Planning a tea party

A baby shower tea party, 2009

As you know, I am the youngest of 6 daughters. My older sisters are all happily married with children, and the majority of them have full-time jobs.  Even though 2 of them don’t work full-time but part-time and volunteer, I consider each one of them to be Super Heros.  They are Wonder Women and Super Moms and  I aspire to be as balanced as they are some day.  They make meals for their families, pack their kids’ and husbands’ lunches, go to work or volunteer, take their kids to music and sports practice, help the kids with homework and extra curricular activities (suzuki music classes), and since most of them are spiritual they go to their respective places of worship at least once a week.  They have balance and the ones that work full-time especially, do not complain – they just do what they have to do for the good of their family.  My sisters are sort of like professional athletes for a championship team – they perform with intensity and passion, both offensively and defensively, so the whole team can win.

Last weekend, my oldest sister, who happens to be a highly regarded internal medicine doctor, pulled off  cooking and preparing tea sandwiches and sweets for a tea party she threw for her 9 year old daughter in 1 day.  Since 2 of my sisters and I have much experience throwing tea parties in southern California, we were able to provide our sister, who lives in northern California with some guidance.  I asked her if she really wanted to do this, or if she wanted to go the catering route.  She felt it was important and a special touch to prepare it all herself, even though she has little to no experience cooking, prepping pastries and tea sandwiches.

A month in advance we told her what she needed to make it a memorable tea party, and advised her to get those things in order before the party.  Also, to clip her Michael’s craft store coupons every week and to buy something for the party every week from Michaels, just to be frugal.  First, she needed to send out the invitations. While she awaited responses, I suggested to get the following items in order.

-High tea hats and gloves to dress up in (my sister, Marie, makes these and will one day sell them on my site)

-Tiered plate stands, cake stands, or bowls with plates on them to add interest to the tablescape

-Plan the flowers for the table

-Tea cups and tea spoons

-Provide real plates, not paper plates (as you put in so much effort and thought to make it lovely – don’t spoil it with a flimsy paper plate). Pretty napkins

-Tea kettles or a percolator to warm water

-Plan which teas, beverages you will be serving

-Sugar cubes

-Have enough chairs and table space for each guest

-Draw the plan out – tables and settings with the flowers and tiered plates

-Plan for music  (I love playing Getz and Gilberto or harp, or string-type music)

-If inviting parents, plan menu for them too.

-If you need a helper to re-stock the plates or pour water, ask your family or in-laws, or your housekeeper (and pay her) to assist and to dress appropriately for the event.

-Plan your menu, gather your recipes, write a grocery list

Tea party gloves... the fingers are cut off so it's easier to eat... These are such a cute touch. My sister, Marie, made these. Let me know if you'd like to order some. :)

She has good follow through and is very efficient so did all these things.  The problem was, she was going to Palm Springs for her childrens’ tennis stuff, and would not get back home until the late afternoon before the party.  She called me from the airport, asking me to walk her through how to make the food. Then at 7pm, the night before the party, after she purchased the ingredients, she called me from Michaels to ask what kind of piping bag she needed and what tips to use.  I told her she should have just bought the cheap plastic ones from the grocery store since she’ll probably never use them again.

At that point, I could feel her stress, so told her to do a few semi-homemade things to make her job easier.  I’ll cut to the point.  Like I said, she’s a Super Mom and she pulled an all-nighter, something I do not recommend, and she pulled off a very lovely tea party for her daughter, her 14 girlfriends, and their parents at 3pm on a Sunday.

Here was her menu…and I added a few other items, in case you want to use them for ideas for your tea parties.  I will share recipes in the coming days.

Tea Sandwiches and other Savory food-

Curried chicken salad

Cucumber Mint

Salmon Dill

Ham and Swiss

Egg Salad

Mini Quiches – ham and gruyere, spinach and gruyere

Mini siopao

Mini empanadas



Mini Fruit Tart

Currant scones

Chocolate truffles

Amaretti raspberry cookies

Mini brownies

Mini red velvet cupcakes

Angel Food cake with Lemon Icing

Mini Lemon Cakes



Earl Grey


Herbal Raspberry

Lavendar Tea

Green Tea

and serve with sugar cubes and cream or steamed milk


1 picture from my niece's tea party

If you’re planning a tea party, I hope this information helped.  I’ll start posting some recipes soon.  Please let me know if I should add more information regarding planning for a tea party.

I’m going to work out now for an hour before I head over to the Clippers game.  I hope you enjoy this lovely Sunday!


The 3nd tea party we ever threw. We will no longer use paper plates, as suggested by one of my readers :)

Marie, refilling the plates with sweets

My mom and me

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