Would you get married at a plantation? Or a castle? Or a prison? Or a cemetery?

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Photo of Eastern State Penitentiary wedding by Mike Allebach
Photo of Eastern State Penitentiary wedding by Mike Allebach

We featured a Filipino/Persian wedding that was held a lovely garden estate — that used to be a plantation. A commenter chimed in:

…not really sure if a Southern Plantation with slavery history is the ideal place for a wedding. I couldn't focus on the beauty of it knowing that it held such memories of immense suffering.

This comment brings up so many interesting questions — is a plantation's history simply too devastating to be a viable wedding venue? Does it make a difference if the couple getting married there is white or not? We kind of love that a place with horrible history is being redeemed. A nonwhite wedding at a southern plantation makes a statement.

That said, we've made the decision not to feature weddings held at plantations on the site again.

This decision got us to thinking… Does this mean that castle weddings are also less than ideal for a wedding? Their histories aren't the cleanest either, with their dungeons and battles and torturers.

Then there are the prison weddings — does that feel okay? Which prisons feel okay, and which don't? What about zoo weddings? Some animal rights folks can't even set foot in a zoo.

What about cemeteries? Some people see it as disrespectful, while others see cemetery weddings as a way to honor their ancestors and recognize 'til death do us part. How much does the identity of the couple getting married there factor in? Does it matter if you have family interred at that cemetery?

We don't have answers here, and we're not into policing other people's choices… but we're curious about how each of you draw the lines for yourselves.

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Comments on Would you get married at a plantation? Or a castle? Or a prison? Or a cemetery?

  1. If you went on the past you could not get married anywhere in America as it was stolen from the Native Americans who were certainly abused, I think there is a point where you have to just have to acknowledge that the past is the past and move on from there on locations, If a place makes you uncomfortable do not get married there, More than likely this plantation is not even owned by the original owners, Unless they are promoting pro confederate weddings and flying the stars and bars at this point it is just a house with some lovely grounds,

    • Yeah, I feel the same way whenever the debate about doing *anything positive* at a plantation comes up. People seem to forget that every inch of land in Canada and the US was stolen from First Nations/American Indian people, that we suffered genocide, rape, murder, dehumanization, centuries of abuse, and that that abuse is still on-going…. So if people are going to say you *can’t* cleanse the past from a piece of land and do something positive with it instead (a claim I’ve seen many times regarding plantations), then you can’t from this entire continent. Every inch of land in Canada and the US is tainted. Period.

      I’m getting married in a town considered the “birthplace” of my province (from a settler perspective). I can’t cleanse the past from that land — the colonization, the fact that my wedding is taking place on Un-ceded First Nations territory. If I wanted to have my wedding on a piece of land that had never been tainted by human misery, I’d be limited to Antarctica or the moon.

      Instead I’m more concerned about the feelings I get from the land, whether *it* accepts me, aside the lens of human history. So far I’ve got nothing but good feelings from the spot, so that’s enough for me.

      Also, this, so much:

      Unless they are promoting pro confederate weddings and flying the stars and bars at this point it is just a house with some lovely grounds.

    • I think it’s a little more directly related. Rather than a vague “this country was owned by aboriginals”, it’s a specific “this building was literally built by slaves. Every nail hammered, every brick laid, by slaves”. And I wouldn’t want to financially support the owners if they were descendants of slave owners. They’re literally still benefiting from their ancestors owning slaves. The only feasible way I’d be comfortable paying to have my wedding there, is if the owners made significant donations to some sort of reparation fund.

      • Agreed. I’d be okay if they donated to The Slave Dwelling Project, which does a lot to tell a more whole narrative, but to be honest, it’d be kinda tough to have a joyful occasion in a place of immense pain.

