(Not So) Sweet Southern Weddings

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Two years ago, Jezebel wrote an article about a white British couple who got married in South Africa with an “Out of Africa” theme. The wedding garnered so much attraction because of the disturbing pictures that depicted a seemingly all-black staff waiting on an all-white wedding party. These photographs were published by the photographer under the title “Colonial Themed Wedding.” Jezebel’s two articles here and here, do a good job of responding to these photographs, along with the title they were published under. The articles also bring up the question of what is the equivalent of this wedding here in the US, the answer being plantation weddings.

This phenomena of plantation weddings was brought more to the public eye when Paula Deen made a career ending comment earlier this summer. She stated, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n****** to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around, now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.” By a “true southern wedding” you mean one that glorifies the white and continues practices that oppress Blacks?

Out of curiosity, I went to the top 4 plantations websites that came up when I googled “plantation weddings.” Some of the phrases that are used on these sites is frankly shocking, and you can just hear white supremacy ringing through them.

1. “Incorporate the grandeur and graciousness of a bygone era into your wedding or party.” -Pebble Hill Plantation

2. “[she did] much as her predecessors would have done: raking the bare “swept yard” clear of leaves and twigs, chopping wood for her fire, and toting water from the Spring House — even though modern conveniences had long since been installed.” -Middleton Place, in reference to Eliza a slave on the plantation

3.”It is difficult to accurately asses the treatment of Randolph’s slaves; however various records indicate that they were probably well treated for the time.” -Nottoway Plantation

Furthermore, they all seem to attribute the plantations and their impressive grounds to the slaveholding owner and his family, instead of recognizing that slaves are the ones that most likely build the plantation as well as took care of the grounds. What do you think about plantation weddings? Are they just in good taste, or by holding a wedding on a plantation are you reinforcing white supremacy?