A few weeks ago, Tara, Jorjanne and I had the pleasure of decorating one of our local country churches for a very sweet summer wedding. Our client was an adorable southern gal whose mother grew up here in Irwin County. Her grandparents and various other family members still live here so it made perfect sense for her to have the wedding at her family’s home church. The reception was hosted just down the road at her family’s farm. The intimate ceremony began at 10:30 in the morning, which was perfect to avoid the afternoon August heat.
The colors she chose were shades of blush and cream accompanied by lots of natural greenery. To dress up the church a little and to change things up a bit, the girls and I adorned the porch with lots of natural, southern greenery cut from the yard and a mix of roses and hydrangeas. What a wonderful way to welcome guests and set the tone for the day! I won’t go in to the process we went through of figuring out how to rig those up but I will say that no damage was done to the building and most importantly…. zip ties are amazing!
As guests entered the church they were greeted by another swag of greenery, roses and hydrangeas over the doorway into the sanctuary. This really brightened up the small entry way and framed the picturesque scene in the most perfect way.
The bride’s fiancé built a beautiful cross that they would stand in front of to be married. We dressed up the cross just a little with greenery and hydrangeas. Two urns were placed on each side and were filled with the flowers of the day. Pew markers were kept very simple with just natural greenery and blush satin ribbon.
The bouquets and boutonnieres were a mix of blush roses, greenery and astilbe. The corsages for the mothers and grandmothers were kept very simply with roses and satin ribbon. Honorary bridesmaids wore wrap around wrist corsages, similar to one that we found on Pinterest.
Weddings don’t have to be huge and fancy to be beautiful. This simple country wedding couldn’t have turned out prettier, and it perfectly complimented the theme of the day: the sweet commitment made between the bride and groom. Don’t be afraid to let your wedding décor reflect the scenery around you. What could have been more appropriate than using things that grow naturally here like camellia leaves, pitosporum, ivy, fern and hydrangeas? When thinking about your church décor, don’t get stuck in the traditional box when it comes to your arrangements, pew markers and bouquets. Let your flowers speak to your personality and help set the tone that you want for your special day!
This weekend, I, along with some other pretty special girls, had the opportunity to celebrate our good friend, Mary Claire. (You should know about her by now :) We spent a weekend on the lake laughing, encouraging, and loving on Mary Claire. What better way to start out in marriage than by knowing you have the love and support of your closest friends. This was a sweet time that we wanted her to remember forever.
When Lindsay (who happened to be the invitation designer and photographer of my wedding--you should know her by now too :) and I were thinking of what we could do to make Saturday night unforgettable--we had the best idea! A beautiful dock was located on the property, so we wanted to use it! We decided to have dinner on the dock, dressed in our prettiest things.
Since recently being married, my house is full of crystal and china just begging to be used. I picked out the most perfect pieces and packed them up for the lake. I know this may seem like a hassle to most (considering the lake was 3 hours away), but why have nice things if you're not going to use them? It makes occasions like this even more special when you use your special things.
The table was set with Vera Wang fine china, Lenox crystal glasses, vintage silver plate flatware, a vintage linen floral table cloth, vintage linen mixed pink napkins, and don't forget the votives, candlesticks and fresh flowers! The bulb lights were the perfect touch to make this dinner a dream. Although the nice things were beautiful and helped to set the mood, the most special thing of all was who filled each chair. Mary Claire felt so loved and cared for--so our mission was accomplished.
Take the time to pull out your fancy and special pieces to make your next occasion all the more exciting. A few extra minutes for clean up is well worth the result. Being expensive isn't what makes a piece special, it's all the memories shared over those pieces that will one day tell a story. I can't wait to add more memories to my things and have a home filled with all that love.
As a special treat, Lindsay has allowed me to share a few of her pictures from our dinner with you.
The dinner was a surprise, so this picture was captured when Mary Claire opened her eyes.
As fall approaches I find myself getting so excited about pulling some new things out of the closet! The problem we southerners face is we must leave the house on a cool fall morning prepared for a warm (o.k., hot) afternoon! Here are a few of my wardrobe staples that I have found are easy to layer and wear during this unpredictable time of year! My job is a bit unpredictable as well and my tasks vary from day to day. My daily wardrobe tends to be more casual but I try to dress it up with my accessories.
1. I love solid v neck t-shirts. Winter, spring, summer or fall, this is my go to top! Perfect with shorts or jeans, under sweaters or cardigans or just simply dressed up with a necklace; you cannot go wrong with a v neck tee. I prefer the v neck because it is easier to layer up and show off your necklaces--and I just think they are more comfortable! My favorite tees are by American Apparel.
