Details To Include in Your Invitation

Details To Include in Your Invitation

Happy Monday from Mercantile Hall!

As planners here at Merc, we often help couples walk through all the fine details of their wedding day, including what information they should provide to their guests ahead of time so that the wedding day experience runs smoothly for everyone. Your wedding invitation is typically a couple’s one opportunity to communicate directly to your guests about what they should expect on wedding day. Here’s an overview of what you should include in your wedding invitations:

Directions

Other than the obvious date, time and place, help your guests out by providing general driving directions to your venues. You can include maps and any special instructions they should know like construction alerts, street closures or roads where heavy traffic is common. In addition, if guests have to find and/or pay for their own parking near your venue, letting them know ahead of time will be greatly appreciated by your guests.

Any Gaps in Timeline

If there is a time gap between any of your wedding events that guests are expected to fill themselves, giving them a head’s up is recommended. A nice thing to do is to share with them a list of suggestions for local bars, restaurants or attractions that they could pick from to enjoy in between your ceremony and reception.

Attire

To queue your guests on any special notes about their attire on your wedding day, direction is best. If your reception is at a formal ballroom, you can suggest more elegant clothing with a line such as “Cocktail attire” or “Black tie affair”. If your ceremony is outside in the fall and it could be chilly, tell your guests to bring a jacket or blanket to cozy up in. None of your guests want to stand out from the crowd in a negative way because they were not prepared in advance.

Meal Preferences

Prepare your guests expectations ahead of time if your wedding menu deviates greatly from your typical reception style. For example, if you plan to serve heavy appetizers instead of a full meal, tipping your guests off ahead of time ensures they plan ahead to perhaps snack on the way or pack a snack for the ride home.

Being thoughtful about the directions in your invitation can really save brides, grooms and their guests last minute headaches on wedding day. And who doesn’t want that!

Have a great week and all the best from the Merc team!

Must-Have Wedding Planning Supplies

Must-Have Wedding Planning Supplies

As a self-proclaimed planning nerd, I am the kind of person who gets *excited* (yes, excited) about a new project that needs to be organized. And I’m especially excited if organizing that project requires the purchase of new office supplies because I LOVE buying office supplies. Whether you have the same affinity for the office section at Target or not, planning your wedding does require a few simple things to stay organized throughout the process. Here’s my top four must-have office supplies for planning your wedding.

1. Post-Its

This was inspired by a bride who recently came in for a logistics meeting. Planning a seating chart can be a headache while you decide who sits where and with whom. If this is something you’d like to plan out on paper, post-it notes will be your best friend. You can color code them by family or friend category and you can move them around at any time you need without starting over.

2.  Envelope Sealer

I purchased these for my own wedding and just trust me on this one. If you don’t have self sealing envelopes you absolutely need these. They are cheap and effective and will save you from unfortunate tongue paper cuts and the awful aftertaste of traditional envelopes.

3. Wedding Binder

Throughout the process, you’ll have several pages of notes, packets of information, guest lists, timelines, budgets and contracts that need to be organized. You can keep them digitally in an electronic filing system of some sort or create a binder like to keep everything in paper format. Having one central location for all of your files will save you time and hassle spent trying to locate the information when you need it.

4. Accordion File

Even with all of the technology available to us today, it is inevitable that you will have some paper items you need to save from your wedding, namely receipts. When you place a down payment on  your wedding dress or buy some cute decor from Hobby Lobby to decorate your wedding, be sure you have somewhere to store these important receipts. Not only are they your proof of what you paid for an item and what was promised in return, it gives you a way to take items back to the store if you don’t need them any longer. A simple accordion file can store them in one place and you can categorize them for easy finding later.

Trust me, a little organization along the way can save you and your fiancé unnecessary stress as your big day approaches. Take a stroll down the office supply aisle and see what you might find!

Until next week- Meghan



Merc Monday 10/29/18- Hassle-Free Bridesmaids Dress Shopping

Merc Monday 10/29/18- Hassle-Free Bridesmaids Dress Shopping

Gathering your closest girlfriends together for a day of trying on beautiful dresses sounds like a fun occasion, and it certainly is! But it can also be tricky trying to balance everyone’s input and keep the entire group on the same page. Lindsay Webster, Store Manager of our sister store Bon Bon Belle Bridal, stops by the blog today to share her tips for a smooth bridesmaids appointment.

When to Schedule

Lindsay advises brides to book their bridesmaids appointment about six months out from the wedding day. “It can take up to three months for dresses to come in and then you should leave time for alterations and a buffer in case there are any hiccups.” Having a comfortable timeline for dress ordering can alleviate the stress (and potential extra shipping costs) of a rush order.

A Starting Point

“It’s helpful to come in to the appointment with some idea of what you are looking for,” said Lindsay. “Deciding on things ahead of time, such as if everyone will be wearing the same dress style or not, will jumpstart the appointment in the right direction.” Also, typical appointments are only an hour long. Setting a few simple guidelines at the front of the appointment can keep everyone moving efficiently throughout the appointment.

