How to Host An ‘Afternoon High Tea’ Birthday Party

by Edie Wadsworth on September 16, 2009

1. Make sure your sister and her darling daughters are available to come (and help—-thank you so much girls!)

2. Invite your daughter’s friends, who just so happen to be beautiful and…..

and well-mannered.

4. ~~Assemble the finest vintage tea cups you can from places like Goodwill, antique stores, or T.J.Maxx.

~~Cut some beautiful flowers from your garden to dress up your tables.
~~Advise the bakery to make your cake look like a wedding cake—very formally decorated.

5. Make sure your handsome son (who is always such a good sport) is available to escort the ladies to their tables and serve food and drink—always with a smile of course. We made calling cards (with the girls’ full names on them) and announced the arrival of each girl (thank you Abby) as she entered the foyer.

6. Start setting your tables 2-3 days before the party so that there are fewer last minute things to do. I placed Emme and her friends in Duchess of Windsor Dining Room (because there were more of them), Caiti’s friends in the breakfast room, and Elea’s friends in the school room. We played a few parlor games and practiced our finest etiquette (after a few short ‘tea’ lessons). This site was very helpful in all things ‘tea’.

7. Serve an eclectic mix of tea sandwiches, pasta salad, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate chip short bread cookies, and of course, a wide variety of teas, both cold and hot. Several of my dear friends and my mother stayed to help in serving and then washing the voluminous dishes that are generated at afternoon tea. And I mean LOTS of dishes.

Sing Happy Birthday…..

blow out candles and finish the day with a great game of pictionary.

8. Most importantly, RELAX, make sure you take time to enjoy the birthday girls and their friends. I had a list of things that didn’t get done. Noone noticed. We had oodles of fun and it was one of those very memorable parties that will become part of their story—-a story I am so grateful to be part of.

We finished this wonderful day downtown at a benefit concert for our local soup kitchen. Taylor’s band, The Verity, played in this picturesque little setting. It was wonderful to have them all home.

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sheri September 16, 2009 at 2:30 pm

What a very special day!!! Glad you had them all home for the weekend (or day)


2 Angie September 16, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Sounds like a fantastic day!


3 duchess September 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm

What great memories of that special day. I'm sure the girls loved every minute of it.


4 Mrs. Dunbar September 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

What a beautiful day!!! I'm sure so many memories were created for your girls and all of the others that were in attendance. So special… thanks for sharing.


5 Girly Muse September 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm

What a gorgeous tea party…and loads of gorgeous females!

The pictures are spectacular. I'm sure it was beyond better in person.


6 Lisa September 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm



7 gina September 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm

What a brilliantly amazing event!! I'm sure tons of special memories were made that day!


8 Kelly September 16, 2009 at 5:39 pm

What fun! I love the idea of having the girls of various ages celebrate together. What a memorable day! (And having them all under one roof was undoubtedly the highlight!)


9 Lanie's Life September 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

Holy cow!!!! I wish I could be 8 again! I love that you threw all of your girls a party together but separate. Love it!!! Good job Mama!!!


10 patty September 16, 2009 at 8:38 pm

awesome, edie!
you are the hostess with the mostest!! :)
it looks beautiful…


11 Amber B. September 16, 2009 at 9:47 pm

Oh, my goodness. How awesome and adorable! Makes me want a daughter!! (Bug themed parties just aren't the same!)


12 Michelle September 16, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Any little girl would love a party like this, so pretty & girly. You're a great Mom!


13 Denise September 17, 2009 at 12:30 am

Yep, hostess with the mostest, that's what you are! :)


14 Sarah September 17, 2009 at 1:31 am

I hope that you don't mind, but I'm taking notes to use these for a future day with my daughter & her friends. She's getting ready to start a manners & self confidence class, so this might be perfect for after she's finished.

Once again, many thanks, you're always such a help to me.


15 Becca~TimeWellSpent September 17, 2009 at 2:43 am

That is every girls dream party! What a beautiful day!!


16 do it yourselfer September 17, 2009 at 3:03 am

what fun! love the picture of the band in that setting! gorgeous…BTW…saw your feature on Today's Creative Blog!


17 mel September 17, 2009 at 3:07 am

i love these photos! i'm so glad I found your blog again! I had lost you for a while!

such a lovely day – thanks for sharing!!!!


18 Darla September 17, 2009 at 5:06 am

i have been wanting to do a tea party! how inspiring. and i am sooo glad you had them all home. what a blessing.


19 Melissa Lester September 17, 2009 at 1:02 pm

I am all about tea parties! This one looks fabulous. Congratulations on being featured on TCB! That's big-time! I was so pleased to pop over today and remember that you are from Morristown. I lived there for two years before college, and you may remember that we connected months ago. Somehow I lost the link, so I became a follower today so I won't lose track again. It's great to find you again!


20 Jessica September 19, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Edie, Sorry I didn't get back to you with tea party ideas…my SIL's computer wasn't working so she didn't do it in time. I have to say it looks like you pulled it off just perfect! I love your flower, you looked super elegant. Glad you're enjoying Favre as much as I am. Have you noticed our friend Darrell Bevell is getting WAY more recognition now during the games…love it, so great for them!


21 Jeanie October 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm

Two of my daughters gave me an invitation to tea around the first of September. It was held just this past Saturday. One of them told me today that they had cme across this blog post while they were planning and used your tips. See pictures:


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