Top Tips for a Relaxed Rehearsal Dinner

As our family had the privilege of recently hosting our own rehearsal dinner,  I want to share some thoughts while they are still fresh in my mind.  Traditionally, the rehearsal dinner is held the night before the wedding and hosted by the groom’s family.  It’s the vehicle to gather the close family, attendants, officiant and bridal couple together, break bread, and fellowship together, and kick off the Big Event with food and merriment.

Take a look at these top tips for a successful, relaxed rehearsal dinner ~

1. Choose a style that is distinctly different from the wedding.

Not wanting to compete with the black tie optional wedding, we went the other way – a pizza truck!  Here we used black and white gingham tablecloths from steve mckenzie’s, pulled up a wood-fired pizza oven food truck, and served ice tea, beer and wine.  Father of the groom, Atlanta interior designer Steve McKenzie created the lush winter floral arrangements.  Festive color-coordinated napkins from Dot and Army completed the table.  More about their easy napkin rental program soon…

The wedding is the main event, so offering a different experience to the wedding party gives them a more complete weekend.


textiles, gingham, dot and army napkins, floral
Black and white gingham fabric anchors the tables in the window-filled venue. Floral by Steve McKenzie

2. Consistent Details

Any well done event, especially a wedding, follows a curated path of carefully chosen details.  From the save the date to the invitation to the floral, consistent colors, fonts and written tone set the stage for your special day.  The groom’s love of outdoors and hunting were celebrated with custom stadium cups, monogrammed napkins and photo booth props.

Custom monogram by Sequins and Lipstick
hunting, Etsy, lips
Photo props by Captivating Creations
Carter McKenzie, Jill McKenzie, The Homestead_GA
Groom + Jill aka Mom

3. Choose the Rehearsal Dinner Menu Secondly to Wedding Menu

The wedding menu plays a starring role in the event, and the budget.  Tastings are held, serving pieces are surveyed, table-cloth colors are coordinated, all these details culminating in this once in a lifetime event.  The rehearsal dinner should coordinate with this evening, not compete with it.  Southern Crust Catering food truck provided this complement to the sit-down dinner on Saturday night.

rehearsal dinner, Plaza Towers, Atlanta GA
Bride + Groom
Atlanta GA, Serenbe , green Chevy truck
Southern Crust Catering
Southern Crust Catering, rehearsal dinner
Hot pizza on a cold night!
roses, winter, floral
Floral by Steve McKenzie
A moonlit magical rehearsal dinner!
 Cheers to your next celebration!  Hopefully these tips lay the groundwork for many special evenings for you and yours. All photos by Christina Wedge Photography




How to Set the Perfect Autumn Table

Earlier this fall we had the pleasure of collaborating with Lisa Rieves, owner of The Front Porch of Vinings, to design a dinner party bursting with the colors of autumn and BIG on style. The backdrop could not have been more perfect; we staged our table setting in Lisa’s beautiful home and this provided direction of the rest of decor.

As you know, we love starting with floral and the centerpiece for party was no different! Floral was purchased from Trader Joe’s the morning of the event – this really gave us that fall color and helped establish the palette. Our selections included roses, gerber daisies, sunflowers, and little petite daisies.  But we think the actually came from a walk together with Lisa through her beautiful garden gathering hydrangea, ferns, branches and vines. We set the centerpiece in a lovely lichen and moss-covered urn Lisa already had and combined the greens and flowers for an abundant, yet casual arrangement. The floral, coupled with Lisa’s beautiful distressed candlesticks, set the stage for the rest of the tablescape.

We then turned to Lisa’s gorgeous open shelves, abundant with dishes, glasses, serving pieces and more – this is when the fun really began! Lisa purchased her Gien and Le Jacquard Francais from our showroom and it looks just stunning presented this way in her home!

As the base for our placesettings, we chose these beautiful, boxwood placemats, which can be found at The Front Porch of Vinings. The green makes such a lovely, lush grounding for the charger and dishes, coming up next…

We then turned to this beautiful Pont aux Choux (in Cream) as the charger from Gien. We love the detail the scalloped handles provide.

The dinner plate is Gien’s Pont aux Choux in Taupe, which sets an earthy, autumn tone to the overall setting.

The Gien Chanterelle dish acts as our salad plate and offers detail and interest to the overall setup.

We then completed the placesetting with a Chanterelle collection bread plate, Gien soup bowl (in Taupe) and vintage silver-plate cutlery, tied with twine from The Front Porch of Vinings, and a Le Jacquard Francais napkin.

For the beverage service, we used a beautiful cut-glass stem vessel as well as a Ball Mason Jar to add a bit of that down-home, comfortable fall feel.

Here is a quick look at the layers all coming together:

The finished look combined with the floral created a truly magical fall evening!

Together, Steve and Lisa had a wonderful day setting the perfect autumn table!

We want to thank Lisa for opening up her beautiful home and collaborating with us on this fun dinner party.

