Inspiration can come from anywhere. And, I now believe that if you want it bad enough, an occasion arises too. Every year, my sister and I throw my mom a party for her and her friends. To stay away from the boring and the cliched, we try to attempt something new and exciting every year. This year, we threw her a ’45 & Fabulous Tea Party’. We called 20 odd friends of hers to celebrate with tea and cake to our newly done up home. While it was an unforgettable experience because of the people and the occasion, it was also an effortless party to throw. We actually spent time with our guests versus standing near the stove. That, people, is an accomplishment. Too often, we fret over menus and other details and forget that we are throwing a party to enjoy ourselves with our friends.
The menu: We wanted to keep the menu fairly light and simple. It had to match the tone of the party (aka finger food!) and the time too – tea time isn’t meant for big meals! I’ll be posting the recipes over the course of next few weeks.
1. Banana Pudding Parfaits
3. Earl Grey Tea Cookies
4. Brownie Bites (using this recipe here)
1. Chicken Strips w. Mustard Dip
2. Caprese Salad
3. Cream Cheese Sandwiches
4. Mezze Platter (falafel bites, hummus and pita strips)
Party Planning Notes:
I’m not saying I’m the party planning expert. These tips, however, saved my day. I hope, in some way, they are useful to you too:
1/Inspiration: This was the only stage that I had some difficulty in — only because I had to narrow it down! There is a plethora of party planning ideas on Pinterest. Ultimately, I used a combination of ideas from Amy Atlas’s book and Pinterest. However, since we live in apartments, space can be a constraint. But, if we learn to use space effectively, there is little to stop you.
2/ Theme & Colors: Right from the invites to serve ware, this will help you cut out all the unnecessary choices. Because our living room in done up in purple and white, I wanted a complementing color – pink! As you can see, its used on the invites and on the serve ware. This helps in achieving a uniformed look.
3/ Plan ahead: I can’t tell you how much this cliched phrase helped me. Planning the menu, guest list and shopping list are the obvious but I also planned serve ware, crafts (you’ll read about them soon!) and table and seating arrangement. Little things go a long way – flowers, candles and anything you can add to the table that will enhance the aesthetics. Since we store a lot of the fancy cutlery in the cupboard lofts, I picked them out ahead of time, in keeping with the theme and had them removed. I also planned the menu and split it into things that needed to be done just before and ahead of time. It also helps to keep in mind your guests’ tea/coffee preferences and plan the flow, if necessary. It’s not always possible to keep re-heating the water etc so I thought it best to create a DIY tea/coffee station of sorts. For tea drinkers, I arranged assorted tea bags in a bowl and kept a kettle nearby so they could help themselves. Similarly, for coffee drinkers, I made a fresh pot of coffee and had steamed milk, sugar and syrups arranged in a tray so they could make their own. As for juices and sodas, they were stored in the fridge (it was a hot day!) and removed and served as requested.
The birthday girl was delighted! My mom isn’t a big eater and finger food is perfect for her. Apart from this, we served a selection of tea, coffee, juice and sodas. The party was certainly an unforgettable experience. Stay tuned for upcoming recipes!
P.S – Visit my Pinterest boards, won’t you? I promise you’ll be inspired.