Gauge your Maids’ Budgets

Discussing money matters at a bridal salon in a large group can get awkward very quickly. As the bride, check with your girls beforehand and gauge how much they are comfortable spending on a dress. “A good tip would be to call the store ahead of time and ask for the price range on their bridesmaids selection,” says Lindsay. Keeping your girls in the loop up front will help them prepare for placing an order quickly. If your girls are more budget conscious, shy away from dresses that are heavily beaded or have intricate lace detailing as they tend to be more expensive.

Temper Your Try-On Expectations

Most bridal boutiques have only one sample of each dress style in store, meaning there is only one size of each style that ‘maids can try on. Also good to know is that just like bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses run smaller than casual clothing sizes - sometimes up to 2 sizes smaller than the size they normally buy at a department store. “Trust your consultant and rely on their expertise when it comes to sizing,” advises Lindsay. “They can point each girl towards the right size for her.” Encourage your girls not to get caught up in the number on the dress tag and to order the recommended size. No one sees the size of a dress when it’s coming down the aisle, but they will notice if it does not fit properly.

“Bridal consultants are here to be an advocate for the brides they are helping,” says Lindsey. “We are so happy to help you find the perfect dresses for your vision to bring all of the elements together beautifully.”

So, grab your girls and head to Bon Bon Belle for a great experience! Happy shopping!

Meghan


Merc Monday 10/22/18- Happy Guests, Happy Wedding

Merc Monday 10/22/18- Happy Guests, Happy Wedding

Annnd...we’re back! After a brief hiatus, I’m excited to welcome you back to the Mercantile Hall Blog!

Weddings are a big event in the lives of everyone involved, including guests. While every couple should design their wedding day around their own vision, it is important to keep the comfort of your guests in mind as you plan. Anticipating the needs of the friends and family in attendance helps everyone stay in the moment with you and allow them to fully enjoy every special part of your wedding. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Weather

Is it going to be hot and sunny on your wedding day? Consider using ceremony programs that double as hand-held fans or offering sunglasses/sunscreen during an outdoor ceremony. If rain is predicted, guide your guests to venue entrances with covered awnings or have spare umbrellas ready to go for guests to use.  For winter weather, plan your ceremony and reception in the same location or very close together so that guests do not have to drive far in the snow.

Nature

One thing that is easy to forget when hosting an event outside is bugs! Many outdoor locations in wooded areas are prone to insects like flies, bees and mosquitoes.. Provide insect repellent to your guests so they can focus on your vows instead of swatting bugs away. Tiki torches or candles can also help keep uninvited guests at bay.

Timeline

Be considerate of your guests’ time on your wedding day and keep as close to your schedule as possible. Guests get uncomfortable sitting in the sun waiting for your ceremony to begin or hungry if your reception is delayed because the bridal party arrives late. Leave buffer room in your timeline for travel, pictures, etc. so that you can make it to your ceremony and reception on time.

Accommodations

It is important when selecting your venue to choose a space that is big enough to host your guest list *comfortably*. Choosing a ceremony or reception space that is pushing the venue’s capacity means that guests may have to be seated uncomfortably close together. It also limits the options you have to make room for a DJ/musician and dance floor as well as space to display décor, gather gifts, and place desserts or late night snacks.

Every couple wants to have only the happiest memories when looking back on their wedding day and you want the same for your guests! Providing for your guests’ needs will allow them to remember your sentimental father-daughter dance or the hilarious toast from your best man instead of how hot or hungry they were at the time. After all the pieces of your perfect wedding day are in place, put yourself in a guest’s shoes and do something a little extra special to let them know you were thinking of them. You (and your guests) will be so happy that you did.

Happy planning, Meghan

Merc Monday 8/6/2018-By Your Side

Merc Monday 8/6/2018-By Your Side

Hey Monday-ers!

This weekend we had back to back ceremonies and receptions. Each wedding was absolutely beautiful, and I have loved working with both couples throughout the planning process. It's always so wonderful to see each couple's personality and style come together, as each and every wedding is so different. There was also something that was very evident this weekend, and that was how amazing the family and friends were. One of the groom's mom said to me, "When you have such an amazing couple, you just want to jump in and do what you can to make their day perfect." I definitely saw that as the group did whatever they could to help. Whether it was decorating the tables, setting up lunch, hauling boxes, and overall just making sure the couple had nothing to worry about. It was hard not to feel the love that they had for this amazing couple.

It made it so obvious how important having an amazing wedding party can make or break your day. We've all heard horror stories about mainly crazy bridesmaids. To the point that sometimes brides need to ask their friend to not be in their wedding party anymore. It's a hard situation to be in for both parties, but weddings sometimes bring out the worse in people.

I'm sorry to say that there is no foolproof way to pick your wedding party. Sometimes, you even have to pick someone that has been your best friend forever, knowing full well that they're probably going to start drama.

So even though I can't give you a list on how to pick the perfect wedding party, just be aware of the dynamic that each person brings. Keep your wedding party small if you're worried about people not getting along, and most importantly pick someone that you KNOW is going to be there to help you throughout the day.

Also, for all you future bridesmaids and groomsmen just remember that the day isn't about you. You can't complain about the weather, or a long ceremony, or how you're sick of taking pictures, or how hungry you are. It's only one day where you have to dress up, be on your best behavior, be funny and smile for the camera, all for the sake of your friend's happiness. It's about going with the flow, and making sure that the bride and groom are having an amazing day. I believe that Karma plays a role here, so hopefully your friend will do the same for you when your day rolls around.

I wish you all the best as you start to decide who you want to stand by your side, and I look forward to meeting all these amazing people on your big day.

xoxo

Stephanie

 

Merc Monday 7/31/2018-For the Love of Purple!

Merc Monday 7/31/2018-For the Love of Purple!

Hey Monday Lovers!

 We are halfway through Summer, which means that Fall is THAT much closer! It's my favorite time of year, and the most popular time to get married. We've had SO many couples touring the space looking for fall dates for 2019, and yes even 2020! So hesitate to book if the fall is your preference!

Besides finding the right date, and venue, many couples go straight for what their color scheme is going to be. Many of you probably have a few secret boards on Pinterest already, and you're swarming in several color palettes. So let me fill you in on a little secret...there isn't a color that doesn't work year-round (yes even red-even though some would disagree.) Eight years ago and in a world before Pinterest,  I had started a file on my desktop with different wedding ideas. I knew I wanted October and was hoping for a blush wedding, which to be honest was unheard of at the time outside of the Spring/Summer. By the time I got engaged in 2013, blush weddings were the hot thing and brides were not afraid to use it year round.

So with Fall just around the corner, I want to show you how another "Spring" color can totally be used year round! Purple is one of my favorite wedding colors, because you don't have to be picky about only using one shade. It can be whimsical, and rich by layering several shades, plus it's one of the few colors that looks good on anyone!

 

 

 

There's so many options, but remember to mix shades and elements to incorporate the color without being too literal. 

xoxo

Stephanie

Merc Monday 7/16/2018-Getaway

Merc Monday 7/16/2018-Getaway

After months maybe even years of planning your wedding, it's only natural that you're going to want to get away with your new husband or wife and have an amazing honeymoon! Whether you're lucky enough to leave a few days after your wedding, or several months, it's necessary to take a break and reconnect with each other. Even though marriage to some may not feel very different than before, you now are clearing your plate of all things wedding, and discovering what this new chapter in your lives is going to look like. 

Here are just some options off of a neverending list of possible honeymoon locations. The best part is they won't break the bank!

Croatia

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Dreaming of the French Riviera or the Italian coast, but would love to get more for your money? Then look no further then Croatia! There are several coastal cities that offer the narrow cobblestone streets, pastel buildings, cafes and of course amazing cuisine! Plus, Merc's own fearless leader, Wendy is Croatian and would love to share some tips on how to get the most out of your vacation!

 

Philippines

 

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We all know the Hawaii and the Maldives are popular honeymoon locations, but they also come with a higher price tag because of it! If you're wanting the island paradise vibes then consider going to the Philippines. Hotels, food, and experiences are amazingly inexpensive, plus the currency exchange rate is pretty fantastic!

 

Mexico

 

tulum.jpg

Did someone say ALL-INCLUSIVE?! Parts of Mexico, like Tulum featured in this photo, look like something out of your dreams. They ooze romance, but also a sense of familiarity if you've ever visited Mexico before. Plus, let's not forget that almost every resort offers amazing deals with all-inclusive packages. It takes the stress out of budgeting for your trip, and allows you to truly enjoy your vacation. 

 

Québec City, Canada

 

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Parisian vibes, great flight fare, and the Canadian hospitality! This beautiful city is one I've actually visited, and even in the dead of winter it can be charming and romantic. If you're looking for a short getaway, or just can't handle a long flight, then this could be an amazing option for you! 

 

There are hundreds of romantic cities for you two to discover, but narrow your list by what you're hoping to do, to see, and of course by your budget. I would love to hear where you're going, or where you're hoping to go, so comment below!

 

xoxo

Stephanie

MERC MONDAY....Goosebumps

MERC MONDAY....Goosebumps

When we talk about #smalltownlove these days we are almost always sharing an experience we've just had. It almost always is the kind of story that leaves us with goosebumps.

Well... for those of you in need of a little feel-good-love, this one's for you.

A few weeks ago we had the honor of hosting Kani & Richalde. These two (now newlyweds) are an amazing couple who weathered the heartbreak of losing their original wedding plans for a destination wedding in Key West, to the wrath of Hurricaine Irma last year. They took that opportunity to create a new plan for their dream day, and they chose Mercantile Hall. With a new script, new decor, and friends and family in tow, they hit Burlington to celebrate. The #smalltownlove came in to play as the groomsmen enjoyed themselves outside waiting for the ceremony to begin. They wandered across the street to a Burlington business that is near and dear to our hearts - Itzin's Shoes - where they were introduced to Tiffany Cramer & Dave Schmafeldt. They took a seat on Itzin's brand new community bench out in front of their shoe store, and Dave quickly came out to shine their shoes. The guys all lined up, feeling the love from Tiffany & Dave right on the spot. Watching this unfold you couldn't help but observe the fabulous service that was taking place while the air was filled with laughter. And that, my friends, is Exhibit A for this week of small town, downtown love. Small random acts of kindness for those visiting Burlington for the first time. If we only had a camera...it was authentic, spontaneous, and beautiful.