  2. I personally would feel uncomfortable getting married at a plantation or similar location, but I don’t necessarily judge others for doing so. To me, it comes down to whether the wedding is a wedding that happens to be at a place that used to be a plantation (for example), or if it’s a wedding that is at a plantation and is antebellum South themed with women in hoop skirts and stuff. To me, the latter really is glorifying the pretty parts of an ugly time in our history, and I would definitely feel hurt about that. But if a wedding is using the venue because it’s pretty and they are willing to overlook the history, I would support that decision, even if it’s one I wouldn’t make for myself.

  3. I think it really comes down to what a lot of things with weddings come down to – what are you comfortable with? If cemeteries give you the wig-whams, don’t get hitched at a cemetery, etc etc. So many places in this country (and others countries too!) have questionable histories. If it was a more horrible modern history, well, that’s something an individual would doubly have to weigh what they and their loved ones will be comfortable with. I also ‘kind of love that a place with horrible history is being redeemed’, but again, I think it’s going to come down to individuals/couples comfort levels and thought processes.

  4. For me, I think getting married in a prison or in a plantation building is not something I’d want to do. I think buildings in particular hold memories and negative vibes, just like some castles do. This is a personal preference and I would not judge a couple who chose such a location.
    However, cemeteries and the plantation grounds feel different to me because of the nature aspect. Nature neutralizes and grows over the bad memories and replaces them with new life. Personally I love cemetery weddings! Probably a lovely energy to bring to the dead. 😉

  5. At the end of Rachel’s comment, she began walking down the path on which I want to continue. Perhaps a nice way to create some better memories on a horrible location is to celebrate love there. One of my friends, for instance, insisted on getting married on September 11, because she wanted to make that day something wonderful, not just something tragic. I say we turn all the plantations into wedding halls, universities, art museums, gardens–places where beauty and love and wisdom happen.

    In any case, it wasn’t always a plantation. Before that, it might have been a sacred ceremonial place for Native Americans, a hunting ground for a pack of wolves, any number of things. Don’t let its significance be determined by a couple hundred years of history.

  6. Finding a wedding venue is hard, finding one that you like and that fits your needs, your date, your guest list and your budget is extra hard. So if they found something that works for them, holds any meaning, and doesn’t highlight something negative from the past, then I don’t see anything wrong with it. We can nitpick and complain to no end, but why, when we all know how hard it is to find a venue.

  7. I couldn’t handle a plantation or a prison. The former because people were literally worked to death there, the latter because of the deeper sociological issues surrounding America’s legal system.

  8. I think that it’s important to differentiate the “non-white” experience and the Black/African-American experience in the U.S. So while I understand where the post is coming from in saying that a wedding of two people of color is perhaps not as objectionable as white people getting married there, the history of plantations is really specific to the Black American experience.

    Also, I cannot imagine asking my Black guests to celebrate my wedding at a plantation! The day isn’t all about me and the physical beauty/convenience/price/availability of the venue wouldn’t be enough to put my guests through such a potentially painful experience. Not to mention that it would alienate me from my Black and anti-racist ally friends. Even if I fell in love with the space it would never be worth it to me. (Honestly though I can’t even imagine checking out a plantation venue.)

    • I do think sometimes people look at things too much from the outside, without a ‘local’ perspective. Maybe a particular former plantation is where everyone gets married at, without a whiff of irony, but outsiders are shocked at the thought.

  9. I feel like there’s very broad atrocities (like conquering an entire continent) that could be extended to include all the broad suffering that people in various conquered Europe/Asia/Africa from before time and the very specific atrocities that happened in certain patches of land. I think it distasteful to get married at a plantation much like I would feel it distasteful to get married in an internment camp, or at Dachau or Auschwitz, or a specific battle site where Native Americans were slaughtered, or an Indian boarding school where children were stripped of their language and culture. Maybe it’s my superstitious side, but bits of land that have bloodshed and horror might look pretty for pictures, but should not be used.

    I can acknowledge, though, that some people have a beauty from ashes mentality that feels like they’re honoring rather than forgetting the past.

