Why Place Cards at the Tea Party Are Important

Teatime Placecards

There is a time and a place for every effort under the sun.  At times, place cards will be appropriate on your tea table.   With place cards you can:

  1. Relieve your guests from the guess-work of where to sit.
  2. Give your event a friendly but dressy and prepared-for feel.
  3. Show your thoughtfulness as a hostess, choosing the best for your guests based on previous relationships, personalities, and the possibility of new friendships.

Your place cards can be simply made with your printer or own beautiful handwriting and some pretty paper, as illustrated in the picture above. Yet creative, theme-based place card holders can add a whimsical touch to your event. They can also double as the party favors. Here are some examples of my favorites:

 

Intimate is never more than eight, so try to keep your sit-down event to 4-8 seated guests per table.

 

A Little Place Card History

Have you ever seen a place tile?   These free standing ceramic tiles arrive in a set of 6 tiles in a beautiful blue box. These elegant tiles can be used as name plates for seating around your holiday table…or to identify items on your buffet…or wines at your wine tasting.  Children love to use the dry erase marker to write the names and then erase and change the names.   These beautiful and unique place cards last for generations to come!  http://www.tournesolgifts.com/category/tabletop-place-tiles-40

Here is a bit of interesting info on the place card (place tile) history:

Virginia Robinson, a 1920′s socialite was often called “The First Lady of Beverly Hills”.  She hired a Tiffany’s craftsman to create for her a personalized porcelain place card.  Although common in Europe, this was the first of its kind in America.  This place card was delicately marked by a single hand painted rose along with Virginia Robinson’s signature in raised gold.

According to source, Virginia used it every night for dinner at home and at every gala, event or dinner party she attended.  To accept any of her many invitations, Virginia’s butler would hand deliver her place card as proof of her acceptance and to secure her place at the dining table.

This  place card graces the pages of our history books and can still be viewed at the Robinson home on the National Historic Register tour in Beverly Hills.

 

Source:  Modern Antiques for the Table:  A Guide to Tabletop Accessories of 1890-1940   by Sheila Chefetz, Risa Palazzo

 

The Guide to Planning a Tea Party–Spring Edition

spring_tea

by Jenny Wells


To begin planning your tea party event, no matter what the season or event you need start by answering a few questions:

  1. How many people will you invite?
  2. Who will they be?
  3. What is your budget? How much does that give you per person?
  4. When will your event take place?
  5. What will be your theme? Some ideas for your spring event are available through my post,

 

 

Once you make these decisions, you need to send out your invitations. These can be done a number of ways. Remember, keep your budget in mind. I’ve listed some options below.

 

  1. E-vites (free)
  2. Snail-Mail Invitations with
    1. spring-themed papers and your computer
    2. preprinted Hallmark invitations you pick up at your local store and handwrite.
    3. handmade, scrap-booking materials
  3. Telephone Calls (personal, but take up your time. depending on the number of people you are trying to coordinate).

 

Next, you need to plan the menu. Remember to keep your budget, theme, and time of day in mind. And DON’T forget to plan the tea. I’ve written a thorough article on The Steps to Creating a Tea Party Menu to help with your planning. Specific ways to incorporate flavors of spring in the traditional tea menu are with:

Tea flavors I suggest to serve at an spring-themed event, depending on your menu, are:

 

Once you’ve decided on your menu, think through how you will set your table. I’ve written some about setting the tea table already. Now is the time to think through what you already own, what you need to purchase, and what you can borrow. How many tables and chairs will you need? Remember, intimate is never more than eight, so take that into account when you think through your seating arrangement. What will be your centerpiece(s) and how you will incorporate your theme?

 

Include items in your table decorations that remind you of the season’s color and new beginnings. Start with what you can use from outside. Flowering branches are beautiful and inexpensive. Find a friend who would let you clip flowers from her garden, like daffodils or if it’s later in the season, roses. Purchase small pots of blooming bulbs like hyacinth or tulips. Remember to keep your centerpieces low enough so your guests can see one another.


 

Part of setting your table means polishing any silver pieces and ironing any linens. Will you include a printed menu for your guests benefit? This is also the time to make/purchase some place-cards and decide what you want to give as a favor.

Take time now to decide what to wear and what music to play. How can these two elements add to your theme? This is the time of year to pull out the pastel-colors in your closet. Pick a color to wear by your face that is not a neutral; stay away from beige, black, and browns. If you own a lot of those colors, wear them on your bottom half. Some ideas for spring-themed music are:

 

Once these decisions are made, you will see your theme come together with all the elements that help us celebrate spring’s beauty. Be sure to spend some more time perusing Tea Party Girl’s archives for further details you might need to plan your tea party event. As always, feel free to email me or leave a comment with your questions as well.

 

Another great article with fun ideas: http://allprettylittlethings.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-details-bridal-shower-tea-party.html

 

Tea Party Girl Asks: Are you planning a spring-related tea event? Have you hosted one? Please share your experience/plan with us in the comments.

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.

How to Serve Afternoon Tea at the Drop of a Hat

drop-of-a-hat-tea

 

Your friend just called and will be by in a half an hour.  She needs to talk.  You need to listen.  Is now a good time for a tea party?  Absolutely!  If you follow these simple steps.

