How to Tell You’re at a Texas Wedding


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Wedding customs vary from region to region. For example, a Hindu wedding held in Mumbai will likely go all in on colorful decorations, music, and dancing, as well as the possibility of lasting three to five days. This contrasts with Las Vegas weddings, which have been known to be officiated at a drive-thru in the span of five minutes while the happy couple is blackout drunk.

Texas also has its own wedding customs. If you get invited to the Lone Star State to see a couple exchange vows, you should familiarize yourself with the things you’ll see. In that spirit we present this list of things that will let you know you’re at a real Texas wedding. The list was assembled with the participation of people born and raised there, so we can say it’s legit.

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Cowboy Boots and a Wedding Gown

Seeing a Texan male get married in cowboy boots is pretty standard and may not even be worthy of note. However, it’s not unusual to see the bride decked out in a white wedding dress, a veil, and cowboy boots to finish the look. While the “roper” style of boot with calf-high shaft is acceptable, one would expect that on her special day, the bride will want traditional, classic cowboy boots with the long shaft most associated with this footwear.

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Lots and Lots of Barbecue

Brisket, ribs and sausage will dominate the menu, with barbecue pits firing up for a proper feast fit for a Texan. The number of barbecue pits in attendance can vary depending on the wedding’s location. A function in the most populated part of Dallas is likely to have less space than one in a city like Guerra, whose entire population tops out at six people.

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You’re in Hill Country

The Hill Country surrounding Austin has a flourishing wine industry but is also a popular destination for Texas weddings. While the word “rustic” applies, many venues have thought of everything you’ll need, and your guests won’t feel like anything has been left to chance. For example, Elm Pass Woods in Center Point offers an all-inclusive package ranging from $7,000 to $8,000 that doesn’t leave out a single detail.

Image Credit: Elm Pass Woods.

The Shiner Bock Will Flow Freely

If you’re not from Texas and don’t know your beer, then you may not know about Shiner Bock lager. Made in Shiner, Texas, this brand is available throughout the United States. However it’s a source of regional pride, and its presence at the festivities signals that you are, in fact, at a real Texas wedding, just as the presence of lots of kosher pastrami shows you’re at a Brooklyn wedding. If Shiner Bock is unavailable, Lone Star beer is also an acceptable beverage.

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Mason Jars With Christmas Lights Inside

Texas isn’t the only place whose residents have embraced a do-it-yourself approach to wedding decorations, nor is it the only state where you’ll see mason jars containing blinking lights to brighten the decor. However, this is definitely a tradition at Texas weddings, so if you are suddenly overcome with amnesia and forget what state you’re in, those mason jars will tell you there’s a good possibility you’re in Texas.

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Dancing to ‘Cotton-Eyed Joe’

“Cotton-Eyed Joe” is a folk song with roots in the American South. It may be played at weddings in any state south of the Mason-Dixon line, including Texas. If you’re going to a wedding there, you must prepare yourself in the event that this song is played. Do your due diligence by learning the steps, as demonstrated in this video.

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Hay Bale Seating

Some Texas weddings are held in such locations as barns or ranches. If the one you’re going to fits this description, there is a possibility that the seating will come in the form of hay bales. Sure, there may be a few folding chairs or a bench somewhere on the premises, but if you’re going to a wedding that’s trying to bring a sense of bucolic authenticity, shut up, be a sport, and sit on the hay bale. Okay?

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You Will See Lots of Cowboy Hats

That may seem like a no-brainer, but you will for sure see some cowboy hats at any self-respecting Texas wedding. But beware! According to some, the guest must be wearing one that is white. If it’s black, its wearer is actually protesting the union of bride and groom. Additionally, if you’re a woman wearing a red dress to the wedding, some believe you consider the bride to be a “loose woman”. 

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Sweet Tea and Sweeter Tea

Wherever you’re from, you’re likely aware that the name “sweet tea” is no joke. Residents of the American South are not playing around when they make their sweet tea sweet, so be aware when it’s served. If you like your glass of sweet tea to have the equivalent of six sugar packets in it, you may be interested to know that it’s also a popular beverage in Indonesia. If you see lots of sweet tea, you may be at a wedding in Jakarta.

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There Will Likely Be a Groom’s Cake

The groom’s cake tradition started in Victorian England, but the place where it’s more likely to be observed is in the American South, including Texas. One of our native Texan sources for this article stressed that people should avoid making a groom’s cake in the form of a red velvet armadillo because it looks like you’re chopping up a live animal. That’s too gruesome of an image to invoke on the happy occasion of a wedding.

Image Credit: Cakes by Gina.

There Will Be a Mountain of Food on Your Plate

They say everything’s bigger in Texas, and when it comes to portion sizes, they’re not kidding. Your meal will consist of a pile of food as high as the Swiss Alps. There is no number of cheat days on your diet that will accommodate all of it, or even a third of it. Apart from the sheer physical mass, you should also be prepared for the high levels of fat and grease in attendance. It’s so sinfully delicious that you won’t be able to just ask for a salad, and you will stuff as much dinner into your face hole as your body will allow. YOLO.

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There’s a Mechanical Bull

Just because you live in some urban hub doesn’t mean you haven’t dreamed of chucking it all, moving to Texas, and becoming a rodeo star. At a real Texas wedding, you may have the opportunity to try it out on a mechanical bull. While this thing is nowhere near as violent and unpredictable as a real bucking bronco, this more sedate version is tough to stay on for even a few seconds. So hold on tight and walk away with the knowledge that your cowboy dreams are nice and all that, but messing with actual rodeo livestock without any training is an excellent way to get yourself killed.

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