Fast forward to Sunday, July 1st. Our first (of hopefully many) community give-back events where we hosted a super fun Food Truck Festival. Graciously, Chase Bank allowed us the use of their parking lot behind Mercantile Hall, so we packed it full of scrumptious food options. 10 to be exact, all different cuisines, and so much yumminess to try. When we saw the first trucks (Yuppie Hill & Wilson Meats) arrive, we got excited. But when that 10th truck rolled in, we knew we had ourselves a big, awesome festival. Right from the start of the event at 3pm, we watched the people stream in, all smiles (which to us translated to 'who cares about a little rain?') to hang out & celebrate community. We opened up Mercantile Hall, provided a kickin' live band (they were awesome - AARPers Bizarre was their name), and served up a full bar & some tasty craft beers from Third Space, Central Waters, Bells, New Glarus, and Lakefront Brewery. We filled the seats, watched some dance, and most importantly, met a lot of new friends. THAT is what small town, downtown love is all about and gosh we're feeling lucky to live here. (...goosebumps...)

Thank you to those who helped Mercantile Hall bring the Trucks & Taps Food Truck Festival to Burlington:

Cupcake-A-Rhee, Matty's, Gypsy Soul, Blue Cow Creperie, Double B's BBQ, Yuppie Hill Farm, Wilson Meats, Sushi Go, Hardwood Cafe, Tropical Chill, Chase Bank, Mike, Laura, Abby & Kayla from Drink Inc., Elite Rentals, & AARPers Bizarre. And of course to Ashlee Herriges, Stephanie Heft, Abbey Robers, Chris Carlock, and our ever patient hubbies & kiddos - may we always be blessed with sharing moments like these.

XO 

Merc Monday 6/25/2018- SEAT Yo Self

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Merc Monday 6/25/2018- SEAT Yo Self

It's Monday, and that means I am here to offer you some tips and tricks for your planning process! This week we are diving in on the importance of having a seating chart. I've had so many couples go back and forth on if they even need a seating chart versus a full on table arrangement with place cards at each place setting.

So the question is, do you need one? The answer is and always will be...YES!

You may be thinking of not having one, because you envision your wedding to be less formal, carefree, and easygoing. However, what you're actually doing is creating chaos and stress for your guests. If there's one thing your guests actually care about at your wedding, it's their experience and who they're at a table with. There are literally movies about the awkwardness of going to a wedding and being seated at THAT table. I have yet to see the "non-seating chart" wedding go smoothly, so let me explain what actually happens...

Your guests walk in and start to ask staff if they missed the seating chart. Once they have realized that they have to claim a seat, they quickly start to walk around finding people they may know to agree to sit with them. Then instead of actually enjoying your cocktail hour, they spend the next hour (or longer) sitting at the table so that they don't lose their seat. You are 100% guaranteed to not only have 1 or 2, but several tables that are a hodgepodge of uncomfortable guests. They start to look around the room noticing various other guests that they would have much rather have sat with. Family and friends of all various ages are mixed together, and you may think that most people would start to make friends with the people at their table, but they don't. They may ask each other how they know the bride or groom, have a few minutes of small talk, and then are back talking to the person they came with. To make matters worse, some even start to move around chairs and place settings so they they're able to sit with friends, making it more chaotic for your caterer and event staff.

There is also the worse case scenario, which has actually recently happened. Additional guests that didn't RSVP show up, and now your actual guests are left standing by the bar for dinner. To make matters worse, family members and wedding party are left without a seat. This makes for an awkward situation, because how do you go to each table and call out the guests that aren't supposed to be there? Plus, in this same situation we had various tables with 1 random chair, because guests would rather stand at the bar with a friend, then sit at a table surrounded by people they don't know. 

So how can you avoid this?

1. Tell your guests which table they're at.

Arrange your guests so that they are at least grouped together at their specific table. Here at the Merc, you can go up to 10 at a round, or 20 at 2 farm tables together. The farm tables are a great option if you have a group of family or friends that would be weird to split up between tables.

2. Keep your family close.

Make sure your parents and immediate family are surrounding you. Your family wants to be as close to the head table as possible. Plus, your friends expect to be seated the furthest away, and won't take offense to not being able to reach out and touch you.

3. Consider the floor plan.

If you're removing tables for the dance floor, put your friends or "dancers" at those tables. They won't be offended, and I can easily persuade them to head to the bar for another drink.

4. Use your 3D seating chart!

At the Merc, one of our perks for you is a 3D seating chart. You are able to handle RSVPs, as well as all communication to me about your layout through this program. You're literally able to assign your guests to specific tables, as well as arrange them in the order you would like them sitting. This is a great way to navigate through your guest list to determine who should sit next to who.

