I love the attention to detail that an elaborate event requires. I love the special china and silver that is used. I love how excited guests become when a paper invitation arrives via the postal service. I love preparing the time-honored, precisely-garnished tea foods. I love reaching for excellence and beauty in all my afternoon tea preparations. I love spending a calm, elegant afternoon with people I cherish.
Like the rest of humanity, I am not getting younger. I have to pick and choose where to spend my energy. I’ve conceded that I need more help in bringing my vision of a beautiful tea party to life. Luckily, I am blessed with the most talented, cooperative, and willing friends imaginable.
Collaboration, letting go of strict control of every detail, has brought not only more enjoyment of the process but has made room for the happy accident and has allowed fresh perspectives to breathe new life into the event.
Recently, we held an afternoon tea party for eight. I partnered with several friends to bring our springtime celebration to fruition. Suzi and I chose pink and green as the color scheme for our tabletop, in part because our china collection is slanted towards those springy colors.
In reviewing the list of tea things used for this party, I am again reminded of how very fortunate I am to be included in this group of friends who support my tea party activities. So many wonderful women have contributed to the collection of tea service equipment.
The basis of my and Suzi’s collection of tea things was handed down from mothers and grandmothers. Suzi has loved vintage china for many years before shabby chic became popular. We haunted a fantastic flea market in Santa Cruz where we scored many beautiful pieces. I did resist collecting tea cups for a long time because I had something specific in mind. After years of hunting, I found the pattern I’d been imagining, “Alice” from Laura Ashley. Though out of my price range at the time, Aunt Rose gifted me with many pieces of “Alice” for my college graduation. Other friends followed her lead, and I’ve been the loving guardian of the set for many years. Each time I take a piece out of the box, I’m still thrilled by this pattern. It has a charming floral motif in pinks, greens, and other springy colors. The “Alice” teapot and sugar and creamer set worked well with our spring theme.
With so much help in building this collection of tea things, “my” tea parties are always really “our” tea parties. Thank you, dear ladies, for making our tea parties such wonderful events.
- Yorkshire Gold hot tea
- Peach and orange mimosas by Peggy
- French sparkling lemonade
- Plated raspberry pecan salads with asparagus flans by Suzi and Kath
- A trio of tea sandwiches by Peggy
- Egg salad on dark rye with baby romaine, citrus aioli prawns with butter lettuce on light rye, and marinated cucumber with herbed cream cheese
- Lemon peel scones with lemon curd
- Mango-lime gelatin mold
- Embossed sugar cookies by Suzi
- Jam tarts by Merlina
- Drop cookies by Sheila
- Almond petit fours by Suzi and Kath