Tea Party Planner
The following suggestions are written for those hosting a fairly large tea party. We’ve focused on the details that, if you plan well ahead of time, will make your event run more smoothly. This is especially important when planning events for young children. Being prepared . . . even overly prepared, if there is such a thing . . . gives you the best opportunity to enjoy the day.
1. Do you have a theme? It’s not necessary, but it can add to the fun! This list is included to inspire your own creativity. The theme can be expressed in decorations, food and activities. It may encourage dress-up and also be a bit educational.
- Winter Holiday Elegant Tea
- Holiday Comfy Tea – A respite for the season
- Mother-Daughter Tea Party
- Ladies Of The Family (all ages)
- Birthday Tea
- Garden Party
- Everything Flowers Tea
- Rose Tea Party
- Spring Fling
- Musical Tea Party
- Dance Tea Party
- Ladybug Tea
- Teddy Bear Tea
- Circus Tea Party
- “Little Women” – Literary Theme
- Jane Austen – Author Theme
- Beatrix Potter – Peter Rabbit Tea
- Princess Party
- Disney Princesses Reunion
- Samuari Warrior Tea (for boys)
- Cowboy & Cowgirl Tea Party
- Pirate Tea
- Halloween Witches & Goblins Tea
- Mad Hatter & Alice Tea
- Fancy Nancy Tea
- Wizard of OZ Party
- Mary Poppins Tea
- Harry Potter Party
- Zoo Animal Tea Party
- Fairy Tale Dress-Up Tea
- Valentine Tea
- “In The Pink” Get Well tea
- Japanese Tea Ceremony-Simplified
- Pajama Tea Party
- Dora, The Explorer Tea
- Hobbit Tea Party – “Second Breakfast”
- Snow Tea – Celebrate the winter
- A Just-Because Tea – for no special reason whatsoever
2. Plan your main menu items first. Consider serving and decorating foods that you can incorporate into the theme, if you use one.
3. Plan where and how you will serve the tea and food.
- Will it be a buffet or will everything be served on the table?
- If something on your menu plan presents a problem with serving it (such as keeping something warm or cold) consider changing that item to make your serving easier.
- Do you have enough people to help? Arrange for an extra pair of helping hands in case of an emergency or someone else not showing up?
- How many people can you comfortably seat and serve according to your plan?
- Are any of your guests likely to bring a surprise guest at the last minute? Will you have room? Do you have to make your invitation clear about the size of the party?
- If you’re serving a large crowd, consider how you will serve the tea. It can be a bit tricky to serve hot tea to a crowd – especially if you are offering several choices.
4. Prepare a guest list and send invitations (mail, email or phone) about three weeks before your party day.
5. Give yourself enough time to prepare your decorations and plan how they will be hung and/or placed. Do you need help? How much can you do in advance? A list can be a great asset. Schedule the day, time and helpers you might need.
6. Have you made the recipes before? Do you need to practice? Are there items that can be made ahead and frozen? Will you have some of the guests bring their specialties? If so, is it a balanced menu with plenty of variety?
7. Prepare a seating chart for the guests, another detailed plan showing where the prepared food will be kept prior to serving, and, if you plan to serve a buffet, make a simple map of the table indicating where each dish will be placed.
8. Do an advance walk-through with those who will be helping you.
9. Post a schedule for your tea party including who is assigned each task and the time it should happen. Make sure it is easily seen, perhaps in a couple of places. For large events, have one person tasked with keeping everyone on track.
10. Party favors? Some of your decorations can double as small, take-home gifts. It might be something as simple as the place card with the guest’s name. Or, if you served your own special tea blend, package a small amount for each guest.
11. Photos of your event are important. Make sure everyone is included so that you can send copies. If the tea party becomes an annual event, the photos are important reminders of how you organized and will help you make decisions about what to do differently.
12. If you think that you will have annual or regular tea parties, consider what equipment and decorations can be used again. If you’re on a budget, this will make every year a little easier and more economical.
13. Plan to have fun. If you have organized well, the fun naturally follows. (Especially for children’s parties.) Enjoy yourself so much that you’re excitedly anticipating the next tea even before the current one has ended.
14. Clean Up! It’s nice to have a few designated volunteers (or hire an assistant) who have not been on their feet for the whole tea party to come in at the end to tidy up.