2. The all-important cardigan. Half of my fall / winter wardrobe is made up of cardigans. They are so easy to throw on if you get chilled or take off if you get hot. As the weather starts to change I usually start with a cardigan in the morning and shed it in the afternoon. I cannot even give you a favorite because I have so many! Most of my cardigans come from Room 3A, located inside The Shoppes at Fourth and Cherry. You can follow the links to check out this cute boutique in Ocilla, GA!
3. In the fall and winter I wear jeans almost every day. They are such a staple in our modern wardrobes and can easily be dressed up or dressed down. Over the past year, Cello jeans have become my favorite! They are such a reasonable price and come in many different shades and styles. They are sized a little on the small side so I have to put my pride aside and ignore the size as I usually have to buy a size (or two) larger than I normally wear. These jeans are so comfortable and wash and wear so well! I also get these from Room 3A.
4. I love a cute pare of studs! In the fall if I am wearing a scarf or a chunkier necklace I find that I like to stick with small earrings. To find cute studs similar to these, you can shop The Southern Mercantile earring selection here.
5. I have a serious scarf addiction. When the weather is cool, scarves are such an easy way to add a little spice to your outfit. My favorite scarves are by Shiraleah and I find them at Expressions, another cute little boutique located inside The Shoppes at Fourth and Cherry.
6. Long necklaces are never a mistake with basic t-shirts. I love beads, tassels, stones, leather, etc. Long necklaces also work well if you are layering a scarf on top of them. My go-to long necklace is my “Fearless” key by The Giving Keys. This necklace is not only cute but The Giving Keys employs those who are transitioning out of homelessness and offers them encouragement and support while providing employment and council. The Southern Merc girls love to purchase with purpose and this is a wonderful mission to get behind! The Giving Keys are currently sold out on our website but they’ll be back soon!
7. My feet would have given up on me long ago if it weren’t for my Chacos. I purchased my first pair when I was 23 and wore them for eight years, which was well worth the investment! I stand up most of the day so comfortable shoes with a good bit of support are a must. Chacos come in so many colors and styles; it is easy to find a pair that suits your personal style. I own a couple pairs now so I can rotate. If you have never worn them before, don’t be surprised if your feet or legs ache for a few days when you first start wearing them. My body wasn’t used to such great support, so it took about a week for my feet to adjust. Once they did, man-- what a life changer!
8 & 9. I am a big bracelet stacker. I love bracelets. I find that these particular bracelets have become my choice most days. They go with everything, are comfortable and don’t get in the way when I am working. They also look great with a watch! You can purchase the leather and pearl, leather and turquoise and the beaded Liv N Grace bracelets on The Southern Mercantile Style page.
10. My cinda b wristlet is the perfect wallet for me. I keep it in my larger tote so that if I am just running in the grocery store, I can grab my wallet and not have to take in my big bag. I have many cinda b bags and I have been super happy with all of them! I buy mine from Room 3A but you can check out the entire cinda b selection here.
11. This faux leather tote by Shiraleah has been the perfect bag for me. It is always full and always too heavy (which is totally my fault), but it has plenty of room for everything I need on any given day. Whether I am throwing in my measuring tape and paint chips for a decorating job, or snacks, extra shoes and a scarf for those long days, it has been up to all the challenges of my daily life! A leather bag goes with anything and any color. I especially love the little gold studs on the handles to make it a little more interesting. I purchased this bag from Expressions.
12. I don't go anywhere without a pair of sunglasses. Even on gloomy days I feel the need to cover these eyes! I prefer tortoise shell frames, like the leather bag, as they go with everything. The frames pictured are from Warby Parker. They have a great selection of sunglasses and you can even order them with prescription lenses!
13. Last but not least, I keep a notebook in my bag and take it where ever I go. You never know when inspiration will hit and you desperately need to write something down! The Southern Mercantile has a great selection of cute notebooks!
I hope you have enjoyed this insight into my fall wardrobe routine! I also hope you'll take the time to check out the Southern Mercantile Style page and pick up one of our favorites for yourself!
*Remember, all jewelry orders ship FREE using the code FREESHIP!
Summertime in the south means fresh and juicy homegrown tomatoes! Whether folks live on a farm or in town, most have a tomato plant and enjoy the fruits of its harvest all summer long! We have decided to share one of our favorite tomato recipes this week--Tomato Pie! A savory and delicious meal, easy to prepare and enjoyed by everyone!
You'll see the recipe for Tomato Pie in our Recipe Card format below. When you join the Recipe Club, you will receive each Southern Mercantile recipe in this format, straight to your email! We hope you'll join the fun and sign up for the Recipe Club by clicking the button below!
