Celebrating My Biggest Tea Party Ever - Celebrating Life with Paula Blog at Allrecipes.com - 301782

Celebrating Life with Paula

Celebrating My Biggest Tea Party Ever 
Apr. 29, 2013 8:13 am 
Updated: May 9, 2013 10:56 am

Anyone who has read my blogs knows that I LOVE tea parties. I can make any excuse to have one - having girlfriends over for a relaxing lunch, celebrating a family member's birthday, honoring my mother on Mother's Day, even feeding grandgirls after picking them up at school! I've also broken every "rule" and served everything from cucumber sandwiches to pizza to hot chocolate and called it a "tea party." The most people I've ever served at a tea party was 8. This past Saturday, I helped host a tea party for 135 ladies and served 4 courses. 

I am the leader of our Women's Ministry at my church...in name only because I have a fabulous committee of women who think and plan and take charge with me. But it was my brilliant idea (sarcasm intended) to have a spring tea party. It was a ton of work, but it was so much fun!

The first course was Strawberry Soup, served in small punch cups. Just enough for a taste, yet not enough to fill up on. (By the way, we had a good bit of this left over, so I took it home and added sugar, whipping cream, and eggs and turned it into strawberry ice cream! I took it to a small group dinner and served it for dessert.) 

The second course was sandwiches and fruit. Different ladies were responsible for coming up with the recipes and making them. We tried to have varying breads and shapes for each sandwich - the chicken salad was served on croissants, the cucumber sandwiches were made on white rounds, the pimiento cheese was made on heart shaped honey wheat, and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were served on white triangles. PB&J at a tea party? Yes, we had about 35 little girls there with their mothers. The fruit was cantaloupe chunks and grapes. 

The third course was scones and devonshire cream. We served Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Scones. Not quite the shape and height of regular scones. I think because we made so many, the butter softened up and caused them to flatten out. But they were delicious, nonetheless. 

The fourth course of desserts was made up of Brownie Bites (which we bought at Sam's), bought Danish Wedding Cookies, and Lemon Curd Tarts. 

The beverages we served were Earl Grey hot tea and cold Raspberry Lemonade. 

We set up 18 tables, used yellow cloth tablecloths, and used our church's punch cups, clear glass plates, clear goblets, and silverware. We borrowed all the teacups, teapots, 3-tiered stands, platters, and footed cake plates from everybody we could find! Each table setting had different teacups. Our intent was to NOT match. And then each table also had different set-ups for the sandwiches. Some tables had the 3-tiered stands; others had a large platter with a footed cake plate or two on top of it. In the end, every table was different, but the entire room was beautiful! When the ladies walked in, they were all so surprised at how elaborate and lovely it all was. 

We ate well, had good conversation, and heard an encouraging speaker. In days to come, I hope our ladies will remember this tea as a "Proper Tea." What's a Proper Tea, you ask? Winnie the Pooh is the one who defined it: "A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards."

