This party is for women who love men who love to go hunting. Let the men go sit in the chilly woods getting their boots muddy. Fall hunting season is a perfect time to gather together indoors for hot drinks, warm scones, and girl talk at a cozy tea party.
A few days before sending out invitations, press and dry vivid autumn leaves in a telephone book, so you can include one in each envelope. Ask the guests to bring a photo or a recipe from past hunting seasons—these will inspire stories to share during the party.
Encourage them to also bring their prize homemade jelly or preserves for a tasting. When they arrive, give out handwritten place cards with a space for the guest to fill in her name and the name of the spread she has contributed to the tasting.
(If your guests aren’t the jelly making type then you can provide a variety of spreads that can be tasted and then draw names to see who “might” have made that spread. -For instance, “ Sue Daley, thanks for making the lemon curd that we are tasting here today. What? You don’t even remember doing it? Wow, very impressive. Well. We are just going to call this one’s Sue’s Lemon Curd.”)
Bring the colors of the season inside with a tall vase of chrysanthemums or asters in vivid shades of deep yellow, burnt orange, and dark red. Use table linens in these colors, and strew a few matching cushions around the sofa and chairs. Layer a dark plaid blanket under a smaller tablecloth for a warm, welcoming look.
Pile a wooden bowl with gleaming apples, and hollow out a few baby pumpkins to fill with nuts (still in their shells) or more flowers. Scatter autumn leaves on the table, and light candles with warm, spicy scents. Fill the room with the scent of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger by simmering a potpourri on a chafing dish. Covering the windows with sheer yellow muslin or cheesecloth will give a golden tint to the afternoon sunlight.
Play soft classical music in the background: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or anything by Bach. Country ballads or English madrigals are also good choices for a cold afternoon.
Keep the refreshments simple: The first course will be finger sandwiches with thinly sliced meats, to take the edge off hunger. But let the guests know they should save room for the afternoon tasting of homemade spreads. Offer a few kinds of rolls, bread, crackers or scones to show off their creations, but keep them simple so the guests’ contributions take center stage. Provide honey, maple syrup, butter, and a few jams to round out their choices.
Have a camera on hand to take photos of each woman with her favorite treat, and send the pictures home with each guest as a “trophy” of her afternoon.
- Chai tea or other spiced tea
- Hot apple cider
- Roast beef with horse radish on rye bread
- Ham or turkey on thinly sliced french bread
- Pumpkin bread
- Miniature bran muffins
- English tea crackers
- Butter scones
- Drop biscuits
- Toasted raisin bread
Keep this event simple and break the ice at the table by having everyone share their recipes and then tell their favorite “husband’s gone hunting” story.
Pamper your guests and make them glad they are warm and cozy while “the man” is freezing in the wilderness. (you might even tell some fun hunting jokes from a joke book.)
Increase your bottom line by offering special “spa” baskets for sale. These tea related spa packages may be perfect for the “woman who was left behind!”
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