A couple of weeks ago we headed to Braselton, Georgia to set up shop at the Braselton Antique and Artisan Festival. We had a beautiful start to the weekend with warm, sunny weather. Perfect for an outdoor venue.
An outdoor set up is a little different for us. A tent, dirt floor, and no walls posed a small challenge that we eagerly met. The outcome of this design challenge was a success as we ended up with a charming little space filled with cool vintage finds.
We embraced the atmosphere of being outdoors and brought plenty of garden items, vintage tools and porch & patio decor.
We livened up our space with silk sunflowers and a good assortment of our faux pot plants and succulents.
This was the first show that we were able to show off our line of dresses from Mata Traders. Mata is a fairtrade business that provides women in India and Nepal with employment. They provide a fair wage, as well as support in learing life skills to better care for themselves and their families. We are thrilled to be partnering with this company! Check out their website for more information about their mission and check out the selection of beautiful dresses in our store!
Tara and Roxie enjoyed getting to model their favorites!
Necklaces, by Sweet Auburn Studio, made from vintage pocket knives are the perfect accessory sass up our dresses by Mata Traders. We are thrilled to be adding Leigh Ann Harris, the designer and creator of Sweet Auburn, to our talented list of Southern Mercantile Makers! You can check out a selection of her work in the store and, don't worry, there is more to come!
These sweet gold bells are our new favorites! They are perfect to hang in the garden, in a wreath on your front door, or group on top of your favorite lantern. They are in stock and available in the store!
While we had great weather on Friday and Saturday, our luck ran out on Sunday. It rained ALL day. We made the best of it and had a good time, until the very end! That's just the chance you take with an outdoor venue!
Our next travels will take us to Augusta, GA and then to Atlanta. After that, we'll be taking a little travel break until the fall. If you haven't made it out to see us yet, we hope to meet you in the coming weeks!
If you keep up with our blog here at The Southern Mercantile, then you have probably figured out by now that we LOVE weddings! From the bouquets to the place cards, we love every detail. I have been blessed to be involved with many weddings and special events over the years. You may not know that I, along with my dad, ran a full-service florist for years in my hometown of Ocilla, GA. In fact, floral and event design run in my blood as my Dad ran a small florist in Ocilla when I was a baby called “The Red Bucket”. He’s taught me all of his tricks through the years and now Tara, Jorj, and I (along with his help of course) have found ourselves traveling the south providing floral designs for some very special Brides and Grooms!
If you are interested in talking with us about helping with florals and design for your special event, we’d love to hear from you! We love to travel and experience new places and cool venues. Over the years we’ve done weddings in Tennessee, South Carolina, and many locations in Georgia. We’ve conquered the time crunch challenges of ceremonies on the square in downtown Savannah, seen the beauty and possibility in an old church with no electricity and no running water, set the stage for a wedding in a muscadine vineyard, and have even decorated for a ceremony on a mountain top - yes, an actual mountain top! If you are in the area of Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, or South Carolina, we’d be happy to talk with you about traveling to your event and give you a price quote!
For those of you that live too far away to have us come and help with your event, or if you just need a little help with basic wedding planning, we’d like to offer you another way we can help. If you love our Southern Style and wish you could pick our brains while planning your wedding, then this is for you! We are now launching The Southern Mercantile Wedding Design Service.
This service is recommended for the modern bride who needs a little help with basic wedding planning such as color palette, décor ideas, and flower choices. We will keep the details in mind to ensure that nothing is overlooked on your big day. Not only will you have a chance to talk with our designers about the details of your wedding day but you will also receive a custom inspiration board with a resource list of where you can purchase the items you need.
The Southern Mercantile Wedding Design Service will include help with:
Swatches for Color Palette
Décor ideas for wedding and reception venue
Wedding Party Attire
Check out The Southern Mercantile Weddings page on our website for more information! We can’t wait to help you start planning your perfect wedding day!
We’ve been at it again! In February, The Southern Merc Girls (and posse) were honored to travel to Macon, GA, to decorate and provide florals for the wedding of a very sweet southern couple, Mandy and Caleb. Neither of the couple is from Macon but chose it as a central location for friends and family to gather for the weekend and celebrate their marriage. When asked if we would be willing to come along, we didn’t hesitate to join in on the fun. We loaded up three vehicles with all the necessaries and headed out for a new adventure! Have flowers, will travel!
The theme for the day was definitely classy and traditional with vintage touches. Mandy chose a beautiful, old church in downtown Macon as the site of her evening nuptials. Mulberry Methodist Church is absolutely breathtaking and was the perfect setting for their exchange of vows.
