In celebration of mothers — and all the special women in your life — host an outdoor tea party in your own backyard.
Tea Party Roses
When tea is served to friends in a lovely corner of the yard or garden, something enchanting happens. Women's voices ring in May breezes. There is laughter. And in the dappled sunlight, at a table set with favorite china, delicate confections, and tea sandwiches, affections are renewed. To transform a weekend afternoon into a tea party for the women you admire most, begin with inspiration from the garden.
Tea Party Table
Set the scene with fragrant branches of lilacs and vintage china adorned with English rose motifs. Floral-print napkins, silver teaspoons, tiered serving pieces, and a dash of pastel-colored sugar all add a touch of romantic grandeur to an easy afternoon. Fanciful, intimate, and simple to prepare, a tea party is a party like no other.
Tea Party Flowers
Extravagant blooms, such as garden roses, lupines, peonies, and lilacs, set the scene, as do lush arrangements in pitchers filled with flowers from your own garden or a market.
Tea Party Tote
For a winsome welcome, hang a tote brimming with flowers at the party's entrance.
Tea Party Teacups
For ease and eclectic style mix your teacups and teapots. Combine finds from thrift or antiques shops and discount stores. Or borrow a few pieces from your mother or aunt.
Tea Party Teaspoons
Present mismatched teaspoons in a vintage sugar bowl.
Tea Party Tray
Choose floral-print paper party napkins, or make your own from a remnant of cotton fabric and pinking shears. And give each guest her teacup for a party favor.
Tea Party Tea
Treat guests to teas they love -- and some they've never tried. In celebration, serve cups of Harney & Sons caffeine-free Mother's Bouquet Tea, which combines chamomile, rosebuds, and citrus flavors. And consider a blooming organic tea; its petals unfurl in water (vivaterra.com). Include a traditional blend by Fauchon. Set out milk, honey, and sugar -- in cubes or in pastel colors.
Tea Party Sandwiches
Served with tea, finger foods -- tea sandwiches, bite-size cookies, and tiny tarts -- sweeten the pot. They also minimize the need for dishes.
Tea Party Tarts
To ease preparation, fill store-bought tartlet shells with fresh conserves.
Tea Party Cookies
From a bakery, buy petits fours. Top prepared meringues with fresh berries.
Tea Party Games
Revive girlhood. Don pretty skirts, sip tea, and join in once-loved lawn games.
Tea Party Activities
After tea, plan a relaxed activity, such as a game of croquet, or a match of badminton. Games inspire playful banter, and being up from the table allows guests to mingle anew.
Tea Party Florals
While some play, others like Louis, the Shih Tzu, can look on. Make a fresh pot of tea available to players between turns.