As I mentioned in my recent You Are Beautiful Bracelet Review, as the Women’s Pastor of our church, I recently had the pleasure and privilege of hostessing our annual ladies tea breakfast. It was my first major event as the director, and I have to say that without my team, I wouldn’t have been able to pull it off. I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned about how to plan a ladies tea party. Of course, for my purposes, it was a ministry event, but you can easily use this for any ladies event including a bridal shower or wedding shower. The most important lesson I learned in planning this years tea is that planning is SO important.
How to Plan a Ladies Tea
One of the reasons our Ladies Tea is an annual event is because it is a great way for women to get together, socialize, and have a great time. Ours is in the Spring, and it’s a great time to encourage women to refresh and renew. In order to pull off a spectacular event, you have to be on your A game. After all, if you want your tea to be THE talk among the women, everything should be organized and entertaining.
Pick an Date and Venue
First, and foremost, you need to set your date and venue. It is best to set the date 3-6 months in advance, to give you plenty of time to plan. In our case, our venue is the church, so I just had to complete a facility use form. If you have to make reservations, be sure you do so early on to avoid losing your preferred date.
Know Thy Budget
Next, you need a budget. Your availability of funds will determine how much to delegate to food, decorations, and other party necessities. It will also determine how much you need to charge for tickets, if applicable. It helps to know what the cost of the event was the previous year, if it is an annual event, but you can certainly create a budget without that information.
Make a To-Do List
Once you have your date, venue, and budget you should make a to-do list so you can visualize your priorities. This will also help you to delegate tasks to your team of party planning helpers.
Recruit a Team
Yes, I said team. You will need a team. Consider recruiting help for the set-up/decorating, service, and tear down (if needed). Even if you are having your tea at a reserved venue that has all the bells and whistles, you will still need help with putting the personal touches on the event!
Choose a Theme
Next you need to choose a theme. Our theme this year was Beautiful. Knowing your theme will go a long way toward helping you choose your menu wisely, select decor and door prizes, and if you engage a speaker, toward helping them plan their presentation.
Select a Menu
Speaking of menus. Choose your menu wisely. Consider the time of year/season as well as the time of day. If your tea is an early morning event, like ours was, a delicious quiche can be the focus of the menu. If it is later in the day, as tradition would have, then an assortment of tasty pastries and fun finger foods can fit the bill. If you want your guests to mingle, consider offering kabobs, options on toothpicks, or food items already portioned in serving cups.
Next , create a fun and inviting atmosphere with interesting decorations. Even if you are on a budget, there are plenty of ways to spruce up an event space without spending big bucks! The dollar store is a great place to check for basic items like plastic cutlery, tablecloths, balloons, tissue paper, and various other celebration accessories. There are also a plethora of crafty projects found online to transform your dollar store goods into decor that looks professional and expensive. You can also plan for decor that you can use several years in a row. Don’t hesitate to ask to borrow items for decor, either. The vases we used belong to one of our church members, and the tea pots we used came from three different homes, including mine. The flowers came from Michael’s and have been used several years now. The colorful table linens are from fabric purchased at the fabric store and then hems added.
Photo Credit: Tammy of Tammy K Being Real.
Thrift stores are another budget-friendly avenue for collecting unique trinkets and antique adornments that make phenomenal tea party decor. You can find mismatched teacups and serving plates for pocket change at stores like Goodwill or at yard sales. Our tea cups are a mismatched lot that have come from all sorts of second hand sales. This is a great way to add some eclectic variety to your table scape. If you plan to make your tea an annual event, the tea cups can then be stored, otherwise they would make a fantastic take-home gift for your guests.
Choose the Music
Don’t forget the music! Even if you have to play some background tunes from a cell phone or stereo, soft music helps to liven up the event. It also helps to eliminate that awkward silence when the party is just getting started and your participants have yet to warm up to each other. Having soft background music makes people feel at ease.
Plan some engaging and fun activities for your party-goers. If you plan to give door prizes for different hat categories, be sure to let the ladies know in advance, so they can arrive prepared. Otherwise, you could plan a hat contest or decorate your own flower pot. If craft supplies do not fit into your budget, there are plenty of ice-breaker/team building activities that will make your guests feel jovial and welcome. If you are having a speaker, you can plan ice breaker questions around the message.
Have Door Prizes
Speaking of door prizes. You can find simple table favors at most party supply stores or wedding supply stores. Shopping the day after major holidays, like Easter and Christmas, is also a great time for picking up discounted door prizes.
Consider a Speaker
If you are having a guest speaker, be sure to plan for a microphone and podium or something for her to put her notes on.
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
I have always wanted to go to a tea party. Maybe I should take your tips and throw one myself.
