Sweet Home Alabama is a beloved romantic comedy with a wedding scene that serves as a source of inspiration for all brides-to-be. While appearing on The Drew Barrymore Show on February 14, 2023, Reese Witherspoon reminisced on her experience starring as Melanie in the movie, especially the vow exchange. “I remember that scene that we shot in the rain, and I’m in the wedding dress, and I run away from my wedding, and I run to see Josh Lucas on the beach,” Witherspoon tells host Drew Barrymore. “It was pouring down rain, but I remember thinking this is such a crazy, amazing moment. I’m going to remember this forever.”
The Legally Blonde star also revealed what she did with the gown her character wore, a strapless frock with a trumpet silhouette. “I still have my wedding dress,” she admits. “I do.” The movie’s costume designer, Sophie de Rakoff, fabricated the piece, which was later paired with a birdcage veil. Although Witherspoon married Ryan Phillippe in 1999 and Jim Toth in 2011, she didn’t wear the getup for either wedding. We aren’t sure whether the actress repurposed the dress for other ocassions, however.
In 2018, Witherspoon shared that the plot line of Sweet Home Alabama mirrored her own life. In the 2002 film, Melanie is an Alabama native who moves to New York City as a fashion designer and then returns back home to finalize a divorce. “When I read the script, I was like, ‘Do these people know my life story?’” Witherspoon asked. “Because no matter how much you love where you’re from, when you get a little bit older, you get nostalgic for it. When I was 18, I was like, ‘I am out of here! I am never coming back!’ When I was going through Sweet Home Alabama, I was like, ‘This is exactly how so many young people feel.' You want to leave home, and then, you realize that there’s so many important things about the closeness of family or people who knew you before, and I feel like that movie really encapsulated those ideas, and it was a lot of fun. It was so much fun. I had a great time doing it.”
Witherspoon also said she never imagined moving back to Nashville after leaving to pursue acting, but she decided to return to her old stomping grounds once she had kids (she has Ava and Deacon with Phillippe and Tennessee with Toth). Later, she bought a farm and ended up living there. “I went real Little House on the Prairie there for a moment because I was so nostalgic for home,” she admitted.
This isn’t the first time the actress has kept her on-screen outfits. After Witherspoon filmed Legally Blonde, in which she played Elle Woods, she brought the entire wardrobe home with her. “On [the movie’s] 15th anniversary, I took [all the clothes and accessories] out of storage and tried them all on,” she said on The Graham Norton Show in 2019. “Some of them fit. Some of them didn’t. I showed them all to my daughter, and it was really cool.”