The church is so beautiful, we kept the décor very simple. As guests arrived at the church they were greeted by swags of fresh garland made of salal leaves and variegated pittosporum. Wooden lanterns decorated with fresh swags of their own were placed on either side of the front doors to light the way in. Pews were marked with fresh, mixed southern greenery and white satin bows. Two large arrangements of mixed greenery and white hydrangeas were placed at the front of the church, on either side of the altar where the bride and groom stood.
Flowers for the wedding party and family members continued with the theme of lots of greenery mixed with creamy white O’Hara roses and white hypericum berries. Succulents were used in the bride’s bouquet and the groom’s boutonniere to make them a little more special!
The mothers were given wrist corsages made of white satin ribbon and white spray roses. These types of corsages have become my favorite! They are so pretty and secure nicely to the wrist so they do not move around or get squished while hugging and taking pictures!
The reception was held at Macon Terminal Station, a historic train depot located in downtown Macon. This building was built in 1916 and was the highlight of the weekend for us! What a pleasure to be able to work in such a majestic old structure! While sitting and working I would find myself getting caught up in the history of the place and imagining passengers buying their tickets at the window and waiting on the long, rounded benches.
The appetizer and plate table were decorated with large arrangements of greenery, white hydrangeas and O’Hara roses.
The head table, as well as the long guest tables, were adorned with fresh garland made of salal and variegated pittosporum. A collection of wooden lanterns lined the head table. Each lantern was filled with pinecones and candles and decorated on the tops with greenery and satin bows.
The bride and groom had a special place at the table marked with swags of greenery. The Groom works in forestry so a woodsy theme was slightly and tastefully woven throughout the event. Different sizes of wood slices were used to decorate the round tables and were layered with succulent pots, mercury glass votive holders, and moss.
Dad (Terry) even worked his magic on the cake and adorned it with the flowers of the day.
When the lights were dimmed and the candles were lit, the vast lobby of that old building glowed with happiness and excitement! You may think this is crazy, but I believe that old buildings have feelings, and when shown love and attention, they just shine like diamonds!
The bride was beaming, the families were happy, and a good time was had by all! That’s another wedding in the books for us and one we’ll not quickly forget!
Floral Design by: The Southern Mercantile
Photography by: Sunny Lee
Cake by: Emma Helms
For more information about Macon Terminal Station visit:
You’ve all heard me talk about my Fairy God Children and the joy I have found in being a Fairy God Mother. Several months ago, my Fairy Godson, Zach, came to let me in on a big surprise and asked me how I felt about being a Fairy Grandmother. Of course this thrilled me to pieces! My first Fairy Grandbaby was on the way! Needing an outlet to focus my excitement, I immediately enlisted Jorjanne and Tara to help me plan a little baby shower for the parents-to-be.
We decided to host the party in the dining room of our Café (as my house is too tiny to hold all those people). Zach and Natalie are having a girl, so pink, pale green and mint blue were the colors for the day. Natalie is using a beautiful floral pattern in the nursery so we decided to carry that theme through to the shower. The theme of the day was to “Shower” the baby with love.
I got a really cute idea from pinterest to hang umbrellas from the ceiling. I recruited my Dad to help with the decorations because, as I have told you before, if I can dream it up, he can make it happen. We may or may not have gone a little overboard with the umbrellas. Here is my inspiration picture from pinterest: cute, sweet umbrellas.
Here is what we came up with: three gigantic pink umbrellas. I always say, go big or go home! Hahaha! The dining room is rather large with high ceilings so the extra-large umbrellas brought a nice touch of whimsy.
I have a large collection of vintage containers used by florists for baby-themed arrangements. These were perfect to use for silverware, food items and table decorations. I used fresh greenery snipped from the yard to fill the containers used on the guest tables. This is one of my favorite quick and easy things to do. We didn’t use any water or oasis as the party was not to last long.
The menu was kept simple for this Sunday afternoon soiree. We served cranberry pecan chicken salad on fresh baked croissants, cheese straws from Holt’s bakery (a local favorite), strawberry truffles and a pink ombre cake.
The cake (made by Tara) was absolutely gorgeous and quite the crowd pleaser! Tara is going to share her recipe and tips for creating your own ombre cake a little later in the week.
The afternoon was a little chilly so we served white hot chocolate garnished with pink marshmallows.
I love to use unconventional items as the “guest book”. You may remember that, at Tara’s wedding, we used a book full of water colors and photographs of old churches, including the church where she was married. At my own wedding reception I used a vintage art book of Van Gogh paintings that Matt brought to me as a souvenir from one of his trips to Italy. For this party I used a very sweet little print that said “You are Loved”.
As guests arrived, they stopped to sign the print and leave well wishes for the new baby. As usual we had a gift table full of festively wrapped gifts! The couple was blessed by many thoughtful and generous gifts from our Fourth and Cherry family.
