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  • Writer's pictureKristen Rocco

5 Southern Wedding Trends You Need to Know

There’s just something unique about the southern bride. Family values run deep through her veins. She’s classic and timeless. She wants to please her guests as much as create a day that she’ll remember forever. All while honoring tradition, today’s southern bride is putting her personal touch on just about everything!

I learned all this from my recent visit to Raleigh, North Carolina. I met some seriously awesome bridal professionals who imagine the wedding day of Raleigh brides every step of the way.

Megan Gillikin, owner of A Southern Soiree, helps brides coordinate the wedding they’ve have been dreaming of as little girls.

Amy Kiszely and Laura Stanley are the women behind popular bridal gown boutique, Maggi Bridal, and make a bride’s vision of how she’ll look on her wedding day a reality.

Autumn of Autumn Harrison Photography captures wedding moments that will leave any bride and groom speechless by highlighting the emotion in every shot.

I asked, “What’s it like to be a bride getting married in the south?”

“Today’s brides are bringing their own style to the wedding,” Megan says. “There’s a lot of personalization that goes into the wedding day from guest books to the menu to the favors and even the exit.”

Amy and Laura agree. “Brides are still largely looking for a classic wedding dress, but they’re putting their own twist on it. Some add color, others add beading or a splash of glitz. Brides are opting for unique touches that mirror themselves while selecting a dress that also reflects time-honored tradition.”

As for photography, Autumn sees the bride and groom’s personality coming out more than ever: “They don’t want ordinary pictures. They want something fun that shows them being themselves and making the statement, ‘This is who we are.’”

Personalization tops the trending list, but there are others:

Historic homes

The character and charm of homes with a deep-seeded past is what appeals to brides today. Megan says that more and more historic homes in the Triangle (including Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding suburbs) are catering to weddings and brides are booking them well in advance. Many brides are looking for a garden party atmosphere and these homes deliver.

What’s mine is yours

“I’m wearing my mother’s dress” is a phrase that Amy and Laura have heard more of recently. Many brides are wearing two gowns, one during the wedding ceremony and one for the reception, to preserve family tradition as well as represent themselves. Whatever they choose, “it’s a look that is truly timeless.”

Bridal portraits

Not to be confused with the engagement session, the first look or wedding day photos, the bridal portrait is a true Southern custom. “The bride-to-be gets her full hair and makeup done as if it were her wedding day and then it’s just her, me and my camera,” Autumn says. “It’s a true glam session and at her wedding, the portrait will be on display as guests enter the reception venue.”

Family-style dining

Instead of doing a plated meal or food stations, brides and grooms are opting for passed platters that can be shared. “Couples really want to host a wedding that’s warm and inviting as if it were at their home,” Megan said. “Family-style dining gives this impression. It’s comfortable and not as formal. It’s upscale but approachable.”

Staying classic

Megan says that rustic and vintage were the styles of a couple years ago, but the 2015 Raleigh bride is all about that classic look and feel.

Final Thoughts

On planning the big day, Megan says, “the wedding day is special and important, but there’s a bigger picture which is what the bride and groom are really celebrating.” (*See Editor's Note). She also counsels brides and grooms to think about what gets them excited about the planning process and to be flexible on the other areas so they don’t get stressed out.

On finding the perfect dress, Amy and Laura share some ideas for something old, borrowed, new and blue. “Something old and borrowed is typically the mother’s veil and/or jewelry. Something new is the dress. For something blue, brides are monogramming the inside hemline of their gown in blue with their initials, with the wedding date, or with a blue heart from a father or grandfather. Blue shoes are very popular too.”

For breathtaking pictures, Autumn recommends a pre-wedding photo session with the photographer to get comfortable in front of the camera. Practice cuddling because people tend to shy away from PDA these days and rehearse smiling with your eyes or “smize” she says in reference to America’s Top Model.

On the wedding day itself, Megan loves to take couples to the reception site right after the ceremony, away from the other guests, so they can have a private moment together to take it all in. “Carve out time during the wedding day for just the two of you,” she says.



P.S. - Get my Wedding Planning Guidebook with 20 creative ways to personalize your wedding and capture what’s truly important about your wedding day by brilliantly incorporating the details of your love story.


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