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3 Tips for Planning a Southern Destination Wedding

Destination weddings turn your entire wedding into a romantic honeymoon experience. Taking your nuptials to the south with beautiful beaches and charming neighborhoods, adds an element of calm to the wedding experience. However, destination weddings can be stressful too.  With these tips from Nathan Johnson, Founder and Lead Designer at GRO Designs , you can plan a stress-free destination wedding to remember.

Planning a destination wedding can be daunting. In essence, you’re taking everything you know about the event and taking it on the road to a location that you may or may not know very well. Planners need to consider local traditions, family traditions, and a couples’ own traditions and likes, and then literally marry those things into a wedding celebration that is inclusive and welcoming to everyone who is traveling to attend the important event.

Southern destination weddings are near and dear to my heart simply because I was born and raised in the south (Texas). Juggling the right pieces is both a challenge and a blessing because it makes you put the spirit of the couple and their wedding at the forefront in your mind as you make every decision regarding that important day.

Here are some important tips to consider when planning a destination wedding with a southern feel:

1. Go Local
Look at the city or area that the wedding will take place to see what local traditions or floral/design opportunities might pop up that will help your specific wedding. For example, when we planned a February 2016 wedding in Charleston, we loved incorporating the Spanish moss from the trees throughout the design of the florals and even this inspiration was used in the wedding invitation.   We also utilized décor elements that are popular in the south with hemstitch linens, antique cut glassware, and mixed patterned china plates to achieve the southern warmth and hospitality feel at the dinner tables.

2. Know Your Couple
Get to know your couple as much as possible to discover how to personalize the wedding to reflect their personality and styles.  For example, we incorporated the groom’s favorite iced tea recipe for the welcome refreshment, and grandmother’s pie recipes for the dessert stations.  These are just a couple of the ways that you can customize even the catering aspect of the event. Florals are also a wonderful way to honor family members, for example using the same floral blooms for the bride that the mother of the bride had in her bouquet, or by using hydrangeas in the arrangements to remind the groom of his grandmother’s garden.

3. Create Surprises
Create an experience for the guests and include surprises that the attendees might not see coming.  In Atlanta, we surprised guests with a fireworks sendoff at the end of the evening, and in Charleston we surprised guests with a parade of gospel choir singers to serenade them as they transitioned from the ceremony to reception.  We have had fathers singing to daughters, a surprise venue reveals, and even small accents such as passing warm beignets while guests leave a reception…all of those things have brought smiles to the guests’ faces.  

 Image by Sean Money & Elizabeth Fay

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Michiel Perry

Michiel is a Black Southern Belle living a lowcountry life. I love all things fashion, home decor and southern! When I am not running around doing fun stuff for Black Southern Belle, I live in antique stores and have a minor obsession with historic homes 🙂

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