Flower Style Editor Amanda Smith Fowler never does anything halfway, operating on the premise that if one is good, then 100 is even better. Her creative and generous spirit is on full display at an annual Easter celebration that she and her husband, Les, host at their home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
“I tend to over buy and over cook,” she says. “That works out great for the kids since there is candy galore at the hunt.” That candy would include 4,000 filled Easter eggs from Sunny Bunny, a nonprofit that employs adults with disabilities, loaded into wheelbarrows and placed by Les and family members before guests arrive. The eggs are thoughtfully arranged in levels of difficulty for different age groups. Before the hunt commences, a prayer is offered “just like before a traditional dove hunt,” says Amanda.
In addition to the eggs, the Fowlers offer baskets of candy, Hula-Hoops, pinwheels, cookies, and more. “It’s a little different each year,” says Amanda, who started the celebrations in 2014 after her daughter, Feeney Marie, was baptized on Easter. “One year we had cookies with little paintbrushes attached so the kids could decorate them as they wished, and another year we had cotton candy for the kids to take home.” Some favorites, like the Easter Bunny and Amanda’s mother’s almond punch (see recipe), appear year after year. “The punch is versatile. We serve it to the kids with ginger ale, cherries, and fruit, and for the adults, we mix it with Prosecco,” says Amanda. Strawberries from a farm near her hometown of Hartselle, Alabama, are always at the ready for dipping in powdered sugar.
Although Amanda is a natural-born whiz with flowers, for this event, she enlisted the help of Leska Graves Taylor to create unique displays, starting with the floral cross that greets guests at the front gate. “Amanda and I have a special relationship,” says Leska. “She calls, and I always say yes, even before I have heard the plan. So when she said, ‘I’m thinking Brussels sprouts, carrots, broccoli, etc.’ I was intrigued.” The fabulous results, including a wreath of Brussels sprouts and an arrangement bursting with green fruit, vegetables, and flowers with carrots as accents, speak for themselves.
Even before her daughter’s baptism, Easter was always special to Amanda. “The Easter season of rebirth is my very favorite time of year, filled with the beginnings of spring and new growth. It always creates a sound sense of peace, and this party gives everyone a reason to extend the celebration into the afternoon,” she says. “The kids get a sugar high and the adults relax. It’s a short and sweet event.” And one whose return everyone is eagerly awaiting.
More Scenes from the Easter Celebration
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By Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Laurey W. Glenn