Why Blake Lively And Ryan Reynolds Are Apologizing For Their Wedding Venue

When Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds wed in 2012, they overlooked one major issue with their venue: It was a former plantation. The civil rights advocacy group Colors of Change put it pretty succinctly, saying in a letter, "Plantations are physical reminders of one of the most horrific human rights abuses the world has ever seen. The wedding industry routinely denies the violent conditions Black people faced under chattel slavery by promoting plantations as romantic places to marry" (via The Guardian).

Though plantations have long been common wedding locations, the wedding industry has finally begun to recognize that they're inappropriate venues. The Knot has begun to regulate how plantation venues describe themselves, while Pinterest is restricting photos of plantation weddings (via Buzzfeed). People who had their weddings at plantations have also begun to apologize according to Buzzfeed, and on Tuesday, Lively and Reynolds shared their regrets with the public.

Why Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are apologizing

The famous couple wed in a 2012 ceremony at Boone Hall Plantations & Gardens in South Carolina, which was featured in The Notebook (via Hooked on Houses). In an interview with Fast Company, Reynolds shared their regrets about their wedding venue. "It's something we'll always be deeply and unreservedly sorry for," he said. "It's impossible to reconcile. What we saw at the time was a wedding venue on Pinterest. What we saw after was a place built upon devastating tragedy." 

Boone Hall released a statement in response to Reynold's comments, saying, "We treasure all our relationships with couples that have chosen to get married at Boone Hall, and, when needed, respond to them in private, honest, and personal discussions to address any concerns they may have. The discussions are heartfelt as we want to listen and put love and respect at the center of any issues that arise. We will always work to be a part of the solution for our couples, not a part of the problem" (via The Post and Courier).

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds are atoning for their past mistakes

Meanwhile, Lively was also criticized for tone-deaf romanticization of the Civil War with her defunct lifestyle blog, Preserve (via Jezebel). A newsletter titled "Allure of the Antebellum" depicted white women wearing expensive clothing and text describing the fantasy of the "Southern Belle."

Fortunately, the couple isn't sweeping their careless choices under the rug. Reynolds told Fast Company that public criticism over their plantation wedding caused the couple to reexamine themselves and take action. "Shame works in weird ways. A giant f***ing mistake like that can either cause you to shut down or it can reframe things and move you into action. It doesn't mean you won't f*** up again. But repatterning and challenging lifelong social conditioning is a job that doesn't end."

In the wake of the protests over the murder of George Floyd, the famous duo took to Instagram to share that they had donated $200,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. They also pledged to continue learning and to vote in local elections. Reynolds also launched self-funded The Group Effort Initiative, which will train 10 to 20 candidates who are Black, Indigenous, or from other marginalized communities on set for films produced by him (via The Hollywood Reporter).