Hi everyone! My name is Anna, and y’all don’t know me because I work behind the scenes as an intern here at Southern Weddings, but I’m excited to be on the blog today! I love Southern traditions as much as y’all, so I was happy to oblige when Emily asked me to share a bit about the Old South Ball.
For those of you who might not be familiar with it, the Old South Ball is Kappa Alpha fraternity’s formal, complete with Southern Belle dresses, hoopskirts and the like. Since my boyfriend is a KA at UNC-Chapel Hill, I have been fortunate enough to attend this event every year that I’ve been in college.
Old South is really the ultimate Southern experience. KA is based around the traditional Southern ideals of courtesy, chivalry, and gentlemanly conduct, and I must say that the guys that I know in KA are true Southern gentlemen! Combine this with large Southern Belle dresses and historic Southern cities, and you have Old South!
The above photo is from an Old South Ball at Wake Forest that took place in 1964. Not much has changed since then…besides the hairstyles!
The Old South tradition began in 1939 at Mercer University after the release of the movie “Gone with the Wind.” The brothers of the Kappa Alpha fraternity decided that they wanted to have a “Dixie Ball” as a way to celebrate their Southern roots. This later became Old South and spread to other chapters across the country.
UNC’s chapter typically hosts Old South in cities such as Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA and Richmond, VA. If you live in any of these areas, you may have been fortunate enough to witness our lovely attire as we paraded around town (it is definitely a site to see!). It’s typical for passersby to yell, “Hey, look over here!” and snap a quick photo. Another common response we get from onlookers is, “Is this a wedding party?” My response to that? I would hope not! That would be some shindig!
This year, we traveled to Savannah, Georgia. Once we got all dolled up in our giant dresses, we piled into the back of multiple horse-drawn carriages, and took a historic tour of Savannah. (Just a word of caution if you ever find yourself in a hoopskirt – be careful sitting down, as the hoopskirt has a tendency to fly up! Needless to say, it was difficult getting into those carriages.)
You may be wondering where we find all of these fabulous dresses, since you can’t exactly stroll into your local department store and pick one up. My dresses (I have two, and have worn them alternate years for the last four) actually came from EBay and Etsy. However, most girls rent their dresses from local costume shops.
Old South weekend isn’t just for hoopskirts and big dresses, though – we do have a formal dinner later that night where we get to wear normal clothes! (Thank goodness!)
During the formal dinner, a KA rose is chosen. The KA rose is typically a senior, and is traditionally a girlfriend of one of the fraternity brothers. Once the KA rose is announced, she is serenaded by the guys who most recently joined the fraternity with the KA rose song. This year, I was the KA Rose! (Thanks to all the guys in KA, y’all are so sweet!)
Did you and your fiancé ever attend an Old South together? Is your beau a KA alumnus? Or, were you ever a KA Rose? Let us know, we would love to hear about your experiences with this Oh-so-Southern tradition!
All images are my own personal images, except where otherwise noted.
With love, Anna