By Rebecca Long Pyper
The forecast is promising sunshine, and the flowers are blooming â€” itâ€™s the perfect time to celebrate the women in your life with a quintessentially girly tea party. Using found items and second-hand steals, you can craft a memorable get-together, even on a budget. Follow these tips to come up with ideas that will work for your own spring soiree:
>> Just because itâ€™s called a â€śteaâ€ť party doesnâ€™t mean you have to stick with the namesake beverage. Choose a fruity slush (try the raspberry-lemonade slush recipe below) or simply serve water with lemon slices.
Or donâ€™t even serve a special drink at all; instead, serve cupcakes in the teacups â€” theyâ€™ll function as dĂ©cor and refreshment in one. Pick up teacups on the cheap at thrift stores; those without matching saucers can be found for around 50 cents.
>> Choose a style for your party. Beachy, preppy, rustic â€” you name it! All things vintage are in right now, so if thatâ€™s your style of choice, invite guests to wear pretty dresses and their pearls. Then adopt a vintage theme in all your dĂ©cor, decorating tables with floral tablecloths, displaying carnations in old teapots or Mason jars and stacking dishes in weathered wood crates. Donâ€™t want things to skew too shabby chic? Choose a stripe you like â€” black and white is timeless â€” and tie striped ribbon around jars, atop a drink dispenser and around bundles of silverware.
>> Serve your food on real dishes if you can. Eating off real dishes just feels more special than plastic. Basic white is a great go to, and if you donâ€™t have enough plates, pick some up at the thrift or dollar store. Mix and match works well too for a vintage theme; seek dishes in pastels or subtle patterns.
Also, opt for cloth napkins instead of disposable. TJ Maxx sometimes has packs of 12 for around $10, and youâ€™ll get good bang for your buck in the long run since you can use them again and again. Make sure to include a woven basket under the buffet table as a laundry hamper for used napkins.
>> Choose a fun favor. If you can round up enough second-hand teacups, they can be take-homes for guests. Another option is brooches; for a tutorial thatâ€™ll show you how to fancy them up, visit this link and create vibrant floral pins using vintage brooches or earrings.
>> Run with good food. Choose dainty sweets like macarons and chocolates; if you order early, a chocolate shop can swirl the top with a color that coordinates with your event. Cupcakes are trending now, so buy some pretty and tasty ones from a local baker (or prepare a few batches yourself). Use pretty cupcake liners for them; gold or silver foils will complement almost any style and look fancy too.
For healthier fare prepare clear cups with a dab of ranch in the bottom and celery, carrot and pickle spears standing inside. Finger sandwiches are always good and easy, and so are chicken-salad sandwiches. Or thread grapes and strawberries onto skewers; you can mix in a few cheesecake chunks to up the sweetness.
Remember if you choose finger foods, you can get away with simply setting up chairs, no tables needed for seating and eating.
Â 6 c hot water
4 c sugar
1 (12 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 (46 oz) can pineapple juice
2 (10 oz) packages frozen raspberries
2 liters lemon-lime soda
In a large saucepan, combine hot water and sugar. Stir over heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Add lemonade, pineapple juice, and raspberries and stir until well mixed. Pour into large freezer bags or a 5-quart ice cream bucket. Freeze overnight. Serve with desired amount of soda.