This little party is a great example of keeping things simple but oh so sweet! You don’t have to break the bank to host a special get together to honor those that you love. Whether it be a baby shower, wedding shower or birthday party, if you infuse your gathering with love, then your party will be enjoyable and memorable to all of your guests!
It’s that time of year again, time for the annual Christmas Open House at The Shoppes! All of you Southern Merc fans that are from Ocilla have probably been to one of our open house events and know how marvelous it is. For those of you that are fans from far away, let me just tell you, this is quite possibly my favorite weekend of the year.
The Fourth and Cherry team spends Friday night through Sunday morning transforming The Shoppes into a magical winter wonderland. Every year we have a different theme (you know I love a theme!) to set the tone for the décor, food, invitations and other details. This year’s theme was “Christmas in the Pines”. Appropriate for a southern Georgia Christmas, don’t you think?
My awesome team spends weeks preparing for this event. Handmade invitations are printed, glittered and mailed a few weeks before the event. My Dad and Aunt Janet (the wizards) spend the week before making dozens of gorgeous wreaths and arrangements. My Café girls start planning for food preparations. Ornaments and decorations are unpacked and priced. Tara, Jorjanne and I always have a craft project going on like stamped and glittered gift tags for all of the packages or making feet upon feet of paper chains to decorate with.
I could write pages about how much fun it is to deck the halls at The Shoppes and how awesome all of my helpers are (because really, this would not happen without them). I think for today, I would like focus on what a special day this is for our community. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that people look forward to our Christmas Open House all year long. It has really become more like a homecoming, a festive day to welcome in the Holiday season and to visit with old friends and neighbors. Every year our crowd grows. This year we had well over 200 people including neighbors from my childhood (members of the original Alder Street Social Club) who traveled an hour to be with us. One of my Fairy God Mothers traveled almost two hours to be here. A very sweet couple that taught here years ago came and visited with old friends and students. Many of my Fairy God Children were able to be here, including one that I haven’t seen in months. I even had a cousin travel from Texas, just to be here to help for the weekend! My heart just explodes with joy when I can have so many, who are special to me, gathered in one place, even if just for a couple of hours.
This year we collected blankets for local foster children and had almost 60 donated! These blankets will be lovingly embroidered with the children’s names and given to them for Christmas presents. We also had someone from our local “Called to Care” group on hand to talk with folks about “sponsoring” a foster child for Christmas. Thanks to our wonderful guests, 12 children were sponsored during open house and we are steadily working on the rest! If you live locally and are interested in helping to provide Christmas gifts for these children, please contact The Shoppes for more information!
The second Sunday in November has become one of my favorite days of the whole year. Yes, it is means weeks of preparation and three very long days with little sleep, but the reward is worth far more than the stress and exhaustion of the work. It is one day when, not only is my shop absolutely gorgeous and filled with happy people, but a day that our community comes together to laugh and love each other and feel good about life.
We want to know about your favorite Holiday traditions. We hope you will share with us your favorite way to welcome in the Holidays in your home or hometown.
We have officially kicked off the Holiday season at The Southern Mercantile and we are filled with Holiday cheer! We are revamping store and can’t wait to share our favorite Holiday picks with you! Check back soon to see all that’s new!
No drink screams Fall like hot apple cider. There’s just something about the scent of apples and cinnamon that makes me want to curl up with a blanket and a good book around a roaring fire. However, I live in the South, which means that sometimes in the Fall, it is just too hot to curl up under a blanket with a hot drink around a roaring fire. I feel like I’m melting just thinking about it!
Since it has been too hot for hot apple cider, I have discovered Apple Cider Punch! The original recipe can be found at http://www.bhg.com/recipe/drinks/apple-cider-punch/.
We served our version of this punch at our Shoppes’ Christmas Open House, along with a few other pretty delicious treats!
We combined the cider and juices a day ahead to make serving easier. Instead of using sparkling grape juice, which is super sweet and pretty expensive for the amount we were making, we used ginger ale. Add your own twist to the recipe and tell us about it!
Apple Cider Punch
6 cups apple cider
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 liter ginger ale
Combine apple cider, orange juice, and lemon juice up to a day ahead and store in the refrigerator. Add chilled ginger ale just before serving.
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.
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.
I have had the privilege of sharing my college years with two wonderful people I now call my best friends.
I met Russell the summer after my freshman year. Because of his brutal honesty, snarky sarcasm and general friendliness we quickly became buds. Our relationship usually revolved around food--seeing as we both loved to cook and entertain. (And did I mention, eat?) Russell has and always will be someone I can count on. After Phillip and I began dating, I couldn't wait for he and Russell to meet each other. They hit it off , like I knew they would, and now call each other friends.
