Now You Can Host a Tea Party and Delegate it, Too!

Tea Hostess



Let’s face it. Many of us already work really hard. And for some of us, hosting any kind of event sounds like a lot of work.

Even more of us, especially independent Americans, rarely delegate for a number of reasons. I struggle to delegate because frankly, it’s often “easier” to take care of the responsibilities myself than try to communicate with others what I really want them to do.

However, my mother, Anne Evans of Teaching Tea recently participated as ONE of the hostesses of a progressive tea, where the participants visited four homes in an afternoon for each of tea courses. What a great idea!! She graciously offered to share her experience with us.

Be sure to notice: The guests received a gift to take home at each stop! Wouldn’t you enjoy attending a tea like this?!

“Let’s put on a progressive tea,” a friend suggested to me recently. I liked the idea and soon found two other ladies willing to open their homes, set the table, and prepare one part of an afternoon tea. Only one of us had done anything like this previously, though we each really enjoy hosting.

First the four of us met together to plan. Our homes are only 15 minutes apart, so we allowed 45 minutes for each stop and 15 minutes travel time. We provided a map at each place giving directions to the next. One lady planned to seat guests in her shady yard. Two ladies had enough tables to seat the guests. One hostess used chairs and end tables through the main part of her home to augment the limited space at her dining table.

The tea day dawned. At the first house, the participants enjoyed a strawberry and greens salad, a simple pasta salad, and iced tea. The hostess had a guest book for signing and gave each lady a little nylon bag filled with dried lavender and rose petals as she departed.

At house two, the savories graced the kitchen counter. There were egg salad sandwiches on sprouted grain bread, broccoli spears dipped in seasoned mayonnaise and toasted, chopped walnuts. Also included were ham and chutney roll ups, open-faced cucumber sandwiches, and tiny pastry shells filled with artichoke spread and topped with shredded carrots. A caffeine-free herbal rooibos tea refreshed everyone and directions for making
tea along with some tea samples provided the parting favor.

House three served scones with jam, lemon curd, and clotted cream along with mango blackberry hot tea. White Jordon almonds in a handkerchief were tied with a pretty ribbon and given to each guest.

The fourth house hosted the sweets which were lemon squares, fresh fruit, and chocolates along with a creme brule` hot tea. The favor here was a little, cloth hat purchased at the Dollar Store. We each donned our hats as the hostess had arranged for her neighbor to pop over and take a group picture.

Everyone talked and laughed their way through the entire tea, learning new things about the whole wonderful affair of making friends with tea.

The four of us met a week later to savor our success and ponder any improvements for next time. We decided our only misstep was in not writing our phone numbers on the maps. One lady did need some intervention on directions and a number would have simplified that frustration for her.

So, if you’re not wanting to tackle a tea all alone, how about getting together with a couple of friends for a progressive tea? Start small and simple. You’ll be amazed how delighted your guests will be.

Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea

Mothers Day Afternoon Tea

Need a simple idea?  Why not host a Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea?  I am not talking about a lavish event instead I am suggesting an intimate affair for you and the one you love.  Mother’s Day is May 11th this year, just a month away. Your typical Mother’s Day may be as simple as sending a card or flowers, or picking up the phone. Do you try to get together with your mum?   If so, what about setting aside some time for a Mother’s Day afternoon tea instead of fighting the Sunday brunch crowds?

Most mothers I know desire more quality time. Either their children are young, and they long for quality, uninterrupted time with their friends, or their children are grown and desire uninterrupted conversations and the full attention of their busy adult children. What could a mother enjoy more than a chance to sit down over a pot of afternoon tea and an opportunity for quality time with their loved ones?

Here’s a few simple ideas to get started:

1. Properly invite your mother. Decide whether to bring your Mother’s Day afternoon tea to her or host her it your home. Call her with a specific time and place that’s easy on her.

2. All you need for the event, especially if afternoon tea is a brand new experience is:

  • an uncluttered corner with two comfortable chairs and a small table.
  • a tablecloth or piece of pretty fabric to cover the table.
  • a small bouquet of flowers. Grocery store flowers work as well as the abundant wild flowers available right now.
  • a pot of properly-brewed tea.
  • two pretty tea cups. (If you don’t have any, ask a friend or even your mum!)
  • a particularly yummy dessert you make yourself or pick up at a bakery.

Now, there are many little details one can add to this event such as: linen napkins, instrumental music, or a savory. However, if you have never hosted afternoon tea, keep it simple and remember that the gift of quality time is your focus. If your mother mothered you before 1970, a Mother’s Day afternoon tea may very well have been a part of her history, yet not something she’s experienced with you.

If you’re a mother who needs quality time with your friends, see if you can modify the above with 3 or 4 of you on the Saturday afternoon before Mother’s Day. See if dads can watch the little ones, keep it simple, and give yourselves time to enjoy one another un-rushed and un-interrupted.

What mother do you know could benefit from sitting down over tea this spring for Mother’s Day?


Six Possible Party Themes for your Autumn Event

Fall events

Digging through the Tea Party Girl archives I found this great article from our founder, Jenny Wells.

Take a peek and get inspired!