    Cemetaries feel different for me, though, because there seems to be a sense of peacefulness there, the deaths happened for a variety of reasons. Though that might be different if it was a battlefield cemetery or something from above.

    Prisons feel like on the borderline for me.

    • I actually think there could be great power in two Jews marrying each other at Auschwitz. It wouldn’t have a “concentration camp” theme, or anything tasteless like that. But a simple Chuppah ceremony on the grounds would be very powerful.

      • Having been to Auschwitz this year – I cannot see why you would want your marriage contaminated by that place. One wedding isn’t going to solve a family’s near century of pain and brokenness stemming from the imprisonment and loss of family members there, and it is a place where no happiness can exist.

      • I know many people who have visited auschwitz to pay their respects. They found it hard being there for more than 5 minutes knowing the suffering that took place there. A celebration taking place there is deeply inappropriate.

    • I completely agree.

      In broad terms, every spot of land on the planet, if we’re honest, has some connection with tragedy or pain or cruelty. Because humans have been on it for long enough that *something* will have happened there.

      But to me, there is a huge difference between doing something in a place that *might* have been a source of specific pain, and doing something in a place that has a very specific, real, and relatively recent history of atrocity connected with it. I could get married in Germany, for example. But I wouldn’t even consider getting married at Auschwitz or any other building with history related to the horrors that took place during Nazi rule. I could get married at a castle, even somewhere like the Tower of London, because enough time has passed that the bad things that happened there – as well as the good things – are ancient history. And perhaps it’s because I live in Europe, where pretty much every bit of development work gets paused to review archaeological finds, but ancient history feels very different to recent history.

      And slavery IS recent. Not just slavery itself – although it really wasn’t that long ago – but the aftermath of it. I recently read a timeline showing when people of colour obtained various rights – end of segregation, right to marry, mixed-race marriage, right to vote, the history of forced sterilisation, apartheid… not only is it all shockingly recent, it’s still happening today. For that reason, I feel like getting married in a building that has specific history with that is iffy to say the least. Doing an actual “plantation wedding” on such a site with the whole Southern Belle thing going on is just… unfathomable.

  10. Every place has a history and I think as long as people are respectful of where they are at and know the history of the place then it’s okay to get married there. What won’t hurt either would be acknowledging what the place is/was as a sign of respect.

    Like with me I love places and things with a long history, even the not so great ones so getting married at a southern plantation or a castle would be ideal for me but I also know that respect would be key and I would have to acknowledge the people and the place. And I say this with many different ethnicity in my family including African American.

    It’s all about prospective and the fact that it is 2015. Just be respectful. The place I’m getting married is a state park but was once home to Native Americans so does that make it wrong for me to get married there even though I recognize it’s history and am a small fraction Native American?

  11. It’s just a building and a piece of land. It was people who did the horrible things, not the building or land. We’ve had similar discussions with friends and family recently. We’re looking at historic properties in a very historic city. I’m not going to tear down a house, raze the land and construct a shrine just because people who used to live there did things that we now know are wrong. A building is an inanimate object. Left alone it will eventually crumble, not make hateful picket signs or enslave anyone. Land is just land, the only thing it does is grow wild without humans. There’s forgetting history and being disrespectful, and then there’s moving on and learning. If we kept our eyes down, solemn, tip toeing around every single site of past suffering, we would never see the new and possible beauty in anything.

    • Even if the actual people who were worked to literal death constructing the building are buried in unmarked graves under the dance floor?

  12. I’m African American and could not get married at a plantation. I even had one on my list. For some reason, while perusing the website it didn’t even dawn on me. What it really was. I was too consumed by looking at pretty pictures. But then my mom went on a site visit at said venue and once she told me about the tour and what she learned, my entire body started to react. So there I was at work all emotional and frozen. It was strange.

    Since then, I’ve been very intentional in selecting venues. In now considering having my ceremony at Congo Square in New Orleans. Congo Square is the place where slaves gathered on Sunday’s (their only day off) to come together and fellowship. They sang and danced and setup markets. This was a time to carry on cultural traditions. And I think it would be a divine place to celebrate our union…complete with jumping the broom.

