An entire character (along with a subplot about her) was deleted from the film, when test audiences consistently misunderstood her relationship with Andrew. Erin Vanderbilt (played by Katharine Towne) survives in the finished movie only in a newspaper wedding announcement shown to Melanie during the closing credits.
The glass featured as "Deep South Glass" is actually hand-blown glass, made by a company named Simon Pearce. Simon Pearce is based in Vermont and was started by a man actually named Simon Pearce, who emigrated to the United States from Waterford, Ireland.
Keni Thomas, lead singer of the band Cornbread that plays in the fair scene, is a real-life survivor of Task Force Ranger and is portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down (2001) (the trooper with the inhaler).
The coon dog cemetery featured in the film is a real place in Tuscumbia, Alabama (a north Alabama town just south of Florence, as well as childhood home of Helen Keller) whose story was told in The Miracle Worker (1962).
Oak Hill, the real name of the house Melanie pretends belongs to her family, is difficult to get to, as the interstate is approximately forty-five minutes away. To direct cast and crew members to the site, yellow signs simply saying "SWA" with arrows pointed out the correct route were pit up. Some Berry College students stole these signs as movie mementos.
Jake's glassblowing shop was filmed in Fayette County Georgia at an old mill called Starr's Mill. The exterior was repainted and the porch was rebuilt for the movie. The bridges were later washed away in a flood.
Despite the movie's title, "Sweet Home Alabama," the house Melanie pretends is her home is really at Berry College in Mt. Berry, Georgia. This house, called Oak Hill, is a Georgia historic landmark and was the original home of the college founder, Martha Berry. The downtown scenes were filmed in Crawfordville (population: 572), seat of Taliaferro County (pronounced "Tolliver"), the least populated county in Georgia.
Earl asks Pearl to pull the bologna cake out of the freezer when Melanie announces her engagement. This tasty item came to the film as a dish served to one of the (many) script re-writers by his fiancée, who was from Indiana. It is bologna, cream cheese and horseradish.
Producer Stokely Chaffin was the one who developed the film's concept and brought it to screenwriter C. Jay Cox to write. Chaffin, now the Senior Vice President of Productions at New Line Cinema, was raised in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and like Reese Witherspoon's character, she changed her name after she left the South (during her childhood, her friends and family called her by her first name, Caroline; Stokley is her middle name). Chaffin insisted that Cox visit Alabama before writing the screenplay.
Reese Witherspoon starred in Legally Blonde (2001) the year before Sweet Home Alabama (2002) was released. In Legally Blonde (2001), her character is talking to her newly broken up boyfriend and how she is not a "Vanderbilt." During the credits of Sweet Home Alabama (2002), there is a picture of Andrew being engaged to Erin "Vanderbilt."
The Mayor, Candice Bergen's character, refers to planning a June wedding at the Plaza for her son and Melanie. In Bride Wars (2009), Candice Bergen's character is a prominent wedding planner, and the film's central conflict arises from her assistant's mistake in booking two best friends' weddings on the same date in June, at the Plaza.
Sweet Home Alabama (2002) was the first of two movies Reese Witherspoon and Mary Lynn Rajskub starred in together. The second was Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003). In both movies, the women are in the same circle of friends or co-workers, who become better friends as each movie progresses.
Both of the mothers of the two men with whom Melanie "Carmichael" Smooter (Reese Witherspoon) is involved express the same disapproving sentiment to their sons, Andrew Hennings and Jake Perry. Both Mayor Kate Hennings (Candace Bergen) and Stella Perry (Jean Smart) criticize and disparage the decisions of their sons for being too much like their fathers.
In the deleted original ending (included on the DVD), the jazz band at the reception is The Clock Tower Jazz Ensemble (from Rome, Georgia) directed by Sam Baltzer. The singer is Lillie Huddleston from Atlanta.