My daughter Alexandra’s June wedding to her fiancé is right around the corner! As the big day approaches, capturing beautiful moments that only a mother of the bride can seize is my number one priority.
Navigating spring turkey season—during which the local wild turkeys were mostly elusive—I finally managed to sneak away and hunt, but soon realized that it didn’t matter a bit whether I filled my tags. I soaked in all the enchantment that turkey hunting offers, especially becoming one with woods, dressed in full camo, sitting alone with my thoughts and waiting anxiously to hear that gobble that will shake me to my core. I savor everything about the turkey woods, from the beautiful sounds of the songbirds to the annoying calls of the crows. I took in stride even the gross caterpillars dropping on me from branches overhead. I worked my favorite slate call, hoping the seductive yelps, clucks, and purrs would be irresistible to a gobbler—but to no avail.
After a couple of solo hunts, with no score, I finally tried again with my best hunting girlfriend, Kim Davis. Last year was her first spring hunting turkeys, and I am so excited that she has become one of the most passionate turkey hunters I know. We knew that our hunt together would not be only about calling in a turkey, but would equally be about enjoying the unique connection we share as hunting women. This time we spend in the woods is our safe place to share our deepest thoughts, laugh our hardest, and together marvel at the land we love and appreciate beyond description. The best part of the hunt is when it is over, and we sit and talk, surrounded by the natural world that nourishes our souls.
As the last days of turkey hunting were upon me, with not a second thought, I turned my full attention to the upcoming bridal shower. Along with my daughter Caroline, I was hosting an outdoor event in my backyard for Alexandra. My love for the outdoors offered the perfect way to show my softer side. I hunted wildflowers and used them to create beautiful ice cubes to float in the large silver wine cooler bowl.
I obsessed over making two stunning flower arrangements that would be the centerpieces for the main tables. I potted plants in the lanai, featuring peach hibiscus, pink New Guinea impatiens, yellow, peach, and pink Vigoro Calibrachoa, and some perfect cat palms, which gave everything a tropical feel. I even snatched some yellow flag iris flowers growing wild in one of our neighborhood’s brackish wetland areas to fill a tall vase.
While neither of my beautiful daughters inherited the hunting gene from me, they both love and appreciate the harmony of outdoor spaces. Soon to be her sister’s matron of honor, Caroline took the reins and helped create a backyard partyscape, perfectly reflecting the invitations designed with a flower theme. I followed suit by designing the flower arrangements to look like the invitation, down to the dazzling dahlias. Alexandra could barely hold back her tears when she walked through the courtyard to the backyard and took in all the beauty of the natural and enhanced backyard landscape. (For more photos, visit https://beachbelleblog.com/my-bridal-shower/)
The party was a great success, and my heart was filled with happiness for the soon-to-be bride and her soon-to-be matron of honor. Accomplished professional photographer Gretchen Steele, one of my Próis “sisters,” made me feel so happy when she remarked: “Seriously, Maggie—your décor, class, elegance, tablescapes, etc., just scream Garden & Gun feature to me!” Wow, did that ever make me feel fabulous!
I cannot take credit for the beauty around me. I am so thankful for God’s creation. Whether relaxing in my backyard filled with the sounds of songbirds and beautiful flowers, or a day in the deep woods hunting, my outdoor passion is with me, always.
Soon we’ll have a scenic outdoor wedding on the banks of the spectacular Waccamaw River at Wachesaw Plantation Club in Murrells Inlet!