Note:

Afternoon tea does not need to be only for special occasions. You don’t always have to dress up. Yes, it’s more work than serving chips and soda, but with a little practice and some key items on hand, you can be prepared to serve afternoon tea easily and quickly, as I did this afternoon.

 

I assembled the above table in about twenty minutes. It’s important to note I have a designated corner of my home that is mostly clutter-free and ready to go. Do you have one? Here’s what I did in order:

  1. Preheated the oven and popped in some pre-made scones straight from the freezer.
  2. Filled my teakettle with filtered water and set it on high to boil.
  3. Chose the tea I wanted to serve (Mim Darjeeling) and filled my tea sac with it.
  4. Set the table with two teacups and spoons, tea plates, already ironed tea-sized cloth napkins, and a filled milk and sugar set. All these items live in my kitchen cupboards so I can easily grab them.
  5. I picked out my teapot. Since I wanted the matching warmer, I decided on the smaller pot and filled the red carafe you see in the picture with more brew. Since this was casual, I just refilled the teapot with the tea from the carafe when we ran out. Kept our brew nice and hot!
  6. I pulled the scones out of the oven, placed four on a salad-size plate, remembered I had a few pieces of toffee stashed away and added them, and cut up one beautiful in-season red pear. I quickly bathed the slices in a little lemon water so they wouldn’t turn brown and added the plate of goodies to the table.

That’s it!

What didn’t I do? I didn’t scurry around trying to figure out what to make.  I knew I had prepared my tea party pantry before hand and I reached for scones from my freezer.  Prepare before hand and a drop in tea party is no problem!

For more information about serving afternoon tea quickly, be sure to see my article, How to Build Your Tea Party Pantry.

What do you do?  Share your hints in the comment area!

Asian Splendor – “Hosting a Traditional Asian Themed Tea Party”

asian-theme-party

 

asian tea party

 

Bring the mystery of the orient into your living room with a creative tea party that will have your guests begging for more. Possibilities are endless when you host an Asian themed tea party, from presenting an overview of Asian teas to replicating a Japanese tea ceremony.

Your presentation can vary depending on your guests and how formal or informal you would like the party to be. Either way, an Asian tea party is a great way to introduce many exotic Asian teas.

 

Activities

Depending on the overall feel of the party, choose among a variety of possible activities. Hosting a traditional Japanese tea ceremony can be fun and educational for your guests. If you don’t want to do something quite so formal, you can teach your guests various Asian customs regarding tea, such as traditional preparation methods, types of teas, how to pour and present teas, and Asian tea etiquette.

This approach can be unusual, lively, and memorable. It’s also a great opportunity to use different teapots and cups that are Asian inspired. If you are hosting a Japanese inspired party, you could include origami as one of the activities.

It’s fun, inexpensive, and does not require a lot of space. Like fortune cookies?  Why not order a batch for your guests and share your fortunes round the table.

 

Decorations

Decorations can be simple yet elegant. To set the mood, purchase a variety of paper lanterns to create a warm ambiance. Use a lot of red and black, as these are customary colors and pair them with dragons, hanging wall fans.

Find some small parasols to place on each table, or use the small ones for decoration in your teacups. For added elegance, use specialty porcelain dishes and China as well as designer chopsticks. Look for cards that have “friendship” or other sayings printed using the authentic symbols to use for added ambiance.

Decorate the room and tables with flowers such as orchids and lotuses. Bamboo is an easy, inexpensive, and authentic decoration option.

In addition, if you already have them or are able to borrow or rent them, incorporate small water fountains, bonsai trees, or small rock gardens.

 

Music

Having a variety of Asian music playing the background is perfect for setting the tone of the party.

Visit the local music store for suggestions. You may want to use some type of compilation, or choose music from a specific region or country, such as Japan, Thailand, or China. If your theme is based on a specific country, choose music accordingly.

 

Invitation Ideas

You can really get creative with invitations, from purchasing ones that are shaped like a fan to using an origami invitation that guests can unfold to read.

Alternatively, you may be interested in invitations that have an Asian picture or symbol on them.

If you are hosting a formal party, invitations on specialty paper make a beautiful work of art. Your budget will influence the style of invitation you choose to use.

The good news is that there are many options available for all price ranges. Start with a local gift or party shop. There are lots of great companies available online as well.

 

Foods

The food choices for an Asian tea party are almost unlimited! For starters, offer a variety of sushi, which can be made to suit any taste, including mild, spicy, and vegetarian.

Stir-fry is easy to make for larger groups of people, and you could even prepare the food in a central area so your guests can observe. It’s entertaining and educational!

Asian foods rely heavily on rice and noodles, and there are many recipes to find that incorporate these, from soups to main dishes and deserts. Of course, you’ll still want to offer fortune cookies!

Whichever foods you choose, offer lighter food choices, as those that are too heavy can take away from the tea experience.

 

Teas

This event would be perfect with a delicate Oolong like Monkey Pick or a  mystical Tung Ting. You might also wish to consider “display teas” which actually bloom when steeped in water.

These hand tied extravaganzas are sure to impress your guests.  Order from  www.numi.com.

If you are looking to impress your guests invite them to experience tea and its birthplace.  You will have them begging for more.

 

Tea Party Girl asks What is your tea style?  English, Asian, Indian, African?