How to Throw a Tea Party both YOU and Your Daughter Can Enjoy
A Princess Tea Party: Simple Suggestions for a Party Children and Adults Can Enjoy
Upon hearing the phrase "throwing a Princess Tea Party" I initially imagine lots of little girls with potential diva drama all wearing lots of pink and purple frills. I imagine an exhausted mother who is trying to keep up with too many little girl demands for more treats and more to drink, and in the meantime attempting to lead tiny children in silly games to pass the time. She probably spent money on cheap princess trinkets that will fall apart in a week's time as party favors. Multiple times in the few hours that feel like days, the mother probably wants to pull her hair out in the midst of the madness, but she keeps her composure and pulls off a fairly successful party out of love for her daughter. Ok, maybe that's a bit sarcastic and dramatic, but that's what I tend to think of when I hear about throwing a princess tea party anyway. Yet, it doesn't have to be that way.
Earlier this year, I threw a "princess" tea party with my 2 and 4-year-old in mind. I had no reason for a celebration beyond the desire to give my girls a fun-filled day. I simply decided that my girls love to dress-up, to pretend to be princesses, and to spend time with loved ones. At the same time, I wanted a party that was low key and enjoyable for me as an adult. So, I found a middle ground and made my party plan. I found the overall cost for such a delightful time is relatively small if you just keep it simple. Here are some guidelines and tips for fun time with both children and adults.
1. Invite people you are close to that you know will embrace the purpose of the party (even silly aspects) and that you treasure spending time with as well. The list can include people both you and your child enjoy. I recommend a more intimate smaller party.
You don't have to have a house full of pre-schoolers making you want to pull your hair out. This can be a treat for you too. Invite a few children and some adults (maybe a higher adult ratio even), so you can all have fun. A mother-daughter party could be enjoyable, but if a dear friend doesn't have a daughter, invite her anyway for your pleasure. Adults can be delightful guests even for your children if they are willing to let loose, dress-up, and adopt a somewhat child-like approach to the party.
My mother's family is full of women, and my girls are very close to them. Although my daughters were the only two children at our princess tea party (they are still quite young anyway), my aunts and cousins fully embraced the princess tea party purpose: to dress-up, pretend, laugh and even play. I made it clear that "dressing up" was a main feature of the party, and as such nearly everyone showed up in dresses, fun hats, fancy jewelry, and such. I brought down "extra" dress-up stuff of my girls' to spice up visitors as needed (namely play boas and necklaces). My aunt who is a teacher helps with the school drama club giving her access to the club's wardrobe. She came decked out as a queen, and my girls were captivated. Make sure you are inviting people you enjoy spending time with, that your kids will feel comfortable with, and that you know will be willing to dress-up for fun.
2. Use items you already own (or borrow from others).
This party isn't about breaking your budget. I used my china set given to me by my in-laws, my grandmothers lace tablecloth, as well as my mother's tablecloths, vases, and extra china. I didn't have to buy anything beyond fresh flowers for the occasion. If you are missing some pieces you need, try out some plastics that look "fancy" but with a cheap price tag.
3. Pick a time that works for your children.
I set our party time for late morning, as afternoon is their nap time. I knew they'd be the happiest in the morning. I planned ahead by having most of the cooking and decorating ready the night before.
4. Dress-up with flair.
The more classic and regular you look, the less interesting you are to a little girl. So embrace hats, feathers, big jewelry, etc. Draw their attention with flair. Ask and emphasize that your guests dress-up in a dramatic way as well. Honestly, we adults can have fun playing dress up too, and children give us the excuse to be a little silly.
5. Let your children have some input.
Upon telling my almost 4-year-old about the tea party idea, she immediately listed ideas of her own. She mentioned music, which I thought was a great addition. We picked out soft music to play in the background. My daughter said the singers had princess voices because they were soft and beautiful. She also decided games were a must for the celebration. She recommended "hoops" (playing with a hula hoop) as one idea. What could it hurt? We had a hula hoop out, and though no one was especially talented at it, many of us gave it a shot. If nothing else, we all got a good laugh. Children can bring out the child in you!
6. Take time to make up some delicious and special food delights.
I baked the day before to have it all ready in advance. Here's what I made and can recommend as some wonderful tea party food choices (click for recipes):
- Blueberry Muffins
- Banana Bread
- Orange Cranberry Scone (I cut mine smaller to make mini-scones.)
- Mini-Angel Food Cakes with Lemon Sauce
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries
- Honey Lime Melon
My aunt also made thumbprint cookies with icing and shortbread cookies with key lime filling. I added some extra fruit to the platters. We provided both coffee and tea to our guests.
7. Take lots of pictures
You will likely have memories to cherish and photos to make you laugh. We did!
As the party came to a close, my little 4-year-old was disappointed that the party was ending. She had such fun. For days after the party, my 2-year-old ONLY wanted to wear dresses. The days following the party, my family expressed how much they enjoyed the tea party and thought it was an excellent idea. These are guidelines, but don't forget, you can make it your own in whatever ways work best for you and your children depending on their age and style. Creating a party for both children and adults can make for a very endearing and treasured event for all.
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