The hair was high, the accents were soft, and the crowd was friendly at the 10th-anniversary party for Garden & Gun.
The bimonthly Southern lifestyle glossy had reason to celebrate. Despite launching in the inauspicious media year of 2007, the magazine has managed the difficult feat of surviving for a decade and winning respect, and readers, in both New York and the South, among other places. All while steadfastly clinging to the “Gun” in the title.
“It’s had its up and it’s downs — mostly ups. But it’s a pretty incredible thing that we are here tonight celebrating our 10th anniversary,” Rebecca Wesson Darwin, the magazine’s president and chief executive officer, said during an introductory toast. “Tonight, rather than dwell on the past, I want to look at the future. I see a very bright future for us ahead, and I’m very excited about what the next 10 or 20 years [has] ahead for us.”
The staff of the Charleston, S.C.-based publication braved the snow and slush of the unseasonably cold New York March to host a celebration, together with the Charleston tourism and Kiawah Partners, the developers behind the planned beach community of Kiawah Island, at The Beekman hotel. United Nations Ambassador and former Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley took a break from government to attend with her husband. In attendance was The Chew’s Carla Hall, as were a host of writers with Southern roots such as Julia Reed, Bruce Feiler and veteran magazine editor and book author Terry McDonnell.
After a cocktail hour, complete with a bourbon punch and open bar, 100 guests were ushered upstairs for a multicourse dinner of reimagined regional delicacies by top chefs Tom Colicchio and Mike Lata.
“My experience with Garden & Gun goes back six years. It’s a funny story. I opened up the magazine and ended up buying a boat,” Colicchio said — a sentence every magazine advertiser longs to hear.
Following dinner, the basement was turned into a music venue for a performance by singer-songwriter Amanda Shires. As more drinks were poured, the “y’alls” became more pronounced. By the time guests grabbed the decidedly sweet party favors of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Cheerwine, a Carolinian cherry soda, and headed back into the New York cold, a trip to Charleston looked pretty appealing.