Southern Thing Column

5 tips for the most southern wedding ever

After raising Baby Girl by myself from the age of 2, I married my Sweetums in October and gained two stepsons, as well. Because Sweetums and I travel around the state finding quirky roadside attractions and little-known history for my Odd Travels feature, we decided to have a road-trip-themed wedding that showed our love of Alabama. Here’s how you can make your wedding show your love of your state. Click here to read the entire post about our wedding.

Make a bouquet from your state’s map. Make paper flowers from maps to create bouquets, like mine above, and table decorations. I taught myself using online tutorials and added a touch of color to our state’s mostly beige maps by dipping the petals in water colors. For my bridal bouquet, I added a few cream-colored burlap flowers from the hobby store and a few green sprigs. The bridesmaid’s bouquet for my daughter was similar but slightly smaller and without as many ivory flowers. I also made enough flowers for a toss bouquet and to place in vases as centerpieces for the tables.

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Photo of my Alabama map bouquet courtesy of Glenn Wills. Follow his Forgotten Alabama blog.

Choose a location that screams ‘I (heart) My State.’ We chose a place that can only be found in Alabama – the tiny town of Spectre. The “town” was built in 2003 as a set for the movie “Big Fish,” based on a book set in Alabama by Birmingham-born author Daniel Wallace. The facades of several buildings, including a church, remain on Jackson Lake Island in Alabama. We said our vows in front of the fake church.

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Photo of the church at Spectre by JJ Vincent

Have a wedding cake in the shape of your state. Our cake, made by Michelle Wilbourn of Takes the Cake in Athens, Alabama, featured roadside attractions, such as a rocket at the Space & Rocket Center, a sign for the Coon Dog Cemetery, a tiny copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird” at Monroeville, and the shark-shaped entrance to a souvenir shop on the Gulf Coast.

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Photo by Michelle Wilbourne

Order personalized favors. Because refrigerator magnets are a typical road-trip souvenir, we ordered custom wooden magnets for our guests to take home. One was shaped like Alabama and had an etching of the shoe line from “Big Fish” across it, along with our names and the date. Another was a replica of the film-prop sign for Spectre, which is still on the island.

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Make garlands from state postcards. I used about 40 Sweet Home Alabama postcards and cut them into triangles and interspersed them along pieces of twine along with solid-colored triangles from card stock purchased at the crafts store. I also made some garlands from pieces of maps leftover from the bouquet.

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