Savannah Style: Setting a Beautiful Mother’s Day Table

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By Brandon Branch

My mom, Sandra, and mawmaw, Patsy, are coming to Savannah this year for Mother’s Day and I’m so excited! While they are visiting, Paula wants to host a Mother’s Day luncheon for them. She asked me to help her set the table and this is what I’ve been working on…full of glamour, history and the charm I know all the attendees will love. The extra sparkly extravagance of the vintage brooches I used add a special touch which Paula, my mom and mawmaw all deserve. Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mom’s reading this. To my own very special mom whose baton I first twirled…I love you. 

Here are the ingredients I used:

imageChina: The China I borrowed from the butler’s pantry of my colleague, Libbie Summers. It’s perfect for this table. A very feminine baby blue and pink floral pattern from the 1960’s with a 24k gold rim. She paid $50 for thirty two pieces at an auction in Atlanta. We really all have the “collector’s fever” here! How could she say no? To make each place setting shine, I added a vintage brooch attached to each white linen napkin. These brooches are a Mother’s Day gift to each guest from Paula.
imageTake Away Tip: I am in love with this place card idea! It is fabulous and so easy to do. I took a piece of card stock and attached a photo of each guest’s mother to the front. The one you see in this photo is Paula’s mom. To keep the card upright, I punched a hole in the top and threaded a rose with a long stem through the hole so it touches the table where a small ball of gum paste kept it in place. Of course, I covered the gum paste with a rose petal so no one could see!

Linens: Believe it or not, the light pink table cloth is a linen drapery panel Paula had in her linen closet. For the life of me I have no idea where or when she ever had it hanging. Who has one drapery panel? Only Paula! Well, I’m glad she did because it fit perfectly on the dining table and added that faint pink color that always enhances a mature woman’s natural good looks. Jamie Cribbs, Paula’s hairstylist, told me he knows a woman here in Savannah who only uses pink lightbulbs in all the lamps in her home…she says it makes her look younger! I need to think about getting a few of those. Think they will make me look skinny too?

Florals/Centerpiece: I did a very simple arrangement using varying shades of sweetheart roses. Champagne colored, “blush” (in honor of Shelby of course) and pink with a hint of lavender. A simple arrangement tucked into Paula’s gorgeous vintage cut cranberry glass vase. I surrounded the foot of the vase and center of the table with pearls. I just love this look. It looks so extravagant, but it was really just pennies. The pearls are long strands I once used on a Victorian Christmas tree I decorated for Paula’s magazine. I purchased them at my local crafts store. I think they look charming here.To add a final layer to the centerpiece, I tucked some of Paula’s vintage brooch collection into the pearls. Simple and stunning.

Flatware/Glassware: The flatware is vintage and Paula’s own…nothing really matches, and I love that about it. The glassware is also Paula’s own. Old etched glass wine glasses juxtaposed with light blue hobnail sherbet glasses. Never be afraid to mix and match glassware and flatware when you set a table.

Brandon Branch is a playful Southern gentleman. His style is equal parts Yankee chic and Southern elegance all muddled together in a monogrammed mint julep cup. An invitation to one of his Savannah dinner parties is the equivalent to getting the golden ticket from Willy Wonka. Brandon holds the position of Design Director for Paula Deen Enterprises and serves as Paula Deen's Personal Assistant. He was featured on HGTV's seasonal special "Celebrity Holiday Homes" and looks forward to similar opportunities in the future. Pick up a copy of his New York Times best-selling book, Paula Deen's Savannah Style in our online store.
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Reader Comments:



By Anonymous on April 30, 2012


By mary louise botsko on June 03, 2011


I not only love your cooking and have all your cookbooks (the BOYS too) but I wanted to know if you can recommend someplace that sells Southern style; yet colorful and festive table cloths. I like the county look alot and I know you know alot of folks - can you help me. (Been to Tennessee where my father lives and I didn't have no luck there) Thank You Victoria

By VICTORIA MURRAY on May 31, 2011


I can't wait to Mother's Day! What a treat my Son & Paula have for me & my sweet Mother. What a blessing my Son is!!! I still have the baton!

By Sandra Branch on April 20, 2011

Love this, Brandon! So glad to see an extension of Savannah Style. You need to have your own Facebook page with decorating/style tips for us. We’d love it!

By Jane on May 08, 2010

I love the pearls & the China dishes.  What is the name of the pattern?  The color is beautiful!!

By Juli Anne on May 04, 2010

I love this tablescape and I’m sure all the ladies will love it as well!  The brooches are fabulous and the placecards are so creative.  The beautiful dinnerware and linens, the gorgeous roses, and the precious pearls all make this such a special Mother’s Day-scape!

By Miss Janice on May 04, 2010

That is a wonderful idea about the place cards.  That table looks lovely.  I wish Paula and all the mother’s on her staff a wonderful mother’s day!

By Jackie Butler on April 30, 2010

I love the color of the walls in Paula’s living room in the Savannah Style book.  Could you please share what the color is.  The entire book is as delicious as her recipes.

By Anna Dean Caldwell on April 27, 2010

love your creations! do you have most of the idea in mind or is it a come as you go thing, with whatever you find available nearby to use? so very creative! the ladies will swoon over those brooches! the pearls—Wow!

By Donna S on April 26, 2010

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm