“The boobs aren’t real, but the pearls are.”
As soon as I heard this quote from a dear friend of mine, who is about as southern and fabulous as it gets, I knew I had found my personal tagline.
I’d like to start by introducing myself, Mrs. Southern Social, as the hostess with the “mostest.” Not the hostess with the most DIY ideas, delicious recipes or cute clothes. No, I’m the hostess with the “mostest” event vendor contacts in her phone. You see, I’m all about delegating. I spent over a decade professionally planning events of every size on every kind of budget, and the most important thing I learned is that your party is only as good as your vendors (the caterers, florists, photographers, etc.). Whether it be a dinner party for 12 of your nearest and dearest, or a wedding for 500 of your husband’s closest friends (aka, anyone he shook hands with over the past 20 years), it takes “team work” to make the “dream work.” This team doesn’t have to be large or cost a fortune, but if you like the idea of “stress-free event planning” (I laugh thinking that this actually exists), then forget about “Doing It Yourself.” I personally believe you cannot master the art of entertaining at home by yourself and actually enjoy your own events. It’s just too stressful, and it’s okay to ask for help y’all!
I’m a southern gal to the core. Born and raised in Nashville, I love everything there is about hosting events and welcoming others into my home to celebrate life’s greatest or smallest happenings. For my thirtieth birthday, my mother gifted me an antique sterling silver tea-set, and you would’ve thought I’d won the lottery. It’s still my most-prized possession, second to my husband and children of course. I absolutely love entertaining others, so much so, that I made a career out of it.
I won’t make you listen to me brag about myself and why you should listen to me (even though you should), but I’ll at least tell you that I was planning weddings before it was even a “real job.” I trained in the Dallas event market, which is basically like training to become a Navy Seal in the event-world, and there is very little I haven’t seen or done when it comes to planning and executing weddings and social events. When my family moved back to Nashville, simply because I missed fruit tea and Georgian architecture and needed my daughter to be around other girls in smocked dresses and massive bows, I decided it was time for a slight career change.
I hung-up my hat as a professional event planner, and opened an event rental company that exploded within five years (by the grace of God and a little help from the hubby). Thankfully, the business is still growing across the Southeast, and it provided a much-needed break from dealing with crazy brides and their mothers. However, as I stepped away from my role as an event-planner, and transitioned into my new role as an event-vendor, I realized I that I personally needed to do something to keep a pulse on my love of entertaining, especially for my own friends and family.
Never in my career did I work with client’s who wanted to do things themselves. It was rather the opposite. Even the event-rental business is about using someone else’s things to entertain. So, I started to think about what southern entertaining really looked like for women my age (mid-30’s) in my part of the country (the Southeast).
I was raised with a love of all things southern and totally stereotypical to what you might think of when I say that. Think: fruit tea, formal dinners, monogrammed everything, sterling silver, pearls and southern food. My grandmother embodied all of these things, and we were very close. So much so, that she skipped over her own daughters and passed down her fur coat and wedding ring to yours truly. I wear her ring every day, and as soon as it hits 50 degrees in Nashville, you better believe I pull out the mink.
Though I still share a love for many of the same things she also enjoyed when it came to hosting events, the world I live in is completely different. I feel like everything moves a million times faster than when I was a little girl sitting in her kitchen watching her cook for hours. She would set her formal dining room table days before a party, and she personally cared for every detail involved from polishing the silver candlesticks to pressing the monogrammed linen napkins. Her hair was always colored and permed to perfection, and the woman even grew her own flowers that she used on her tables.
I loved every minute spent with her when I was a little girl as she prepared for dinner parties, but now, as an adult, I would really like to know who in the hell still has time for all that prep-work?
I clearly have a much crasser sense of humor than my grandmother would have approved of, but if she saw my life now and everything going on in the lives of today’s southern women, I know she would have felt the same way.
But I don’t want to give up the true art of entertaining in my home, and I don’t believe I have to. What I will have to do in order to create beautiful events that I actually can enjoy without going crazy, is to change the way I go about entertaining and DELEGATE. Yes, that’s the word you will hear over and over in this blog, and it’s been everything for me. Gone are the days of doing everything yourself. In this day and age, why would you? There are countless talented people who do everything from bake, cater, create floral masterpieces, rent china, glass and silver and provide almost any decoration under the sun that you could imagine. And there is a wide-range of options in a wide-range of prices. Pinterest and Etsy alone have created a world where you can find inspiration and sources for just about anything. It’s a blessing and a curse y’all, but thankfully, gone are the days where glue guns and sewing machines were “must have” items at home. Now you just point, click and pay and dinner, flowers, custom monogrammed napkins- you name it- arrives at your very doorstep.
Let me start by telling you what you will NOT find on this blog. You will not find recipes, craft how-to’s, or guides of any kind. What you will find are tips, tricks and all the resources you can imagine on entertaining in your home. I will also throw in some fashion and other gift guides that will hopefully inspire and help you to “be the best southern host you can be,” in a world that is busier than ever. You CAN have it all, but you just can’t DO it all yourself.
Why the peach logo you might ask? Well, there are a few reasons friends. First, my daughter’s name is Georgia, and though we have absolutely no ties to the state of Georgia, I love her name, and she has always been and will always be my little southern peach. Second, my grandmother made the most delicious home-made peach ice cream, which she was basically famous for. She of course left me the recipe, and I of course, will never make it. However, the peach logo is my way of paying “homage” to something I have vivid memories of her making, while I sat on her kitchen floor watching in awe. Last, for some reason that I’m honestly not sure of, I have requested that all my nieces, nephews and even future grandchildren refer to me as “Peaches.” My husband and closest friends think it’s ridiculous, but the name has managed to stick, and I love it. I may not be sweet as a peach, but I do look good in orange, and for now, that will have to be enough.
Photography by Lele Fain Photography