Most importantly, having assigned tables ensures you have checked your list multiple times, and have a seat for everyone that RSVP'd. It may be inevitable to have "wedding crashers," but at least this way they aren't stealing seats from your actual guests. 

 

So please, do yourself and your guests a favor, and have a seating chart! You don't necessarily have to be as strict as telling them which specific seat, but at least put them with some people they may know or like!

Here are some examples of some beautiful seating charts, but get creative and find a way to incorporate your own wedding style!

I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

xoxo

Stephanie

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Merc Monday-6/18/2018-Stay sane, stay in love

Merc Monday-6/18/2018-Stay sane, stay in love

Hey Monday Lovers!

So there's been something on my mind lately, and it's come up after meeting with so many couples leading up to their day. The issue I see over and over again with the planning process is that too many couples are not taking the time they deserve to really take care of themselves and their relationship.

The planning process is stressful, hard, and drains you mentally and sometimes financially. So it's important to show each other that you care, not only about the process but about each other. I'll leave my tips on how to help each other through the process for a different post, because this week I really want to focus on ways to strengthen your relationship.

1. Take 2 days off a week where you DO NOT talk about anything to do with the wedding!

Seriously, you can't talk about how your cousin is bringing a random date, or how one of your bridesmaids can't come to your bachelorette party. You need to block it out of your mind, and go back to focusing on how your relationship was pre-wedding. 

2. Date night!

Whether you can afford to do something once a week, every other, or even just once a month. You need to reconnect, get dressed up and head out for drinks, dinner, and/or a movie. Just remember to keep the wedding talk to a minimum and remind yourselves how it used to be when you first started dating. 

Something silly that I've actually grown to love is when my husband after 12 years of being together, pretends like we're on a first date. It's not as suave as in the movies where you're at the bar and he walks up to you and offers to buy you a drink. No, it usually starts off with "So what do you do?" I can't help but giggle, but I love to play along because we get to be goofy and remind each other that we need to talk about ourselves and our lives as if the other isn't in the know all the time. It's also pretty entertaining to see people, servers included, eavesdropping on your conversation, hoping to figure out how the "first" date is going.

3. Taking care of yourself

This one is huge! Please, take a day to pamper yourself at least once a week. Whether it's getting your nails or hair done, going for a walk, getting a massage, going to a yoga class, grabbing some Starbucks on your Target run (my fav), or simply to stay in to binge watch a show with a glass (or bottle) of wine. Whatever it is that helps you unwind and recenter yourself, do it! It's so important to take care of YOU, so that you can be a better person for your partner. Everyone needs "me" time, and this should be something that you adopt for the rest of your life. A healthy marriage starts with a healthy relationship with yourself.

4. Take a load off!

Delegate! Do not even think about trying to do this all on your own. You will lose your mind, and start to resent your family and friends, or worse your partner, because they "just don't understand what you're going through." Your wedding party, and family typically want to help you throughout the process, so start to ask for it. You don't have to be afraid of turning into a "Bridezilla," if the list is reasonable. Some things to have them do...

A. Help stuff envelopes-get that assembly line going!

B. Put together centerpieces-Label each table separately, so it's easier day of

C. Organize decorations- Because all those months of hitting up flea markets, and Hobby Lobby, add up to a hodgepodge of boxes and bags.

D. Put together favors-it's repetitive and should go fairly quickly

E. Ask your most organized family member or bridesmaid to be the point person for information. Even if you have a wedding planner, things come up throughout your day, and you don't want to constantly have people hounding you for information. Pick someone that can handle the added stress with ease.

5. Just be there for each other

Even if you don't care what color your napkins are, or what the font is on your invitations, act like you do. It's hard to put all of this on your partner, and it's weird how all those little things start to really mean something. There will be tears shed over the silliest things, so just be there for one another, and remind each other that it's all going to come together. 

 

So lovers, stay sane, stay in love, and don't forget at the end of the day it's about the two of you getting married. Everything else is just part of the celebration. 

xoxo

Stephanie

 

 

 

 

 

Merc Monday-6/11/2018- Let's get Nudie!

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Merc Monday-6/11/2018- Let's get Nudie!

Ok, not literally!! 

I haven't done a color palette blog in a while, and I've actually been pretty excited for this one! A popular color choice this year, besides burgundy/Merlot, has been to simply use greens and white for flowers. It's understated, classic and simply gorgeous, but how can you make it fresh and unique?

A new and fresh twist has been to incorporate soft tones like beige, taupe, and a subtle blush or antique rose. It feels extremely bridal, and can be used for a number of styles, various dress tones, and look amazing in our space with our dark blue and grey walls, and of course our Chicago pink brick!

Here are just some of the amazing examples that I found, and I have my fingers crossed that one of our couples will choose to incorporate some of these into their own color palette. I can assure you that it will be stunning!

 

I don't know about you, but I am super obsessed with this, and there are so many ways to make it your own!

