I decorated the Governors Mansion for Christmas.

Y’all! I decorated the Governor’s Mansion for Christmas! I still freak out inside when I think about it.  Talk about a HUGE opportunity.

Back in July Heather Hannah,  (Doesn’t her name sound like a Hollywood A-List Celeb?!) the Director of Operations at the Governor’s Mansion emailed me and asked If I would be interested in decorating the Dinning Room. My response, “Heck Yes! I would LOVE too. I’ll call you in a bit!”   This would be my second trip to the beautiful mansion.

My first visit was a couple of years ago when  Aubrie Lemon and I produced a Great Gatsby themed shoot there. After researching tons of “set” options we weren’t happy with any of them, so I had this CRAZY Idea about shooting at the mansion.  Those columns scream GG, right?  NEVER in a millions years did I think they would agree to it.  I will never forget this shoot!  So much fun!  Remember these?  It was FANTASTIC!  Screen-shot-2012-04-12-at-6.56.26-PM

When it came to deciding on a Christmas theme for the Mansion Dinning Room, I knew I didn’t want to go over the top. 1.) That’s not my style 2.)  I wanted to accent the beauty and history that already existed.  “A Traditional Christmas”  is what we finally settled on– lots of gold, red and touches of textures using burlap and pinecones.

Decorating the Governor’s Mansion is no small task. We used over 300 Ornaments, 1600 Lights, 80 feet of Garland and 50 yards of Ribbon. 2013-11-26_0009

We mixed burlap with red satin ribbon to bring in another texture and an element of trend. I personally LOVE burlap and always have, but with it being one of the biggest wedding trends it can tend to be over done!  One should be careful not to over use  it.


Decorating Tip: Presents not only add life to the bottom of your tree, but they help hide all of those ugly power cords. Plus, it’s super fun picking out coordinating paper and ribbons!

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There is nothing like decorating for Christmas in shorts, right?  Welcome to Alabama.  I had on a wool peacoat the day before.  BTW, I hate ladders. They make me nervous.  That smile was just for the camera!  2013-11-26_0011


The gorgeous Chandelier is from an old hotel in New Orleans. I wanted to rip it out of the ceiling and take it with me. Can’t you see that hanging at a wedding reception?


There are so many pieces in the dinning that have tons of historical significance. The Coffee Server was purchased for the inaugural Open House in 1951 when the house first became the Governor’s Mansion. The China with the State Coat of Arms was picked out by the previous First Lady, Pasty Riley, during the Riley Administration. The  paintings on the left are of 2 French Explorers who brought the camellias and azaleas over to Alabama.   2013-11-26_0017

The Silver Punch Bowl and Serving Tray on the buffet are from the USS Alabama. They weren’t allowed to have them on board during World War II, so they shipped several pieces to the Governor and various other locations.  2013-11-26_0018

The garland on the Dinning Table might be one of my favorite elements. I’m a sucker for a table “runner”.  Isn’t that table linen FANTASTIC too?  The chairs around the table were hand stitched by the Mountain Brooke Needle Point Society during the 1970’s.  They felt the mansion needed more history, therefore each cushion has a different historical explorer or place stitched on it.  The Governor’s cushion has the State Coat of Arms on it.  He sits at the head of the table in front of the fire place.


Of course, I couldn’t have pulled it all off without the help of the sweet folks in the photo below.  They were such a blessing, and stuck with me until the very end.  Colby is homeschooled,  so we considered it a “field trip”.  How many kids get to say the hung out at the Governor’s Mansion for the day?!?  I think the coolest thing to him was that the pool in the back yard was in the shape of the State of Alabama.  This day was more than I could have ever imagined,  and I am beyond grateful and humbled for the opportunity. 2013-11-26_0013

I have had many of you guys ask about touring the mansion and YES, YOU CAN!  The Holiday Open House tours will take place from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Monday, December 2; Monday, December 9; and Monday, December 16.  Tickets for the tours are complimentary and available at the Governor’s Mansion gift shop prior to the tours each day.  The gift shop is located at 30 Finley Avenue, across the street from the side entrance of the mansion. There will be different choirs, refreshments, and special holiday activities each night.

I look forward to seeing you there!  I am not sure yet which Monday I will be getting my “official” tour, but if  you’re touring the mansion be sure to post a picture on IG  or Twitter. Use the hashtag #evanandcompany.  Let’s get Evan & Co trending! 😉