Wedding traditions, Kentucky style

Barn weddings, bridal portraits and burying bourbon bottles? Kentucky has some fun yet interesting wedding customs and traditions that are as unique as the state that brought the world America’s only Native Spirit. Blend the South’s casual elegance with Kentucky’s rustic charm for an authentic wedding style and statement.

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Susan Herrick, co-owner of I Do. . .A Bridal Boutique located in downtown Shelbyville, grew up in the area and understands why couples bound for the altar love the barn wedding concept. One reason is simply because, as the American Saddlebred Capital of the World, Shelby County has a proliferation of historic and atmospheric barns. Another reason is pure Kentucky ethos.

“Kentuckians want that Southern comfort and family feel and these sorts of venues supply that,” she said. “It’s more comfortable and relaxed, keeping with what Kentucky is all about.

“We like comfort and elegance,” Herrick continued. “I love my pearls and I love my cowboy boots and wear them both together. It’s that mix that makes us unique.”

Added I Do co-owner Amber Smith: “Kentucky brides want to have a wedding that holds true to their Southern roots.”

Herrick and Smith have worked with most area wedding venues and can supply lists of all the options for barn wedding ceremony sites as well as options for wedding vendors in general.

“We’ve got a substantial network service for the bride to make planning easy for her,” said Herrick. “We make it all about the bride being at her most comfortable.”

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Susan Herrick (L) and Amber Smith

Besides this tradition, the boutique owners also know about other Kentucky wedding customs.

  • Because bourbon is made in Kentucky, it is said that if the bride and groom bury a bourbon bottle at the wedding site it prevents rain from coming on their big day. The stipulations? Burying the bottle must be done no later than one month before the wedding day. The bottle must be completely full and it must be placed upside down in the ground. It should be buried on a day with the kind of weather the bridal couples desires for their wedding day. After the ceremony, the bottle is to be dug up and shared among the bride and groom and the wedding party.
  • According to Smith, bridal portraits started in the South – though not specifically in Kentucky – and are a huge tradition for most brides. “You prep yourself as though for the big day for these photos so that on the actual wedding day you don’t take time away from other portraits. You then have these beautiful photos that captured you in your gown and looking your best without wedding day stress.
  • Lightweight and light color suiting for men is a tradition because, in the South, “we never know what temperatures we may have and a lot of our weddings are outdoors at barn venues,” said Smith, noting that most groomsmen are even going away from suits and opting for suspenders and bowties paired with a causal pant and white shirt.

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“We are able to facilitate these traditions and others through our networking,” said Smith. “We focus on the tradition of the bride at I DO and make sure every bride that comes through our door has had their expectations exceeded.

“From the dress to the photographer, caterer and even wedding planning services, we want our brides to have a one-stop shop to make their wedding planning journey as easy and magical as they have always dreamed.”

Read about Shelby County wedding barn venues here.

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Bridal party at Eden Springs Farm, one of Shelby County’s many barn wedding venues.