Burying The Bourbon

How far would you go to prevent rain on your wedding day? Back in the 1940s, Dr. Bernard Vonnegut (Kurt’s older brother), discovered a method of “seeding” clouds with silver iodide to make them produce rain...

 

 

How far would you go to prevent rain on your wedding day?

Back in the 1940s, Dr. Bernard Vonnegut (Kurt’s older brother), discovered a method of “seeding” clouds with silver iodide to make them produce rain. Today, for a nominal six figure fee, some companies will use that same process to ensure it rains just prior to your nuptials - leaving you with beautiful blue skies on the special day. If you’re on a budget though, you can take the less scientific approach with an American South tradition aptly known as “burying the bourbon.”. 

No one knows with great certainty when this tradition started, but it certainly shares many hallmarks of the superstitious and sometimes silly rituals synonymous with a wedding day. Legend has it that the bride and groom must bury a bottle of the brown liquid exactly one month before their nuptials are to take place. The bottle must be sealed - thus deterring any urge to “test” the beverage beforehand - but most importantly, it must be buried upside-down. 

When the big day finally arrives, the anxious almost-newlyweds will find out if their offering worked … or if their ceremony needs to be moved indoors. Either way, rain or shine, the all-important second part of the ritual involves digging up that bottle and sharing it as a newly formed family. If the bottle happens to be sufficiently large - and potentially of high quality - the wedding party should be in good spirits no matter what the weather. 

Given the South’s love of their distilled corn concoction, it comes as no surprise that they would find a way to incorporate it into their ceremony. But with the rising popularity of bourbon throughout the world - and bottles fetching thousands of dollars on the secondary market - it wouldn’t come as a shock that the tradition has begun to spread well beyond the Bible Belt. 

Distilling our traditions surrounding the sanctity of marriage to their most basic essence, friends & families the world over simply want the best for the newlyweds-to-be. It has driven loved ones in Holland to plant pine trees, women in Morocco to take a milk bath before the ceremony, and some cultures insist on dressing in different colors of the rainbow, all in the name of “good luck”. It’s also why many brides wear something old and new – but perhaps that couplet needs an update for this Southern tradition; “Something old, something new, and a bottle of bourbon to share with you.”