Sweet Home Alabama: Then and Now – 12 Years Later
The Anvil Garden
Melanie walks across the backyard littered with anvils in this scene looking for Bobby Ray so she could apologize for ousting him at the bar the previous night. This is also the spot where the wedding ceremony took place at the end of the movie. In fact, Melanie dumped Andrew and decked his mother, Mayor Hennings, almost in the same exact spot where she is standing in the photo below.
The only difference between the two photos below is the missing hedge that occupied the space between the gazebo and the cottage. That’s about it. Since this scene was shot in early November the film crew was able to capture the tree leaves changing colors which adds something extra to the shot, in my opinion.
The anvils we see scattered all over the yard in the first photo are actually custom-shaped pieces of foam dressed to look like real solid steel anvils. Each anvil was strategically planted into the ground by set dressers to appear as if they had fallen from an extreme height. According to director Andy Tennant, the idea to include anvil firing (also know as anvil shooting) in the movie came to him after he read about the practice in a tourist book while he was in Alabama doing research for the film. Anvil firing was actually a common practice in the South as a substitute for fireworks when celebrating. I don’t know… two anvils, gunpowder, and a match sound like a recipe for disaster.
As for the cottage in the distance, it was once a schoolhouse where Martha Berry’s family friend and servant, Martha Freeman, lived. Martha Freeman is also credited for helping Martha Berry create the Berry Schools.