I recently attended a free tea class (my second one) put on by a lady that used to have a tea parlor. She closed down her tea parlor, but now has a booth at a local indoor antique market (Antique Trove) and has an online tea business. It's called An Afternoon To Remember.
This class was about hosting a Spring tea party and how to make molded sugars. I will definitely attempt the molded sugars and post about those another time. I thought I would share a few tips from the class.
~ You need to be very organized when planning a tea - planning out menus, schedule, items needed, etc. I have to do this when I host or help with a tea or I will definitely forget something! You need to plan out the smallest details so that you can make as many foods as possible and do the decorating ahead of time.
~ Popular foods are sandwiches, soups, salads, scones, cakes, cookies, etc. The key is to make everything in mini portions! And try using a variety of shapes and garnishes to create interest. Good ideas for mini servings: use teacups for soups/salads or even egg cups with mini spoons, use mini cupcake and mini bundt cake pans. Food is more fun (and you can have more!) when it's tiny!
~ You can be very creative when it comes to table decor. Use layers and different colors - they don't even need to match exactly! A great idea that was shared was using a shower curtain as the bottom tablecloth layer (inexpensive). You could even use sheets or quilts in your layering. Use an assortment of dishes - you can find great inexpensive dishes at dollar stores, discount stores, thrift stores, and yard sales. Use cloth napkins and find napkin-folding instructions online or use creative napkin holders like sprigs of rosemary.
~ Include a party favor for each guest. This could be as simple as a teabag and a chocolate, or my fave - a teacup and saucer (from thrift stores) to keep, or homemade gifts, or a recipe from the party. You could even get the tiny little spoons and tie a little ribbon on the end and give one to each lady to keep.
~ It was suggested that you should serve 3 kinds of tea at every party. The first is a decaf tea as some people cannot have caffeine. The second is a flavored tea as that's what the majority of the people enjoy. And the third is a plain tea (like English breakfast or similar) for the more "hard core" tea drinkers. You should plan for about 3 cups of tea per person. Did you know that you should keep your loose tea stored in tins, not in plastic bags (some places ship it that way)? Apparently the tea will lose flavor in the bags!
Those are a few of the things I learned at the class (and some of my own advice). I hope you found a helpful tidbit or two and feel inspired to host your own Spring Tea!
If you have a chance, do stop by An Afternoon To Remember and check out her tea, cookbooks, and gifts! Her local tea classes are free (get there very early or you'll be standing for an hour like me - even though I was a few minutes early!) and she hopes to have some online classes soon. You can get the class info by signing up for e-mail notices.
Have a lovely day friends!