If you know me, you know my style is pretty simple. I always have my nails painted, I love sandals, and my metal of choice is gold. I picked up a few pieces this summer that I am excited to transition into Fall. You'll see my favorites below and I'll tell you a little bit about each one.
1. OPI Nail Lacquer "Suzi Takes the Wheel"
I just discovered this amazing color--is it green or is it grey? It's both! I love the subtle combinations in this polish. I could wear this color over and over for weeks--and it's the perfect color with Fall right around the corner! You can find this polish along with many other of my favorites at Target.
2. Gap Racerback Muscle Tank
This tank is now a go-to. It's available in a few colors-- I actually have it in white! It's perfect for layering into the Fall, and I love the high neckline. It makes me feel like I'm wearing a more sophisticated top. It's now on sale at Gap for $14.99!
3. Shiraleah Jolene Studded Crossbody Bag
This bag is actually from last season--but I LOVE it! I have used this purse every day this year--it's so versatile and did I mention well made? Even though you can't get this exact bag, I wanted you to know about this brand and their stylishly durable products! Shop Amazon for a few similar styles.
4. Stella and Dot Signature Engravable Bar Necklace
This necklace is a classic staple and sentimental piece. I have to stop myself from wearing it everyday! You can choose your engraving--dates, initials, you name it! It is stylishly simple and sweet. Shop Stella and Dot for this necklace as well as many other beautiful pieces.
5. Steve Madden Aveery Flat Sandals
I found these adorable sandals online at Macy's after I was in desperate need of new shoes! (My sweet dog ate three pair in one week.)
I have loved them since I received them in the mail! I have these shoes in white, but I want every color. One good thing about the abundance of warm weather in the South is that you get to wear your sandals through the Fall! I wish I had them in the "cognac" color you see above so I could wear them a little longer. You can find a better selection of sizes and colors in this sandal by shopping SteveMadden.com.
I hope you've enjoyed a little glimpse into my closet and a few transition ideas for Fall! This is the first of many style blogs to come--so let us know what you think about these favorites and what you'd like to see us feature in the future!
Shop our Style category for even more of our favorites!
I am flooded today with memories of my grandparents’ house. As a kid it was a magical place that we were only lucky enough to visit on summer vacations and every other Christmas. It was not a huge house, a modest Sears and Roebuck home built in 1938, just on the outskirts of Washington D.C. My grandfather and his family moved in to the house when he was 14. In turn, my grandfather later bought the house from his father, and my mother moved into the house when she was 14. The house was a happy home to the same family for its entire life. It saw many a Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Morning and visiting relative. Some of the happiest moments of my childhood were spent there.
The house that was full of family memories for me was full of great memories of generosity and hospitality for many others. Through the years my grandparents hosted more guests than you can imagine, most for a few days but many for months at a time while they were getting on their feet in a new area. It would be impossible to count the number of Sunday dinners that were hosted in that dining room. I doubt my grandparents could tell you how many times that they were alone in their home in the 53 years that they were married. I cannot think of a better example of love and compassion than using the home that the Lord has provided to do good works!
In 2006 my grandfather died of cancer. I remember so vividly the whole experience, his diagnoses, the phone call, my last visit with him. It was a time in my life that I can look back and really feel like I was crossing a milestone. Something I knew I would have to face as an adult but wished I could run from as fast as I could. Of course the family gathered from near and far for his funeral and once again the house was full.
Though it was a sad occasion, it was wonderful to sit at the kids table again, squeeze in the tiny t.v. room with all of my cousins and sit around and tell funny stories about Grandpa. Though we were missing a very important member of the family, the house somehow seemed to be happy to be full once more with its family.
I returned many times over the years after Grandpa’s death to visit my grandmother. Every time, I fought back tears when I arrived because Grandpa was not there to greet me. Even with him gone, the house was still a home - it was my home away from home. The old family photos were still on the wall. The trunk full of family memories was still in the basement. There was still a quilt on my bed, my grandmother was still serving ice cream after dinner,and the cookie jar was still on the counter. My grandfather was still everywhere.
This year I feel that I have crossed another mile stone in life. I am still growing up and still wishing I could run! My Grandmother sold the house and moved closer to her daughters. While this was the right decision for her, it has been so devastating for me. Shortly after she moved, my grandparent’s house was torn down. Making room, I am sure, for a larger, nicer house with a huge master bedroom with a walk in closet. I cannot express to you the sadness I have been feeling. To know that my happy home away from home is gone forever. I have been beating myself up and telling myself that it is ridiculous to be so attached to a house. It was just a house. It just happened to be filled with some pretty great people and some pretty unbelievable memories. My mind has been flooded with memories of my grandfather, and this event has made me miss him so much more. What I wouldn’t give to sit on his porch with him one more time and have a chat while he fed his squirrels!
