It is good to be home to catch up with friends and family. I am sorry that I don’t have a British accent. A lot of people seemed to expect me to come home proper Welsh! Nope, I am still American. However, there is one area where I have converted. I am addicted to tea (and digestives). If you would like to have a tea party to celebrate all the wonderful British things I’ve learned about last year, I say Hurrah!
My dearest friend Meredith (who has her own incredible blog) and I came together for an entire week of catching up and laughing til it hurt. One of our friendship traditions is to host glorious tea parties whenever we are together. So naturally we spent an entire day preparing a perfect tea celebration for her parents and boyfriend.
Here are a few of our favorite tea party tips that we’ve learned over the years:
Mismatched Tea Pots and Cups
Real china tea sets are expensive and tend to have only four settings anyway. If you don’t have a matching tea set, no worries. We’ve found that mismatching cups and teapots create a fun and quirky yet still elegant look. Try giving everyone a different mug or teacup to match their personality. Like, for example, Mere’s boyfriend got a lovely Star Wars themed mug from which he enjoyed his first ever taste of hot tea!
Build Your Own Decorations from the Dollar Store and you Mom’s Closet
Decorating does not have to be expensive. The dollar store sells lovely napkins and fake fancy cutlery and serving platters. We used dollar store platters stacked on candlesticks (or teacups) to create tiered serving platters. Mere also bought some gorgeous silk flowers to float in vases and glass bowls filled with water.
Also, you’d be surprised how many free decorations you can find from running around the house collecting all your family’s favorite knick knacks : )
Dress to Impress
Don’t you dare forget to dress up! Decorating the room is only half the fun. Tea parties are the perfect time to pull out your fanciest of dresses or pull together the wackiest bits of your wardrobe.
One of my personal favorite costumes came from middle school when Mere and I had a Sense and Sensibility craze. We dressed up as Marianne and Eleanore and somehow managed to convince my younger sisters to join in as our romantic interests, cause that’s what lil sisters are for right?
Set the Mood with Music
Music sets the mood. Don’t forget to turn on some soft classical music (from a stereo or even just an iPhone set in a bowl to amplify the sound).
Sweet Bits and Bobs (Because Good Food Is Important)
Let’s be real folks, a tea party isn’t just about tea, it is mostly about the snacks. Make your own sweets or buy bits and bobs from the grocery store. I think it is more fun if you make sure to have 1) a few tried and true favorites and 2) at least one new dessert or cookie that no one has tried before.
We love making cupcakes together, we’ve been doing it since middle school. Store bought biscuits and sweets are lovely, but I personally believe that having at least one special home baked item makes a tea party much more exciting.
If cupcakes aren’t your thing, why not try something new? Check out my Welsh Cakes tutorial.
Homemade Tea Sandwiches
Did you know that those fancy little tea sandwiches are a cinch to make! Try new flavors every time. My personal favorite is cucumber and cream cheese.
Activities for Afterwards
You can only sip tea for so long. Make sure to have some fun games or plans for the afternoon. One of my favorite tea parties was followed by a water balloon fight and getting soaked in Alice in Wonderland costumes, another one finished with an impromptu jam session, and the last tea party I had was followed by snuggling on the couch to enjoy Disney’s live-action Cinderella, a perfect post tea party movie if you ask me.
A party is made by the company you keep. Ultimately, it comes down to spending time with people you love or want to get to know better. Bring together your closest friends and family and you really can’t lose. And that, my dear friends, is the most surefire way to have an instantly successful tea party.