If you ask people about their dream wedding, there’s a whole host of answers you may receive. One example might go something like this.
Their eyes flutter when they start describing it to you: the lovely outdoors, near rolling green hills, and a historical, symmetrical building… Except, just one catch: they’re usually describing a plantation wedding.
I know what some of you may be thinking. “Oh, slavery was 100 years ago, and I want my wedding to look like The Notebook.” Or maybe you’re thinking “what’s so bad about having my wedding there? Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds did it!”
Or maybe you’re actually thinking omg, why is this a thing. In which case, good for you.
The issue with pulling up to plantation weddings tho?!
But even if slavery isn’t occurring today (not under the same terms, anyways), plantations are places wrapped in history. That history is not always kind, in fact, it’s typically mordant and blood-filled. Literally, in some cases, the remains of slaves are buried on those same plots of land.
In addition, it’s not like plantation tours always commemorate slaves in the right way. Often times, a lot of tours on plantation sites do not humanize slaves or even have a central focus towards them.
While more and more tours are beginning to include slaves in the narrative, it still is not widely established in all plantation tourist sites. And it’s not a secret as to why.
Unfortunately it is an extremely common practice in the South. When I was in elementary school, we were taken to the Nottaway Plantation on a field trip, which was enthusiastically pitched to us (children!) as an fairy-tale wedding venue. https://t.co/tdbQQ2w42Y
— Erin C Tarver (@drtarver) June 29, 2020
But you can’t separate and filter the parts of history you want from the ugly bits. I mean, these plantations were dependent upon slaves and even built by them.
Slaves worked in the household and outside in the fields, despite living in very inadequate living conditions. It was the South, where there’s killer heat and at the time, high accounts of malaria.
Slaves were first and foremost, property. White people deployed violence as a method to keep the power dynamic strong. The South, both after and before Civil War –also known as the Antebellum Period, was more than uncomfortable. It was bloody, disturbing.
This has everything to do with you
Maybe you might be saying, “but that’s not my family’s history, we weren’t a part of that.” Or that this is in the past. It doesn’t matter whether or not it is a part of your personal story because it is integral to the story of America.
America’s identity is interwoven with slavery, much of what is built is from slavery and remnants like confederate statues and names of public buildings, still inherently celebrate slavery.
People even have weddings at these kind of places all the time. In fact, I know someone who got married at a plantation. It's wild af to me. Very few of these places actually give any sort of history beyond the "idyllic antebellum era." Gross.
— That Woman in 12B (@lyfeisacomedy) June 26, 2020
Romanticizing the Antebellum South is to ignore the atrocities and human rights abuses that took place. It doesn’t really matter whether or not you were a part of it directly, because racism still exists today and plays a large role in our politics and everyday lives.
Don’t have your wedding, a day of celebration and joy, in a place where people killed, abused, and treated BIPOC like objects. It isn’t just tone-deaf. It’s evil.