Who doesn’t love a good par-tea? With beautiful flowers blossoming and the warm spring weather, girls all over are just itching for an occasion to wear their new spring dresses —and what occasion is more perfect than an afternoon tea party?
Create an Invitation
One of the most important first steps of hosting a tea party is creating an invitation. After all, your guests need to know all the details of the occasion, from the time of the event to its location. When it comes to invites, there are a few things to keep in mind. One of the primary concerns is how many guests you want to invite. The number of guests will largely impact other areas of party planning, from how much food to order to how many teacups to have on hand. Statistically, only an average of 60% of the guests you include will be likely to attend, so invite accordingly.
There are two types of invitations you can send out: printed invitations sent by mail and evites sent by email. Whether you’re looking to design a custom party invite or using a pre-made template, there are hundreds of sites to choose from. Shutterfly, Vistaprint, Canva, Zazzle and Snapfish are just a few choices that sell printed invitations.
Be sure to check out websites like Business Insider for codes and coupons on orders or shipping before you pay for the invitations. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to snail mail, try using an evite website like Evite.com, Paperless Post or Greetings Island to create an electronic letter that guests can open virtually. The companies have a wide selection of free templates to choose from as well as premium options that cost less than $1 per invitation.
The online invitation companies offer more benefits than the money you save on postage. For instance, these sites keep a log of the guests who have RSVP’d available for you to see and edit. They also offer additional services, like giving you the option to send reminders and messages to all the guests or just to those who have not yet responded. Evites are fast, fun and easy for you and the guests — you’re only one click away from sending them, and they’re only one click away from RSVP’ing. Regardless of which type of invitation you prefer, invitations are an essential piece of your spring tea party.
The Perfect Tea Party Menu
It can be slightly scary to plan the entire menu for an event like an afternoon tea, but don’t let it frighten you. Have fun and be creative. If you want to try your hand at cooking in the kitchen, you can find tons of online recipes for finger foods like cucumber sandwiches and other English tea sandwiches. If you’d rather save your time, you can buy sliced subs at a deli to serve instead.
It’s crucial to provide your guests with a combination of filling foods and sweet treats. The options for the desserts are practically endless: macarons, scones, cake and pastries topped with fruit are just a few ideas. As for the tea itself, try to offer your guests two to three hot tea flavors –– English breakfast, peppermint and green tea are pretty popular. Make sure to double-check with your guests regarding any allergies so you can prepare options everyone can enjoy.
Set the Scene
Don’t let the idea of decorating overwhelm you. You’ll be surprised how a little can go a long way in cultivating an idyllic atmosphere. You don’t have to spend a lavish amount of money to have fun decor. Tape crepe streamers in strands of three or four across the room, hang pompoms of varying sizes from the ceiling at different heights and cover the tables with colorful plastic or fabric tablecloths. Pick up a few bouquets of flowers from your local grocery store and place them in jars around the room and on the tables as elegant centerpieces. You can also spice up an old or cheap tablecloth with a pretty table runner.
Buy a fringe backdrop to cover one wall, making it the perfect spot for you and your guests to take pictures. You can also buy a roll of brown paper to paint a cute sign and hang it up as a photo backdrop. Additional decor like groups of balloons scattered throughout the room can serve to brighten and add dimension to the room.
Pick a theme or color scheme and stick with it all throughout the decor. Examples include a blue and white “Alice in Wonderland” theme with all things pink and vintage. If you don’t want to select a specific theme, you might prefer to base your decorations on general spring colors like pastel pink, baby blue and soft yellow.
Don’t forget to order the essentials in the hustle and bustle of decorating the room. You can order plastic serving utensils, small cake plates, larger plates for the sandwiches, napkins and other items on Amazon. Remember to borrow or buy enough teacups and saucers for each of your guests too — with a backup tea set just in case. If you don’t have enough tea sets, you might find some at estate sales, yard sales or Goodwill. You’ll also need a tea kettle to boil the water for the tea and a teapot for each tea variety you serve.
If you want extra tips and visuals on how to set up for your tea party, there are several videos on how to properly set the table as well as articles on etiquette and menu guides. You can also scroll for hours on Pinterest to gain inspiration for what you want your tea party setup to look like.
Proper Tea Party Attire
When the time comes, you want to ensure that you are dressed to perfection for your afternoon tea. As the host, you want to wear something practical that will allow you to stand and sit without tripping over excess material or bumping into nearby objects. You also want to be careful to wear a dress that permits you to bend over and reach above you without worrying about its length. While the “official” customary tea party attire is semi-formal, it’s up to you to decide what the dress code will be.
If you choose to abide by “high tea” rules, you and your guests can wear a variety of tall gloves, fancy hats and classy dresses. If you prefer a more casual approach, a combination of fun and bright sundresses will suffice. Black is discouraged, so try to steer clear of darker colors in favor of lighter and warmer tones. Choose your favorite colorful spring dress or a dress that matches the decor’s theme colors.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your planner, your computer, a spatula and your favorite dress because your dreamy spring tea party is just a plan away.