  13. I live in what used to be an asylum. The history of the place is kinda grim, as it is for most pre-Victorian asylums. People definitely suffered here and when the site was being redeveloped the contractors found an awful lot of unmarked and shoddy graves. How bad it got for the poor sods confined to what became my bedroom or kitchen, I can only imagine.

    But I live here. The mindset that caused that level of suffering is (mostly) gone. I don’t live here to rub it in to the mentally ill that I’m a sane, free person. I’m pretty sure people marrying on a plantation aren’t there to celebrate their whiteness or play at slave owner, they’re there to get married.

    I think this is only like getting married in a church. That church will host funerals for what is the worst day of some people’s lives. That church might have a much darker history too. Hell Christianity as a whole hasn’t been a glorious ride with no persecution, plus there’s always individual horrific acts. But churches aren’t being grouped into this venue type as being potentially dicey.

    So what makes one venues dark history more ignorable than another’s?

    • Personally, this is the exact reason why I didn’t get married in a church, and believe me, in the middle of Wisconsin, you’re fairly limited to parks, courthouse(if you’re lucky to have one in town big enough), banquet halls($$$$$), or churches.
      I have no faith in the Christian doctrine, personally believing that the words of a wise Jewish revolutionary were corrupted as another form of control of the bourgeois over the proletariat, and churches are plentiful and pretty and convenient as buildings.
      But I couldn’t. Step. Foot. in there. Just no.

  14. I feel that getting married at a cemetery is more inappropriate than the other locations, though I get people’s reservations to the others. The land is not to blame for the horrible things people have done on it and there is a possibility for it to change its functions. Like many other commentators have mentioned every inch of land has blood on it. Plantations, battlefields, prisons, asylums, sites of murder and genocides, we could be overcome with the horror of the past.

    An active cemetery, for me, is different. While I think that burial grounds are as sacred as any other piece of land (as to say very sacred) they have a different status. It is a mark of humanity to honor the dead and pay respect to people that can no longer interact with the world. We set aside space for death. When you hold your wedding in a cemetery the people buried there stop being people, who lived, who suffered, who died and who were loved, and start being props and decor. They can’t consent to your treatment of their graves and I doubt anyone has ever looked up the families of the buried and asked permission. So you are pressing maybe hundreds of people into your wedding as decoration without their consent and on property that they bought for themselves to be their resting place. You are a living interloper in their space. I think, however, with most things it comes down to intention. Are you holding your wedding at a cemetery to have lost family close to you or are you trying to be edgy and spooky?

    The same argument could be made for places like plantations and again it comes down to intention. Are you trying to replicate the “good old days” so you can feel superior to others at your wedding or do you have other reasons? The only wedding I ever went to on a southern plantation was for an African American couple. The bride had traced her lineage back to that plantation. Having the wedding there was about honoring her past, healing old wounds, and transcending. They tied it into their vows and there wasn’t a person at that ceremony with a dry eye. I get that that kind of situation is rare, but it shows that with sensitivity to the history and the right intention your wedding can add new positive energy to a place. I try to live by two principles 1. Try to do no harm and 2. Try to always have the proper intentions. I think if we keep those two things in mind we can navigate sensitive situations like this better.

    • “I think, however, with most things it comes down to intention. Are you holding your wedding at a cemetery to have lost family close to you or are you trying to be edgy and spooky?”

      This. All of this.

    • I think this is a very interesting point, but I have a very different experience/relationship to my own local cemetery. It’s a beautiful sprawling ground complete with a Gothic chapel, historic graves marked with incredible sculptural mausoleums (Stanford and Ghirardelli are among some recognizable names), rolling green hills and views of the San Francisco Bay. During daylight hours there are always joggers, parents with strollers, people walking their dogs, even the occasional picnicker–there’s a particular terrace that gives a breathtaking view of the bay on clear days, and it’s not unusual to see people with lawn chairs enjoying the view. There’s even a music festival hosted by the cemetery coming up next month.

