My first attempt at hosting a tea party was a humble tea for two. My second attempt was a more ambitious one …
With the help of Lady T. and Lady J. (ever encouraging me to cultivate my interest in afternoon tea!) and a team of 14 women, we spent 3 months organizing a tea party for 60 guests to celebrate the 30th anniversary of a philanthropy organization of which I’m a member.
We rented a space and hired a caterer to provide the food and tea but we did all the decorating ourselves. We also organized a fashion show for the guests featuring unique clothing from the Cotton Cottage. We charged $40/person, which was just enough to break even.
Table decorating is an art that really adds to the visual pleasure of a dining experience. The first time I ever had the pleasure of dining off of real china was in Finland in April 2006. Our friend J.’s mother was a collector of Russian Lomonosov china and she insisted on hosting a Karelian dinner for us at her house. Not only did I fall in love with china (it was so fine and delicate, it was translucent!) but it was my first introduction to the art of table settings. Since that day, every table setting I see is a work of art!
Inspired, I finally acquired my own set of tableware and received gifts of napkin rings several years ago. I may yet splurge on a set of proper china someday!
For our table decorating “showcase,” members brought their own china, tableware, and decorations which included napkin rings, napkins, tea caddies, and centerpieces. Here were some of the themed table settings:
And look at the backs of the chairs too!
Organizing this tea event was a learning experience and I’m happy to report that everything went off without a hitch. It was a lovely and fun afternoon and everyone had a great time.
“A great idea should always be left to steep like loose tea leaves in a teapot for a while to make sure that the tea will be strong enough and that the idea truly is a great one.”
― Phoebe Stone,
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