Great friends who are surrounded by pretty tablescapes, tiny sandwiches, scones, creams and of course pots and pots of delicious teas! What’s not to love about a tea party?
THE WORK OF HOSTING SAID TEA PARTY!
An afternoon tea with friends can involve lots planning & preparation! More so when we pursue achieving the ‘perfect tea party’ of our dreams (and those of our Pinterest pins!)
I’ve often found myself weeding in the garden and day dreaming of hosting a lovely garden tea party for friends…. in the late afternoon under the trees and filled with bold colors! But who can take the time for all the hours if not days or weeks of preparation for a tea party for 10 or more friends? From seeking out perfect tea favors, allergy-free menu options, to sending out invitations ~ we can make hosting a tea party of epic (and Pinterest) proportions a lot of work! So we save them for only special occasions and then we don’t get to enjoy them as often as we should.
AND we REALLY should enjoy them every chance we get! Around our home Sunday afternoons are when we have family teas- relaxed with a dash of ‘flash’. We enjoy these little Sunday soirees because they are a chance to catch up with all the busy happenings. Also, the menu is easy, the delicate china gets used regularly, and the kids can get involved in the entire Sunday fun! It’s informal yet planned across 9 people.From the scones to the flowers everyone brings something to the table, including the kids who like to sneak in bubbles!
But what happens when friends call and unexpectedly arrive at your doorstep? Can you throw a Summer Tea Party in minutes?
Sure you can throw a pot of coffee on and maybe a cookie or two. But let’s face it that’s just not your hosting style. After all these are friends coming to see you! So…you have a few options…
You could wish that your Fairy Tea Lady magically appears and swishes her magic tea cup to create a tea party with lots of flair and fresh pies… (Let me know if she or he shows up.. I have lots of wishes to make for my next big tea party including 4 berry pies to pair with some of our Strawberry Delight Tea!)
Which one? Tea Fairy or Mad House Cleaning Dash?
OR you could sprint through the house madly so everything is picture perfect before they even get out of their car (except for maybe stepping on the cat’s tail again!) You can pull out the vintage tea cups, linens, cake tiers, and plates for the ‘perfect setting’– and hope you don’t drop any in your mad dash for perfection AND pray that your child didn’t eat all the scones in your back up stash in the freezer!
AND THEN you have to rush around making those wonderful fancy nibbles! Those tiny sandwiches- hope you have some frozen bread so they don’t rip apart. And scones alone take 40 minutes to whip up… (That’s if you can remember the recipe you saw on Pinterest– and there you go ‘Alice’ right down the Pinterest ‘tea party’ rabbit hole for 30 minutes or more!! )
All this to try to create the picture perfect tea time just like the one you saw in the magazine..…
OR you can choose to keep it FUN, SPONTANEOUS & RELAXED!
In 20 minutes or less of your friends arriving at your door, you could be enjoying a delicious yet simple tea time with your friends (or your cat- who by the way is so happy you decided the later) !!
HOW IS THIS 20-minute SUMMER TEA PARTY EVEN POSSIBLE???
First we’re going to take the pressure off! No perfection allowed~ your friends and family want to spend time with YOU not your pretty dishes!
And yes, you can use your favorite tea pot even the one with the chip in it. Share your joy and place ‘Old Chip’ at the center of your table~ you friends will be honored that your sharing your treasured tea pot with them. Just think of all the tea stories ‘Old Chippy’ can regal your guests with!
No ironing linens. No baking. No mad dash cleaning session. Just relax.
SECOND, you already have the two most important items you need: a few simple items from your pantry and your guests!
And yes, ‘guests’ can include the cat or dog that you didn’t step on because you weren’t dashing about the house focused on being perfect!!
So get your friends involved and have some FAST FOOD adventures in the kitchen for your Summer Tea Party!