      So for me, there’s no being an ‘interloper’ in a cemetery–the gates are open to the public, and the space is meant for use by the public. The life-size angel statues and the mausoleums modeled after pyramids (seriously) weren’t built so only the dead and the occasional grieving relative could see them.

      • I think you’ve illustrated the point that we can’t make a blanket statement about these kinds of places or how we interact with them because they are all so different and the people involved with them are so different. It needs to be a case by case consideration.

        It’s interesting that you bring up that style of cemetery. That is a style called the garden or rural cemetery, which is a bit of a misnomer as they are a very intentional form of urban design that the great architect Christopher Wren proposed and it really gained steam with the Victorians.

        They gained a foot hold in the states when the Rural Cemetery Act was passed in New York allowing people to build cemeteries as a business venture instead a public or religious duty. It was incredibly controversial at the time and remains to this day. The plot in some of the early cemeteries cost as much as a house and they needed to offer more of a wow factor then the local churchyard.

        The late Victorian age turned mourning into an expensive high art and at the same time people were getting tired of the gloom and doom, Naturalism and the Enlightenment were very big in the US. It was a perfect storm for this type of cemetery to thrive for quite a while and they are very beautiful.

        Garden cemetery, it’s important to note, were always designed to operate as public parks (there were very few of those in the country at the time) that was part of the trade off with the city planners for taking large chunks of land. The people who bought plots there knew that and built these grand monuments (which they would never be allowed to build in religious graveyards) specifically to show off to present and future generations.

        So we could say in that case there is a level of consent, but that style of cemetery is the exception and not the rule. Holding a wedding in a Jewish cemetery for instance would be incredibly offensive for the community associated with it.

        So it all comes down to context and intent again.

  15. A couple of friends got married at the Tower of London, in the Chapel that contains Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. It was absolutely lovely, but having the most famous failed marriages in history staring down at them as they said their vows must have been strange.

    (what was weirder, on the day, was the way the tourists treated the wedding party as part of the attraction, and were jostling each other to take photos of complete strangers)

    I do think you need to consider not only your own feelings but those of your guests when choosing a venue. I don’t think it’s wise to dismiss naysayers as superstitious, either, since for some guests their personal experiences mean the specific history of the venue is part of a narrative that’s still very much ongoing. Not personally being enslaved doesn’t mean your life isn’t impacted by slavery.

    Of course, if you fall in love with a historic venue, odds are you’re also making choices based on disabled access, ease of access without a car (or with a car, for somewhere like the Tower of London!), timings, and everything else that can make a difference to whether a guest is able to attend. I love historic venues (worked in one for the better part of a decade) but they’re not hotels: they’re not going to be suitable for every wedding and every wedding guest, and you need to take that into consideration. We had limited disabled access, limited choice in terms of catering, limited capacity for a dance floor, and an earliest start time and hard end time (and if your guests turned up to the reception early, they had to wait outside until we were ready for them). Perfect venue if all your guests are able bodied adults who wear flat shoes and warm coats even in summer, don’t like dancing and have to leave before midnight in case they turn back into mice. Lovely for almost everyone else, too, as long as both we and the guests had fair warning so we could plan accordingly (and anyone who believed in ghosts wasn’t told the building was a Georgian prison – no, those aren’t orbs, it’s just dusty in here).

    • OMG! I would have loved to get married there! I’m dressing as Anne Boleyn for our Halloween wedding and to get married in the chapel where she’s buried? Holy crap, that would be awesome.

      • I have no idea how they managed to get it as a venue (except the bride is a genuine heiress, so it may be her connections that helped!) since it’s usually reserved as a military wedding venue for specific regiments. It’s a very cute chapel in and off itself, as well.

