It’s not often we come across a wedding tradition we’ve never heard of, especially a Southern one. I, Kelly, am from New Orleans and Melanie is from Kentucky. Typically, if the tradition exists, we’ve heard of it. But a new-to-us tradition recently came onto our radar: burying the bourbon. Now, many like a good bourbon, but putting a bottle of it in the ground? That was new.
According to many sources, though none could really trace the origins back to where the tradition began (other than speculation it had its start in Kentucky or Tennessee, which would make sense) many Southern couples will bury a bottle of bourbon to help stop any chance of rain on their wedding day. This would contradict the thought that rain on your wedding day means good luck, but for many Southern couples opting to say, “I Do,” outside it would make sense to try to curb bad weather. Melanie heard of the tradition in recent years, but says she didn’t know about it when she got married in 1998. Which could mean it wasn’t yet in practice or that it hadn’t yet reached the area of the state where she grew up.
While the origins are foggy, even to our resident Kentuckian, the instructions are crystal clear. The couple is to take a full, unopened bottle of bourbon to their reception location exactly one month before the wedding date. The couple is to then find a spot on the property and bury the bottle upside down in the ground. On the day of the wedding, the couple is to dig the bottle back up and share it in celebration with all of their guests — sans rain, hopefully.
Depending on how big the bottle of bourbon is, we’re not sure New Orleans being below sea-level will be conducive to a month-long wait, given the fact that things tend to float back up when we bury them here, but it seems to be a fun tradition, even if you aren’t superstitious. The photo opportunities when burying and digging it up will be fun and enjoying the bourbon with your guests will add to the many good memories created on your Big Day.
A version of this post was originally published in June 2022.