Debbie Denny says
I like the idea to have a theme. Music in the background is fantastic. Never thought of that.
Kay Adeola says
Thank you for sharing this.I would love to throw a tea party would be really great.
What a lovely idea! Thank you for the idea to have such a fun time with ladies … I was recently invited over for tea to my Mom’s, which I found odd. Never been invited over for tea before 😉
Wow! This turned out great! And I love the thrift store suggestion. I love finding vintage plates for a quarter and incorporating them into a fun theme! 🙂
you did a wonderful job with year’s tea!!
‘this year’s tea’ 🙂
Betsy Mitchell says
I think this is the perfect excuse to throw a tea party! Thanks for the great tips.
Wonderful ideas! I know for myself it is tough to leave the home, for anything besides work. This would certainly be a way to get together with the ladies, and also enjoy some nice snacks over a great conversation.
Liz Mays says
That would be so much fun to plan and attend! I love your idea of sending them home with the teacups too.
What a very fun party to plan and attend. I love the colors you decided to use! My girls went to a kid tea party and they got to take their cups home and loved it!
I love the flowers! My husband and I actually got engaged at our Church Tea….he proposed in front of 1000 women!
We had a lovely mother/daughter tea at my church years ago. It was so fun and sweet!
We ladies so deserve to get together and have a tea! This looks like a really fun event to plan. Now only if I can find the time…
It looks like you did a fantastic job of hosting the tea party. And you give great tips for hosting one as well. Thanks!!
What a great event, and great tips. Our church puts on things for the ladies every so often.
Flowers are a must. Those are beautiful. Thanks for the great tips!
Door prizes are always great for the guests. I also like to add fresh floral arrangements to keep the atmosphere cheery!
I like the idea of door prizes and planning activities. Those tea pots are so cute!
I never thought a tea party needing a theme. I always thought tea was the theme!
Flowers and tea parties just go hand in hand. And little bite sized cookies, those are must-haves for tea.
What a fun idea!!! I would love to have a tea!!!
Pauline Cabrera says
I love tea parties but sometimes it’s really difficult to join one. Hmmm… Maybe I should organize one myself. 🙂
That is so British! I love it! I would love to host one of these tea parties
Debbie L. says
I would love to attend one of your tea parties…you have thought of everything.
I think I want to plan a tea party for a future birthday party. I’ve never hosted my own! Great ideas
This is awesome. I did an afternoon tea theme for my bridal shower.
How fun to get together and do this kind of event. My son’s mother-in-law is from England, I bet she would love to attend a ladies tea!! What a great idea to surprise her with for her birthday…a ladies tea party! Just thinking out loud now, you’ve got the wheels rolling. 🙂
A team is so important for a big event…this tea looks like it was a lot of fun!
This would fun! Right now my tea parties include stuffed animals and pretend tea – but those are pretty awesome too. 🙂
I want to have a tea party!! I looks like you did a great job…and had a ton of fun to boot!
Family Travel Blogger says
I love this! We had a tea party for my daughters fourth birthday but something a little more grown up would be nice. I adore shopping at thrift stores for fun party finds – especially when going for a vintage look.
i love those vases. simple flowers do so much
This turned out great! My friends and I have been talking about having a tea. I’ll have to book mark this for our party!
Carly Bellard says
Great idea! My daughter has been asking to “have a tiny tea” with me. Maybe I will let her help plan one!
April Smith Decheine says
How cool, a ladies tea. My daughter is having a baby shower so we are doing things a bit out of the norm. Ladies tea sounds perfect for summer.
I’d love to hostess a ladies tea. And now that I just signed up to be a Mary Kay rep, I can do a tea and pamper party!
I love tea parties! I actually collect tea pots and I love and excuse to use them
How much fun! My wedding shower was a tea party theme! I love your centerpieces!
I wish that I had friends that I could do a ladies tea with. They always look like so much fun!
I always wanted to a tea party with my girlfriends. thank you so much for all your advice.
These are all great tips. I need to have a tea party with the ladies from church
I love all these tips. I would love to have a tea party sometime.
Chasing Joy says
I like the idea of having a Tea Party. I may just take your tips and host my own.
Melissa Bowers says
This looks like so much fun! I am discovering that I enjoy putting on events. I helped organize my church’s women retreat this past spring, and it was very satisfying when all the details came together and everyone had a good time. I would love to help with a ladies’ tea sometime. Thanks for the tips.
Christina S says
A tea party looks like so much fun! I went to a Mother’s Day tea at church one time. I’m thinking with boys, I won’t be going to too many of them.
Jutta P. says
It looks like you put a ton of effort and thought into this event! I love tea “parties”. I can’t wait to take my 3 yo daughter to her first one!