There are times in life when events are meant to be celebrated. This year my daughter graduated from college and turned twenty-one all in the same week; which we thought was cause for a grand celebration. We debated how to celebrate this occasion and decided a Tea Party on the Patio would be fitting. We have always wanted to do a tea since our days revolve around what teas to drink and when we should have tea, seriously they do.
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We have a lot of parties on my patio, and for years I have wanted to set up big long tables for a large gathering of friends, and with fifteen invited quests this was a perfect time. We sent out invitations early so we would know how many to expect, thinking maybe half would come, but the RSVP's starting coming in and we realized we would be having a full house.
I enjoy planning parties, but I will admit at times it can be stressful, after all, you want everything perfect. My suggestion, make decisions early on what you want and then make lists and timelines of when to get things done.
This was my to-do list I created three-weeks before the party so I could start thinking about what I needed to do.
I know you are thinking that is a lot of decision making. Don't stress about it, just plan your party for what you want and what you are capable of doing. If you want elegant and can pull it off, do it, if you want casual with paper plates, do it. It's your party so make it fun.
Keep updating your list and timelines to stay organized and stress-free.
Coming up with our menu for a tea party was the most fun ~
Tea is a priority in my day, and I have a cabinet dedicated to my favorite teas, mostly, Oolong, Pu Erh, Earl Grey, Jasmine Green, and Darjeeling plus several blends. Harney and Sons Teas are one of our favorites for their variety and quality of tea. You can get the same tea here, Formosa Oolong and Earl Grey.
With the party on Saturday, we started prepping early in the week by getting the table setting cleaned and organized. On Tuesday we made a trip to the store and bought everything we needed and we never had to go back. Since the tart shells and shortbread cookies keep well for days, we made them on Wednesday. Get as much done early so the day of the party you are just doing final baking, picking up rented items and setting your table.
The day before the party was our big baking and flower arranging day which turned out to be fun. The house smelled like a bakery and a floral shop. By evening our cupcakes and scones were baked and the strawberry curd was cooling in the fridge. We had flower arrangements all over the house. We even cleaned the patio and set up the tables.
Our party started at 2:00, so Saturday morning meant setting up and final food prep. Early in the morning we made the sandwiches, fruit salad, filled the tart shells with the strawberry curd and made the whipped cream. We had two hot water kettles ready to make the tea.
Before noon we had everything ready to set out when we were ready to serve.
I couldn't wait to start setting the tables with all the beautiful dishes and flowers.
We started the morning by bringing out the dishes for the tables. I was so happy to be using my grandmother's Flow Blue and Willow Ware china. We combined both sets so we would have enough table setting and the two patterns were the same color and looked so nice together.
The Willow Ware table setting has always been one of my favorites.
The beautiful tea party table setting ~ I love the blue
The guest of honor ~ Bevyn getting ready for her guests
We filled the platers with scones, the small bowls with fruit salad and the cake stands held the sandwiches, tarts, cupcakes, and macarons. All the food and pots of tea were within easy reach of the guests so there was no passing of plates since everything was in front of them, this allowed the everyone to sit and eat, drink tea and chit-chat without having to get up.
Sharing good food, pots of tea and wonderful conversations with friends and family
Bevyn had a table to show off her accomplishments. So proud to have such an amazing daughter graduating in three years Suma Cum Laude from Sonoma State University. Happily employed by her favorite organization the California FCCLA.
Interested in making some of the baked goods we served.
The Rose Petal Shortbread Cookies were a standout winner.
The Lemon Cupcakes with Blackberry Buttercream was from my cake recipe.
Make sure to check back on the One Hot Oven blog for the Strawberry Curd Tarts.
Thanks for letting me show off my party set up and I hope you found some inspiration for your next get together.