I have been lucky, I think, to have such stability and happiness in my life. To have grandparents that never moved, and parents that have never moved! My parents still live in the house I grew up in, and now I live next door! I guess I will forever be a nostalgic person that is too attached to my worldly things. As I say goodbye to my grandparent’s house, I know this means that I am getting older. There will be more milestones to cross and more sadness to face, but there are also many more happy memories to be made! I can’t wait to tell my nieces and nephews and little cousins all about my grandparent’s house and all of the good times I had there!
Give me fruit, and I will make jam - I thoroughly enjoy taking berries, peaches, pears, figs, or whatever fruit I can find and turn it into jams, jellies, and preserves.
It is a hot, sticky, messy process, but I love it! In fact, one of my most favorite sounds in the world is that little “pop” when a jar of jelly has sealed. It’s so gratifying to know that all your hard work has truly been productive!
I’ve shared with you before in a previous blog post all the tips I’ve learned through my own experience and from my older, wiser sister. She’s the one who taught me how to set up housekeeping when I first got married, how to raise my boys from the time I brought them home, and how to make jam.
There is something nostalgic about making jams and jellies; I feel a connection to the southern women of the past who used the same techniques and recipes in days gone by. Call me sentimental, but I love how my pantry full of jars reminds me of my grandmothers’ shelves during my childhood.
I also feel a sense of satisfaction in having created something from scratch that I can share with others. Since I do make jams as often as I have the time, I usually have a jar on hand to share with friends and family. Sometimes, I even make special batches to give to my sons’ teachers and church volunteers.
Over the last couple of years, we've made several different flavors of jams to sell at The Southern Mercantile. Right now, you can purchase Bourbon Peach, Blackberry, Pear, or Strawberry, which are some of our favorites! We also make and sell Paulk's Pride Muscadine Jelly, Preserves, and Sauce. Of course, we're always looking for new flavors, so let us know if you have any ideas, and tell us what's your favorite that we already make!
Aren't these jars just adorable?! Roxie and Tara designed the cutest labels and tags, then just tied them up with twine to show off the lovely colors of the jams. I hope you enjoy the jam as much as we have enjoyed making them for you!
Shop our Makers Category to find our jams and canning kits!
Once you've nailed down your venue, let the fun begin! Colors are sometimes the first thought when it comes to planning a wedding. It is easy to visualize your favorite colors and flowers surrounding you on your special day. But, the reality of making those choices can greatly depend on season and budget. Here are a few important things to ponder when choosing wedding colors that I realized along the way:
1. 'Tis the Season
When it comes to choosing the color palette for your wedding, you will definitely want to consider the season. If you have your heart set on using yellow, you may not want to plan for a Winter wedding. The same goes for maroon--this color is typically more fitting for Fall/Winter rather than Spring. Think about the message a color sends before you choose it blindly.
I browsed Pinterest (you can follow The Southern Mercantile on Pinterest) to find a variety of color combinations I thought were fitting to specific seasons. Take a minute to quiz yourself on which seasons you think these color combinations belong in!
2. Venue Style and Atmosphere
For me, the church walls were enough to inspire my color palette and guide me in the right direction. Take note of what is surrounding you at the venue and how you can use those colors and patterns to your advantage. It helps create a more cohesive look when your decorations do not seem out of place.
3. Favorite Flowers
As you may very well know, flowers range in price due to the season, the variety, and who you are ordering from. If you are on a strict budget, it's best to be flexible on the varieties used. Don't be disappointed if you can't use all of your favorite flowers (they may be double or even triple in price). Try to pick one or two favorites that you just love, and fill in the rest with more affordable varieties that fall into your color palette. Like all good wedding planners--you should do your research to compare prices as well as availability. We like to use the help of Cut Flower Wholesale's website when doing our research--comparing varieties and when each are in season.
*Take note that if you are planning your big day around a holiday like Valentine's Day or Mother's Day, you should be prepared to pay more than usual for your flowers.
4. Complimentary Colors
Another thing to think about is what your wedding party will look like dressed in your colors--hair color and skin tones can make or break a look! Your wedding party will be grateful for choosing something that looks good on them, not just on your tables. Doesn't my Nana look wonderful in mauve?
5. The Big Picture
I tend to go for the softer, more romantic colors when it comes to weddings. That's not to say you shouldn't use bright and bold colors--you just need to be aware of what it will look like when it all comes together, rather than viewing each color individually. Think of the big picture and the feel you want your wedding to give.
6. A Story to be Told
Whatever color palette you choose, you will want to use it throughout all aspects of the wedding--your invitations, your dress, your venue, wedding party attire, table settings, linen colors, flower choices etc. In the end it will tell a beautiful, and well thought out story.