Merc Monday 2/4: Serving People Well

Merc Monday 2/4: Serving People Well

Header photo by: Photos by Ashley Renee

Hello! I hope you’re having a great Monday today.

Although Mondays get a bad rap, they happen to be one of my favorite days of the week. There’s something about a clean slate and a fresh start that I really like. Mondays also happen to be our weekly team meeting here at Merc. Our core team gets together to review our upcoming events, check in on goals and projects and spend time all together in one room, which can actually be rare with so many events going on!

I am genuinely grateful to be a part of our team because I can honestly say that exceptional service is at the center of everything we do. We are always asking ourselves things like- “How can we take our couples’ experiences to the next level?” and “How can we totally exceed a couples expectations on a tour?” and “How can we connect on a more personal level to our brides?”

When you boil each of our jobs down to the very heart of what we *really*  do, our jobs are to serve people. And not just serve them, but serve them WELL. We know that our couples are placing their trust in us to help plan their weddings and we want you to know we have your back, that we are here for you and that your wedding day in is good hands with us.

Every week, we talk about better ways to serve people well and I can’t  think of a better way to set a great tone for our week than that.

Until next Monday,


Merc Monday 1/28: Eye Catching Floral Inspiration

Merc Monday 1/28: Eye Catching Floral Inspiration

Happy Monday! It’s a blustery scene outside our windows today, as winter weather has finally showed up in Wisconsin. Considering the snow, I feel like we all could use a dose of fun. The wedding industry is such a cool place right now, as there are so many talented florists doing truly creative and unexpected things with wedding flowers. Here’s some playful floral inspiration for you!

Merc Monday 1/21: New Years Resolutions for Engaged Couples

Merc Monday 1/21: New Years Resolutions for Engaged Couples

Happy 2019 from Mercantile Hall! We hope you had a fantastic start to your January. As is tradition for this time of year, we know some of you may be setting resolutions for this year. If your goals for the year include planning a wedding, here’s a few resolutions for you. Some are funny, some are serious, but they are all very true!

  1. We will not worry over a shade of blue. There are so many fine details that come along with planning a wedding and it can be overwhelming. Though the little details seem like a big deal in the moment, trust us when we say that your guests will not notice if your napkins are more cornflower blue than sky blue.

  2. We will spend time NOT talking about the wedding. Listen, Wedding planning is a huge project and it does take time and effort to get it all accomplished. But, do yourselves a favor and schedule fun time for the two of you to go to dinner or take a walk and promise to talk about everything but the wedding. The mental break will feel so refreshing!

  3. We will take opinions with a grain of salt. As many couples have probably already discovered, everyone in your lives will have an opinion on your wedding, from your guest list, to your menu and even your registry. Just remember that you can politely handle any opinions about *your* day but release yourself from the pressure of actually having to incorporate them. Only you two know what’s best for *your* wedding celebration.

  4. We will remember why we are here in the first place. Because you’re getting married and you love each other, duh!! At the end of the day, you are preparing for a marriage, not just a wedding. Keep your focus centered on how crazy you are about each other, and the rest will fall into place.

When you look back on your wedding day, you want to remember how much you enjoyed not only the big day, but the whole process. All of the work you put in along the way is all worth it, trust me!

Until next week,


Merc Monday 12/31: Happy New Year!

Merc Monday 12/31: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Mercantile Hall!

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday season with your family and friends. Looking back on our year, 2018 was a full and happy season around here. We hosted over 66 celebrations, including 50 weddings. That’s fifty grand entrances, fifty toasts and fifty first dances that our team got to witness and be a special part of. We wish all of our 2018 Merc couples long, happy marriages and a blessed year ahead.

Aside from weddings, over sixteen corporate, private and community events kept our space busy. We hosted craft fairs, hugged huskies, hosted community presentations and helped amazing groups of people from all over the area celebrate their special moments. I did the rough math on and we had well over 10,155 guests in our space this year! That is just incredible!