Autumn is notoriously a busy time. Maybe we feel we need to make up for summer slothfulness, or something. We prep for the holidays, plan retreats and seminars, play sports (soccer moms, anyone?), try to tackle house projects before the winter comes, and teach our children well. So, my criteria for a fall (so sorry, I mean AUTUMN) event is that everyone can help and we need to keep it simple.

I modified this list with some help from the following list from some of my favorite party planning books, including:

  1. Bless This Food:Four Seasons of Menus, Recipes, and Table Graces
  2. Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions:Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations of Comfort and Joy
  3. The Family Manager Takes Charge: Getting on the Fast Track to a Happy, Organized Home
  • Parisian Art Night-I learned November 14th is Claude Monet’s birthday. Thanks to the Internet, anyone can learn about French Impressionism and share a favorite painting. I would ask everyone to bring a French-related food (everyone’s at least heard of Brie, right?), download music from composers of the era, and buy a few bottles of Champagne from my favorite discount store, Trader Joe’s
  • Everyone’s Birthday-Instead of another gift exchange and dessert at the holidays, I would choose a night for “us” (whomever your group might be) for an Everyone’s Birthday night. Everyone brings a decent gift (set a price limit) wrapped. Depending on the size of the group, look for bakers or purchase a few fancy cakes. Serve coffee, tea, and maybe even port (yum!) and celebrate everyone at once.
  • Advent-Do the holidays stress you out? Does Christmas mean a lot of responsibility? How about an Advent party to prepare? I will host mine on November 30th. For my social group, we do a project together that helps us feel more prepared (i.e. address Christmas cards, make an Advent wreath, etc.) and watch a holiday movie to help get us in the mood.
  • Harvest-A common Autumn theme, I like to plan mine outside when the weather is first changing. Invite everyone to wear their favorite sweater and find a patio with a fire-pit. Light lanterns or another adult version of jack-0-lanterns and celebrate life’s fullness. If you can get everyone organized, this is a great theme for a book, clothing, or other exchange where you can share your abundance in some way with others.
  • Friendly Competition-This is a theme that women might wrinkle their noses at, but enjoy once the ball gets rolling (no pun intended). We’re great at sitting, gabbing, and eating, but consider a night of friendly competition over ping-pong, pool, fooz-ball, etc., with a tournament tree and all. Only finger-food eaten out of a napkin allowed.
  • Pasta Potluck-Carb-lovers, unite! Make a ton of pasta and ask people to bring their favorite sauce. Serve garlic bread, wine, and maybe a salad. Enjoy the insulin rush together.


Of course, all of the above parties need to include tea, if for no other reason than to invite this wonderful beverage who has been often discriminated against in the past.

What autumn event will you plan or attend?

Share it with Tea Party Girl – Leave A Comment Please!

How the Movies Communicate the Heart of Tea





I recently watched Miss Potter for the first time. Enjoyed the movie, thoroughly (Ewan McGregor sings, how could I not?). A classic story of English aristocracy, this interpretation of Beatrix Potter showcased many of the values I hold dear. These included:

  • a commitment to creative work despite the objections of others, even one’s own family.
  • a love for farming and preservation of the land.
  • living through heartache and coming out stronger on the other side.

But another value I hold dear that may not have been as easily noticed by other viewers was the constant presence of the teapot. [Read more...]

You Don’t Have to be a Perfectionist to have a Perfect Tea Party


tea party hostess

by Jenny Wells

I’m sure this problem of perfectionism does not affect all my readers, but statistically it applies to many of us. Perfectionism when planning a party is draining, indeed. Even without perfectionism, it still takes me four “days” (those are multiple children in the house days) to host an event in my home.

  • One day to clean
  • One day to cook/bake
  • One day to host my tea event
  • One day to clean-up and put everything away

Now a perfectionist, as I was in my former life before children, would clean the whole house. I make sure my front door/porch and the downstairs half-bath is clean. Don’t get me wrong, I still sweep up, wipe down, take the trash out, etc. But I only CLEAN the above mentioned.

A perfectionist would make all food from scratch, take hours preparing it, or spend more than they should with a caterer. As a reformed perfectionist, I delegate to my husband who enjoys being in the kitchen, and my best tea buddy who likes to bake. If I didn’t have them, I would pick one or two great foods already prepared and supplement with items that don’t require a long time in the kitchen.



Hosting USED to wipe me out mainly because of my perfectionism in the above two areas. Now I make sure I have time before my party to relax and I keep a focused but relaxed agenda for the actual event. No one wants to be driven by their hostess’ agenda of the way the event should go. I’ve worked hard to “let it go” and allow my guests to enjoy one another without a lot of interference. This has a lot to do with internal work on my part and experience. I also try really hard to have nothing I HAVE to do the last hour before my event except fill water glasses, light candles, remove things from the fridge, etc.

As for cleaning up, I DO recommend putting away all food, filling one’s dishwasher, and clearing tables as much as possible as soon as an event is over. DON’T SIT DOWN! But I give myself twenty-four hours to put everything away, like the things I store only for events like these.

How have you, reformed perfectionists, learned to manage hostess-stress? My area of weakness involves continuing to feed my family during those few days surrounding an event. My kitchen is already such a mess and I’m working to keep on top of it and kids want five meals a day. Any suggestions?