The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Wedding

— from a chapter entitled “There Will Always Be One More Last Delta Wedding”

Peering into her baby girl’s eyes, the Delta mother beholds the future: cheerleading, Chi Omega (or some other Mother of the Bride-approved sorority), and that special day when her beautiful daughter will waft up the aisle on the arm of her father (if she is a genuine Delta bride, you will smell her before you actually see her—we are a people of the perfume bottle, and other bottles, too). The Delta wedding is the apotheosis of all the mother’s dreams—and, of course, all her social ambitions. A father, whose role, as one local matron put it, is to sit up, to pay up, and to shush up, is expected to behave like a good child: seen but not heard.

Another important extra is the groom. In the Delta, you still can’t have a wedding without one. His job is to be presentable at all times and to exude ecstasy because a paragon of Southern womanhood as done him the honor of accepting his offer of holy matrimony, even if being united in that blessed state requires a production that would have put Mr. Cecil B. DeMille of Hollywood in Whitfield. (Whitfield is our state mental institution. We affectionately refer to it as “the bin,” which is nicer than loony bin.) After you’ve been in one of our weddings, you’ll feel you’ve been to the bin, or ought to head there immediately. We have a special name for a Delta wedding that is an unusually elaborate, or famous, or perhaps notorious, or, in some undefined way, a particularly noteworthy occasion—for some reason, which none of us can remember, we always call it “the last Delta wedding.” Any wedding of epic proportions is according the high accolade of being designated a last Delta wedding; there have been hundreds of last Delta weddings over the years. As long as there is a Delta, there will be one more last Delta wedding.