Why Don’t People RSVP and Bring Hostess Gifts?

idea

rsvp

 

This article was originally posted several years ago.  The problem is, the issue seems to have gotten worse.  Are we so self focused that we can no longer think of others?  Read this post, and comment.  I want to hear your thoughts

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Yes, this is my question, and I want to hear from you in the comments, especially if you are someone who doesn’t RSVP when invited to an event. I won’t hold it against you, today all judgment’s suspended. I truly want to your help solving one of these mysteries of life!

At the time of this writing, I am seventy-two hours away from helping to host our Mom’s Night Out for our local co-op for homeschooling families. Here are my stats:

  • Seventy-four invitations were sent
  • Twelve people confirmed they were coming
  • Twenty-three answered they were not
  • Four women told me they weren’t sure
  • Thirty-five women told me nothing

This is a dynamic I find over and over and over again as an event planner. I do not understand when it became the hostess’ responsibility to track down her guests AFTER already extending an invitation.

As a hostess, I also wrestle with the question, “Can I bring something?” I understand potluck’s become the status quo in some circles, but when did it become the norm? I rarely receive hostess gifts or thank you cards anymore, however.

Is this a California dynamic, an under-forty dynamic, or mother of children at home dynamic? What do you think? Why don’t you RSVP or bring a hostess gift when you are invited somewhere? I honestly want to know what you think.

 

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?

 

Where to find inexpensive teacups

inexpensive teacups

inexpensive teacups

I am often asked, “where can I find inexpensive teacups? “  That is a great question.  There are several resources that you might consider if you want to add to your teacup collection.  Owning an assortment of affordable cups and saucers will come in handy for children’s tea parties, additional guests, gifts, picnics and more.

In addition, some people have grown a business hiring out pretty crockery for tea parties. The business can also host and cater for the tea parties, depending upon the business owner’s intent for the business. More on this idea in another post…

Here are a few of my “go to” resources.

1. Amazon.com

Now they don’t sound like a specialist tea or china or porcelain company, do they? But with the online influence and effective ‘buying power’ that Amazon have, they can provide some truly competitive deals. Couple that with the fact that you can read what other people have said about the products they’ve purchased by way of Reviews, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what to expect if you purchase a product from this heavyweight. Add to that the likelihood of qualifying for free postage, super-fast postage and great customer service (think : what will happen if you have a breakage during delivery?) and you’ll likely be very pleased with your inexpensive teacups purchase.

Here’s an example of a gorgeous set, with a high customer review rating from quite a high number of customers :

inexpensive teacups

Rose Chintz 8 Ounce Porcelain Tea Cup & Saucer Set of 4

 

2. Maryland China Company

Maryland China Company offers both wholesale and retail sales.  They primarily offer white china which can be used for almost everything.  They also offer paintable china for your own custom designs. Maryland China’s prices are always low but their clearance section is absolutely rock bottom and you can find some super cool designs.  Today, I found toast and tea sets for as low as $3.75 each!

Visit their clearance section here and be sure to read the requirements for purchase.

 

3.  Magpie Marketing

If you are looking for British China then look no further than Magpie Marketing.  While Magpie is essentially a wholesale company their purchase minimum is SUPER LOW so anyone can probably find a way to work with them.  Here are a few examples of things they recently featured on their site.

-Mix and Match China Cups and Saucers – Bone China $5 each

-Oversized Breakfast Cups and Saucers- Bone China $10 each

-London Design Teacups and Saucer (set of 2) – $8

 

Visit their site here and check out their amazing offers.

 

4. Paintable Tea Cups

Now, if it’s paintable inexpensive tea cups you’re after, whether a mug, pitcher, tea pot or teaset, visit Ann’s Ceramics!  These are paint-your-own ceramic bisque beverage items for those who want that personal touch, or a tea party to remember. Ann’s Ceramics produce your bisque after your order is placed and delivers them to your front door – it’s ready for any type of color product and their site gives details on how to apply paint.  Very reasonably priced and how wonderful would this be for a special Mother’s Day gift, or a tea party for girls?

Click here to visit Ann’s Ceramics.

 

5. Ebay Lots

Ebay has long been a “go to” place for china.  I have found many teacups on this site however, there is a key to saving money.  Here it is!  Always shop for teacup lots.  You will not only save money on the cups and saucers you will also save money on shipping.

Here are some recent finds:

-30 piece set of Grosvenor china teacups – $15.00 plus shipping

-4 cups set vintage pink and gold teacups set – $12 plus shipping

-23 vintage Royal Albert teacups. – $220 plus shipping (very collectible)

 

Click here and put teacup lot in search box.

 

Last but not least, you can always search for inexpensive teacup sets at garage sales, thrift stores and at Overstock.com

Tea Party Girl Asks: Where have you found teacups?  Leave a comment and share your strategy!

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.

SCONE

 

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?