By: Bonnie Helander, Nancy Jaworski, and Paul-Ann Gray
Photos By: Bonnie Helander
It’s springtime! Why not gather your friends for an afternoon tea party of fun, frolic and a little madness in the garden? Recently party planner, Paul-Ann Gray of The Party Divas, Nancy Jaworski, My Chef Nancy, and Bonnie Helander, gardening writer for Fayette Woman, joined forces to host a tea party in Bonnie’s garden. Here are a few tips to organize your own garden party with friends.
Garden Tips from Bonnie:
- Host a party you can handle. Decide on an event that fits your style and comfort level. You might enjoy a large gathering or might prefer to stick to a more intimate grouping of friends.
- Make your guests comfortable by entertaining where you have shade trees or an awning, comfortable seating and pillows, and easy access to bathroom facilities. If it is hot, provide hand-held fans and bug spray.
Use cut flowers to match your color theme. Vases of flowers on the table add to the natural outside vibe. Add some fragrant flowers to the vases or plant in nearby garden beds.
- Enjoy some outdoor activities. Even guests at formal events love to mingle and play games. If you have the room, set up badminton, croquet or bocce ball games to add a touch of fun.
- Have a Plan B. Nature is unpredictable and you will have to consider that the day of your party may arrive to inclement weather. If it rains, you will need a contingency plan in place like a tent set up or the ability to move the party inside. It’s the chance you take when planning a garden party but the rewards are worth it!
Party Planning Tips from Paul-Ann:
Invitations express the excitement of your event, so be creative. A hat-shaped invitation will let your
friends know that fabulous hats are essential attire.
- Local yard sales and thrift stores are a great hunting ground for colorful teapots and tea sets for your party. Since this is a Mad Hatter (crazy) Tea Party, there is no need for the dishes to match!
- A quick trip to the fabric store can give you inspiration. A yard and a half of check fabric is used to create a contrasting table runner. Colorful scrapbooking paper makes whimsical placemats, in place of fancy chargers.
- Use teapots as vases to display brightly colored daisies and other blooms. You can also use tea pots as pedestals for your platters. I love white platters because they can be decorated to match any theme, and they make average or store bought food look professional.
Menu Tips and Recipes from My Chef Nancy:
Select colorful, light and fresh finger food for your tea table. You may serve hot tea or iced tea depending on the weather.
Recipes from the Tea Party:
- Sundried Tomato and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
- Salmon Mousse Tartlets
- Queen of Hearts Tomato Tarts
- Cranberry Buttermilk Scones