We have many exciting things planned for 2019, including the grand opening of our new UrbGarden. We are grateful to all of our clients and our community’s support for their help in making Mercantile a great place to be. We can’t wait to help celebrate even more people in 2019!

Have a safe and Happy New Year!


Merc Monday 12/17: It's Tour Season!

Merc Monday 12/17: It's Tour Season!

Happy Monday!

Do you ever feel like your life just gets crazy busy in December? Here at Merc, we’re finishing out the year with two amazing weddings AND this is the busiest time of year for couples getting engaged and coming in for tours. Sharing our beautiful space with people for the first time has to be one of the best parts of my job- it’s so much fun to see the Hall through the eyes of someone who isn’t here all the time.

I love to tell them all about our quaint little Pine Street and about the accessible parking here in Burlington. As we get many couples from the Chicago and Milwaukee areas in, they are always excited to see all of the free downtown parking right next to our venue. I point out all of the coffee shops, bars and restaurants that we have on our street so they can go grab a drink or bite to eat after they finish the tour.

One of the best reactions I get during tours is showing people our gallery wall and telling them how we frame special pictures of them to hang in our hallway on their wedding days. They usually comment, “Aww, that’s so cool!” or “I love that!” and I love seeing how excited they get about it.

Pictures are always a good idea when you are touring venues so I encourage couples to take as many as they want! It can be hard to remember the details after they leave, especially if they are visiting several venues. It’s fun to see what little details they capture to help them remember Merc.

But mostly, I love helping people who are in one of the happiest times of their lives. I love seeing them interact, hearing about how they met and got engaged, and all of the ideas they have for their wedding. Sometimes I even get to meet family members and friends and start a relationship with them, too. I hope I never lose the joy of being in this industry and sharing such special memories with entire families!

I’m done being sappy now, but check out my post next week when I do a fun recap of our year here at Merc.

Until next time,


Merc Monday 12/10: Saving Your Date

Merc Monday 12/10: Saving Your Date

Happy Monday from Mercantile Hall,

Here at Merc, I help brides and grooms in the selection of their wedding date.  In general, choosing a wedding date is a big decision for most couples, as setting a date is truly the first thing that must be decided before all of the planning can really begin. For example, you can’t pick a photographer or a DJ until you have a date and a location and it’s hard to pick a color scheme or even know the style of your wedding dress when you can’t picture the place where you’ll be wearing it.

Knowing that it’s such a crucial part of the planning process, here’s the advice I can share about booking your wedding date:

What is more important to you- the perfect date or the perfect venue? Obviously,having the perfect venue available on the perfect date would be ideal, but sometimes availability means picking one of the two. Generally speaking, unless you have a date that is sincerely significant to you, you’ll have many more options open to you if you can be flexible on your date. You can still always target a time of year (i.e. fall) or a specific month that you would like to get married to fit your vision.

Have you considered a Friday wedding? If you are set on a specific venue or a time of year like October that is extremely popular, holding your wedding on a Friday could be a great option for you. While it breaks from the Saturday wedding tradition of the past, Friday weddings are very common now. We celebrated 6 Friday weddings during the months of September and October and they were awesome! Typically, wedding guests have plenty of advance notice of your wedding date, and trust us- all of your closest friends and family will make the effort to be there, no matter the date. Sometimes, venues and vendors give discounts for Fridays as well.

Hope you all have a great week,


Merc Monday 12/3: Our Favorite Wedding Day Moments

Merc Monday 12/3: Our Favorite Wedding Day Moments

Credits for Cover Photo: Kristina Lorraine Photography & Frontier Flowers

We have a special love and passion for celebrating our couples at Merc. There’s a unique joy we all feel about being chosen to be a part of someone’s wedding day. This week, our crew is sharing their favorite part about working with our brides, grooms and their families because we can’t help but spread the #smalltownlove!

