After all of the hustle and bustle on Saturday, I was thankful for a relaxing Sunday morning. I didn’t help out at the booth and my only commitment was the tea party. Instead I woke up and was able to take my time getting ready while I packed up the room. The time of the tea party overlapped the check-out for the hotel room, so we would be checking out before heading over.
I was worried about being late, but we arrived in time for me to snap a few pictures in the hallway just before the door opened and the Angelic Pretty staff members announced to us that we could enter~
It was a flurry of ruffles and pastels and cakes and decorations as everyone lined up to enter the room.
I was really thankful that everyone was orderly and polite. I always get worried about some kind of intense and crazy mad rush at any sort of event of this nature. Once inside, we chose our own seats. It wasn’t difficult to find a place to sit at any of the given tables, and I was lucky enough to sit among friends~
A selection of small sandwiches and desserts were already placed at the center of each table along with sugar and cream. I believe the sandwiches were roast beef with goat cheese and avocado with roasted red pepper tapinade. It was a good thing that they offered a vegetarian option, as there were quite a few vegetarians in attendance~ Each place setting was indicated with a teacup and a small flyer for the tea party. On the back of each flyer was a number that was used later during the tea party for a raffle~
We were all restless while Maki, Asuka, RinRin, and staff got themselves set up near the table at the side of the room~
A long table was set up at the side of the room, in the center of the layout of tables. On the table were all types of Angelic Pretty goods, wrapped up with cellophane and ribbons. These were the prizes for the raffle at the end of the tea party~ There were also small speakers and a microphone.
When everyone was settled, convention staff introduced Maki, Asuka, and RinRin. Maki and Asuka then gave brief speeches–translated by staff–thanking everyone for their support of Angelic Pretty and providing some of their thoughts, inspiration, and plans for future collections. After Asuka and Maki were finished speaking, RinRin also gave a small speech about her own thoughts and involvement. It was very nice of them all to take the time to do so~
When they had finished speaking, tea was served. I was delighted to see that they were serving tea from Teavana. Teavana isn’t one of my favourite tea companies, but they sell fairly tasty teas and blends. The hotel in which the tea party was hosted does not offer a tea service on a regular basis, so I had worried that we’d be given hot water and single tea bags of black tea. While that’s no travesty, it would be somewhat of a let-down given the price of the tea party tickets–so having brewed loose-leaf tea poured by wait staff was a wonderful surprise!
Gendo was one of our many dapper waiters, and he took his position very seriously!
The convention staff who volunteered for the tea party were very courteous and dedicated. They dressed for the occasion, as well–in dapper suits with bow-ties, crisp white half-aprons, and white towels draped over one arm. I appreciated their attention, given that a lolita fashion tea party at an anime convention probably didn’t register as a significantly big deal in most people’s opinions–but the staff treated it as if it were a very big deal. That helped make it a very special and fun memory for those who attended~
While the tea party guests enjoyed their tea and sandwiches, Maki, Asuka, and RinRin went from table to table, taking group photos with everyone and chatting a little bit. (The other Angelic Pretty shopgirls in attendance were kind enough to act as translators.) It was very exciting to get to speak to the designers and the model for a moment and to have a group picture taken. There were also pictures taken of each half of the room–there were too many party-goers to fit us all in one picture. To avoid confusion, it wasn’t possible to have that same picture snapped with every attendee’s camera, but we were promised that copies of the group photos would be mailed to us after the event.
After group photos, it was time for cupcakes! And immediately after cupcakes were served… a raffle!
An excited raffle winner steps up to receive her prize!
The raffle was a lot of fun–they started off with small gifts, like rings, and moved up to cutsews, purses, and finally a set with a jumperskirt, socks, and a hairbow~! ♥ Maki and RinRin stood in front of the table to display the prizes to the crowd, while Asuka drew numbers and announced the winners. I won a small ring, which was very exciting–I typically have terrible luck when it comes to any game of chance! I really enjoyed watching the winners get chosen; it was thrilling to hear a number be called, then watch as someone stood up and cheerfully made their way towards the front. So many of my friends were lucky, and so many other attendees that I didn’t know until the tea party, too~!
I believe that those who didn’t win a prize through the raffle didn’t walk away empty-handed; if I remember correctly, they were given postcards which Asuka, Maki, and RinRin autographed.
It was then announced that there were gift bags at the door, which we would receive on the way out after having a chance to personally thank and say goodbye to Asuka, Maki, and RinRin. However, before that could happen, the Chicago community had something to give to the designers.
Everyone looking over the scrapbook~
As part of a community-wide effort, led by several girls who put hours and hours of hard work into selecting and printing photos, assembling supplies, and piecing together the pages, we had put together a scrapbook to showcase our love of Angelic Pretty. It was presented to the designers to thank them for being special guests at our local convention so that we could have the chance to meet them and see their designs. I was happy to see that Maki, Asuka, and RinRin were surprised to have this brief interlude; they hadn’t expected something like this. As they stood together and flipped through the pages, I could see they were all so moved by this gesture that most of them were tearing up. Some of the shopgirls started crying outright, and then we were all sniffling. For a moment, we all understood just how much of an impact lolita fashion has had on our lives, and it was very touching~ ♥ It will be a very happy memory for me.
After that, it was time to leave. I was very happy to take part in such a fun event. It was the most fun I’ve ever had at ACEN; I hope that everyone else’s memories are as bright and sparkly as mine~!
P.S. I know that this is very late! I’ve never been very good at updating regularly, but I’ve been downright awful at it these last few years. I still adore the fashion, I’m just lacking in inspiration to write about it~ And I keep forgetting to take photos of anything! u_u Oh boy! I never learn!