A B O U T

Ladies Tea Table setting

Host A Ladies Tea Luncheon

Hosting teas or gatherings for friends is a rewarding way to serve others.  Last month,  garden club ladies and additional friends met here for a tea themed luncheon.  It has become a tradition these past 5 years to host this luncheon.  Hosting the tea in April captures our old garden roses in their spring flush. The anticipation of this upcoming event motivates me to spend more time in the garden, clean house and try new recipes. I look forward to laughter and sweet fellowship. If you have a heart for hospitality, you’ve probably opened your home in various ways. If you have a yearning to do so, I’d like to share seven suggestions for hosting your special event.

Ladies Tea Table setting

Spring is a great time to set a pretty table for a ladies luncheon. It is an opportunity to enjoy fellowship.

These suggestions will follow your initial planning of your event and include things to make final preparations more enjoyable while using your creative personalized touch.

 1. Utilize what you have.  I collect pretty dishes and linens and am happy for an excuse to use them. You may have treasures tucked away that you haven’t thought about for a while. Dust them off and enjoy them!  I wash the linens a week in advance.  Using Revive, a  linen spray, I flatten them on the ironing board because I do not enjoy ironing. Arrange the fresh linens on your clean sideboard, buffet, or table and let the fun begin!

 Have fun pairing dishes together and don’t worry if everything matches. My first set of china was a set of china samples from a local shop closeout sale. I got the plates for $1 each so I snatched over 12 dinner and dessert plates.  Each pattern is beautiful and I love using them all in the same table setting.

 A few years later we found a 12 piece place setting of pink china for $50 that is perfect to use in  spring and summer. It is a reproduction of Lady Carlyle by Royal Albert. This pattern pairs well with our blue depression glass bubble dishes. Years ago, Mother found a four piece table setting of pink Fostoria glasses and pretty china bowls at estate auctions, and passed them to me as a gift. Everything has a story and often evokes a fond memory of someone you love. That’s one of the joys of collecting old things.

Think about using keepsakes, special gifts, yard sale finds or other pretties that may be put away in drawers or cupboards.  Pull out a few key pieces and add things to complement them.  Mix and match pretty crystal, silver, pottery or glassware.

Using pretty dishes and fresh roses for a ladies luncheon

Hosting a ladies tea is a great excuse to enjoy some of the things you love.  Who knew creeping jenny would be so happy indoors plopped into a footed crystal bowl?

2. Keep it simple. My thoughts fill with intentions.  I strive to implement a few new ideas, and rely on others that have worked in the past. This year simple for me was to not make any recipes I had planned.  Several guests volunteered to bring unexpected dishes which allowed me to focus on other things. (like cleaning the house!) Keeping it simple reduces stress, allows you to enjoy the process and enjoy your guests!

pink and blue table setting

Favors add a flair of celebration and can be printed far in advance of your event.

Another example of simple for me this year was to use the extra favors we had printed for past teas. The paper mementos hold chocolate and other sweets, and suggest the message, “You are special.” You can find ideas for favors, tea time paper ideas, and these printables here.

Ladies tea luncheon favors

These teapot favors sit on the sideboard until the table gets set.

 

Tea Pot with Bird in Teacup Printable

Bird in teacup printable incorporates two free printables.

3. Accept or enlist the help of others. Many hands make light work.  Most of the ladies brought a dish and some brought two! This saves much time and expense for the hostess and provides an interesting variety.  Ladies usually ask what they can do when they arrive, so save some jobs for them. Since my mind works must faster than the rest of me, I’ve become proficient at accepting the help of others. For the past couple of years, the ladies have helped set the silverware, finish the favors, and even help with flower arrangements! It’s fun to chatter as you work together.

One thoughtful friend asks to bring ice and makes sure it gets where it needs to be when she arrives. It is super helpful to have one less thing to think about!

Friends making bouquets for tea.

These friends were glad to come to my rescue last year when I didn’t make time to get to the garden for bouquets.

 

Theresa putting favors together.

Theresa comes early and is cheerfully assembling the favors.