Andrew Lynch Photo[654].jpg

”My favorite thing about wedding days is all of the energy in the building during set up. It’s so exciting to see our empty space buzzing with caterers, florists, and decorators getting ready for the guests to arrive. You just look around the room and go ‘Whoa, there’s a whole team of people working together to make this room look amazing.’ “ - Andrew, Owner


I absolutely love the magic moment when a bride puts on her wedding dress the morning of her wedding. Her face is instantly radiant and seeing the reaction of her bridesmaids and moms is so genuine and authentic. There’s so much emotion present in the room at that very moment that I typically get emotional too. I love seeing a bride shine!” - Meghan, Event Manager

Stephanie Head Shot_May 2017[656].jpg

“I have to say that my favorite moments are when brides and grooms can share a moment just between the two of them. It’s fun to see everyone celebrating, but when the couple steals away for a first look or the way they look at each other when the bride walks down the aisle- that’s really special to witness.” - Stephanie, Events Director and Co-Founder

Wen Photo[655].jpg

“Without a doubt, my favorite moment on wedding day is the looking at the bride’s face as she is waiting in line to head down the aisle- when the rest of the wedding party has already headed into the ceremony and it’s just her and her escort. The look of pure anticipation and nervous excitement on her face makes me feel so incredibly happy for her and the walk she is about to take.” - Wendy, Owner and Co-Founder

Have an awesome Monday and don’t forget to appreciate all of the little moments,


Merc Monday 11/26: Questions to Ask When Planning Your Ceremony

Merc Monday 11/26: Questions to Ask When Planning Your Ceremony

With all of the planning that goes into a wedding, it can be easy to forget the small details that go into your actual wedding ceremony. Whether you are planning a church service or a casual ceremony officiated by a family friend, these are the questions couples can ask themselves as they plan out the logistics of their ceremony:

  1. Do you need any signage at the venue to direct guests to the ceremony location?

  2. Would you like to hand out programs? If so, who is in charge of this task?

  3. Would you like music playing for your ceremony? If so, who will play and cue the music?

  4. Will any special family members, such as parents and grandparents, walk down  the aisle? If so, do they need any special accommodations or assistance?

  5. Do you want a flower girl/ring bearer or mini brides and grooms to walk down the aisle? If so, where will they be seated after their turn?

  6. When the couple is united at he front of the aisle, is there an exchange between family members and the couple, such as a “Who gives this bride/groom/couple away in marriage…?” Question and response, hugs, handshakes, etc.

  7. Who is doing readings, where do they stand and when do they know to come up to read? Do they need a microphone?

  8. What bridal party members are in charge of the rings and/or holding flowers for the couple as they exchange vows?

  9. Do you need your officiant to give guests instructions on what they are to do next at the end of the ceremony?

  10. Do you want to do a receiving line? If so, where will it be? If not, where does the bridal party meet up after the ceremony?

Taking a few moments to process some of these questions will help both your rehearsal and wedding day go more smoothly and ensure your ceremony is seamless. With all the details involved in planning an event as detailed as a wedding, don’t forget that the ceremony is truly the most important part!

Have a great week, Meghan

Merc Monday 11/19: Winter Wedding Fashion Inspo

Happy Monday from Mercantile Hall! The cold weather has officially arrived in Wisconsin! We are happy to be hosting several weddings here at Merc over the winter season and it has me in the mood for some good winter fashion inspiration. For a winter theme, snow and icy branches make a great neutral backdrop for every wedding color palette - from grays and silvers to deep reds, greens and blues. The colder temps allow couples to play around with heavier fabrics and textures like plaid, velvet and fur and long sleeved dresses and layers look elegant and keep your party warm and comfy. So cozy up with a blanket and a mug of cocoa and take a look!

Merc Monday 11/12: Details To Include in Your Invitation

Merc Monday 11/12: 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:


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.


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!

Merc Monday 11/5: Must-Have Wedding Planning Supplies

Merc Monday 11/5: 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!


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:


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.


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.


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.


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.




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. 



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!


Rovinj, Croatia.jpg

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!




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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!





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



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!




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 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.


Merc Monday 6/25/2018- SEAT Yo Self


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!




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. 








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


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!