Continuing our theme from last week’s article: Planning a Tea Party, let’s discuss how to host a tea party. Perhaps you bought that calligraphy pen and some fancy paper. You’ve been collecting teapots and teacups. You have gathered fine teas from your travels. And you have been getting your “bake on” during quarantine. You feel ready to invite people over for a tea party. But how do you actually host a tea party and how can we do this during the days of social distancing?
- Invite only your family to your home, those who have been in your inner circle during quarantine.
- Host a gathering on your porch or in your back yard.
If you are hosting a tea party with your inner circle, in your home: you are free to choose the dining room, kitchen, living room, or a lovely patio.
If you are hosting outdoors, with social distancing in mind, there are several unique ways to share tea with your friends:
- Waiting for the cool weather of fall will make hot tea even more welcoming outdoors.
- Set up several small tables for intimate friends to sit – six or more feet apart.
- Ask friends to bring their own picnic blanket. Provide a tray with teacups and saucers for each blanket, six or more feet apart from each other.
The presentation of your food is just as important as the taste when hosting a party. Spend time several days prior to your tea party planning how you will showcase the food you will be serving. Pay attention to serving trays, plates, and tablecloths. If ever there was a time for a white lacey doily, this is the time! So, ask your mother, your aunt, and your grandmother for their beautiful serving trays and a crochet lace doily or two for the occasion.
Countertops, buffet tables, and tall, narrow tables are excellent choices for displaying your finger-foods and desserts. In lieu of a linen tablecloth, you can use a flat sheet. Experiment with two sheets overlapping at an angle: choose a white sheet for the bottom and overlap a colorful sheet over the top.
If serving cupcakes, obtain a cupcake stand for an Instagram-worthy photo, beckoning all to take a bite. If you are unable to find a cupcake stand, place cupcakes in a row behind the food that you have lovingly set up. They will act as a border and create a memorable visual for your guests.
Use glass jars to display your tea choices for all to see. Add loose-leaf tea or beautiful tea sachets into individual mason jars. Tie a ribbon or piece of twine around the rim of the lid. Label them with colorful sharpies. Line up tea jars by the stove or your electric tea kettle.
Place teacups and saucers on a porcelain, glass, or wood tray. Offer a variety of sweeteners, such as honey, raw cane sugar, white sugar cubes, and flavored tiny sugar balls, in small bowls on display. Pour milk choices into small glasses or carafes and label them to be respectful of those with allergies.
For more information on tea selections, finger-foods, sweeteners, and milks to offer at a tea party read Planning a Tea Party.
Whether your guests are outside social distancing or indoors, gathered around the kitchen, consider a co-host. Hosting solo can be more stressful than it needs to be. Having another person host alongside you will ensure preparations can happen smoothly, while you can greet your guests and remain sociable. If the co-host is your partner, the two of you may be able to effortlessly flow between the roles of chef and host throughout the party.
Your guests have arrived!
The time has come to enjoy the day you have been working hard to create. Hopefully, you had time to shower and prepare yourself for the party, as your guests have. Now take a deep breath, switch gears from the preparation, and go into the mode of enjoying the company of friends.
Tip: Having music in the background will fill awkward silences as the first guests arrive.
Invite guests on a tour of your home or yard, showing them the facilities and where to lay their bags and wraps.
Have pitchers of cold water with glasses in several areas so guests can help themselves. Slices of citrus or cucumbers with mint will liven up basic water offerings.
Once all guests have arrived, discuss the tea selection to gather interest in select varieties. Either make individual teapots for each guest/couple or make several big teapots of one tea at a time for a sampling of each tea.
Different tea varieties are best steeped at different amounts of time. Use a timer for a precise preparation of each tea to minimize the bitter taste of over-brewing.
Allow guests to add their sweetener of choice and milk if desired.
While the tea is being made, guests could help themselves to a plate of delicacies from your beautifully decorated table, taking them to their seats.
Sit and enjoy together
Do not be the host who is constantly up walking around serving others. Sit down with your guests and socialize. We all deserve this break in time to sit among our friends. Sip and talk and eat and laugh together. Don’t fret over the details anymore. Let it all go and enjoy the moment together.
Your party will not turn out as you planned and imagined. It will be what it is. And I’ve noticed in life, the moments I cherish the most are the ones I never saw coming. The events that turned out differently than I had imagined are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most.
Trust Your Gut, Know Your Gut and Meditative State of Mind can be purchased through Amazon. For more information on You, Me and Uni, check out the website, created by Master Herbalist, Jennifer Vollbrecht. Browse the herbal tea articles on the site for more tips on the healing benefits and uses for herbal tea.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden
Freelance writer and editor at Walden Writes For Women, in Gainesville, Florida.