4. Prepare in advance. My mom is super good at this. She plans desserts and dishes that are made days or weeks in advance. Frying bacon, washing fruit, cutting vegetables, etc., can be done in advance.  In addition to prepping dishes or ingredients, you can prepare your centerpiece, garnishes, serving pieces, etc. Make lists for everything!  Some things may get overlooked, but keep a note pad handy, and jot down things as you think of them.

Create a spring vignette with your collectibles.

Flowers are best picked early in the morning. You can enjoy them for days to come. Fresh roses look pretty in a variety of containers.

 

Infused water is a simple drink that can be made early in the day and can be iced right before the guests arrive.  We used mint julep spearmint and apple mint for tea. Flowers with short stems, fennel and scented geranium leaves are effortless additions to tuck into your vignette.

It’s never too early to start planning. If you would like ideas on hosting your next tea or luncheon, check out my pinterest boards for tea time recipe ideas or tea party inspirations.

5. Use fresh fruit, herbs, and flowers. Years ago, our daughter worked for a friend that was excellent at styling wedding buffets and events. Her finished food style would totally cover the table linen. In between each dish would be layers of fruits, vegetables and savouries. This was long before food styling became popular. Her work inspired me and changed the way I thought about food presentation.  Many times less is more. It doesn’t take much to make a statement.

Fresh fruit is beautiful and colorful. Some of my favorite fruit to decorate with are sliced citrus, kiwi, and fresh berries. For this event, we simply used a carton of washed strawberries and several sliced orange twists to pop into dishes right before serving. 

Ladies Tea Luncheon Buffet

Add fruit as a garnish to your sandwich plate to add color and interest.

 

Sprinkle a few strawberries onto a platter of fresh scones.

 

Dessert buffet

Strawberries add a touch of spring to the pedestal of pecan tassies.

 Sprigs of lavender, rosemary, basil, parsley, mint, scented geranium, or any fresh herb add color and fragrance to your dish or setting. Insert them into your fresh flower bouquets for greenery. For this tea, fennel was added to the rose bouquets .

Ladies tea preparation

This sideboard will be used for desserts. The backdrop is set with rose floral arrangements, pretty pink plates and crystal. Fresh fruit tiers are colorful and simple.

Last year,a few handfuls of rosemary were tucked in at the last minute.

Use place card holders and cards to label dishes on a buffet.

Use place card holders and cards to label your dishes..

 

Luncheon buffet with

Fresh strawberries, old garden roses, and vases of rosemary cuttings shared at this event, add color to the luncheon buffet. One guest brought a delicious chicken salad enhanced with five fresh herbs from her garden.

Use flowers or fresh greens from your yard in creative ways to add color. Edible flowers include roses, pansies, dianthus, bachelor button, bee balm, chrysanthemum, citrus blossoms, day lilies, hibiscus, hollyhock, impatiens, jasmine, honeysuckle, lilac, peony, daisies, passion flower, pomegranate, snapdragon, strawberry, sunflower, tulip, violet, wisteria, zinnia, or vegetable blossoms. If you can’t find a list of fresh green edibles, then use fresh herbs.

Garnish with roses and mint leaves

A tiny rosebud and apple mint leaves garnish this Pot de Creme. Bouquets of old garden roses will gracefully release some rose petals for you.

6. Don’t stress over what doesn’t get done. This may be the most challenging for me. I typically have huge expectations and dreams that I don’t begin to attain.  I remind myself that no one knows what I had planned to do, and to be grateful for what got accomplished.

Last year I had purchased the ingredients to make cucumber sandwiches and didn’t get them made to add to the luncheon. I was disappointed because they would have been a simple addition and are a traditional tea-type food. Several days later, several friends gathered in our kitchen nook to celebrate a birthday and those sandwiches were made and enjoyed.

Cucumber sandwiches on marble rye bread garnished with grapes.

These sandwiches paired well with strawberry yogurt soup made for the tea featured in this post.

