Tea parties, from the very rustic to the frou frou formal, have been a part of our family right from the very beginning. When my husband and I first married, I left balmy “Hotlanta,” Georgia for the frozen Tundra in Minnesota. Tea party with a man? Yes! Cozying up under a wool blanket, holding mugs of steaming Good Earth Original Spice tea, and reading Sherlock Holmes mystery stories aloud is a manly tea time. Tea time is also finger sandwiches, scones with lemon curd, shortbread with chocolate, dressed in hats and finery.
So, how to do a tea party? A tea party does not need to be formal. No holding up the pinkie finger. Don’t fear the intrusion of the Manners Police, although tea time is an ideal time to help your children practice proper manners. Tea party? In fact, you don’t even have to serve tea! You could do coffee, sparkling water with fruit juice, cocoa. Think simple. Open your fridge and see what you have.
A simple tea party menu:
*fresh fruit, perhaps grapes or apple slices
*A sandwich cut into triangles with the crusts removed and filled with:
peanut butter and honey
cream cheese with thin sliced cucumber or bell pepper
*A Victoria sandwich: slice of pound cake spread with fruit conserves (I use seedless raspberry) garnished with a dollop of whipped cream on top
*piece of chocolate (I like the Dove chocolates)
See how easy? Set out a pretty plate, pretty napkin, pretty cup. Put on some beautiful music! Set the tone for a comfortable, relaxed, quiet conversation. The goal here is making your guests feel comfortable, not having everything perfect.
Not confident about what you have to set out? Plates are easy enough to find. I’ve purchased odds and ends of pretty plates at garage sales, thrift shops, antique shops for a couple of bucks. TJ Maxx and Ross are good sources for pretty dishes, too. Cups might require a little more looking, but they’re out there. Napkins? If you don’t have cloth napkins, you can always use the nicer white paper napkins from the grocery store. Or splurge on some pretty printed ones from the party section.
The goal here is to bring beauty, beauty through food, conversation, and music.
Which brings me to music for a tea party
You want music which creates a relaxed mood and doesn’t interfere with conversation. Dance and rhythm music can be distracting.
Here are selections which I use:
Vivaldi, “The Four Seasons”
Erik Satie, “Gymnopedie No. 3”
Debussy, whether as solo piano or harp. I love “Clair de Lune,” and the Girl with the Flaxen Hair (English translation of name)
Bach’s Air on a G String
Bach’s solo cello suites
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
Schubert’s keyboard works, the “Impromptus”
Along a different vein, but just as lovely is the soundtrack to “Sabrina,” with one particularly lovely piano with orchestra theme.
For further ideas, check out the list of selections in my blog “Music for Special Event: Solo Violin”
https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/tea-party-music-tea-party/id398359544 iTunes has playlists!
Looking for further ideas? Check out my other tea related blog entries and create special memories with loved ones.