Apr. 29, 2013 8:20 am
What a beautiful event. I hope this becomes a church tradition.
Apr. 29, 2013 8:23 am
Just lovely!
Apr. 29, 2013 8:26 am
Great blog Paula!
Apr. 29, 2013 8:56 am
Great blog, lovely photos, The first name of your Church, (Broadway) is the name of the area I live in. Not New York, though, Nova Scotia. :O)
Apr. 29, 2013 8:57 am
What a nice day you had. I have never thought to have a Tea Party but you have given me an idea. Everything looked so pretty. I am glad it was such a success and that you had fun! ;)
Apr. 29, 2013 9:09 am
Marie C - Let my feet recover and then I'll think about making it a tradition. Ha! I do know one thing, though. If we do it next year, I need MORE ladies helping. I learned a lot with this one!
Apr. 29, 2013 9:10 am
Heather and B.D. Weld - Thank you so much. I wish I had taken more photos, but I just ran out of time and the photo taking had to stop.
Apr. 29, 2013 9:14 am
manella - I don't really know where the name of my church came from. I heard at one time that the street it used to be on was one of the broadest in that part of the city at that time. I don't know for sure. But I have thought it odd because of the part in Scripture that talks about the broad way vs. the narrow way. Ha!
Apr. 29, 2013 9:18 am
joey - You MUST have a tea party with Madeline! She would love it. I served pizza and chips at a tea party one time with my granddaughter. I just make sure I put everything on pretty plates and even serving dishes. I even have one grandson who asks for tea parties (probably because his sister does). I served him hot chocolate (well, warm chocolate) in his sippy cup :)
Apr. 29, 2013 9:26 am
Congrates on what looks and sounds like a super day. Glad all worked well and everyone had a great time.
Apr. 29, 2013 9:40 am
You've really given me an idea here. That is dangerous at best, but I'm a risk taker! My men's group hosts a men's breakfast on the first Saturday of each month. It needs that little extra thought going into it that your tea party had. Sadly, most men are like, "Give me bacon and get out of my way!"
Apr. 29, 2013 10:03 am
It sounds lovely! I would have enjoyed myself if I had come, I'm sure!
Apr. 29, 2013 1:10 pm
Paula, you bring all the gracious, Southern hospitality, ladies societies of great novels to life with your tea parties. They are elegant without being stuffy. Really, really fun. Thank you so much for sharing.
Apr. 29, 2013 1:25 pm
What a fun event! I'm sure it was enjoyed by all - young and old alike! It all sounds so wonderful. Wish I could have gone.
Apr. 29, 2013 2:14 pm
Nadine- Thanks for stopping by. It WAS a super day!
Apr. 29, 2013 2:16 pm
Doc, I can't wait to hear what you come up with for a men's breakfast! You know, real men do eat quiche...maybe some bacon quiche?
Apr. 29, 2013 2:18 pm
sueb - Wouldn't it be fun to have an AR round-up tea? But until then, invite some friends over and have one yourself!
Apr. 29, 2013 2:22 pm
BigShotsMom - What a compliment! Thank you! I love taking a vacation to see an old Southern mansion and especially the dining room, kitchen, and butlers pantry. Usually the guided tours won't let me stay in each room long enough to really take it all in.
Apr. 29, 2013 2:23 pm
Mother Ann - I wish you could have come too. You should have especially seen the little girls. Many of them wore their Easter dresses and hats. And one little girl even had on gloves! It was fun.
Apr. 29, 2013 2:43 pm
Thank you for sharing Paula! I've always liked the idea of a tea party. I love that all the tables were different, makes things interesting. I'm thinking a tea party may be in order for my mom on Mother's Day. I think she would love it. :)
Apr. 29, 2013 6:21 pm
K-dub - Please let me know if you decide to do the tea party for your mom for Mother's Day. I think she would love it!
Apr. 29, 2013 8:48 pm
Paula-how wonderful! I love all the different sandwiches and the lovely clear dishes! The little girls all dressed up in their Sunday Best must of been a lovely sight! Great job Paula!
Apr. 30, 2013 5:17 am
Lela - It was just a lovely day! Thanks for reading and commenting.
Apr. 30, 2013 8:47 am
What a lovely idea! I think i will suggest it to our church women's ministry. Can you come?
Apr. 30, 2013 9:30 am
We did this at our church also last spring. We wore our Sunday best & even wore hats & had a hat contest. The menu was similar to yours. The scones were baked at the church beforehand by a group responsible for that part of the tea, so that was fun too. Everyone had a great time.
Apr. 30, 2013 9:53 am
coloradocookie - I'd love to come! Thank you for the invitation :) Seriously, suggest having a tea party. Your ladies will thoroughly enjoy it. I can't tell you how many times I heard our ladies say they were pleasantly surprised at how elegant and nice it was.
Apr. 30, 2013 9:54 am
Mimi - I wish I had thought of a hat contest! What a great idea!
Apr. 30, 2013 12:51 pm
Paula we had our 4th church tea last week. We did a hat contest which was a lot of fun. We asked everyone to decorate a hat and gave prizes for the most creative and certificates for nearly all of the hats. The food was devoured! I jokingly call the ladies locusts! We had decorated hat boxes as center pieces and made holders for a hat display on the food table. I wish I could show you how much fun we had but I forgot my camera! I did a talk on the Language of Flowers and had each hat box decorated with a Tussie-Mussie. The ladies left with smiles so I know we did well.
Apr. 30, 2013 2:13 pm
Reen - You have given me some great ideas for next year's tea! I love the hat boxes as centerpiece idea. If you find that someone else took photos, I would love to see them. Thanks so much for commenting.
