By Nadia S. Anderson

Wedding styles have evolved throughout the years, however, there are some Southern traditions that remain classic wedding elements. Here are few ways to add a modern twist to old favorites.

Hope Chest

A hope chest is a decorative box or piece of furniture that unmarried women filled with household linens and clothing in preparation for the duties of marriage. Although our views of marriage duties have changed and we register for household items that we’d like to have, I think the concept can be modernized to remain a staple for Southern couples.

During your engagement, fill your “hope chest” with favors and small gifts that you can give to your fiancé, your parents, and your wedding party before or after the wedding. Picking up items throughout the wedding planning process allows you to personalize gifts and minimizes the stress of having to find something at the last minute. Having a dedicated storage location cuts down on clutter and keeps you organized so that you know where to look when it is time to give that special token of appreciation! After you’re married, you can use it to store sentimental items.

Intimate Weddings at Home

These days, weddings are social occasions that draw guests from far and near. Our homes may not be able to accommodate all our guests. While home is where the heart is, a wedding full of heart can make anywhere feel like home. To keep the intimacy of a home wedding, incorporate personal touches into the details that will remind you and your fiancé of home. For example, create signs with your hometown location coordinates or the place where you and your sweetheart met as table markers for the reception. Ask your parents if there are pieces from your childhood home that you can incorporate into the decor of your wedding day.

You may also choose to host your shower at home or in the home of a close family member so you can enjoy some of your final moments as a single person in a setting that is familiar and meaningful.

Southern Cooking

Southerners pride themselves on theme-style cuisine bursting with flavors and full of soul. In recent years, we’ve seen a movement toward food stations and build-it-yourself bars at weddings. This is a great way to incorporate personality into your reception and showcase some of the favorite foods that you like to share with your fiancé. Bite-size versions of traditional Southern fare will keep the spirit alive without weighing guests down so much that they can’t make it to the dance floor. Some favorites are chicken and waffle sliders, hand-held pork or chicken barbeque sandwiches, a mashed/sweet potato bar, and mac & cheese bars. We’re also seeing a trend toward providing food for the guests as they are leaving the reception. How about a “send-off snack” of shrimp and grits shooters or bread pudding muffins? Yes, please!

Nadia S. Anderson is a CPA, certified wedding and event planner, and the owner of Virginia Grace Event Management. To learn more about how she can design and manage your event, please visit