Planning and Hosting a Ladies Tea

My grandmother had a collection of china tea cups.  You know how those things happen . . . you show interest in something, acquire a couple, and all of a sudden everyone you know buys them for you as gifts.  I admit I remember buying one for her myself.  She kept them in a beautiful china closet that had belonged to her mother, my Swedish great-grandmother, "Mormor."  When my grandma passed away, my mom inherited both the china closet and the china tea cups, and she displayed them in her dining room as well.

My mom has since passed away, and I inherited Mormor's beautiful antique china closet and Grandma's tea cups..  I wanted to share them with the women in my family, but instead of asking them if "anyone wants any of Grandma's tea cups," I decided I would host a Ladies Tea so that we could enjoy them together before dividing them among us. I sent out the invitations and then got to work planning and getting ready for our "Tea."

First I had to unpack all of the tea cups and wash them.

We would use some of them to drink tea out of, 
but I wanted to have them all on display, 
so I used some of them to make candles 
and create a centerpiece.

Click here for step-by-step instructions 
on how to make tea cup candles.

My grandmother also had a lot of aprons and handkerchiefs. 
I wanted to share these with the ladies in my family too.  
(I never washed so many aprons at one time before.)

This is how the aprons came out of the dryer. 
It seems they have close ties to each other, 
just like the women in my family do.

"Blessed be the tie that binds
our hearts in Christian love.
The fellowship of kindred minds
is like to that above."
~John Fawcett

So many aprons and hankies.  They were part of every 
day life back then . . . a time when there weren't many 
modern conveniences, but life had a simple beauty about.
(This is my grandmother's washboard too.)

After ironing all of the aprons, I tied them to the
back of the dining chairs, making colorful chair "skirts."

 I ironed and folded the handkerchiefs and used them as napkins.

Delicate tea pots and a nice variety of teas 
are key elements at a Ladies Tea.

The menu for a Tea should be as delicate as the tea cups 
-- tea sandwiches, quiche, scones with raspberry jam 
and clotted cream, and dainty desserts.

Click here for a complete Tea menu including recipes.

The planning and preparation reached their conclusion, and the day for our Ladies Tea arrived. It was lovely and cherished -- very ladylike and cheerful, relaxing and refreshing. After we enjoyed our tea and finished eating, we took turns choosing tea cups, aprons, and handkerchiefs that would become keepsakes of a shared experience and a remembrance of my Grandma. She was 92 when she passed away 26 years ago. Little did she know when she was in the midst of collecting tea cups that someday the future women in her family would be sipping tea out of them, creating a special memory of life then and now.

To be the special event that it is, a Ladies Tea does take some time and effort.  But the preparations are as much fun as the Tea itself.  It is as special as the Ladies who are invited.

Tips for planning and hosting a Ladies Tea:
  • You can use a matched set of china plates and tea cups, or you can use a collection of unmatched cups as I did.  I pulled the busy table setting together by using all clear glass plates.
  • Be on the lookout for bargains at antique stores, secondhand shops, and thrift stores for aprons, handkerchiefs, tablecloths, candle holders, plates, cups and teapots.
  • For a centerpiece, consider candles in tea cups as I made, or flowers in teapots.  Look around your house and see what you can use to support your theme.  
  • Small details help to make the Tea more memorable: a piece of fancy candy on the center of each plate, sugar cubes instead of loose sugar, everything dainty and fancy. A trinket to take home serves as a reminder of the time shared . . . an ornament, a handkerchief, a pin.  Again, search the shops for a good bargain.
  • Food should be lighter and daintier in nature.  It's better to have several lighter dishes than a heavy meal.
  • Have a variety of teas on the table, but also have coffee made for those who aren't tea drinkers. Pamper your guests!

You may also like:  Quick and Easy Recipes for a Ladies Tea and How to Make Tea Cup Candles

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  1. What a treasure trove this post is! My favorite part: " they have close ties to each other,just like the women in my family do." ~Precious!

    1. Thanks so much Becky! I'm glad you liked it. You know how much I was looking forward to the Tea, and it remains a very precious memory in my heart! Thanks for your comment. ~Katie

  2. Wonderful post. What a special way to share the memories and traditions of family. I like that you were able to use the aprons and hankies as part of it, too.

    1. Thank you Meredith. It was a great way to share Grandma's tea cups, aprons and handkerchiefs! It is a memory we won't forget! Thanks for your comment.