Party in the Garden: Tea Parties Party in the Garden: Tea Parties
There are various kinds of garden structures that are geared for backyard entertaining. Patios are quite common, but there are many uncommon designs. You may install a brick patio or a cement one designed with mosaic work. Wooden patios are also popular. If you plan to have large parties, you will want as large a patio as you have space for with built in planters and plenty of comfortable seating. Additional garden structures to consider are pergolas, decks and gazebos. These add charm and elegance to any landscape and your guests will certainly admire them.
For large parties, consider renting or purchasing an open-sided tent to provide a canopy over your guests. Many such rental stores also provide tables and chairs. Generally, these are quite plain so you may want to spice them up with floral tablecloths. If your garden is an Oriental style garden, than naturally you will want an Oriental tea party. Choose white or red fabric tablecloths. You may want to decorate these with Chinese or Japanese characters. If you decide to make seat cushions these could easily be given to guests as favors or you could save them for your next party.
Your table centerpieces will be important. It makes sense to use flower arrangements from your garden, but consider making some trips to the flea market for old china teapots. These can easily be found and they make lovely vases. If they are chipped, so much the better - they will be considerably less expensive. Your best teapots should be used to serve the tea - if you are serving hot tea. For place settings, consider small china cups and saucers. These too could be given as favors.
Other pretty tea party favors might include vintage floral handkerchiefs filled with herbal teas. Small baskets would also suffice. You might even offer your floral arrangements to particular guests by making a game of the selection, for example - your first guest to R.S.V.P; the first guest to spill their cup; a guest who is wearing something floral, etc. Baskets filled with some of your garden’s bounty also make for nice attendance gifts.
There are many choices when it comes to what to serve. Consider several tea choices - both hot and cold is a nice option.
For hot teas consider:
- orange Pekoe
For ice teas consider:
Be sure to have lemon, milk, sugar and ice on hand. If you do not use spoons, consider special tea stirrers that may also be given as party favors.
When it comes to food, muffins or dessert foods go well. Finger sandwiches or slices of vegetable pizza may be chosen. Fresh fruit and vegetables are a must as well. Consider some specialty items like strawberry-lemon balm butter, jam tarts, brown sugar scones, lavender sorbet, etc. While a buffet is always acceptable, you may want to hire local high school kids to work as servers for you.
As for special entertainment, consider local talent to fill the niche - an aspiring violinist or singing quartet. Check with the high school or a church choir perhaps. See if a local theatre group has something they might like to perform for your group. Or, check your local library for lists of their performers. Some interesting choices might be performances of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, a presentation of Victorian table silver, a garden lecture or some other relevant presentation for your group.
Other odds and ends to consider are invitations. Making your own adds a special appeal. Choose a handmade paper filled with embedded flowers and stems with attached vellum noting the particulars of your party. Photography is also an important consideration if you want to document a special event. Finally, be sure your garden is in tip-top shape before you lead your guests on a garden walk. A welcoming garden will provide a stunning backdrop for all your entertainment events.