Tea time: How to host an afternoon tea party at home

Happy Mother's Day! Treat the moms in your life to a fancy, homemade tea party.

I remember as a little girl, I used to love diving into my Mom’s closet and perusing all of her fabulous floral frocks.  From time to time I even recall dressing-up in one of her sparkly numbers and adorning myself in some of her chicest costume jewels to host a VIP tea party for some of my most cherished stuffed animals.  Oh, to be a kid again!  Well, maybe minus the stuffed animals!

Now that I have two very busy little ones of my own, there is no such thing as getting all gussied up to pass the afternoon by sipping tea and noshing on sweet treats.  But with Mother’s Day right around the corner, my hubby asked me what I wanted: “A spa day?  Breakfast in bed?  Maybe a reservation at a fave restaurant?”  And after pondering for a little while, I responded…”A tea party!”

You can imagine the look on his face!  Terror and confusion is probably the best way to describe it, but I quickly explained that he need not worry about the tea party details.  I clarified that I wanted to host a girly tea party at our home for my Mom and some of my girlfriends.  His only job was to take our little lads out for an afternoon of father and son fun.  He was relieved and I was excited to get planning!!

As it turns out, my Mother’s Day plans changed and I am now honored to be running the Sporting Life 10K in support of Camp Oochigeas.  My three favourite dudes will be on the sidelines cheering me on, and I now can’t imagine a better way to spend the day.  But back to the tea party…

When I was asked to be a part of the Cityline Mother’s Day special, my first response was “YAY…can we have a tea party?”, and I was thrilled when the answer was “yes”, so as I turned out, I got to have my cake and eat it, too!

Here are my tips for hosting your own Mother’s Day afternoon tea.

teaparty-teapotDress the part

Just like my childhood tea parties, this type of event is the perfect excuse for you and your guests to put on a cute spring frock and a fancy pair of heels.  And what would a tea party be without white gloves and a wide brimmed hat?  I picked up inexpensive gloves at my local party supply store, and the hats were a steal of a deal for $2.50 at Dollarama.  These items would also make a fun gift for your guests at each place setting by tucking the gloves on the dining table with their napkin, and attaching the hats to the backs of the chair with ribbon as part of the décor.

Set the table

For a girly afternoon party, think pink, floral and vintage.  I almost always start by dressing my dining table with a white table cloth, but to add a pinch of pink, I actually found some inexpensive linen curtain panels from IKEA and ironed them into narrow runners to dress-up the table.  Fresh florals tucked into a teapot make a perfectly themed centrepiece, and a collection of mismatched tea cups and saucers creates a feminine, eclectic look.  If you don’t have fine china, IKEA also has a great assortment of inexpensive vintage rose dishware that would be a perfect addition to any tea party.

Tea buffet

Now, what would a tea party be without tea!  Serving individual tea bags is a bit of a no-no when it comes to serving a proper high tea, so consider steeping a large pot of a common black tea to serve to your guests during the party. Also ensure that you have milk, honey, and lemon on hand so your guests can add what suits their taste.  If you want to have some fun sampling some unique, specialty flavours, why not set up a loose leaf tea buffet?  Ensure that you have enough diffusers for all party attendees and a pot of hot water, and then create a buffet for your guests to steep themselves delicious blends such as the chocolate infused tea collection from DAVIDsTEA.

And if you want to add a little zing to the party, Claire Tansey’s Chatelaine Cosmo recipe is a must.

So crook your pinkies and raise a tea cup with me to all of the amazing moms out there (including my own) who deserve an afternoon to play dress up and be a kid again!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault


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