Guest Contribution by Indiana Lee
What better way to usher in the summer than by bringing together two of life’s greatest joys: Flowers and tea. Add in your closest friends, some scrumptious bites, and perhaps even some mood music and you’ve got yourself the makings of a memorable tea party that everyone will be talking about for years to come!
If this sounds like your cup of tea—pun intended—then we’ve got some excellent tips to ensure this is THE garden tea party of all tea parties.
1. Location, Location, Location
First things first, no garden tea party is complete without the perfect, most charming botanical setting. The more flowers, plants, and overall greenery the better. The idea is to make it feel like a magical little escape. This can be done in your own backyard, a local park, or even a rented venue if you desire.
If you opt for your own yard but are lacking the flowers and greenery, you can always rent or buy pieces to bring in. There are really no rules here. Decorate with flowers and foliage to your heart’s (or budget’s) content.
2. Mind the Weather
Perhaps we should have mentioned this one first, as rule #1 of any outdoor gathering is always double-check the weather. Of all the outdoor party dos and dont’s, this one can truly make or break the event.
No one likes soggy crumpets or rain drops in their tea cup. So once you’ve got your locale set, make sure you choose an appropriate day with plenty of sun. Though, too much sun and UV rays can also be a party killer, so spring and early or late summer dates are probably best, depending on where you live.
3. Delectable Teas and Treats
Of course one of the best parts of any tea party is the tea and food. Even if you have your usual go-to’s, this is the perfect time to get a little adventurous and provide a unique variety of offerings. You can check out your local tea shop or order some teas from the internet. There are all kinds of specialty teas from all over the world that can be fun to try during a tea party.
As for the food, it’s usually best to stick to small bites. You can go for a more elaborate meal if you’d like – it’s up to you. But smaller bites are usually easier to manage and provide guests with a variety of fun selections, like cucumber sandwiches, scones, petit fours, and mini quiches. Just remember to keep dietary restrictions in mind.
Lots of people like sweeteners for their tea, for example, but not everyone can have sugar. So it’s always good to have options like cream and honey or stevia as a sugar alternative.
4. Colorful Furniture and Decor
Mixing and matching colors and patterns in your decor, tableware, tea cups, and furniture is a fun way to bring a little flair and whimsy to your garden tea party. Try offering a variety of seating options, from picnic blankets and outdoor floor cushions to tables, chairs, and even benches. This can provide your guests with a variety of seating options so they can mix and mingle.
For the decor and tableware, don’t be afraid to mix colors and patterns, as this can give your party more of that lighthearted, whimsical feel. Thrift and antique shops and even garage sales are great places to find unique pieces to add to your setting.
5. Get Crafty
While it’s always nice to simply sit and enjoy pleasant conversation at a tea party, having a creative tea party activity that everyone can participate in is also a nice way to stir things up and give everyone something to focus on. Some ideas include sketch pads and pencils for drawing activities, paints and plain white tea cups for painting, or colored paper and scissors for making paper art, like flowers.
6. Set the Mood
If your garden tea party is going to last into the evening or night, you’ll definitely want to set the mood and keep things visible with some fun lighting. Lighting is always one of those must-haves for any outdoor celebration.
To keep with the whimsical tea party theme, you can opt for pretty twinkling lights, candles, and colorful lanterns. Just make sure that whatever you choose provides enough light should the festivities last into the evening. You can also opt to add citronella torches and candles to help keep the bugs at bay.
Music can also help you set the mood, though you don’t want it to be too loud or distracting that it detracts from conversation. So instead of songs with lyrics, try going for light jazz, classical tunes, or anything else that is fitting. You can even play musical scores from your favorite classic movies, like Little Women or Pride & Prejudice, which are perfect for tea party vibes.
7. Don’t Forget the Favors
Last but certainly not least, nothing makes a tea party more memorable than some lovely take-home favors. A good party favor lets your guests take a bit of the party home with them so they can continue enjoying the fun in their own home, and it helps them remember the good times they had.
It’s up to you what you choose to send your guests away with, but some ideas include special teas, recipes from the foods you offered, or flowers. Or, if you did an art activity during the party, you can wrap up what was made in pretty packaging to send home with your guests.
When it comes to throwing a garden tea party, the sky (or your imagination) is the limit. There is really no one right way to throw a tea party. Sometimes just being out in nice weather and enjoying good tea and conversation with friends is enough. So you can go all in and use our tips to throw a grand affair, or you can keep it simple if that’s more your style.
Whatever you do, just make sure you have fun and enjoy some tea!