Is anyone doing something similar? I would love to see one or a few of your favorite inspiration finds, so comment below!

xoxo

Stephanie

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Merc Monday-6/4/2018-Come enjoy the summer with us!

Merc Monday-6/4/2018-Come enjoy the summer with us!

We're back! After a 1 week hiatus with Memorial Day (however I did post I preetttyyy adorable wedding video on our facebook page), we are back and ready to dive into Merc Monday!

Can you believe we are already in June?! Memorial Day always signifies the start of summer, and I couldn't be more excited for the amazing events and weddings that are going to happen over the course of the next few months!

One that I'm super pumped for is actually THIS Thursday! We are opening our doors to the public after the Burlington Farmers Market, and offering an amazing cash bar, corn hole/bags, board games, music, and more! I have actually been so excited that it's coming up, that all day today I've thought it was Thursday and even packed my farmer's market tokens in my purse. (Don't judge me) ;)

Being in the heart of downtown Burlington, we have always been community driven. So this is a great opportunity to bring some goodies you found at the market, order some food and just hang out with friends, family, or us Merc Girls!

Next up we have our much-anticipated Trucks & Taps on July 1st from 3:00-8:00!  It's a great opportunity if you're an engaged couple, to test out some food for a potential late night option! Plus, you can bring your family through Merc, listen to live music, enjoy a cold craft brew and challenge your fiance to a fierce game of corn hole.

Plus, to sweeten the deal, even more, I am offering an amazing prize after each event that we host! You do not need to be a future bride or groom, this literally applies to ANY attendee to our events this summer. So how do you win? All you have to do is post a photo on Instagram of you enjoying some of the goodies at any of our events with the hashtag #mercgirlchallenge. (1 entry, per event.) Prizes will range from discounts on future events, free drinks or food, "Merc Merch," a special gift on your wedding day (if celebrating with us), or a gift certificate to our sister company, The Hive. I'll announce the winner the following Merc Monday, so make sure to stay tuned!

I hope you'll come enjoy the summer with us!

xoxo

Stephanie

 

 

Bringing a little Portland, OR to Burlington, WI

Bringing a little Portland, OR to Burlington, WI

Every time I visit my incredible niece Kaelie in her hometown of Portland, OR I get inspired by its vibe.

If you have never been to Portland, let me take you on a 30 second adventure...

Situated right on the water, the mouth of the Columbia River (where Oregon meets Washington) to be exact, Portland is a thriving eclectic scene where weirdness (individuality) is celebrated and revered and this electric energy is abundant. You literally feel like you can do anything there and thrive. Culture is celebrated, dogs are worshiped (almost literally) and every weekend you see families engaged in some type of activity loving the outdoors and all that Portland brings to the table. There is a phenomenal food & beer scene, with inspired chefs and cicerones (beer sommeliers) and the hilly landscape and waterfront are the perfect backdrop.

So it's not lost on me each time I visit, how inventive Portland is when skewering new ideas. On a visit a few months before Mercantile Hall was born, Kaelie took me to a "food truck pod" that was pretty spectacular. Coming upon a gate you see a huge building with a large lot behind it. Food trucks pull up to the building surrounding it like circled wagons. They then park, throw out their shingle, and start cooking. Then, with a swing of a gate to the lot, cars start streaming in. You see people getting out of their cars, strolling around to find the truck of their dreams, and then they head with their bags of food into the building. Once inside, there were several craft brews to choose from, excellent music, and giddy happiness on people's faces everywhere. 

Mercantile Hall is taking a nod of inspiration from Portland's Food Truck Pod scene and is opening up our back patio & lot to several food trucks. From sushi to BBQ, there will be quite a bit to choose from for the entire family. Inside, we'll be featuring several craft beers to choose from, have tunes playing, and we'll be welcoming anyone and everyone to come on in and hang out. If you bring your pup, we'll have water bowls and picnic tables outside.

Come try some new food, new brews, and enjoy meeting some new friends.

Mercantile Hall is open to the first 300 people who want to come and hang out & drink some pretty epic craft beers. And if you want to grab some food and head to Weimhoff Park, you got it. It's all about community, fun, and breaking bread with those we love and those we have yet to meet. Cheers!

Mercantile Hall - Sunday, July 1st in the afternoon

Merc Monday-5/21/2018-Let's Talk About The Royal Wedding!

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Merc Monday-5/21/2018-Let's Talk About The Royal Wedding!

Oh my goodness! Can we seriously chat about how amazing Saturday was? I must say, knowing I had to coordinate a wedding at the Merc all day, I wasn't super excited about waking up at 4:30, but It was definitely worth it!

I've heard the comments that Meghan's dress was underwhelming, however I totally understand the look she was going for. It fit perfectly with the feel of her day, the respect for the church service and traditions, plus I'm sure that her age and overall taste had a huge part as well. In pictures, I am focusing more on her face, tiara (oh my!), and that stunning veil!

I must say that I was honestly more excited about which tiara she was going to wear, than her dress. I had scoured various blogs and archive photos to see what others had predicted, but not once did Queen Mary's Art Deco headband come up. I thought it was absolutely perfect for her, and now looking back at some of the other predictions, they would have been way over the top! 