*All photos by Katheryn McCrary Photography


This Fall’s Entertainer’s Must-Haves

Can you believe Thanksgiving is only a month away?!? As we quickly approach our favorite time of year, we’re taking stock of the butler’s pantry and linen closet and planning out all the detailing surrounding the main meal itself.

steve mckenzie’s has everything you’ll need to set, serve, savor and ensure success of your Thanksgiving meal! We’ve pulled together a quick list of this fall’s entertainer’s must-haves to prepare for a memorable get together, your friends and family won’t soon forget:







Something Melamine 

For us, melamine is an entertainer’s dream… It looks high end, but is practically indestructible! And appetizer time is an ideal time to set these pieces out. Your guests will be milling around visiting, snacking, perhaps cooking and the last thin you’ll want to worry about is a chipped or broken dish. This chip and dip set and appetizer plate set by Le Cadeaux would be a beautiful start to your meal, and practical to boot!


Designer Candles

Gorgeous taper candles are an amazing way to really amplify your tablescape. Forget the boring white candles, these high fashion tapers will offer a while new dimension and additional sparkle. Made with the finest beeswax, these candles have a burn time of 11 hours, so your Thanksgiving dinner will be all aglow, as will the next day’s brunch.








Perfectly Poised Accents

You’ve got your china and your serving pieces all squared away. But, how about those tabletop accent pieces that say you’ve thought of each and every detail. It’s these pieces that help guests feel at home and encourage lingering… This small, 8″ tray by R. Wood Studio is so versatile – be it cheeses, olives or other charcuterie, these tiny nibbles are an ideal accompaniment to any celebratory meal, and this little dish is the perfect vessel! Next, a few smartly placed white marble salt cellars (yes, the gold spoon is included ;-)) will show guests no detail was overlooked and their comfort is paramount… down to ensuring perfect seasoning for each plate.

And there’s so much more we have to offer all the entertainers out there both in-store and online via the new steve mckenzie’s website. We’d love to have the opportunity to help you select the ideal pieces to make this holiday special or even pick the perfect hostess gift if you’ll be celebrating outside of your home!

Picture Perfect Picnic

As the last days of summer quickly approach, you may be realizing you didn’t complete all of your summer to-do’s… But – with our weather being as lovely as it has been, now is the ideal time to plan a relaxing picnic and enjoy some of these warm summer days before they’re over!

Picnics are perfect as a romantic date just as much as they’re an ideal way to spend some time with the family. Atlanta Magazine recently reached out to our team here at steve mckenzie’s and asked if we’d design a perfect, relaxing picnic for their July 2017 issue. It was a challenge Steve and Jill absolutely relished in accepting! And we hope the results inspire you to go enjoy some last-minute summertime fun in the outdoors!


First thing was a location. For Steve and Jill, this one was easy – it’s one of their favorite spots for a walk with the dog – Duck Pond Park in Peachtree Heights East. It’s absolutely picturesque and so serene!

Next they needed a place to perch drinks and wares and a vintage rattan table was an ideal selection. It is lightweight, but absolutely stylish! A patchwork Kilim from our neighbors, Verde Home, laid the groundwork for lounging. Add some kantha quilts and a bunch of pillows, and the scene is set.

When you think of a picnic, food is top of mind. Steve and Jill wanted something light and refreshing; as well as easy to transport. Enter glass jar salads! Not only pretty to look at, these salads absolutely delicious and so simple to enjoy – just shake, and pour onto your plate! Speaking of plates, although the McKenzie’s love the look of Italian pottery and cut crystal glassware, those selections aren’t exactly picnic practical. Instead, they brought along melamine plates by Le Cadeaux, which offer the look of the real thing, as well as acrylic glassware by Baci to serve cocktails made using Cathead Distillery‘s delectable pecan vodka.

Here’s the recipe for those delightful individual salads:

Mason jar salads
1 red onion sliced thin
½ cup white vinegar
½ cup water
Black peppercorns
2 cups cooked quinoa
4 cups lettuce of some mix
1 ½ 0z cannellini beans drained and rinsed
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped cucumber
1 cup olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tbs mayonnaise
½ tsp salt
Ground pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 ½ tsp chili powder

First pickle the onions. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar and water to a boil. Add the onions and about five black peppercorns to the boiling mixture. Boil for 3 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool. When cooled, remove peppercorns and place in the refrigerator.

Prepare your dressing. Combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder. Whisk thoroughly to fully combine ingredients.

Take four mason jars and assemble in layers in this order: Dressing in the bottom, quinoa, lettuce, cannellini beans, pickled onions, tomatoes, and chopped cucumber.

And we can’t forget the cocktails! Thank you to our friends at Cathead for making some pretty fantastic products. Our picture perfect cocktail utilizes their pecan vodka, and once you try it, we think it’ll become a liquor shelf staple!!

Spicy pecan spritz
1 oz Cathead Pecan Vodka
½ oz spicy simple syrup
6 oz Pellegrino water

Pour ingredients over ice in a highball glass and garnish with spearmint.

Spicy simple syrup
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup raw sugar
½ tsp of ground cayenne pepper
1 cup water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil turn back heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain through coffee filter to remove the cayenne. Serve.

Happy picnicking everyone – hope to see you at Duck Pond Park soon!