  16. The difference between comparing nationwide suffering and architecture specifically built for problematic reasons is almost enough to make the argument a strawman. If your argument for getting married on a plantation is, “well there was suffering everywhere so we should just get over it so I can have a beautiful and convenient wedding,” what is to stop you from then saying, “there has been suffering everywhere so we should just stop fighting for First Nations’ rights and civil rights”? IMO, those buildings which were once plantations and are kept beautiful enough to be wedding-worthy are not transformed enough to be reclaimed; there is still an unbroken line of capitalism on said property making money on work originally done on the backs of slaves. If someone put a school in a plantation building, or a hospital, it might alter the thing enough – or if the building was maintained and run by volunteers and donations so every penny of rental fees could be donated to groups fighting slavery today or helping the descendants of slaves who built the property – but as a private, money-making venture I am very much not convinced by plantation venues.

    • Thank you! Thank you for putting into words what I was thinking too. My mother volunteers at a former plantation near her home. She thinks it’s a noble pursuit, a wonderful way to “give back to the community.” I couldn’t disagree more. In fact, it absolutely makes my skin crawl that in spite of all the need in her community, this is where she chooses to contribute!

      I work in historical research so I completely understand the value in preserving these old places, but I believe that the value in maintaining sites of horror should be academic. I am not saying that I have all the answers. [Heck, I don’t even have all the answers to my own life.] But I do feel that there is preservation and there is celebration, and those two pursuits shouldn’t always be in the same arena.

      Everyone has their own feelings about the subject and there are some amazingly diverse opinions just in this thread. Not everyone can be right. But I will say that everyone knows deep down where the line is between ignorance and bliss.

      True story: Last year Christmas, my mother said she didn’t need really need anything in the way of gifts because she already had everything she wanted. Instead, she suggested that everyone make a donation to the plantation in her name for her gift. I cannot begin to describe how horrified I was by that idea. My son who is soon to be 27 years old turned to me and said, “I finally understand your rage.”

  17. I’m a black woman and would absolutely get married in a plantation house. In fact, I’ve always wanted to live in one – those wrap around verandahs are AMAZING. I have friends and family members who would find it distasteful, which is absolutely fine, but if my FH and I could find one in London and we could afford it, we would jump (the broom) at the chance.

    i would be totally respectful of anybody that didn’t feel comfortable and I would make a point to meet up and celebrate with those people to make it clear that there were no hard feelings. But, just as they wouldn’t expect me to force them to come, I wouldn’t allow anybody’s personal beliefs to change decisions made by my partner and myself. We wouldn’t dream of getting married in a church – even though they are some of the most sensational buildings – because we don’t believe in what they’re founded on but I’ve been happy to support my friends that have made that choice for themselves.

  18. Plantation weddings in general don’t bother me. It really depends on how the current owners reflect on that period in time.
    Prisons….eh, I probably wouldn’t like the ‘ambiance’ anyway so no. Same as a castle.
    Cemetery just seems disrespectful, to the living.

  19. I’m 1/2 of a Black-white interracial couple that is getting married in the South. You really can’t throw a rock here without hitting some icky Civil War, civil rights, or anti-Native American history. While my fiancé and I avoided plantations, we discovered that the college campus we’re getting married on was once used as a Confederate hospital. (They buried that fact and advertise their diversity–they’re a college, after all.) I agree with other commenters: there’s taking back a place, and then there’s Paula Deen wistfully dreaming about a plantation wedding with African American servers . . .

    • I guess I don’t understand what “taking a place back” means in a practical sense. Who is taking the place back? Does that mean the descendants of former slaves from a plantation getting married there to acknowledge and celebrate that part of their family history like someone mentioned above? I love that that happened and think its a beautiful way to go about it. Unfortunately, I don’t think that experience is the norm. Does it mean other folks, whether they have a connection to the historical context of the site or not, getting married there and filling the space with joyful memories until the painful past if forgotten? This sounds more likely. With historic plantations, I think most people see a pretty old house where bad things used to happen and decide that having the venue is worth accepting and/or ignoring what the house symbolized, a less meaningful choice for some than others. In my experience though, weddings at old plantation homes have ended up looking more like Paula Deen’s dream than the offbeat tribe’s.

