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Mom and Me Afternoon Tea as featured on MSN

By: Martie Duncan

Special thanks: Historic Rucker Place

Remember when your mom did something special with just you and made a big fuss over it? The day my mom and I went to a fancy “dress up” afternoon tea is a still a very fond memory for me even though she made my hair look like a big doughnut on top of my head. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, why not host a Mom and Me tea party to make some memories of your own? This is a great party idea for mothers and daughters of all ages. A tea party isn’t expensive and the results can be priceless---the memories truly do last a lifetime. Take a look at these pictures we got from a tea party hosted by a women’s group. The annual event is designed to give busy mothers an opportunity to spend quality time with their young daughters. This family affair was a fashion affair, too. Guests arrived wearing color coordinated outfits complete with hats for the Saturday afternoon soiree. No matter if your party is for a big crowd or your own family, here’s all you need to know to host a tea party. This is also a great theme for a neighborhood party or fund-raiser for your local school or church.

The Food
A proper British tea includes both savory and sweet treats. Set a beautiful table with fine china and elegant 3-tiered trays. Menu items include tiny tea sandwiches, savory scones, and warm sweet scones served with butter, jam, and Devonshire cream. You can find Devonshire cream at upscale markets or British specialty stores. Petit fours, cookies, and other delicate cakes are always the finale of high tea. To make it easy for the children, use tea bags instead of loose tea. Include an assortment of flavored teas for the kids; they like fruit flavored or spice tea varieties. If you don’t want to make or bake yourself, buy everything you need at the bakery and grocery. Use an electric tea kettle to bring water to a boil quickly; it makes pouring the scalding water into your teapots much easier, too.

The Decorations
I always recommend using your food as decoration when you can to cut back on decorating expenses and this is a perfect time to do just that. Use tiered trays stacked with colorful cakes, cookies, and pretty sandwiches as centerpieces. You really don’t need anything more since there will be quite a lot loaded onto your tables. If you want to add flowers, use teacups or teapots instead of a vase for your arrangement or if you don’t have a lot of extra room, just place flowers directly on or under serving pieces.

The Entertainment
The hostesses for this party organized several fun games for all ages including a best hat contest with winners in biggest, most creative, best group, and most unusual hat categories. Prizes were tea sets, teapots, chocolates, iced cookies, and other tea accessories. Another game for all ages is “what’s in Mom’s purse?” This is a type of seated scavenger hunt. Unusual items are called out and the first person to dig the item out of their purse wins a prize. The typical movie stub and bank receipt were obviously easy finds, but I was shocked when moms actually pulled a map of Paris, a curling iron, an unused birthday card, and a pineapple “dum-dum” sucker out of their purses!

Great fun for a crowd of fifty or a group of four, this type of party can easily be used as a fund-raising event for a club, school, church or community or a fun Saturday activity for you and your favorite little girl.

Martie’s Party Tips

  1. This is a marvelous reason to break out the good china! A tea party isn’t terribly expensive and if you don’t feel like cooking, you don’t have to. With all of the great bakery and specialty items available at the grocery store, this party is a breeze.
  1. If you don’t have enough china, borrow from your friends and mix and match the patterns.
  1. Getting dressed up is half of the fun of this party. Invite guests to dress in their Sunday best and encourage them to go all out by holding a best hat contest. Award prizes to the adult and child winners.   
  1. Girls of all ages love a tea party so don’t leave out the little ones. Make sure to have a selection of decaffeinated fruit or spice teas for the children and include some sandwich choices the littlest guests will actually eat.
  1. A tiered tray is the customary way to present treats at a tea party. Fill the tiers with lots of sweet and savory choices. This isn’t a day you want to worry about calories, but do include a few healthy choices like fruit for those guests dedicated to eating healthy. If you don’t have room for a vase of flowers, simply place your flowers directly around or under serving pieces.

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Martie Duncan offers ideas for affordable parties, weddings and entertaining and her tips for fabulous but frugal parties can be found on MSN.
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