So continuing with the second instalment of the Ladies
Garden Afternoon Tea party.
I’ve always loved pretty dishes, and silverware and fine china teacups. I’m pretty sure I get this from my mom, who I’m sure learned it from her mother. When my Grandma was a young lady, living in a farm community, once a month the ladies would get together for a tea party. It was a way for the farmwives, some of whom were probably fairly isolated, to get out and see each other. Each month was hosted at a different farm, and each lady would bring her own teacup.
A few years ago, my Grandma downsized, and passed on her teacups to us- and a collection was born! With that humble start, I’ve started picking up pretty teacups at thrift stores, or antique sales, and I’ve been able to form quite a collection. I love to throw parties, and as my collection of fancy dishes has grown, I have tried to come up with ways to use them, rather than relegating them to the china cabinet. A few years ago, continuing in the tradition of my Grandma, the Ladies Afternoon Tea was born. It gives us a chance to use all the fancy dishes, and is a way for the ladies in my church to get together for an afternoon treat.
As I mentioned on Tuesday, we got rained out and we were forced to bring the party indoors this year. It was too bad that the party couldn’t be outside, as there is something so lovely about enjoying tea and sweets out of doors, but at least we do have a large living room, where we were able to spread out several tables and chairs for everyone to sit at.
When we were planning for this party, we counted up my cups, my moms, and my sisters and came up with 29 teacups! Needless to say, the ladies didn’t need to bring their own to this party! We did end up borrowing some cups from another lady, just in case we ran short, but fortunately we didn’t.
Every good party starts with an invitation. There is something so personal about an physical paper invitation, even if it isn’t handwritten, and I think it reminds people of the party more than a verbal invitation or email, which can be easily lost or overlooked. Also it is a great place to write the address or location of the party, because unless everyone is very familiar with the area, they might get lost en route!
For the party, the food was set up on the kitchen table, and the tea was set up on the kitchen counter, which was dressed up with a lace edged tablecloth, so it wouldn’t look so “kitcheny”. The peonies were blooming in full force the day of the party, so we had a gorgeous bouquet on the dessert table, and a weedy little bouquet of daisies and alfalfa collected from an “obliging field” for the tea table.
For food, we served a variety of desserts: Coconut Macaroons, Ganache Topped Chocolate Cakes, Lemon Drizzle Loaf, Coconut Cream and Dark Chocolate Squares, Pineapple and Pecan Cheesecake Tarts, and Toasted Almonds and Pecans. We chose such a large variety of desserts, including chocolate and non-chocolate, as we wanted to make sure there was something everyone would enjoy. (I mean, l love chocolate, and the entire menu could’ve consisted of different varieties of chocolate, but something I find hard to comprehend is that some people don’t like it 🙁 so we wanted to make sure everyone enjoyed the desserts!) Also, it was very fortunate that my best friend was visiting that week, so the day before the tea party, when we were baking, baking, baking, she was there to lend a hand 🙂
Overall, the party was quite the success- even though hours and days of work was consumed and destroyed in the space of an hour 😉 Ah that’s the best thing about parties right? It was a lovely time, spent with some very lovely ladies! As people were leaving, we had a lot of requests to do it again. Don’t worry I’ve already started planning for next year’s tea party!