All products seen in this article, except for the rug, are available at steve mckenzie’s.

steve mckenzie’s, Lately…

We’ve been busy as of late – and have a lot to show for it! Just thought we’d share a quick catch-up here on the blog and fill you in on what we’ve been up to here at steve mckenzie’s.

A highlight of the last month was the reveal of our Mart vignette! In partnership with Castelle Luxury, we created a French Rivera inspired space with their beautiful outdoor Solstice collection. The White Party was an absolute blast and we were thrilled to host so many fantastic friends in our “beach side” vignette!

     Don’t you love this round Pomegranate Natural coffee table from Selamat?

During AmericasMart, Steve and Jill spent some time with the Selamat Designs team in their amazing space. Their blush vignette was an absolute showstopper and we’re even more fond of Thatcher and Shannon Davis – the duo behind Selamat Designs – than we were before!

In the press… We were beyond thrilled to see THREE of our products featured in the pages of House Beautiful’s July/August 2017 issue!! Although perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised as this orange tone does act as a bit of a signature for us. 😉

Their “Sunset Orange” story was a perfect place to showcase some of our most-loved textiles, including our gingham pattern in the Paprika colorway.

Our Loop Print fabric was highlighted, along with a Floralform Dipping Bowl by R. Wood Studios. Can we just say how much we love orange?!? And we’re so happy to see our products featured in this lovely story!

Lastly, we were offered the opportunity to create our dream picnic setup by the folks at Atlanta Magazine – and did they pick the right team or what?! From location and food to textiles and tabletop, Steve and Jill thought of each and every detail and designed an absolutely swoonworthy spot for a lazy summer day!

And that about wraps it up – for now! There’s plenty happening at steve mckenzie’s and we invite you to come visit our showroom and join in on the excitement! You never know if you’ll be walking into a cocktail party, art show or even a crafting event – and we’d love to have you at any of them.

Tabletop Tuesday – Taken with Tulipe by Gien

We’ve been taken with Gien’s Tulipe faience china pattern for some time now and we’re thrilled to have finally made this pattern the stars of a Tabletop Tuesday post here on the blog for steve mckenzie’s!

While it offers an absolutely classic sensibility to any table setting, we’ve found it can become quite modern – especially with paired with Gien’s Allure pattern.

This tabletop post begins with a graphic black and white dinner plate from Gien’s Tulipe collection.

The salad plate pattern aligns perfectly with the dinner plate, when stacked.

This stunning pewter Gabriella flatware by Match 1995 was an ideal match with these plates!

Now comes a modern edge, with the dessert plate in Gien’s Taupe colorway.

Bring in the blue! This canapé plate offered us a much needed dose of color.

Placing this Libeco Linen napkin on the diagonal helped to add texture and softness to the setting.

With all the colors and textures going on already, this tabletop didn’t call for added pattern; instead we completed the formal setting with a pair of clear water and wine glasses.

A simple pop of purple floral offers a natural element and completes the tabletop. Bon appetit!

Please stop by the steve mckenzie’s showroom today to begin pulling together a tabletop that’s ideal for you and your lifestyle. At steve mckenzie’s we love to create tabletops, which are unique to each family!

Lighten your load & become more eco-friendly with Dot and Army!

We are head over heels with just about anything from our new friends, Dot and Army. And – bonus – they’re amazin, Earth-friendly wares are made in Brunswick, Georgia! With anything from classic napkins, to bowl covers, reusable sandwich bags and so, so much more, we think you’ll be falling for them too!

Think about how many paper towels, plastic baggies and cling wrap scraps make their way into your garbage every week… Now, multiply that by the weeks in a year, how many of your neighbors use these products the same way, etc. You get the picture; it’s a lot.

Thanks to Dot and Army (we met at The Southern C), now we can combat some of that garbage and put their beautiful, handmade textiles to use all around our homes! Saving the earth on “unpaper towel” at a time.

Dot and Army’s “unpaper towels”

Their unpaper towels – sold by the dozen – are a brilliant replacement to traditional paper towels. Once soiled, pop them in the wash and they’re ready to re-use in no time!

Reusable snack baggies – yes, please!

And how about a solution to all those pesky plastic baggies we’re always tossing in the trash? Dot and Army offers a fantastic solution to these with their denim reusable snack bags. Super stylish for you or your little ones! Simply shake out and reuse or launder for especially dirty bags.

Dish scrubbers that are beautiful AND functional!

Another favorite product by Dot and Army are their reusable dish scrubbers. Forget those nasty sponges, which can harbor all sorts of unsavory germs. When necessary, these scrubbers are machine washable. And so durable – they’re made by hand!

Brilliant, reusable bowl covers.

Never hassle with cling wrap again, thanks to Dot and Army’s bowl covers. Ideal for baking bread or bringing a beautiful dish of something to a pot luck. And, of course, they’re reusable too – and make a wonderful gift for the chef in your life!

Beautiful napkins, for everyday use.

We invite you to visit the steve mckenzie’s showroom and check out all of Dot and Army’s fantastic products and learn how they may aide in streamlining your life and help to make it more eco-friendly.