Apr. 30, 2013 3:15 pm
Tea party queen! :)
Apr. 30, 2013 4:01 pm
Kim - Ha! I don't know about that, but I sure do enjoy tea parties. They are so relaxing and make me feel like a time traveler.
Apr. 30, 2013 5:13 pm
Love tea parties!!! I really like that you all used mismatched sets. Probably so cute!!!
May 1, 2013 5:43 am
The mismatched sets were beautiful! One lady told me she went around looking at all the tables just to see the different teacups.
May 1, 2013 2:32 pm
Paula I forgot to tell you what we served. Egg bakes cut into small squares, raisin scones, apricot orange scones, crescents with chicken salad, wheat bread cut into heart shapes with egg salad, ham salad on a cream bread, banana nut bread with cinnamon honey butter, orange zest and honey butter, raisin bread with cream cheese,Boston cream pie cupcakes,lavender cookies, raspberry cookies and coffee, tea and lemonade. The reason that we had such a variety is because I never turn down help. If someone asked if they could help, I said sure what do you love to make? I have a collection of 30 pedestal cake plates, so we used a lot of my antique trays,ect. Now I will need some help coming up with lots of Valentine/heart foods since I just volunteered to take the February meeting!!(as well as next year's tea in April!
May 1, 2013 4:23 pm
Oh, Reen - I'm so glad you came back to tell me the menu! It all sounds delicious. I know what you mean about providing so much from your own stuff. For our tea, I provided 32 teacups/saucers plus quite a few cake stands, tiered plate holders, and large platters. I do think you're smart for getting the February meeting. It shouldn't be hard to come up with Valentine themed foods. Please be sure to post here and tell me what you end up doing for both meetings. I'd love to know.
May 2, 2013 6:17 am
How very very pretty Paula! I'm glad you had such a good time. I wanted to thank-you again for the tea recipes you suggested when I requested them the other day. I've tested what I'm going to use this time and they were fabulous (having our Tea Party next week.) Love the curry chicken salad...Wow! I also love mismatched tea cups and collect them periodically. Keep doing what you do because you do it so well. :)
May 2, 2013 6:36 am
Seeker - Thank you! I'm glad you liked the curried chicken salad. Isn't it the best? I would never ever have thought to put curry in chicken salad. In fact, I was really leery of it the first time I tried it. Be sure to let me know all about your tea party and how it goes.
May 2, 2013 5:36 pm
That was such a nice blog, Paula. It brought me back to my days as captain of the coffee hours my church used to hold once a month. It also brought back memories of when I was in charge of the reception for the First Communion ceremony. Thanks, Paula!
May 2, 2013 7:14 pm
mebyrne - Memories are great, aren't they? Sounds like you have some good ones. Thanks for commenting.
May 3, 2013 6:55 am
This looks like it was a lot of fun with lots of good food! That's a nice tradition to establish.
May 4, 2013 1:41 pm
Thanks, wisweetp. It was fun. And now that I'm a week out, I am seriously considering making it a tradition. But it took a week :)
May 8, 2013 5:19 am
That sounds wonderful!!
May 8, 2013 5:21 am
I've never had strawberry soup before, either. The sandwiches sound so delicious....the whole post made my mouth water and yearn for a tea party. I love them!!
May 9, 2013 10:56 am
Thought I would post here about our tea party as you requested. The weather was perfect and there's something so special about the feel of a tea that soothes the soul (as you know.) We didn't have nearly the size of the one you had, but the new recipes were appreciated by all. Found a violet (flower) tea cup and saucer to join my collection the other day. Paula I found a pic of a green-tea cupcake the other day on Pinterest. It looked absolutely beautiful. Think I will check out making one sometime. So glad your party was wonderful. Thanks for asking about mine. :)
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About Me
I'm a wife, mother of 2, and grandmother of 6. I love to cook. I especially like to cook new and different recipes. I don't like to have the same meals week after week. My husband has decided it really doesn't matter whether he likes a new recipe or not because he won't see it again for a very long time anyway!
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook entrees and desserts. I like preparing good, down-to-earth cooking. I also decorate cakes, mostly for the grandchildren now.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Holidays bring out the traditions: chocolate chip cheese ball; crockpot chicken and dressing; and broccoli salad, sweet potatoes and butterscotch pie handed down from past generations. Another thing that must be tradition in my family: we all make new recipes when we have company! My mother, sister, daughter, and I all do this. My daddy never understood why we would risk making something we had never made before. Actually, none of us has ever served company a new recipe that didn't taste good.
My cooking triumphs
Cake decorating: wedding cakes, bridal and baby shower cakes, birthday cakes: Little Pirate, Cinderella, Elmo, Strawberry Shortcake. My friends call me Betty Crocker. When my daughter got married, she had a bridal shower where the guests were asked to write something on an apron. My best friend told her if she needed a recipe or help in the kitchen to ask her mother. If she needed a good place to eat out, ask her.
My cooking tragedies
A 4 tier huge wedding cake that fell apart at 2:00am. Thankfully, I still had time to salvage the cake.
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