Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Keep Calm and Tea Party On

Planning my fiftieth birthday party, I needed a concept that would meet the following crietria:

  • A day-time event, because my health is not really night-friendly
  • Not dependent on a specific time for serving a meal to allow flexibility
  • Able to be mostly prepared before the day so I could enjoy my party!
  • Maximise the number of people I could invite to share my day without a cost blow-out
  • Work around people's family and other commitments on the day
In the end, it was obvious - an All Day Tea Party open house drop-in!

I love everything about tea - except maybe the tea leaves you have to get out of the pot ;) - and I love all the goodies you serve alongside tea, as do both my daughters. So we hit Pinterest with enthusiasm :)

My daughter Melissa has two co-workers who have made cakes for us before and one was happy to create something for me, so to begin with, I was madly pinning birthday and cup cakes. Then we started collecting recipes, decorating ideas and serving ideas.

Eventually, despite all my procrastinating, I had to narrow down the menu, and this was the final selection:

Rather than me cut and paste all these recipes and spend time crediting the sources, you should be able to go to this board and follow the links. Some are recipes I have relied on before, that I found and pinned for convenience (like the No-Fail Sponge and the Tupperware three-ingredient scone recipe) while others were recipes we sourced for things we had decided we wanted (like the lemon tarts and cheesecakes).

We wanted as many single-serve cakes as possible, so we could replenish the table throughout the day, as guests came, ate and moved on! I also wanted it all to be self-serve as much as possible, so none of us were stuck the whole day serving instead of partying. That pretty well went to plan.

As well as two tables of food, a whole table was set up as a Tea Bar (also incorporating a Hot Chocolate Bar) while the kitchen catered for coffee drinkers. A cold drink area was also available, with iced tea, cordials and water.

Raids were conducted on my cupboards and those of my daughters, Ikea and local second-hand stores (most importantly, the one my daughter works at!) to gather everything from serving dishes to table linens and it soon started to look like a tea rooms supply store!

I decided to sew bunting, rather than use streamers and balloons, which always look so sad after the event! Spotlight kindly had a sale on quilting quarters and a set of coordinating fabrics followed me home !) Then I found out why hand-made bunting is the price it is at markets and on Etsy - it is simple but time-consuming. But I love the result so much, I am keeping it up in both the lounge and family/dining rooms! And I couldn't resist creating this for the front door and have now given it pride of place in the kitchen:

My guests took my challenge that if they felt the need to shop (although their presence was their present) their gifts could be tea-themed and rose to the occasion! It was the most glorious day filled with family, friends and fun and is officially the best party of have ever had.

I have declared this next twelve months to be a year of tea-celebrations as I try to catch up with other friends and family who couldn't attend. The kettle is on, the tea is in the pot and there is something sweet to eat.


Justjen said...

Happy 50th Birthday! The Tea Party looked fabulous. I turned 50 last year, still not over it lol.

Yvette ODowd said...

Thanks Justjen :) I should post another photo from the party - my beautiful ripple tea cosy, which I finally made the week before my party, after it had been in my Ravelry queue before my granddaughter's projects pushed it down!!!