As fun and interesting it is to be able to watch a royal wedding, this wedding seemed more relatable. From the ceremony music, to the cake, and even her reception dress, it would be very easy to incorporate her style into your day. 

It was such a beautiful wedding, and I loved being able to see the little moments of him telling her how lucky he was, or holding her hand leading her out to their getaway car, or my absolute favorite which was when they kissed for a second time in the carriage. They were trying to be true to themselves, while understanding the pressure of having such a public event. Even though we will probably never see a photo of their evening reception, I can only imagine how beautiful and perfect it was. For now, I will leave you with their official portraits that have been released. Of course, my favorite is the one of just the two of them. It's authentic and stunning, and you can only look at that and know that in that moment there is nothing but love.

 

 

Oh, how I love love. Congratulations to this beautiful couple, I can't wait to see what their future holds.

XOXO

Stephanie

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Merc Monday-5/14/2018-Happy Mother's Day!

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Merc Monday-5/14/2018-Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Belated Mother's Day to all of you amazing mom's and of course to all of you soon to be mamas too!

One of the many amazing things about working in this industry, is seeing how two lives change after they say their "I dos." I've been blessed to continue to be close to our couples, and keeping up with their lives through social media, and the occasional text message. In just 1 year of weddings, our Merc family has added a beautiful baby boy and baby girl to the world, and we have 4 more amazing couples that are going to become parents this year! 

I couldn't be more excited and proud of these beautiful couples. Becoming parent's is such an amazing gift, and I can't wait to see their little families grow.

To all of you, congratulations and thank you for sharing your good news and photos with me! I am so extremely happy for you and I hope that you will stop in someday so I can meet these little nuggets. Merc would also be pretty cute for a maternity or newborn photo session, so just say the word! 

All of our couples are forever a part of our ever growing Merc Family, and I am so excited to see more announcements pop up in my email and news feed, so don't be shy!

So from all of us, Happy Mother's Day and Congratulations! 

XOXO

Stephanie

 

 

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Merc Monday 5/7/2018- Planning in Full Swing!

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Merc Monday 5/7/2018- Planning in Full Swing!

Let me first start off by saying that I am LOVING this beautiful weather we are having! Everywhere I look, people are out and about working in their yard, going for walks as a family, or simply enjoying some sunshine in the park or outside of the local restaurants. It seems that we tend to sink into our busy day to day during the winter, but now we are rejuvenated and ready to enjoy every second of the day.

This also goes for all you couples that are planning your wedding day! The emails have been flooding in from couples that have been booked for awhile and just starting to get back into planning again. Most importantly though, the flood of new inquiries, tours, and bookings! I love learning a little more about each couple that I get to finally bring through this beautiful space. However, nothing beats getting to know them and even becoming friends as we get closer and closer to their day. I have never viewed any of our couples as just "clients." This is too much of a personal process, and I don't take a single second of it for granted. We truly appreciate that our couples choose to trust us with their day, especially when it comes to us being their coordinator. 

I entered into the wedding industry as a wedding photographer, so now I use my creative and particular eye to comb through each detail. Pinterest and wedding blogs have become such a huge part of wedding planning, but what many of you may not understand that those pictures are crafted to look that way. The table number is placed just right, and the centerpiece has been turned and added to to make sure that it's at the perfect angle, the list goes on and on. These may be "little" picky details to some, but you spend months maybe even years planning for this one day. I always take a step back to access what your guests will see because I want to make sure that every detail has been looked over, so you truly don't have anything to worry about. It's not just about making sure the day runs smoothly, it's to give you and your guests an amazing day with nothing to look back on and say "Why didn't anyone fix that!"

So as you dive into wedding planning, and decide who your vendors are going to be and how they can help bring your vision to life, just know that your Merc Girls have your back. 

If you haven't decided on your venue yet, we still have some awesome dates available so get in here! We want to be apart of your day, but most importantly we want to help bring it to life. 

xoxo

Stephanie

 

Shout out to C. Tyson Photography for the stunning photo of Kayla and Adam

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Merc Monday 4/30/2018-Light Up Your Night!

Merc Monday 4/30/2018-Light Up Your Night!

This past weekend, something happened that I have been waiting for since before we even opened! Our amazing couple chose to have individual pendant lights above their head table! It was absolutely magical, and even better then what I had imagined. 

Having this above their head table not only made it stand out, but provided a beautiful glow. I won't lie, I literally told the bride and her bridesmaids how amazing they all looked under this warm light. It was hard to capture on my cellphone, but trust me the photographer was definitely able to capture it and I will share the photos as soon as I have them. Until now, my "awesome" cellphone photos will have to do.

 

It goes to show that lighting can add so much to your event, so here are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

 

I would love to see more couples do this, and I can't wait to see what we can dream up for you. So contact me and let's truly make the space one of a kind for you!

XOXO

Stephanie 

Merc Monday 4/23/2018-Wow Your Guests

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Merc Monday 4/23/2018-Wow Your Guests

First off, thank you all for the love on my birthday! I have officially entered my 30's, and I had a fantastic weekend with family, and of course an amazing wedding on Saturday!

