How to Host the Perfect Tea Party

dsc_1343dsc_1204dsc_1218How to have the perfect tea party:

The invitations – either handmade, store bought, from Etsy, or Vistaprint. Send them or hand deliver at least two to three weeks in advance. People need time to plan for your event. I had the best intentions to make ours…that didn’t work out so Vistaprint came to the rescue.

The time – remember a tea party is held in the afternoon usually after lunch and before dinner so between the hours of 2 to 5PM is an ideal time.

The menu – keep it to finger foods. These can include various types of sandwiches, cut into small squares, triangles, circles, or fun shapes (large cookie cutters are perfect for this). Other items such as muffins, scones, biscuits, crackers, cookies. Fruit/veggies and dip, jams, jellies, honey, fruit preserves, marmalade, and a dessert. Either buffet or sit-down is fine. I do want to thank two friends that made sandwiches. One was a dairy-free egg salad sandwich on gluten-free bread, and the other was a chicken salad sandwich on marble loaf. I made cucumber sandwiches with Alouette Cheese Spread (from Publix). Yummy.

**Don’t go overboard with food. I almost had a nervous break down in Sam’s Club trying to decide whether or not I could do without scones. I couldn’t fathom a tea party without scones, but I knew there would be plenty of food without them.dsc_1312 dsc_1315 dsc_1314 dsc_1313 dsc_1321 dsc_1319 dsc_1317 dsc_1316 dsc_1323 dsc_1322dsc_1337

The tea – tea bags or loose tea. Everyone’s favorite was the Poached Pear Cider. The next was the Peach Tranquility followed by the Gingerbread, and finally, the Strawberry Cream. I listed them all in the pics below. We used Teavana Rock Sugar to sweeten the tea. It’s cheaper if you clink on the pictures below. I couldn’t find a link to the Strawberry Cream, but I linked the Lemon Ginger. I have it, but I didn’t serve that one. Two of our guests brought a real British tea bag and most of us tried it. It was so delicious. It was stronger than normal, and that may be why I loved it.

**Why, yes, I used a bell to alert my guests that I was ready to serve the next round of tea. We had four rounds of loose tea and one round of the British tea bag tea, and there was a lot left over.

The fine china set was purchased from the ReStore for $65. It’s service for 12 with many extra pieces.

If you use tea bags, have sugar, cream, milk and lemon juice available. If using loose tea, either provide hot water and individual infusers for your guests, or infuse the tea and serve fully-prepared tea. We made four pots of tea and then kept them in thermoses or pots on the warming center of our stove and in the oven on low to keep everything hot. When it was time to serve the tea, I poured them into the tea pots and served the tea from the tea pots.

**Since my hubby is a tea snob, he advised me not to use tea bags. The plan was for me to ask everyone to bring their favorite tea bag to share, but he thought using loose tea was a better idea. He was right! The loose tea was a hit! I don’t fancy tea, but ever since we bought the loose tea from Teavana, I look forward to making and drinking tea almost every day. The key, however, is to use the rock sugar when making the tea. Now, I don’t ever want to use another tea bag, or brown or white sugar in my tea. I enjoy the loose tea so much I can bypass my morning cup of coffee to have a cup of tea with my boys.

The set-up – have a fun ‘thing’ to do. I asked my guests to wear a dress, hat and gloves. I had a fifties-style dress custom-made by Normony Design. They have made several dresses and a skirt for me. I think I will do a video review of this dress because, once again, the quality and design blew me away. I didn’t wear a hat, but I ordered an ivory fascinator. If you’ve seen all this natural hair, you’ll know a hat couldn’t fit on my head lol. (I was lucky enough to find one for our Hawaii trip, but I think that was a fluke). You’ll see some of the items I used below. The mini tea pot charms I used to tie my napkins. They were super cute. Also, don’t be afraid to exhaust Pinterest for ideas.

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Make it memorable – serve the tea or pour the hot water for your guests. Give them a gift or a thank you note. I know many people bring gifts for the hostess, but a gift to your guests is also a nice touch. For my guests, I used tea pot ‘thank you’ notes and gave out tea cups with a tea bag and spoon. Another tea party being held the same day as mine, and the hostess gave out soy candles in tea cups…again, I’m not crafty lol so I buy things if I can’t get someone to make things for me. Play games. Have a swap of some sort. You could have everyone bring a box of tea bags for a swap, or you could do what I did. I had my guests bring two dozen (homemade) cookies for a cookie swap. Take lots of pics and come up with a custom hashtag for your event. If you attended my tea party, please use hashtag #thegirlfromnycshightea on your social media accounts.dsc_1324 dsc_1328 dsc_1327 dsc_1326 dsc_1338 Baby Caleb was the only gentleman allowed lol.dsc_1340 dsc_1339dsc_1336dsc_1343 dsc_0028 dsc_0027 dsc_0026 dsc_0025 dsc_0024 dsc_0023On the flip side, here are some ways to be the best guest you can be:

  1. RSVP to the event by the deadline and keep to your decision unless something unforeseen comes up. Your hostess will not be upset, but remember that food and drinks are sometimes prepared based on the number of people expected.
  2. Do what the invitation says and don’t spoil the fun lol.
  3. Enjoy yourself 🙂

I’m thankful the people I invited to my tea party were so courteous and sweet. I appreciate them all and this is really one of the reasons why I love entertaining…and I have an announcement…but I won’t make it yet! Keep checking back here for the news.

dsc_0032dsc_0022Do you have any thoughts or ideas on this? I would love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading,

Delaine

P.S. I have to give a special shout out to my hubby and son. They helped to clean, set-up, take photos, and leave when the girls (and baby Caleb) arrived. Of course, my hubby is so supportive and helps me in any way he can when I/we host events. He made all the tea for us and set them up so they stayed hot until I served them. He scoured several cities with me when I was trying to find the gifts, and he brought down ribbons and cards, and everything else I needed to set up for the party. He drove us to Teavana and made all the purchases for the party…and trust me…there were a lot of purchases lol.

And the thank you notes were from Ross, but I also love Papyrus and my mom is always giving me things like that too. And Amazon, you’re the real MVP 🙂 Prime shipping is THE best!

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