I turned 24 last week and this year all I wanted was to celebrate my amazing girls. I’ve also been missing London so I thought, why not recreate some of the best parts of tea time? Anyone that knows me knows that I dread my birthday every year, but I figured throwing a tea party would give me something to look forward to and be a taste of London in LA. Except that I turned into partyzilla — shout out to Sali & Yana for dealing with the devil all week.
I sent out an invite to my sweet girls saying that in honor of my birthday, I would love nothing more than to celebrate my ladies and thank them for their support this past year. The dress code was hats & dresses — I love any excuse to make people dress up.
I’m all about the little things and for this party, I knew the little things would make the big picture look fantastic.
I’ll walk you step-by-step through the tea party process and even give you some Bougie-On-A-Budget tips along the way. I decided from the start that my colors would be pink, white & lavender, but you can pick whatever suits you!
1) Invites & RSVPs
- Make a list of everyone you want to invite and expect about 30% to RSVP ‘no’. If your party is in the middle of birthday/wedding/graduation season like mine, expect more than that to not be able to make it.
- Invite! You can send invites through E-Vite, Paperless Post, or even through texts depending on the number of people you have. I sent them through Paperless Post.
- Set a deadline for RSVPs. This is essential. You can’t start planning until you know how many people to plan for!
- If you’re a guest that’s invited here are big NO-NO’s:
Don’t RSVP ‘yes’ and then NOT show up. Especially to a tea party where everybody will have place settings. It’s just plain rude & disrespectful. If you’re not going to show up, you better have a really good excuse.
DO NOT not RSVP. Making the host have to hound you through text is also not very nice. I sent a reminder to those who hadn’t RSVP’d by deadline and luckily, that got most people to do it. However, for the rest that didn’t, I had to send a text and hound them. Not into it. No thank you.
2) Plan the menu
Sandwiches on both whole wheat and white bread:
- Egg salad
- Tuna salad
- Peanut butter & jelly
- Quinoa, black beans, corn & bell peppers in a lemon-olive oil dressing
- Tomato, avocado, cucumber & olive in a lemon-olive oil dressing
- Kale, cranberries, oranges, slice almonds & parmesan in a lemon-olive oil dressing
- 3 cheese plate ( Brie, Smoked Gouda & Havarti) with crackers and olives
- Smoked salmon with cream cheese, capers & toasties
- Lemon bars
- Lemon bites
- Scones (Blueberry, Cranberry & Orange)
- Mini cinnamon rolls
- Mini brownie bites
- Rose cake with raspberry lemon cream filling
- Jam (Boysenberry, Raspberry & Apricot)
- Peanut butter
- Cream cheese
- Baguette bread
- English muffins
- Orange & mint infused water
- Sparkling water
- White wine
- Orange juice
- Cranberry juice
- Coffee (instant & brewed)
- Tea ( green, English breakfast, peppermint, mint, cinnamon)
3) Plan the set-up
- Decide how many tables you need and if you want to put place settings (we did 6 tables with 6 chairs at each table)
- Napkins (you can do cloth or paper)
- I really love Alice in Wonderland and wanting to stay true to the theme, I found 12 quotes I loved, put it them on paper and wrapped them around each napkin. Every person at the same table had a different quote!
- Centerpieces (this can be whatever you want). I put tea pots in the middle, filled them with flowers, and added a ‘Drink Me‘ tag
- You don’t necessarily have to use table covers, but I think it’s classier and more uniform
4) Get to shopping
This party is A LOT more work than it seems and requires tons of shopping!
- Head over to places like Costco or Smart & Final to buy in bulk.
5) Bougie-On-A-Budget Tips
- The 99 Cent Store. You can get SO much more than you thought here. They have everything from all types of food to champagne glasses (if you choose to buy them or use them). You can get cute party decorations here as well.
- Costco. If you don’t have a membership, get one today. Everything including alcohol is cheaper and in bulk. We bought most of our food at Costco and all of our alcohol.
- Trader Joes. 2-Buck Chuck anyone? I wanted all different sorts of wine for my ladies but if you want to keep the price down head over to TJ and buy a couple bottles of red and white. We also got the 3 different types of jam, crumpets and milk from there – because you can’t have a proper tea party without those!
- Keep the party under 20 people. I was expecting 50 girls so I had to go all out, but had I only had 20 or so, we would have needed a lot less food/drinks. With a smaller party, there would be no need for a cheese plate which could be expensive, as many sandwiches or sweets, and definitely less alcohol.
- Make everything yourself! I am incredibly lucky that my mom, Sali & Yana came to help me assemble everything both the night before and day of. My best friend Jess also came and helped out between grad parties.
- Make it a potluck. You can have each person bring desserts or drinks while you provide the sandwiches and salads!
I ordered my cake from Cake & Art — if you’re on a budget, do not go there — and it was EVERYTHING. By far my favorite part of the entire thing. Their red velvet cake is to die for and they are SO talented!
Once everything is set to go, enjoy the party! This is definitely a party where tons of photos will be taken so get that smile ready and have fun!
Thank you to all of my lovely girls for coming to my tea party! I had the best birthday and am so thankful for you.