Dance Steps for a Quick Tea Party in the Garden:
STEP ONE: USE what do you already have in your fridge and pantry! For example, finger sandwiches can be whipped up from that leftover lemon chicken! Chop and toss with a vinaigrette and serve as tea sandwiches or a salad—with fruit on the side! Explore your kitchen but just keep it simple!
STEP TWO: Ask your guests to gather the table settings! A favorite tablecloth, plates, cups and silverware and even paper napkins can be dressed up with anything from around the house or garden. A tea pot, flowers in a mason jar, or some cherished trinkets such as books, baskets dress up a table quite nicely! (For inspiration, check out Pretty Little Vintage Co. , one of our favorite sites for tablescape inspiration!)
STEP THREE: Steep your tea and add some tea music and before you know it you are enjoying a simple tea time in the garden that you’ve created with your guest, friend, or a few family members like your grateful cat!
I hear you. “It sounds too easy!” or “There’s no way that only takes 20 minutes”… and you over there with the cup of Oolong Tea.. I hear you saying- “Yeah~PROVE IT!”
Well friends- this actually happened at our place this past weekend which of course inspired this post!
Our impromptu Summer Tea Party happened when a few lovely friends unexpectedly popped in to see the garden.
WHILE I WAS WORKING IN IT ALL DAY!
No pretty ‘Tea Lady’ with pearls or even a pretty boho hat greeted our guests (and that Fairy Tea Lady… she also also failed to appear!)
So covered in dirt and grass stains from fighting the weeds in my Iris beds and cutting back raspberry bushes in 90* heat is how I greeted my guests!
The ‘tea hat’? My favorite old straw hat with a bandana covered in sweat and mosquito repellent.
The ‘tea gloves’?- old gardening gloves with big orange daisies from my mother-in-law. These things could weed on their own and have pulled mountains of weeds and other garden tasks I care not to think about… (Hmm I wonder if they are rare ‘vintage’ haha!)
And about that ‘tea dress’— old gardening overalls. Yes. old. Gardening. OVERALLS. So awful was this presentation I forbid photos to be shared!
Yes- for a few minutes I panicked and thought ‘oh no- I’m a hot mess from the yardwork and now 5 friends standing here on my porch! I can’t even take a shower!!”
Luckily before I could REALLY panic my friends rescued me from myself with hugs of hello. And when I mentioned the mess, (ok let’s face it I was covered in ‘garden filth’) they said “Girl, that garden didn’t magically appear out of thin air!! We came to see you and the garden not your clothes or house!” Everyone should have pals like these, and if you don’t you can borrow mine!
So we needed to act FAST! While I quickly washed up- I thought:
“How am I going to offer them something special and so fast when I’ve been messing about in dirt all day???” The answer was ‘Only if you don’t focus on perfection and you let them help you!”— (and it helps when your pals know their way around your kitchen and put the kettle on while you are literally washing mud of your face!)
Back to Step 1: What did I have on hand for a Summer Tea Party?
In my pantry: Ricotta, watermelon, fresh local strawberries and a fresh batch of Somerset and Strawberry Delight Teas!
In my garden and porch: Basil and Mint.
I asked my guests to gather table service from the hutch and place them in a basket. They had lots of fun mixing up my collections of plates & cups !
I gave them free rein to pick whatever ones they wanted for the table while I started on the ‘nibbles’…
While a friend rinsed and cut up some strawberries with some mint from the garden, I whipped up some ricotta with honey and a dash of cinnamon- then we tossed both into a pretty bowl.
Another pal, scooped the watermelon and topped it with basil and pomegranate balsamic vinegar. Plus this dressed up the table very nicely on it’s vintage platter!
We steeped the Strawberry Delight Tea in our lovely Mist Iced Tea Jug, grabbed a bunch of ice for the mason jars… and we RAN out to enjoy the garden and our Summer Tea Party!
Summer Tea Party in 20 minutes from start to finish! (Plus 10 for my wash-up from the gardening!!!)
And would you just look at the beautiful white peony my friend Beth and her daughter brought from their farm!