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Oh, Happy Day: An Easter Celebration

FLOWER style editor Amanda Smith Fowler’s Easter celebration from 2019 abounds with clever ideas, treats for all ages, and pretty flowers all wrapped in her inimitable flair
Easter cross floral design
A flowered cross by Leska Graves Taylor welcomes guests to the Easter gathering.

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.

Easter invitation, family picture
From left: The name of the event is based on Amanda’s favorite Easter song, “Oh, Happy Day” by the Edwin Hawkins Singers. • Les and Amanda with Feeney Marie

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.

Easter table centerpieces and cookies
From left: A basket resembling a bunch of carrots houses a flowering plant. • A platter of cookies decorated with bunnies and chicks from Mary’s Cakes & Pastries nestles alongside a witty arrangement of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

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.

covered outdoor seating, swing set, Easter party
Amanda loves to collaborate with her father, who took her sketch for an outdoor swing table and brought it to fruition.

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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outdoor Easter gathering
Easter eggs cover the backyard, waiting to be found.
Brussels sprouts wreath
A wreath of Brussels sprouts adorned with a floral corsage
“To me, children are the greatest blessings and some of the dearest souls to engage in conversation,” says Amanda. “Their excitement and mischief remind us not to take life too seriously—and they always give a reason to smile.”
A long table holds large Easter baskets filled with candy. Dozens of hula hoops are propped against the side of the table.
“Feeney Marie loves helping to plan the day. She gives her expert ‘candy’ opinion,” says Amanda.
 
 

By Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Laurey W. Glenn

This story originally appeared in Flower magazine’s March/April 2021 issue. Find Flower in a store near you or subscribe.

Sources

cover for Flower magazine March/April 2021