Somehow ‘Plantation Weddings’ Are Still A Thing

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Remembering your heritage can get complicated when said heritage involves a lot of people acting like shitheads. There is apparently some disarray about discrepancies between remembering the past and celebrating it.( For example, it’s kind of hard to put up a statue that doesn’t build the subject definitely sounds like a badass .) But this article isn’t about Confederate war monuments. This is about something that is, in some ways, worse …

Somehow, Plantation Weddings Are Still A Thing

If you think Southern plantations are beautiful, what with their stately pillars and grand admissions, congratulated for being able to compartmentalize unimaginable human suffering from the symmetry of Antebellum architecture! All you devotees of cotillions and slave sungs will be pleased to learn that you can go visit a plantation today. You may not find any cotton or tobacco developing there, but you’ll likely find a manor with a couch waiting for you.

In Florida and Georgia alone, there are almost a hundred plantations designated as historical landmarks, while plenty more stay private. That’s all well and good, but despite being built on unspeakable breaches of human rights, those plantations are now popular bridal locatings. It’s the day to epitomize your everlasting desire, so why not have it at a place that typifies man’s inhumanity to man? A casual search of Pinterest becomes up a lot of idyllic bridals held in places built and maintained by slave labor. Southern Celebrations Magazine even included plantation bridals in the top 10 Southern wedding trends of 2016. Perhaps next year, balloon gazebos! Did we mention that there are bones of dead slaves interred there? We’ll get to that.

Kendall Plantation
The “something borrowed” should be Grandma’s necklace , not Grandma’s lax racism .

We talked to “Sarah, ” whose landscaping company preserves some of these properties across two Southern states. The owneds, she’s observed, know these had now become romantic destinations. “I was lately at a plantation wedding, ” she says. “The freshly built chapel was placed in the middle of the entire property … A sound system blared Christian rock during setup. Yet this chapel had stained glass windows with commemorations of former preachers who’ve died as far back as 1885. So they’d taken something sacred and rebuild it centrally for commercial gain. This faith was only for the bridal industry.”

That’s the thing: It’s understandable to, say, want to keep a plantation house around because it’s its significant historical artifact. People are in need of these things. But the trick is always that our so-called artifacts are more often than not products of the current. In this case, it seems like these plantations discount their past to the point of physically rewriting history .

They’re Very Eager To Smooth Over The Whole “Slavery” Thing

If a modern plantation has an official historical home, there’ll be a plaque or something about slavery, but in private plantations, the subject is typically dismissed. Former slave quarters are called other things, like the “tack room.” Higher-profile plantations have taken heat for the purposes of our, and some are now becoming a bit more honest about the subject. Meanwhile, some people are so clueless about the racial overtones of plantation bridals that they ask black wedding planners to organize them. This sometimes doesn’t go well.

Jordan A. Maney/ Facebook
If it’s thwart to read that conversation, imagine having to have it .

One plantation that gives bridal tours says they don’t discuss slavery “on principle in a wedding, ” but do talk about it if someone asks. Defending plantation weddings, another person said, “they’re often beautiful places, and although they may have a dreadful history , now people of any race can enjoy them as venues.” Did you hear that, people of color? You have her permission to enjoy getting married on a plantation! And you thought such articles was going to be all bad news.

Some people even “re saying that” plantation bridals actually aren’t even worse, as they “reclaim” the space. It’s the various kinds of contention an Orange Julius manager might build to angry Cherokee phantoms whose graves lie under his food court bathrooms. Plantation websites typically mention slaves in their fine print, though typically referred to as “workers.” Hey, you need to let people know why they might find unceremoniously jettisoned human remains on the grounds.

Yes, There Are Slaves Buried There

Plantation slave graveyards are guessed to be notable historic sites, open ” members of the public and sometimes curated by the slaves’ descendants. In reality, these cemeteries are often tucked away, hidden and unlabeled. Sometimes, even the individuals who run the place don’t know what’s up with them, because the original records were lost or never kept to begin with. Other days, the owners know they’re there and feign they don’t exist. “Even long before I started working, ” says Sarah, “my family was in the landscaping business, so as a kid, I had free reign to wander plantation grounds … I walked around it for a while, realizing posts driven into the ground and stones set in rows. Then I watched a legible name engraved in one of the stones.”

“I[ still] stumble on those secret tombs today, ” she says. “Once, I recollect getting very close and trying to read the weathered stones. I couldn’t tell unless they are unmarked or if the names were lost to period … it was very obvious where the bodies had been, as the ground was visibly sinking around each individual tomb. But after ten minutes, I had to leave, because something in the atmosphere was virtually warning.” Sarah says she doesn’t believes in specters, but still didn’t feel like getting sucked in, should a Poltergeist portal sudden open up.

We should be mentioned that while these plantations might not mention the men and women who were forced to build the property, they will lay out the history of the white family who owned them in rich detail. One plantation, called( unironically) the “White Castle, ” advertises the fact its little antique buzzers are still in place … the ones used by white children to summon house servants. Adorable! Another plantation website defends the former proprietor as being “relatively benevolent” to his slaves, saying some of the slaves lived inside and “slept at the foot of the couch of their master or mistress.”

So the lesson is if you genuinely enjoy Antebellum architecture so much that you’re willing to have a wedding at a plantation, try to find one where they at least treated their slaves like fucking dogs? Otherwise, it seems like glamorize the past is a good way to wind up recurring its mistakes.

Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for bits cut from this article and other stuff no one should insure .

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