Last month, Peanut turned four. She requested a tea party themed birthday party. I love to plan parties, so I was up for the challenge. Sadly, I hadn’t considered the camera prior to the party actually starting (too busy with other things!) and it was on manual. Being silly, in that moment I didn’t think about the fact that I could turn it back to programmed and have my husband handle the photos. So there are very few photos of the party (if you’re someone who attended and you see this, send me your photos!), but I still figured I’d compile all of the things I did for anyone who is trying to do a tea party in the future.
First, here’s my Pinterest board that I used to bookmark all of the things that I liked for the party. Yeah, I drank the koolaid. I still mostly use Pinterest as a fancy bookmarking system. It was pretty handy for finding ideas for the party though. Most of my ideas are from other places and I’ll do my best to put credit here where credit is due, but for other ideas that I didn’t end up using, the board is pretty useful.
Let’s start off with the invite:
I used the printable invites from here and chai tea, which I picked because I have had it in my pantry forever and it smelled delicious. After getting all the invites ready, I realized I forgot to put “No presents, just your presence.” so I had to take them back out and write that on, which is why it isn’t pictured. It was written in purple across the bottom of the tea cup where it’s the blue and pink argyle. We invited 13 kids! I didn’t want to invite so many, but Peanut insisted on quite a few friends from preschool. In the end, only 6 other kids showed up, which I was perfectly fine with, besides the fact that no one who wasn’t coming RSVP’d so I didn’t know how many were coming.
And now to food:
We served chicken salad sandwiches and tuna salad sandwiches (my mom’s recipe that includes egg, lettuce, and cheese), deviled eggs (just struck me as tea party food and they were a hit!), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that were cut into spring-ish animal shapes (I was going to use this idea with flowers, but couldn’t find a flower cookie cutter that wasn’t ridiculously priced for a piece of plastic) and the ends were later used to make bread crumbs, chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting (from a box because the homemade recipe I tried kept sticking to the cupcake liners), my grandmother’s snickerdoodle cookie recipe (the only recipe that I never share!), and sweet tea for the parents (juice for the girls in their tea cups at the actual party). The cupcake platter was my own idea. I bought three plates and two teacups from the Salvation Army and hot glued them together to make the platter. I’m very happy about how it turned out. I also printed little labels with what the foods were in fancy letters, cut them and folded them in half to make little cards.
For decorations, you can see some of what I did on the table. I was very lucky to be throwing a tea party in spring because I was easily able to find plenty of decorations. I found flower banners (not pictured) and other decorations at the dollar store, the butterflies on the tablecloths along with the nest and other things at the cheap section of Target (the one in the front with $1-$3 items), and that pink rabbit in the middle of the cups is from Savers. I made a banner like this that said “Happy Birthday Dea” from fancy letters that I printed off and cut out and doilies that I found at Joann’s. I tried to make pom poms, but they were more difficult than I had planned and I couldn’t get them to stay folded when I took them out. I also printed off this banner and hung it above the tea party table. All of the table cloths were vintage ones I got from my mom.
When the girls (we invited boys too, but none came) first arrived, there were tea party themed coloring pages waiting for them. It worked really well last year, so I figured I’d re-use the idea. All I did was Google something like “tea party coloring pages” and print off 5-6 of each one I liked. It was a good idea this year too.
After that, we moved onto the hats:
I found a bunch of hats at the dollar stores and bought some fake flowers there too. I put all the big flowers in one bowl and small flowers in another. I told the girls to pick out 2 big flowers and 3 small. Most of them didn’t do that perfect amount, but got close enough. They brought me their hat and flowers and I hot glued them to the hat. They had to wait until I was done with the hat after theirs before they could put it on so that the hot glue could dry. I also got some dinosaur hats and saved the leaves from the flowers for the boys and was planning on gluing those on for them, but as I said, no boys showed up. Everyone got to take their hats home.
After the hats, the girls went up and played dress-up for a bit in Peanut’s room. I won’t post pictures here because I didn’t ask anyone’s permission. They didn’t turn out very well anyway. Next we did the scavenger hunt:
I took some more tea bags and print off little rhymes to direct them to the next clue, then taped them together and hid them. This was a last-minute idea to make up for the fact that the weather was worse than I had anticipated (the weather took a turn for the worse just in time for the party) so they couldn’t go play outside on the swingset like I’d planned. I was actually taping and hiding them while the girls played with dress-up. I’m happy the weather was bad because this turned out to be a huge hit. It was pretty fun watching the group of little girls running and screaming to the next clue. I had to read them out loud for them, but they figured out where to go with each clue. The end took them to the magic room where pots were waiting.
Another modification I made for the weather was switching from paint to markers. It was too cold to paint under the patio like I planned and I didn’t want a huge mess in the house. I tested one the day before, but didn’t realize that adding wet soil would draw the marker in, so most people took home faded pictures on pots. After they colored them, I put in a handful of wet potting soil and let them plant a bulb from some I had sitting around. Everyone took their pots home. I’m not sure how these worked out for everyone else in the realm of actually growing the flower because Peanut’s got tipped over a few days later.
Lastly, we did the actual tea party:
I got the teacups from the Salvation Army, as well as the flower vase and the bird bells. The napkins and kettle were from my mom’s. I got the idea for mismatched teacups from this. The girls sat down and poured their own “tea” out of the kettle and we passed around the food. Other than the cupcakes, everything had been free to eat before the actual tea party. We took the cupcake with the candle and sang happy birthday to Peanut.
After the tea party the girls continued to play. Sadly, one of them puked, and it just happened to be the girl that her mom had dropped her off. So my husband called her mom while I got her cleaned up. Luckily it was just that she had eaten too much, so she was good after resting for a minute. I could tell she felt bad when she was watching me clean up the bathroom (also luckily, almost all of the puke got in the bathroom), so I made sure she knew that I wasn’t mad and after that she went off to play.
Everyone sat around and chatted and played and I finally got a minute to relax. It was a ton of fun and Peanut loved it. I’m happy we did no gifts again too, which took a little bit of talking Peanut into it. She didn’t even mention gifts the day of the party though. I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to talk her into it, but at least for this year it was a success. I just reminded her that she would get plenty of presents from her family and that some of her friend may not be able to come if they have to bring a gift. I also reminded her that she had a lot of fun last year at her party and there weren’t gifts there. If she would have fought it hard I probably would have caved in.
It all worked out great and I think I spent a total of around $80 on the party. Pretty good I think! And Peanut, along with all her friends, loved it.