Rather or not the activity itself is suitable to lolita fashion, I adore tea. Through the adoration of tea, I also love tea parties! Everything from casual intimate tea parties with snacks for a few friends to formal afternoon tea served by white-gloved waiters at fine establishments. I often invite people over “for tea,” which usually means hot tea and some snacks. For other occasions, I’ve planned more elaborate tea-focused, events.
The true beauty of a tea party shines in the highly customizable nature. It is very easy to adjust different aspects of a tea party to suit many different types of events!
You Are Cordially Invited
When planning a tea party, the simplest place to start is your guest list. The people that you are inviting to your party should provide a guideline for how you shape the rest of the party. (This is much easier than planning a party to suit your tastes and then figuring out who you’ll ask to attend. That’s like putting a square peg through a round hole.
The number of attendees will often dictate your budget. With a guest list of only four, it wouldn’t be troublesome or terribly expensive to have a shopping list full of new teas and exotic sweets or savories. If your guest list has twenty or more guests, it will cost a pretty penny to focus on luxuries for everyone.
While it is possible to host a large and elaborate tea party by charging guests a fee for attending, I find that it can be difficult to ask for money to attend a private party–and friends that you may be longing to see might not find the cost within their budget. The situation is different if you are arranging a public event, but if the party is to be personal, attaching a ticket price is not usually a grand idea.
Beyond the budget, guests lists are important so that you have an idea of your guests tastes. If your guests are friends, and everyone (or nearly everyone) wears lolita fashion, the dress code is rather obvious. If several names on your list are vegetarians, you know you’ll want to provide options within their dietary constraints. If the guests are of legal drinking age, you may consider hosting a champagne tea.
What’s This All About
Some tea parties are themed. Other tea parties are formal. Still more tea parties are casual. Afternoon teas typically consist of three courses–scones, savories, and sweets. High tea (often improperly used interchangeably with afternoon tea) is an early dinner, providing a meal rather than light snacks.
You may have decided to host a tea party to celebrate a birthday or other special event. In that case, the “theme” of the party is probably related to that celebration. A tea party thrown just for fun has many options. If you think your guests would appreciate the elegance and refinement of a formal afternoon tea, you could craft an event with fine china, flower vases, and tiers of treats. If your friends have other interests, you could add a less often considered element–such as a buffet-style tea while watching a favourite movie… or participating in a video game tournament.
I believe that it’s essential to consider the preferences of your friends during the planning of a party. This ensures that everyone has a much better time–and parties are most enjoyable when everyone is sincerely cheerful and no one is forcing a smile. A theme that suits the natures of the attendees will be warmly received and more successful on the whole.
On Tonight’s Menu
When a theme is decided on, the menu may simply fall into place. For example, a formal afternoon tea traditionally consists of scones (served with clotted cream, lemon curd, and jam), savories (bite-sized sandwiches or tarts), and sweets (cookies, petit fours, and other miniature desserts). A summer garden tea may call for lemonade to be served alongside the tea and a tossed salad with fruit to accompany light sandwiches.
If the general setting of the party doesn’t bring specific edibles to mind, following the general guideline of afternoon tea is generally useful: a non-dessert baked good, something savory, and something sweet. Unless the tea is served as a meal, sitting at a table as different courses are brought in and removed, it’s best to choose items that do not require the use of utensils–particularly if some guests may be balancing their plates and teacups on laps as they sit on armchairs or sofas.
Consider any dietary restrictions of your attendees. If you know there will be a few vegetarians, make sure that at least one savory option is meat-free. It is also helpful to inquire about friends’ allergies in advance. (I often ask people to let me know of any allergies when they R.S.V.P.) Very severe allergies can sometimes be triggered merely by being in the same room as an allergen, while others could become life-threatening if the person doesn’t realize that the must-be-avoided ingredient is unseen in a baked good or a sandwich’s filling.
Those are some of the most basic hints and suggestions for hosting a tea party. There’s no strictly “right” or “wrong” way–after all, as long as tea is provided in some capacity and a party is going on, it’s technically a “tea party.” No one will bang down your door if your pinky is raised too high or your scones were swapped out for muffins~
Regardless of the type, I really do love tea parties. I think they’re a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the company of good friends. And after all–there’s nothing like a cup of hot tea~ ♥