Let’s have an honest chat with nature-loving brides who are planning weddings for next year and insist on getting married outdoors. I’d like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Mr. November. He would love to host your wedding and will make sure you and your guests don’t melt in a heap of sweaty Southern satin. November will be arriving soon, so you can test him out now, for next year’s plans.
My husband’s voice still quivers when he recalls his fraternity brother’s wedding held years ago on a sultry summer afternoon in Limestone County. The bride insisted on holding the ceremony in the middle of the family cornfield, mowed into the shape of her sorority greek letters, to give a nod to her pearl-clad sisters as well as acknowledging her past reign as Miss Limestone Corn Cobb 1988. Never mind the design in the field could only be detected from a cherry picker, it still lent an air of excitement to the occasion. “It was dramatic seeing the bride emerge from the rows of corn,” admitted my husband, who had never seen anything quite so beautiful back in New Jersey. But the grand entrance was unfortunately postponed when the soloist, Mrs. Kingbottom, swooned and fell over just as she launched into the second verse of, “I’m as corny as Kansas in August.” The paramedics declared her to be overcome with heat and great emotion, and after the soprano was shuttled to the hospital, the bride finally emerged, itchy and glistening hot — bless her heart (meant sincerely).
Unless you are lucky enough to find a waterfront location with a salty breeze as the setting for your riparian vows, it’s best to park your summertime guests on padded pews in chilly churches.
Mr. October may lure you into thinking he’s the month for weddings, and in the upper South, October and sometimes September can be fine choices, but Gulf Coast brides must remember those months come with the fine print of bringing late season hurricanes. The spring months may also seem tempting, but the frequently strong Southern spring thunderstorms make mothers of the bride anxious to the point of serious breakdowns with a sprinkling of hissy fits.
This past August, Prudence Stapleton-Staples decided to host her daughter’s wedding at the lush poolside of their huge estate in Crestview Florida. Lucky for Pru, there was an unseasonably cool breeze blowing during the first half of the ceremony. But by the time the reception rolled around, the breeze had died and the oppressive North Florida temperatures returned. Pru’s hormonal book club friends began to fan themselves to the point of hysteria while the icing on the five-tiered cake melted and slid onto the table. The little plastic bride and groom were found later that night lodged between globs of buttercream and monogramed napkins.
By the end of the evening, not realizing the refreshing icy spritzers were spiked, most of the Baptists had given up on any well-bred manners and plunged themselves into the pool, most, still wearing their wedding finery, while the Presbyterians and Methodists jumped in to cool off and join the fun. The wedding photographer never had so many requests for prints, proving that blackmail is indeed ecumenical.