This week for Merc Monday, I want to address a very important part of the planning process...the food! The bride and groom killed it on Saturday with an impressive menu from Tall Guy and A Grill, Purple Door Ice Cream, and the Milwaukee Pretzel Co. Yeah, I know!

Here is a breakdown of what was served...

Tall Guy and A Grill-

APPETIZERS-

Mini Bourbon BBQ Pork Meatballs-Bite size ground pork shoulder  meatballs with Tall Guy Bourbon BBQ Sauce.

Italian Bruschetta-Toasted Italian baguette with fresh diced tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella pearls

MAIN COURSE-

Superfruit Salad- Greens, fresh strawberries, blueberries, goat cheese crumbles, walnuts

Fresh Baked Rolls (from Breadsmith)

Char Grilled Beef Tenderloin-Seasoned with house steak rub served with Peppercorn horseradish sauce, oven roasted asparagus with fresh lemon, and scratch made garlic mashed russet potatoes

Grilled Salmon Filet- Sustainably sourced fresh salmon filet topped with a peach salsa. Served with seasonal summer blend of squash, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus and bell peppers, and a side of smashed herb red potatoes

Black Bean, Herb, & Veggie Cake-Black bean, fresh herb, spinach and rolled oat cake served on a bed of fresh mixed greens and dressed with roasted red pepper sauce. Served with seasonal summer blend of squash, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus and bell peppers, and a side of smashed herb red potatoes

 

Purple Door Ice Cream-

Campfire Mini Cones

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Vanilla Ice cream Sandwiches

Molasses Cookies with Espresso Ice cream Sandwiches

 

Ending the night with Milwaukee Pretzel Company Soft Pretzels and Sprecher Root Beer Mustard provided by Tall Guy and a Grill!!

Is your mouth watering??

I firmly believe that if you impress your guests with great food, and a crowd pleasing bar, they'll be happy, your day will be memorable (in a good way), and it helps set the tone for the night. That was definitely the case on Saturday as guests genuinely wanted to party, WELL having Sound By Design as their DJ also helped ;)

It was a great selection of vendors, and it showed that  a lot of time was spent to carefully select each one so that it reflected the look, and feel that they wanted for their day.

So, as you start to plan your day, don't forget that as part of each coordinator package, we also work with you to determine which vendors are best for you! We understand that the process can be overwhelming, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you. 

Also, don't forget there's only 1 more week to get our 2018 pricing for 2019 dates! Don't miss out on this opportunity to book at an amazing rate!

XOXO

Stephanie

 

 

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Merc Monday 4/16/2018-End of an Era

Merc Monday 4/16/2018-End of an Era

So this past week, the wedding industry was shook by the announcement that the most popular wedding blog site, Style Me Pretty is shutting down by the end of April. They have already stopped posting new content, but by April 30th the site will be down entirely.

For 12 years, SMP has been the leading resource for all things wedding. Before the days of Pinterest, brides and vendors relied on this gorgeous site to find some of the best vendors that the wedding industry had to offer. For many in the industry it's a major accomplishment to be featured and can really propel your business.

For myself, even before I was engaged I turned to SMP to find inspiration and most importantly my photographer. Yes, Pinterest is an amazing resource, but SMP really helped me hone in my ideas and showed me just how beautiful my day could be (without overwhelming me like Pinterest sometimes can.) 

My dreams of a Mercantile Hall wedding being featured on SMP are shattered, but that doesn't mean that there aren't amazing sites out there for couples to get inspiration. So I've compiled a list of some of my favorites places to dive in to all things weddings. Hopefully, at least one of them will help fill the void of the iconic SMP.

Martha Stewart Weddings

Green Wedding Shoes

Ruffled

100 Layer Cake

Wedding Sparrow

I will always look up to these sites, and especially SMP of course. If anything this is just another reminder that sites can disappear, and it's important to save your ideas, be creative and find what is going to bring your wedding to life. 

 

XOXO

Stephanie

Merc Monday 4/9/2018

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Merc Monday 4/9/2018

Where in the world is our Spring weather?! I don't know about you, but I am over this 3rd winter we're having!

So lets warm things up, and try to imagine ourselves on a beautiful spring day, birds chirping, bees buzzing, and flowers blooming. Most importantly the soft pink tones found in flowers like peonies, sweet pea, and cherry blossoms. No matter what anyone says, blush tones will always be a popular wedding color because they offer a romantic feel and can fit with any wedding style.

Blush is amazing as your main color, but it can also be just as beautiful to use as an accent color, with soft touches to your flowers, linens, or even just your wedding dress! Also, let's be real, guys love pink too! 

So how can blush work for you? Well, here are some beautiful blush touches to incorporate into your spring wedding!

Also, don't forget we have our April special going on right now! So if you haven't booked with us yet, don't miss out on this amazing opportunity!

Cheers, and hopefully Mother Nature is paying attention and those spring days will be here before we know it!

XOXO

Stephanie

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