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Host a tea party-themed soiree

Katherine Martinelli is an internationally published food and travel writer and photographer who contributes regularly to publications on three continents. She recently released her first cookbook, Puff Pastry at Brunch: 10 Sweet and Sa...

The perfect party for you or a friend

Whether planning your own shindig or a party for a loved one, consider throwing a laid-back afternoon soiree with a tea- or garden-party theme.
Tea party

The timing will more readily accommodate those with kids and may even cut back on alcohol and other expenses.

A whimsical tea party makes a great theme for a party, whether you are celebrating a birthday, a bridal or baby shower, anniversary or just because! Especially perfect for the warmer months of spring and summer, tea parties are a wonderful way to gather your closest friends for a casual yet elegant daytime affair.

Get more ideas for unique birthdays and celebrations >>

Pick a location

Your tea party soiree can take place indoors or outdoors. If you have a garden or backyard space that can be particularly lovely, but a bright, sun-drenched inside room fits the mood as well.

teacupsSet the time

Tea is typically taken in the afternoon, and a tea party theme will signal a daytime event to your guests. The exact time is up to you, but midafternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m., is ideal. A weekend, instead of a weekday, would make sense as well.

Send invitations

First decide who to invite. Is this an afternoon for the girls or are spouses invited as well? Can children come or is this an adult affair? Whatever you decide, be clear on the invitations. Consider sending something besides an email or Facebook invite — pick out a cute, floral paper or e-invite to convey the mood.

Select the food and drink

The food at a tea party can be light and fanciful, something to munch on while sipping tea. Consider aptly named tea sandwiches and other finger foods. Serving tea would, of course, also be appropriate, but you can also offer any other beverages you like. Mimosas are always fun or, if you want to keep it alcohol free (for a baby shower, for example), consider iced tea and sparkling apple cider.

Check out these great tea sandwich recipes >>

Teapot with flowersSet the tone

A few decorations can easily convey the tea party theme. Set out a pretty tablecloth and teacups if you have them. Colorful bouquets of flowers, individual flowers in small vases and/or tea lights will go a long way to create the feel you are going for. Try using a teapot to hold some flowers for a fun touch.

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