This year my daughter turned 4, so we had a 4 o’clock tea party! Here are the step-by-step instructions to throw your own successful tea party.
Shopping List/Check List – Many of these items are available at Dollar Tree!
Invitations, Thank you notes
White lace gloves
Pearl necklaces (or beads/elastic to make)
Fascinator materials (headbands, mesh)
Cream cheese mints (or other treats/food)
Sandwiches (and decorative picks if desired)
Small chairs, tea cart (optional), cake plates (optional)
Candy, artificial flowers, mesh (for decoration)
Teapot, tea cups/saucers, tea
Paper cups, paper plates, paper napkins
Get them out EARLY! I love paper invitations, so it took me some time to create, order, then wait for the printing (I did 5×7 cards from Walmart Photo online). But it’s also perfectly fine to text or email invitations. I invited all my daughter’s female classmates (after checking permission with her teacher). Not all could come, so don’t be too concerned if you think there are too many. It cost around $8…you can’t choose your own quantity…it has to be 5, 10, 15, 20, etc.
For the design, first I found a tea party invitation online that I liked and I changed it in Photopea (free photo editing program online). I removed the glitter print, changed the flowers a bit, added a photo of my daughter (so that the classmates and parents would know who it is) with a pearl border, and added some watercolor butterflies I found on Google Images.
It was also fun to write the names on the envelopes in a pretty style. I’m not a calligrapher but they turned out pretty nice! You can always type the names into the sample text for the font you like to reference at myfonts.com.
I gave lace gloves, fascinators, and (faux) pearl necklaces for all the guests to take home as party favors. I ordered the adorable white lace gloves from Claire’s.com (free shipping when you order a bunch!). They tend to run quite small so they were the perfect size for preschoolers. I made the necklaces with a pack of faux pearl beads (Walmart, $3) and elastic string. For the fascinators, I bought mesh and 3-pack headbands (Dollar Tree). I twisted the mesh much like a ribbon rose, attached it to the headband, then printed paper butterflies on tiny wire so they would flutter around. (You can print the butterflies using my free printable here!) The girls absolutely loved it all!
If your party can’t take place in a beautiful garden on a lovely warm day, you may have to create that environment indoors! I did that by putting this scene from YouTube in the background on the big TV. It has animated butterflies and birds chirping. I also played classical music softly on a CD player (yes, some of us still use CD players).
And if you’re having the party at your own home, don’t forget a set of balloons so guests can easily find it! I got a pack of pink balloons at Walmart and a gold number ‘4’ balloon at Dollar Tree. I used pink gift ribbon to tie 4 pink balloons together with the 4, then we blew up the rest just to have loose inside.
Decorations & Setup
Unless you already own a bunch of tiny chairs, plan ahead of time how you will get them. My church let me borrow chairs so I didn’t have to spend any money, other than some decorations for them. I tied pink mesh bows on the backs with pink artificial roses in the middles (all from Dollar Tree). I decorated the table with my daughter’s favorite candy: Smarties and pink Starbursts (both from Dollar Tree).
I found a cute teapot with flowers and birds on it at a consignment store for $2, and they LOVED it. One guest wanted to pour by herself, too…they just adore the pour. The look on their faces when I first poured their tea for them was priceless.
I used real teacups and saucers from our old set we don’t really use. That way if any broke, it wouldn’t be a big deal at all. Decide ahead of time what kind of teacups you’d like.
I used paper napkins and folded them into butterflies with some simple origami. I placed them on pink paper plates (Walmart).
For all the food, I used pink cake plates (Hobby Lobby) and paper doilies (Dollar Tree). The large doilies also made great place mats.
I made paper teacup place cards with their names on the teabag tag. You can use my free printable here!
Lastly, I borrowed my mother-in-law’s white metal tea cart to hold the food and gifts. I added pink felt to cover up the rust and some more pink roses to decorate it. I also displayed one of my daughter’s toys in a chair with a teacup and saucer just for fun.
Tea, Cake, & Food
To my surprise, all the girls loved peach iced tea. I couldn’t find any at grocery stores, but I found it at Dollar Tree and bought 3 (Arizona brand)! But I will caution that it is real tea with caffeine and sugar, so try to limit to 2 teacups full for each child. I didn’t and my daughter couldn’t sleep until 10 o’clock! I also had lemonade as a second option, in pink paper cups (Walmart).
For the food, preschoolers like very plain food, so it was easy to just make sandwiches. I served 3 types of sandwiches (in case of allergies): 1 chicken salad, 1 peanut butter, and 1 butter with jam. I sliced off the crust and cut them diagonally into 8 pieces, then stacked them prettily in pairs with long, decorative picks (from the Hobby Lobby spring shop).
For the cake, I made cupcakes and placed them in a 4 shape. I also made pink cream cheese mints which were a hit.
This was the part I stressed about most. I wasn’t sure what would be easy, indoors, and fun for 4-year-olds. I decided on just one game, the tea party version of pin the tail on the donkey: pin the crown on the Queen. It didn’t cost anything as my dad illustrated the queen and crowns. They loved it and played it multiple times. I didn’t do prizes because they just like to play the game. So all you need is the picture with crowns, tape, and a bandana for their eyes.
After the tea, food, gifts, and the game, they just liked to play together with my daughter’s toys, and before we knew it the party was all done in 2 hours.
After the party, be sure to give thank you cards to everyone for coming and for the gifts. I got a cute set from…guess where…Dollar Tree!
I’d say the party was a big success! With enough planning you can throw a great one too. If you do, tell me about it with a comment!