7. Enjoy your guests! Sometimes in a flurry of activity, we can overlook what really matters. Relationships are valuable. When someone knows you care about them, that is more significant than making the perfect recipe, having a spotless house, or creating a masterpiece.

I tried three times to save this photo and finally decided it didn’t have to be perfect. It captures the moment and supports this point.

Moments like these bond friendships together.

 

Quick selfie and more laughter as guests pause at the front door before dashing off to their next event.

Serving others is very satisfying. Do you agree that you receive more than you give? I feel grateful, thankful and blessed. God is good!

Sharing inspiration at Amaze Me Monday, Feathered Nest Friday, The Scoop, and Wow us Wednesdays.

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14 Responses to Host A Ladies Tea Luncheon

  1. Janet Bamesberger May 8, 2017 at 8:53 am #

    Oh, dear Joanne, you are so inspiring! I loved this blog, because it is so YOU! Using your precious and beautiful collection of china and glassware, along with your lovely roses and accent plants, make for a very memorable tea with friends!

    • withendlessgrace May 9, 2017 at 6:28 am #

      Thanks mom, I learned from the best! You are a great encourager! I’m thankful for the inspiration and desire to serve others that I received from you. If only I weren’t so accomplished at leaving too much until the last minute and were skilled at planning ahead like you, it would be so much more satisfying. 🙂

  2. Rhonda May 8, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

    I can hardly believe I missed all of this! The photos are just overwhelming with their beauty! And knowing that they can only capture one dimension of the experience, I know it was quite an event.
    You have developed such an ease with your hospitality and yet make it possible for your guests to also feel like royalty. We are royally blessed to be part of your life, Joanne!

    Great tips, too!

    • withendlessgrace May 9, 2017 at 6:22 am #

      Thank you for kind words. The storms may have kept you from coming to this past tea, but we’ll strive to have many more opportunities for sweet fellowship!
      My guests are royalty! I’m thankful they are willing to rescue the damsel in distress. It wouldn’t be the same without each one sharing their part to contribute to the whole.
      Your friendship means a lot to me!

  3. Anonymous May 8, 2017 at 11:47 pm #

    I am so thankful to be a part of this event. It tasted as good as it looked.

    • withendlessgrace May 9, 2017 at 6:14 am #

      I’m glad you are able to come and bring your tasty dish! The crazy weather and lack of electricity didn’t slow us down too much. I don’t know if you visited the post from last summer on strawberry yogurt soup, but there is a lovely photo and reference to you. I’m blessed with your friendship!

  4. Gretchen Carlson May 10, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

    What a beautiful beautiful gift for your friends! If I lived close, I’d join the garden club just to be on your “invite list!” You combine creativity and practical tips…yes, use what you have, yes, ask others to help, and yes, create beauty. (PS. Cheyenne’s high altitude and cold basically reduces spring to a sad song. Our tulips and daffodils are only now in full bloom. I can’t imagine having roses already!

    • withendlessgrace May 15, 2017 at 10:41 pm #

      I love ideas I’ve gathered from you and cherish time spent in your gracious home. Thanks for stopping by and sharing encouraging words!

  5. larr May 15, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

    What a pretty and delicious looking tea. Tea is one of my very favorite things. It’s a charming tradition that we have to keep going.

    • withendlessgrace May 15, 2017 at 10:29 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to share your love for teas. Yes, let’s do our part to keep it going!
      I took a quick visit to your blog and added your zinnia cookies to my to do list. They are adorable!

  6. Carol ("Mimi") May 16, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    This is so lovely and gracious! The flowers, the china, the gorgeous presentation of the food — it all looks absolutely beautiful.

    • withendlessgrace May 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

      Carol, Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your visit and your sweet comments. Please come again!

  7. Cindy May 21, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Such a beautiful post! Enjoyed the tips, gorgeous pictures, ladies sharing and coming together…lovely!
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY!
    Blessings,
    Cindy

    • withendlessgrace May 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

      Cindy, I appreciate the opportunity to share at Amaze Me Monday. You bring great inspiration and insights every week. Your sweet words mean a lot to me. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment!

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