Romanticizing Slavery: Are Plantation Weddings Insensitive?

Maya L, M.A.
5 min readJul 24, 2020

At some point, is it possible to move on from America’s brutal past?

Image sourced from Boone Hall Plantation

The hanging branches of oak trees with Spanish moss shade the pathway. Lush greenery and rich browns encase any viewer in an ethereal taste of the antebellum South. Towards the end, as if witnessing the fading tunnel light of a lived life, weathered red brick and glistening white columns beckon. A regal history that is rich in American hospitality and the shadowed ghost of slavery encompasses the Colonial Revival architecture of Boone Hall Plantation.

At least 85 African Americans were enslaved on this land that once boasted the annual production of four million bricks and pecans in the United States. The 19th century was some time ago. Similar to the abolishment of slavery, the eradication of its memory continues as young couples eagerly await sharing their vows on what is considered the #1 plantation in South Carolina. Even celebrities like Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds were amongst the couples that elected to celebrate the beginning of their next step, a naive hope in the promise of eternal love, in a location that’s grown illustrious foliage over the heartache of enslavement.

Times can change. We remove monuments of the confederacy while commemorating plantation weddings, an erroneous rite of passage. It’s “the perfect moment…the perfect place” to celebrate your nuptials, especially when you opt for The Cotton Dock as your event venue on the property. The lush romanticization of a South appealing to Scarlett O’Hara is the epitome of how bizarre a plantation wedding is.

Or, maybe it’s because we can equally agree that the insensitivity to consider such a blemish to human history is not qualified to serve as a wedding venue.

Sometimes, I’ve expressed my personal distaste towards this action and to be met with confusion contributes to my frustration. To say “I do” at Auschwitz is collectively unheard of. Maybe it’s because it would be horrendous for photos? Or, maybe it’s because we can equally agree that the insensitivity to consider such a blemish to human history is not qualified to serve as a wedding venue. Shockingly, I understand the appeal of…

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Maya L, M.A.

I explore the intersectionality of race and culture from a humanistic lens. Host of The Renegade Professor Podcast.