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How to Throw a Tea Party, Part One

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So you want to throw a tea party?

Fabulous! I love tea parties. Whether it is a simple cup of tea and good conversation or a full-blown afternoon tea, sharing tea is one of my favorite ways to get to know a new friend or a whole group of friends. Some of my most meaningful life experiences have happened with a cup of tea in hand and a good friend sitting across the table. Without a doubt, one of the most important reasons for hosting a tea party is for the friendships. Friendships can grow and develop over a pot of tea in a very special way!

Hosting a tea party can be incredibly intimidating. But believe me when I say, it doesn't need to be! Over the next few weeks we are going to talk through the how and the why of hosting a tea party. 

For the sake of conversation, I am going to say that the reason you want to host a tea party is to grow friendships, spend time with loved ones, and enjoy a bit of peace. With that understanding, let's get down to the details of planning the actual party! There are a few things to be considered when you are beginning to plan a tea, but let's start with something simple. 

The first thing you need to decide is what you want your tea party to be centered aroundI tend to decide on a "theme" early on, and some of the questions that I ask myself when I'm going through that process are these:

Why am I hosting a tea party? Is it a bridal shower? A birthday party? When my guests walk in, what do I want them to see and to feel? Will it be bright and breezy, maybe a spring themed tea? More traditional? Cozy? Modern? 

If I choose to bend the whole party around a theme, that generally decides the style for me. For example, if I'm wanting to throw a Alice In Wonderland tea, I'll round up the most eclectic dishes I own and not worry much about matching all the dishes. However, if I want to host a more classic tea party, say for Christmas, I will most likely pull out my china and coordinate the extra dishes I use with my tea cups. 

My tea service is completely mismatched - mostly white and gold china, but I've got a few other beauties in there. (For the story on where my china set came from, check this out!) Because my tea service is mismatched, my tea parties can end up feeling less traditional and more eclectic. However, I love the challenge of finding a way to make the theme and dishes seem unbroken and continuous. 

For this time of the year, it's fairly easy for me. I love Christmas time and all the colors, smells, and decorations that go along with it. So, for me, hosting a tea party at Christmas time is very easy. Pine branches, pinecones, and jingle bells blend perfectly with my white and gold tea cups. I used a large red napkin edged with gold bedazzled trim to make the china pop, and to pull out the gilding on the china. I also added a few dried oranges to the mix, just for fun! Maybe for you Christmas is stressful, so plan a winter tea in late January instead and use blue and silver accents. Do everything you can to make the tea planning process enjoyable for you. The more fun you have planning, the more fun the tea will be! 

If you don't have enough tea cups for everyone, don't let that stop you from having a tea party. I've been to a party where we each brought our favorite tea cup and saucer with us, and then shared a story surrounding the tea cup. Not only was that a sweet way to learn a little more about that group of women and their lives, it took a fair amount of work off of the hostess. She only needed to provide teapots and serving dishes. What I'm trying to say is this, if you want to share your heart, home, and life do not let not having a matching tea set stop you! Invite everyone to bring their favorite teacup or go search through a few antique stores - you never know what you're going to find!

As a side note, the picture frame was an antique store find - and isn't it just the best?!

So, step one in planning a tea party is this: Pick a theme that is easy, enjoyable, and accessible for you. Find inspiration in nature and the season of the year you are in, the current holiday, or the reason you are hosting the tea.

Over the next few weeks, we'll be looking at some of the reasons for hosting a tea party, some potential tea time menu options. Stay tuned!! 

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