The request seemed overwhelming – a tea party for men and women, party of 7. I didn’t even know how to start. Luckily, I love tea rooms, so I had a good idea of what I wanted to serve. What I didn’t have were teacups and recipes. Here is how we built a beautiful tea party.

The who, when and where: The first step is finding a date and time and determining your guest list. Co-ed, multi-generational – a tea party works for everyone. Find a spot with lots of natural light. We used my daughter’s home, which had a wet bar for the tea setup, a nice table where we could put some of the food and a bar for the rest.

The menu: Since we had hungry men, delicate women and a request for traditional tea food, this is the menu we came up with (some recipes are available here).

  • Broccoli and Cheddar Soup (Panera brand from the grocery store)

  • Butternut Squash Soup (Panera brand from the grocery store)

  • Tea Bread (recipe available)

  • Tea Sandwiches – cucumber, chicken salad and ham salad (recipes available)

  • Assorted Tarts (bought from a local bakery)

  • Assorted Cookies & Macaroons (bought from a local bakery)

  • Green Salad (fresh vegetable, however you would like it. I recommend a choice of a vinaigrette and poppy seed dressings.)

  • Fruit Salad (recipe available)

  • Scones (bought from an excellent local bakery)

The serving pieces: The beauty of a tea party is eclectic works! I grabbed some serving pieces that I had in storage, borrowed tea pots from everyone I know and then realized I did not own enough teacups. A friend recommended that I check out a thrift store, and it was a great suggestion. I found many styles, from the 1940s to much newer cups and from a variety of countries. Prices ranged from $11 on up to $17, and I ended up with a gorgeous eclectic collection. While at the thrift store, I saw beautiful serving pieces and tea pots also.

Decorations: Crisp tablecloths or runners, brown craft paper, anything can work. We chose cloth tablecloths and pink rose garlands, with some fresh flowers as accents. The tablecloths and garlands were found on Amazon.

We had 11 types of tea. Oolong, prince of wales, earl gray, breakfast blend, mint, irish breakfast, breakfast in paris, double chai, turmeric chai, gunpowder green and jasmine green teas. We had multiple electric kettles, which made making the tea and refilling pots easy.

We ate off china plates and drank out of a totally mismatched collection of teapots and teacups. Our honoree felt totally spoiled and loved, and a great time was had by all.

You can make everything yourself or buy things to make this easier on you. Everything we served could have been made from scratch, but due to time and energy levels, we let the grocery store and local bakeries fill in the gaps. Make this as simple as you need to and honor your mother (or help your children honor you!) with a fun event!