Sorry if I’m all about ‘Alice in Wonderland’ today… but WHO ISN’T?! Are you planning on throwing a Mad Hatter Tea Party yourself? Check out these great tips to help get you started.
- Think Fun, Not Fussy. Create a chic, relaxed atmosphere with comfortable chairs, a central table, brightly colored fresh flowers and an invitation that sets the tone. Traditional tea time is 4 p.m., but schedule your party for whatever works best for you and your guests anytime between 3-6 p.m.
- Make Your Table Talk-Worthy. Choose tight, floral arrangements in low vases to make conversation across the table easy. You might even consider a teapot as a floral vase. Bring the theme to life with colorful linens and accents. What does Mad Hatter and whimsical mean to you? Gather the basics – teapot, teacups and saucers, luncheon size plates (your salad plates are perfect), a small milk jug, a sugar bowl (preferably with sugar cubes), and a plate for lemon slices. Your flatware should be set with forks on the left, knives and spoons on the right with knife blade pointed toward the plate.
- Mix and Match Like Mad. Your place settings need not match. Consider the possibilities of some of these Wedgwood patterns:
- Let Loose with the Tea. Good selections of loose teas (preferable to teabags) are essential. If you are not steeping your tea in the teapot, provide individual infusers (hollow, silver balls with holes on a thin chain) to pack loose tea into. Begin the brewing process with cold, filtered or bottled (not tap) water. Did you know that teabags were created more than 100 years ago as a way to send customers tea samples? Loose tea has been around for more than 5,000 years!
- Assemble Savory & Sweet. Savories are tiny sandwiches that can take on a multitude of ingredients – fill interesting breads with smoked salmon, egg salad or cucumbers and cream cheese. On the sweet side, scones and biscuits with plenty of jams and clotted cream and shortbread or simple cakes add a nice touch. Fanciful cupcakes with Alice in Wonderland designs can be a great signature take-home gift. Display sweets on a beautiful footed cake plate, an elegant tiered plate or any beautiful small tray.
- Pinkies Up! Lastly, although your pinkie does not have to be literally up, consider the following ideas when it comes to proper decorum: always serve from the right, take small sips of your tea and avoid slurping, and never overfill your plate. This is tea, not a meal.
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March 5, 2010