As Southerners, we love to abide by traditions—however odd or superstitious they may be. Whether it's on a daily basis as we practice proper table etiquette (no elbows!) or occasionally delivering baked goods to a new neighbor, these customs are instilled in us. There are also the more seasonal superstitions we abide by, like serving Hoppin' John and collard greens on New Year's Day in the hopes that you'll find good fortune.
While some superstitions are universal, burying the bourbon is decidedly Southern. No one quite knows the origin of this tradition, but legend has it that if you bury a bottle of bourbon a month before your wedding, you'll have good weather on the day of your nuptials. "I don't know if it was the buried bourbon or all the prayers, but the weather on our April 23 wedding could not have been any more perfect," says Southern Living Editorial Producer and newlywed Ivy Odom, who carried out the folklore.
Now, there are a few rules to follow. You'll want to bury an unopened bottle of bourbon exactly one month before your wedding date near the site where you'll be reciting your vows. If you need to bend the rules on the burial location a hair, take note from Ivy. "Since our ceremony was held in my home church, we decided the next best thing was the site of our reception. Thankfully, our big celebration was in my parents' yard, so we buried it next to a gingko tree right beside the tent location." Also, it has to be bourbon (not whiskey) and it must be buried upside down to ensure the best possible weather for your big day.
Nicki Metcalf Photography In traditional Southern fashion, the two buried a bottle of bourbon in hopes of dodging rain on the wedding day. To celebrate its success, the two dug up the bottle and daringly grabbed a gulp.
On your wedding day, after the I dos, dig up the bottle and share with your family and wedding party, or stash it away for a special anniversary. Whether you're a bourbon lover or not, the tradition makes for a fun, uniquely Southern memory and photo opportunity. Just be sure to remember where you bury it!
A few tips from Ivy:
Be ready for a mess!
"We wrapped ours in a paper bag, which turned out to be pretty messy after a month in the ground. If I could do it differently, I'd have one of my bridesmaids ready with some wet wipes for my hands! Thankfully, the bartenders came to the rescue."
Splurge on the good stuff.
"Definitely spend a few extra dollars to get a bourbon you'll look forward to sipping on after your wedding. We're still enjoying our bottle and love reminiscing on the best day ever every time we have a glass."
Two bottles might be better than one.
"My mama was very invested in the tradition and decided to take matters into her own hands. She and my daddy buried a bottle of their own exactly one year before our wedding date. My fiancé and I buried ours a month out, per tradition."