Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide, our recurring series where in which our experts provide everything you need to know about your new endeavor, regardless of what it is. This week, we’ll be taking you through:
The Beginner’s Guide To The Perfect Plantation Wedding
Southern plantations are one of the most popular wedding locations in the country. Not only are they stunningly beautiful, but as you walk the grounds you are literally tripping over centuries of history. Oh, fuck, actually that’s some bones poking out of one of the old mass graves again. Don’t worry, the groundskeeper will deal with that before your big day. If you looked into a destination wedding at Auschwitz but weren’t happy with their extremely limited packages, plantation nuptials could be perfect for you. So here’s how to morally compromise everyone you love and have the day of your dreams.
Some people believe that one man giving away his daughter to another man is treating her like property. Which is fabulous, because that is so on point for your special location. As the big plantation house looms in the background, this moment will suggest the timeless ritual of human property being traded between owners. Your guests will be weeping (though it will really be for their souls, which will never be clean again after validating this inexcusable wedding with their presence).
The ring exchange is central to your ceremony. In a way, it represents you becoming symbolically chained to your new spouse, like human beings were literally chained on that very spot just a century and a half ago. Really shove the ring on his finger. See the pain and confusion in his eyes. Make him understand, just for a moment, he is complicit.
If you time your entrance to the reception just right, it will coincide with the beautiful Southern sunset—the intense blood–red light touching everything. Your dress: red like blood. Your new husband’s glowing face: red like blood. Everywhere bright red blood. Does the parquet dance floor laid atop this hallowed ground just so you can mock it with your happiness suddenly seem slippery?
Anyway, the sun will set. Then it’s party time!
The reception is where you really get the chance to show off the history of your location, so don’t be afraid to trawl the darkest, most disturbed parts of your obviously sick brain for ideas. Southern QUEEN of cooking and party planning, Paula Deen, says there is only one way to go when it comes to the waitstaff for a “really southern plantation wedding”: middle-aged black dudes (yes, this really happened). Yeah, these days you have to pay them, because of the Constitution or some crap, but don’t worry—she says they are totally meant to be slaves.
Don’t forget to splurge on the absolute best wedding photographer. You’re going to need someone with serious skills to airbrush out that tortured, screaming apparition standing next to the Best Man as he gives his toast.
For your groom’s cake (a Southern tradition), a 1962 Good Housekeeping cookbook has a fabulous recipe for “Minstrel Cakes,” which they promise “make excellent individual place cakes at a party.” Just think how much your guests will love a little dark-skinned face in cake form staring up at them, unblinking, all night. Judging them. Hating them. Consider breaking from the recipe and turning that big smile into a frowny face, because a lot of historians think slaves might actually have been sad. Probably because, deep down, they all knew they’d never get to see your beautiful wedding to the guy who introduced himself by feeling you up on that sorority hayride.
Once everyone is on the dance floor, ask the band to mix in some classic songs of the South. “Oh, Susanna!” is about preparing for a wedding; plus, the original second verse is about 500 slaves getting electrocuted and dying, so it could NOT be more perfect for your special day. It will soon turn into a huge singalong, because by then everyone will be drunk off their faces, desperately trying to kill enough brain cells to forget this horrible event.
Wedding bonfires are an up-and-coming way to end the evening. If you or your family are Christian, consider paying homage to your religion by setting light to large wooden crosses. Roast some marshmallows while staring into the dancing flames. Feel the heat. Hellfire. Everlasting pain. Punishment.