Wedding gift giving seems to be another distinction where we may differ. This is one area that floored me, so I began asking everyone I knew if this was an idea that only my circle of friends & family have always done or if this was where we may have a true southern/northern difference? It is common in the south, if you have given a gift to the couple at a shower it is not expected that you also bring a gift to the wedding, however; I have learned from some of my northern friends, that it is custom in the north to take a gift to the wedding even though you have previously given a shower gift. I could find no one in the south that have heard or seen anyone getting gifts at both the shower & the wedding. I am glad to know that I wasn’t the only one in the south not participating in this northern tradition.

University of Kentucky Groom’s Cake, a Southern Wedding Tradition


The average cost of a wedding for 200 guests in the south can run from $15,000 to $30,000. This can vary depending on what venue is chosen, the guest count & even the time of year that you choose to marry. It also depends if you have a sit down dinner or offer a buffet style reception. This figure will also vary if you choose to have alcohol & also depends on what type of entertainment is provided to your guests. It can also depend if you choose a venue in a large southern city or opt for a location in the country.

I find that the differences in southern/northern weddings has some to do with where we are located geographically but more to do with what each individual couple wants. What matters most in both of these weddings is that the couples stay true to their values & in what they believe. Each wedding experience should be one where love is celebrated, family & friends come together & the memories are cherished for a lifetime.

In case you missed it, check out part I of our Wedding Traditions: Southern Charm and Northern Flair post and weigh-in on your thoughts of Southern vs. Northern weddings below!

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  • Barbara Hall

    Very interesting Kim!!  Love reading your blogs!!