      • I meant more the story of the bride who had traced her family history back to a plantation and holding her wedding there when I wrote “taking back” than “fill the space with love!” argument. I would also say that sometimes it’s not ignoRING the place’s history (although most of the time it is) but ignoRANCE of the place’s history, as in people just don’t know or don’t make the mental connections. For instance, my parents live on a piece of land that some developer thought to call a “plantation” (they live in a modern house, and the land does not actually have any plantation history). My parents consider themselves well-versed in history but did not realize the implications of the place’s name until they had lived 15+ years in the house. They were mortified.

  20. I’ve thought about this issue a lot over the years and it has become especially pertinent now that I am getting married. Being a southern girl with a love of big, old buildings and beautiful green spaces, there are plenty of plantation homes that could host my wedding. Being a black woman with the legacy of slavery looming over my family tree, however, makes it so that I can’t even bring myself to consider them as an option. I have been a guest (notably, the only POC guest) at weddings on plantations in SC and GA and the experience left me feeling very uncomfortable. While trying to enjoy the magic and romance of the venue, I couldn’t help but think “in it’s time, I wouldn’t have even be allowed in here because of the color of my skin.” For me, plantation homes represent beautiful monuments telling the story of a past that didn’t include those like me. I could ignore all of that and take the venue at face value without acknowledging its historical context but that isn’t my style and wouldn’t be consistent with the authenticity that I want to characterize my wedding.

  21. I think it is important to also remember that just because a location is called a plantation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is was one during the antebellum south (although in the context of the post that started this whole thing, it certainly was). Also, as a white woman from the north, I would have had little to no idea about the historical context of plantations has it not been for my college education and love for public television. That portion of history is glossed over in most grammar/high school classrooms, so for many people, they don’t fully understand why a plantation setting could even be perceived as being in bad taste.
    I wouldn’t have wanted to get married at one, but I understand why they are popular. People need to recognize that not everyone understands the true history of the southeastern US.

    • In the store I work in, we have a really nice looking room divider. I’ve been looking for one to separate a space, and I commented to my manager that I liked it. He said “You do know they are called ‘Plantation shutters’ (the name my company gave the piece)…right?”. I do think it’s an odd choice but we’re not known for being PC, and it’s not like they were from an actual plantation. It’s just the style…

      Edit: heh, I just read the online description and I’m giving my company just a touch of side eye:

      “…..Perfect for separating rooms, hiding clutter or just sitting around the plantation, pretty as you please.”

      • Plantation shutters are the normal name for them? Wide, wood blinds? I don’t understand.

        I’m suddenly really curious whether anyone finds the term alienating. I can see how the term might be… but I have no idea what else to call them.

        • I don’t mind them being called Plantation shutters, but the product description definitely raises a brow on me. They didn’t have to go there ….

    • “just because a location is called a plantation, it doesn’t necessarily mean that is was one during the antebellum south.”

      I live in the Deep South, and this is SO TRUE. We looked at a venue with the word “plantation” in its name, but it WAS NOT EVER actually a plantation. It is, and was, just a large house with a barn. In the end, I was too uncomfortable with them appropriating that word in order to sell the space as a wedding venue, so we couldn’t book it. I still find it really odd and unsettling.

      • As I mentioned in an earlier comment, my parents live on a piece of land that the developer decided to call a “plantation.” It never was a plantation, and I’m a little concerned as to why the developer decided to call it that . . .

        • Perhaps it was to sell it as high class, and ostentatiously as possible, ala Gone with the Wind.

          • The fact that “building and ‘class’ built with the bones and blood of enslaved humans is seen as a high status thing rather than something a nation is deeply ashamed of is kind of a huge part of the problem.

