Finally I'm getting around to posting this.
I had a blast with the tea party. It was a lot of work but it really fun. I had about 12 adult ladies and 7 little girls. I tried to have everything done 15 minutes before they arrived and popped the scones in the oven as they came in the door. (I froze them earlier in the week-BIG help- and they have to be fresh out of the oven) I made them wait in the main living room until everyone arrived, then I read off some tea etiquette. They all had a laugh over that- we are countrified east Texans, most of us, there ain't no etiquette here :) Then I took them to the tearoom, here.
The lighting was much softer, but the flash on my camera you know, and I am not skilled with the camera at all. Everything, and I mean absolutely everything except the pink flowers on the tables and the favors was stuff I already had or borrowed. I had the tables, I borrowed my mom's tablecloths and teacups and all her decorative teapots. I borrowed my grandmother's teapots and some chairs from the church. The greenery I used was from our wedding! I bought pink twin sheets to place under the white lace tablecloths at $3 each, I bought 10 bunches of silk flowers at 84 cents each, 10 tiny glass bud vases for 97 cents each and a package of shower curtain rings. Guess what the lace thing hanging from the mantel is??? I want to see guesses in the comments :) I'll tell you later...
I wrapped the shower curtain rings in either ribbon or lace and hot glued bows or flowers on them. Then I put viva paper towels in them! The roses in the vases were from down the street- wild sweet roses- totally for free :) I brought the tea mix and explained what it was and passed it around so they could sniff it while the water came to a boil. I filled the serving teapots with hot water to 'preheat'. Then I put 6-7 teaspoons of loose tea in two teapots- some that weren't so pretty- allowed to steep 5 minutes, poured the hot water out of the pretty pots, then poured through a strainer into the pretty teapots. I poured everyone a cup of tea and passed the sugar cubes and half and half around. By the time everyone had they're tea fixed and started drinking it, the scones were done and I allowed everyone to fill their plates :) Here is the buffet table :
The breakdown- the table in the middle is our desk with a large board on top. A nice white tablecloth covers it all the way down to the floor. On either side are some side tables covered with a square of tea towel and topped with a sheer rosebud curtain. My husband decided to get involved and put those two sconces on either side of the picture, then to cover the cord he (yes he did it) taped flowers and vines (most from our wedding) all around it.
On the table is the mini quiches which I purchased and the chocolate petite fours on the bottom. I cut and washed tiny viola flowers from my flower bed and put them on top. Very cute and edible. There is the strawberry cake which no one ate because they ate too much!!! The bowl with a towel is waiting for the scones, there is a platter for the cheddar dill bread, strawberry and apricot jam, a bowl of creme fraiche, a crystal bowl of grapes, platter of lemon cookies and the small table on the far end had the sandwiches. Here is another picture at a different angle, after they had eaten :)
Here is my best dressed guest. (I forgot to get a picture of myself in my Regency gown, oops)
I hung up Leiah's baby quilt on the wall behind her. Our filing cabinet got covered with some rose print cloth I had laying around, a picture of a quilt, a teapot and a candle. The computer cabinet was covered with a tablecloth, then topped with a porcelain doll, a photo of my grandmother on her wedding day, a figure about mothers and candles. Amazing what you can do with stuff around the house.
The rest of my guests, well, most of them. I am awful at pictures people!! Everyone loved the special tea I had ordered, Rose Cream tea. I made 5 pots total. I had two creamer/sugar sets so we passed them around. I used sugar cubes and half and half. Everyone had a great time and really enjoyed themselves. They stayed a long time too! I am a little sad that we are moving because this room was so perfect for hosting tea. I am planning to get dh to make a fake mantel or shelf just so I can decorate it exactly like I did on the fireplace because I love it so much.
A bit of effort and creativity and you can have a lovely gathering :)
My niece that I babysit, Emily, 13 months old.
Sarah in her tea gown and 'matching' hat :)