10 Food-based Traditions from the American South


Charm Cakes at the Bridesmaid's Tea

And when Southerners say "tea," they mean iced and sweetened.
And when Southerners say "tea," they mean iced and sweetened.

Weddings are steeped in tradition, and each culture has its own set of wedding and pre-wedding rituals. Take, for example, the South's bridesmaid's tea. This small luncheon or tea party gives the bride the opportunity to welcome out-of-town female guests, take care of last-minute details, and, most importantly, thank all the women who've been involved in her special day. One of the sweetest parts of the bridesmaid's tea is the charm cake. (Sometimes charm cakes are served at bridal showers, as well.)

Charms -- one for each bridesmaid -- are baked into a cake, tied to a long ribbon. During tea, each bridesmaid pulls a ribbon out of her piece of cake to get her charm. Charms are typically gold or silver, and each one holds a special meaning and fortune for the receiver. Some of the charms and their meanings are:

  • ring -- for the next to get engaged
  • heart -- for love
  • clover or horseshoe -- for luck
  • wedding bells -- for an upcoming wedding
  • wishing well -- for wishes to come true
  • airplane -- for travel and adventure
  • baby carriage -- for children

Some brides also give their bridesmaids charm bracelets as gifts, so they can display their new charms.