  22. As all the comments illustrate, this is a really tough thing to wrap one’s head around. Personally, I wouldn’t want to have a wedding at a cemetery or in a former prison. The plantation idea also sits uncomfortably with me. But like so many I feel that what matters more is whether the wedding celebration itself is respectful of the place, e.g. a colonial-themed celebration not just at a plantation but anywhere would be 100% unacceptable to me. It’s content more than form that matters to me, I suppose…

  23. I hesitate to post since our examination of the issue didn’t run as deep as many of the voices here. However, we do live in North Carolina and we weren’t tied to any specific locale/city when choosing a venue. I got overwhelmed quickly so we made the half-joking based-on-gut-feeling decision to rule out anywhere that had the word “plantation” in the name because it made us feel icky. I also ended up nixing several places suggested by my former-Army fiance due to a blanket unwillingness to get married anywhere specifically associated with violence….. soooooo based on some of the logic I read in the comments– most places? Anyway this really ruled out a few battlefields and actually a battleSHIP located on the water in Wilmington. Odd wedding venue and a definite “only in NC” moment for me!

  24. I actually think it would be really cool to get married at a prison and make the wedding favors a donation to a prison reform or drug decriminalization group.

    I would consider a park cemetery, because that kind of history is cool, and A Fine and Private Place is my favorite book.

    But plantations, places that market themselves as plantations, regular cemeteries, battlefields, and zoos would all be off limits for me.

    Plantations simply because I don’t think I have a right to even try to reclaim that space since I’m not a POC.

    Fake plantations because ew. Regular cemeteries because of consent of the dead issues raised above.

    Battlefields because sad, and because my family immigrated to the US long after every war fought on US soil transpired, so I have no connection to these places.

    Zoos because they make me sad.

    But places that I have a personal connection to or could raise a social issue (that is in my lane) with, yes. I would even consider getting married at a Gulag camp, if that were possible, because I could thereby honor my family members that died there, and express the gratitude I have that my great-great grandpa escaped and immigrated to the US.

  25. This is interesting, and really demonstrates some things I haven’t thought about.

    I grew up in the south, and the barn I rode at as a kid was a former plantation. The house had been torn down, but the cabins and barns still existed. We routinely went exploring, had sleepovers in the cabins, and generally *used* these old spaces. Years later, the land was sold to a developer, the cabins and barn were torn down, and now there are townhouses. I assume the people living there have no idea what used to be there.

    My point is that you can’t throw a stone in certain parts of the south without hitting a plantation, or a former plantation, or something that maybe isn’t quite a plantation but certainly has a racial history. I have been to at least a dozen weddings at plantations. It’s not for me, but I don’t feel like I can judge the dozens of people I know who have gotten married at plantations.

  26. Prison? Yes
    Zoo? Yes.
    Cemetery? Yes.
    Castle? FUCK yes.
    Plantation? … I’m not sure… mostly because there aren’t any near where I live and I never had to think about it. If it was old and beautiful? Then the answer is yes.
    Like animal rights activists won’t go to a zoo, people offended by the history of slavery have the right to skip a plantation wedding. I think if the venue fits your theme or whatever, do it. I bet you could find some terrible reason to avoid every establishment in the world, but what fun would that be?

  27. Considering the wedding is supporting its current incarnation, NOT it’s past one, I don’t see any problem using any venue. While I absolutely believe that your money should go toward businesses/causes/people you believe in, the concept of avoiding a place because of it’s history seems like punishing it for something it had no control over. If I equate a former plantation with slavery for as long as it physically exists, by that logic I must hate the 15/16ths of my ethnicity that oppressed, enslaved and abused other ethnicities. And that’s just silly.

  28. We are hoping to have our wedding in a cemetery. It has some beautiful architecture and is dull of history. We are cureentlg awaiting approval from the cemetery board. Their biggest concern is not that we wouldn’t be respectful, but an insurance issue. Some of the stones are still wooden and irreplaceable.

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