Mary Claire began as a mystery college roommate, which I was hesitant about. (Those situations usually don't end up well.) She moved in, and we instantly became friends. Through much time spent at the pool, painting our nails, baking, and watching chick flicks, we soon became inseparable. She is a talented, sweet-spirited, spontaneous girl who stole my heart and encouraged me more than she will ever know.
It was inevitable that at some point these two would meet. They became friends at first, and I never imagined anything else...until April 1, 2014 (a.k.a April Fools Day). Russell and Mary Claire agreed that it would be fun to fool me by telling me that they were going on a date. You can imagine my excitement when they told me, as well as my disappointment when they unveiled the truth. The only bright side in this cruel trick was that Russell was just trying to find out Mary Claire's real feelings about the possibility of them dating. What started as a "funny" joke that I didn't think was so funny turned into a fairy tale. Russell made known his interest in Mary Claire as more than a friend and the rest is history.
Now, Russell and Mary Claire are getting married, and we wanted to do something special.
Since we are in the middle of summer, I thought what could be more fun than a BBQ? I decided to play up the red and white checkered tablecloths for a festive look--using that same look in the invitations as well.
Russell's favorite foods just happen to fall into that category--I mean who doesn't love pulled pork, mac and cheese, deviled eggs...you get the idea!
To dress up the tables a bit while still keeping it casual, I decided to use sunflowers. A friend of mine has an entire field of sunflowers, so I knew just where to go!
We used my collection of milk glass and gold-rimmed plates along with my silver to set the tables. I decided at the last minute to use twine as "napkin rings" to tie the invitations back into the theme.
Although the party was casual, the food was delicious, and the guests were a delight. We had the best time visiting with one another and celebrating our wonderful friends. This party was just one of many celebrations to come--we are so thankful to have friends like Mary Claire and Russell to enjoy life with.
It was the perfect day, the day I would become Mrs. Phillip Smith. Months of planning, weeks of decisions, days of packing, hours of decorating, all came down to minutes before saying I do. Our wedding day was prettier than the pictures in my mind and more peaceful than the song in my soul.
With the help of my magical and most talented Fourth and Cherry family, we had the wedding of our dreams. I had the opportunity to humbly watch as every idea and thought came to life. Roxie, Mr. Terry, and Aunt Janet were the flower fairies. They whipped out each bouquet, corsage, and arrangement with ease.
Every table was dressed to the hilt with draping greeneries while other areas were adorned with living beauties.
Mrs. Brenda, Jorjanne, Abi, Matt, Chris and Kevin helped with setting up, cleaning up, placing decorations, and every other little detail I can’t even begin to list. It wouldn’t have been such a perfect day without this crew.
The church where we were married belonged to The Sparta Hancock County Historical Society. Mt. Zion Church was a needle in a haystack--a dream come to life.
Through searching for old churches in Georgia that still portrayed the simplicity and character I was looking for, we stumbled upon a blog. The wedding featured in this blog was the first wedding in Mt. Zion since the 50’s and mine would be the second. What a peaceful and unique place to make such a commitment. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
We kept the ceremony simple and chose to be married at 11:00 in the morning due to the beautiful lighting (since the church lacked electricity).
This also allowed guests to make a day trip out of the wedding rather than spending the night. We had our niece Cadence as the flower girl, our nephew Colten as the ring bearer, our dear friend and marriage counselor Jamey Tucker as our officiant, and our friends Morgan, Mary Claire, Kevin and Abi as the musicians.
The sweet sounds of violin and piano filled the room as beautiful words full of grace and love were sung over us. Praise be to God for this sincere time of thanksgiving and new life.
The reception was held 10 miles down the road at a charming little place called Lundy Creek Lodge. This worked out perfectly for us because the “lodge” had enough rooms to house our immediate family, grandparents and the Fourth and Cherry crew! The property has a pavilion on site where our rehearsal dinner and reception was held.
A tent was set up right outside the pavilion doors, where the reception area spilled out in the most beautiful way.
Since we had a morning wedding, we thought it would be most appropriate to serve brunch. This wasn’t a difficult choice for us, considering who doesn’t love breakfast food? The cake was something special in the most delicious way. It was a combination of cake and icing recipes I came to love while working at Silver Lining Cupcake Co. during college. Mr. Terry, the man of many talents, offered to make my cake and I graciously accepted! He did a wonderful job making it just perfect.
Writing this BRIEF overview has made me realize how much detail was put into making this one day so very special. I feel as if I could write a book on the planning, budgeting, decisions, details, stories and more importantly, my gratitude. There is more to tell, so there will be more posts ahead. I look forward to sharing more of my big day with you and all the little things that made it so special.
Photography: Lindsay Cox, Letters + Light
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