How to Get Married in the South

SweetTeaStudios.sparklers

Photo by Sweet Tea Studios

There’s a tradition in the Southern U.S. that if a bottle of bourbon is buried upside down at the location where you’re getting married one month before the wedding day, it will keep the rain away.

As I mentioned here when I first wrote about our upcoming trip, my friend Dianna loves tradition. And she and her fiancé Evan were planning an outdoor wedding on the property of Maison Madeleine, a gorgeous 19th-century house in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. So her sister Kendal, who lives a couple hours away in New Orleans, agreed to do the bourbon burial.

bourbon.Kendalpic

Two weeks before the wedding, storms were hitting the state. “Four days of work, lots of packing, and we will be headed south to become Mr. and Mrs.!” Dianna posted on social media. “Now the south just needs to get all this storming out of its system and bring on the sunshine!”

As some of you know, Joe and I exchanged our vows during a typhoon. There was no bourbon buried in the town of Yachats, Oregon where we said “I do”, and when I say typhoon, I mean it was a literal typhoon (Typhoon Pabuk, it was named), complete with record-breaking rainfall and a power outage. I like to think getting married in a storm is reflective of our adventurous nature. (You never know what Joe and Courtney might get up to in this lifetime—they got married in a typhoon!)

So when Dianna started sharing nervous updates about the weather, I texted her: The chances of us both getting married in a storm have to be really really slim. (Knock on wood right nowshe replied.)

On May 2oth, Evan posted this update from Lafayette: “2.5 days before the wedding…Flash flood warnings, thunder, and lightning. C’mon sunshine!”

Dianna followed with “Man, I hope the power of the buried bourbon is strong.”

I bought a portable umbrella.

The ceremony was scheduled for 6 p.m. One storm had already hit that afternoon, then disappeared just as quickly. When Joe and I boarded the trolley in Lafayette at 4:30 with a bunch of other guests, it was sunny. When I snuck into the house on site to see Dianna one last time before the ceremony, a light rain had started. She was standing in the kitchen with her bridesmaids, who had spent the day getting their hair and makeup done while wearing these awesome floral robes.

robes.margopic.

I didn’t realize I needed a floral robe in my life until I saw these photos. I want to spend a weekend morning in one, sipping mimosas and reading the paper while someone poaches me an egg. These robes are just one of many, many beautiful details that Dianna planned over the last year for her big day. This woman can organize, ya’ll

DiannaTrolley.picbyKendal

And she wasn’t about to let some rain pour down and mess with her plans. This was the venue during a sunny moment in the days leading up…

setup.EvanFoulke

MaisonMadeleineAnd that was how we were all hoping it looked at vow time.

backofdress.picbymonica

I wasn’t in the room when these photos were taken (all photos are credited at end of post), but wanted to share some of the ‘behind the scenes.’ This is the bride’s mom, Brenda. She was with Dianna in Portland the day Dianna chose her wedding dress a year ago…

D+Brenda.Kendalpic

along with Dianna’s two sisters, stepmom, two aunts, cousin, grandmother and grandfather. Her whole crew had come to town for the engagement party, and they took over the bridal shop to watch Dianna try on dresses. When she came out of the dressing room wearing this one, she tells me, they all gasped and immediately started to cry. It was the first bridal shop she looked in, just a couple weeks after Evan proposed, and she bought the dress that day.

This is her and Evan’s ‘first look’ moment.

firstlook.picbykendal

At 5:30 p.m. it was thundering. The guests stood on the porch sipping beers while the wedding coordinator walked around with a cloth wiping raindrops off seats, only to watch them get wet all over again.

But as you might guess…

ceremony.picbyDomenica

by six the skies cleared…and the ceremony began.

Dianna’s sister Monica has three beautiful kids: Caleb, who was the designated ring bearer…

kids.monica'salbum.

Kennedy, the flower girl (who took her petal dropping duty very seriously, one.petal.at.a.time)…

kennedypetals.monica'salbum

and Carter, the “Here Comes the Bride” sign carrier.

carter.monica'salbum

I have never seen Evan looking as proud and happy as he did standing at that porch, watching Dianna walk toward him.

Domenica'spic.fatherofbridevows.DomenicapicOne of the sweetest parts of the ceremony was after they said their vows and exchanged rings, Evan started leaning in for the kiss before their officiant had pronounced them husband and wife. Everyone had a little chuckle as he realized it wasn’t time yet and pulled back. This guy couldn’t wait to kiss his bride.

kiss.picbydomenica

Then it was party time.

Which in the south includes parasols…

secondlineparade.picbydomenica

Dianna and Evan got their dance in right away, in case the rain started up again. The song was Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

SweetTeaStudios

Photo by Sweet Tea Studios

Rather than a formal sit-down dinner, they served h’ordeurves (including mini muffulettas and bacon-wrapped dates) and a delicious buffet. As Dianna explained, she wanted the reception to be a party, with dancing as the main event.

The guests wasted no time showing off their moves. I’m not sure how everyone else knew the sequence to several coordinated line dances, but I just stood back and watched in amazement.

linedancing.brendapic.

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You know it’s a party when the groom and the bride’s grandfather are balancing beer cans on their heads.

dancingwithpapa.picbydomenica

Dianna’s papa is really sweet. He calls his grandkids his ‘heartthrobs’. And he can groove.

Papa

The bourbon was dug up…

bourbonrain.Kendalpic

and put to use for something other than weather control.

bourbon.picbymonica

SweetTeaStudios.kiss

Photo by Sweet Tea Studios

The reception ended with a sparkler send off…

sparklers.picbydomenica

before we all boarded trolleys that dropped us off at a bar in Lafayette. That after-party was followed by an after-after-party, with 15 or so of us converging in Evan and Dianna’s bridal suite. Corks were popped, glasses were poured, and somewhere around 3 a.m., her friend Elliott, who had flown all the way from Britain to come to the wedding, started hanging from the ceiling’s rafters, literally. How else to end such an epic day?

Dianna’s post the next afternoon summed it up: “Words cannot express how full our hearts are after the most perfect weekend of our lives!”

tumblr_np4zlrNozh1tud78ao1_1280Congratulations you two…

SweetTeaStudios.invitations

DSC_7147

Photo by Sweet Tea Studios

What’s the plan for your 1st anniversary?

(We’re IN.)

xo ~C.

The Sweet Tea Studios images are by Dianna and Evan’s excellent photographers, Trent and Danica. They are based in Crested Butte, Colorado and specialize in wedding, portrait and commercial photography. Thanks to you both for allowing me to share your wonderful images!

I had a ton of help with other photos for this post as well. This is the first time I haven’t brought my camera with me on a trip, and my iphone photos didn’t turn out great, so thank you to everyone whose photos I shared, especially Domenica Mendoza Bueno who supplied so many.

Photo Credits: Bourbon: Kendal Antee; Robes: Margo Halliday’s album; Trolley: Kendall Antee; Location: Evan Foulke; Dianna/mirror: Monica Auschwitz; Dianna and mom: Kendal Antee; 1st look: Kendal Antee; Bridal party porch: Domenica Mendoza Bueno; Kids: Monica Auschwitz’s album; Dianna and Dad, Vows, Kiss, Parasols: Domenica Mendoza Bueno; Line dancing: Brenda Alfred Antee Viselli; Dianna and Kendal: Kendall Antee’s album; Sparklers: Domenica Mendoza Bueno
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