A hot southern summer can still be cool and relaxing, as this bridal luncheon that South Carolina-based wedding planner and caterer Leah McCarthy has created.
All parties should start with an invitation that sets the tone and style for the day. This front-porch, bridal shower invitation, created through Wedding Paper Divas, resonates the same garden-chic, Southern style of our honorary bride, Kate. The beautiful floral shower invitation design of coral, green, purple and teal hues, gave me inspiration for the entire day’s design.
The dining plates reminded me of oyster shells, so I used shells that I have collected from our local May River to create these simple (and quick!) napkin holders.
Oyster shell napkin holders:
Step 1: Start with clean oyster shells
Step 2: Hot glue the backside of the shell to twine (you may use any color twine)
Step 3: Tie around your linen napkin!
The aqua braided place mats and small braided raspberry drink coasters blended perfectly with the invitation, as well. A summertime, outdoor dining table should be fun and colorful, so don’t be afraid to mix and match as long as you stay within the same color patterns.
To help your guests stay cool on those hot, humid, Southern afternoons, delicate paper fans placed on the guests chairs are a simple touch that lets your guests know that you are considering their comfort on a hot Southern afternoon.
Any good Southern party starts with perfectly cool libations. I’ve created a self-serve table of cucumber iced water, orange infused sweet tea and blueberry lemonade.
A refreshing bourbon libation is also a near-necessity. My favorite Southern summer drink is Spiked Georgia Peach Bourbon Lemonade.
To make this refreshing beverage, I start by heading down Route 170 from Bluffton, SC to Savannah, GA, to Mikes’ peach stand. Mike is always there with a smile, but more importantly, the juiciest Georgia peaches around!
Recipe: Spiked GA Peach Bourbon Lemonade
I used 4 fresh roadside stand GA Peaches (or the best in your local grocery), peeled and sliced.
Then, puree the peaches with one teaspoon of sugar.
For each Mason jar, I add:
1 shot (or more) of your favorite bourbon
3 Tbs of peach puree
Serve with a fresh peach slice for garnish
For non-bourbon drinkers (gasp!), offer a refreshing glass of Peach Prosecco Bellinis.
Using the same peach puree, place an ounce in the bottom of a champagne glass, top with Prosecco and a splash of peach liquor.
My summertime southern bridal shower lunch menu:
Assorted “Wedding Ring” Finger Sandwiches
Fresh Fruit Salad
Mixed Green Salad with Maple Vinaigrette
Mini Ham Biscuits with Poppyseed Spread
Local Shrimp Skewers with Andouille Sausage and Plum Sauce
Roasted Grape Tomato Bruschetta
Deviled Eggs (What is a southern party without them?!)
Roasted Vegetable Platter with Gorgonzola Dipping Sauce
Dessert: Chocolate Whoopee Pies (The brides’ favorite!)
1 Container Grape Tomatoes
2-3 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Baguette Sliced
1 Container Herb Cheese Spread (I usually go with Boursin cheeses. Pick your favorite flavor)
Salt and Pepper
1 Tbs Chopped Fresh Basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Begin by laying out the grape tomatoes on a sheet pan. Cover the tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 30-45 minutes until soft.
Place the sliced baguettes on a sheet pan. Drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper and toast in the oven until golden brown (about 5-7 minutes).
*Both steps above may be done ahead of time*
Right before guests arrive, spread the toasted baguette with herb cheese spread, then top with a roasted grape tomato. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Anytime I entertain, I always enlist a helping hand. For a small investment of their time (or bartering for services), ask a friend or colleague to assist you on the day of the party with set up and clean up so that you can enjoy your guests.