Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

I have seriously been planning this party for almost a year. Last June, Megan was invited to a birthday party at a children's tea shoppe on Balboa Island. While the girls ate and played, I looked around the store and came across THIS BOOK by Tracy Stern.

It is filled with fabulous ideas and recipes for all sorts of different tea parties. One in particular really caught my eye. A Mad Hatter's Tea Party. I knew I had to throw this party....I just didn't know when or where or for whom. So I began collecting ideas and storing them away. When my sister Katherine got engaged last September, I knew I had found the perfect excuse to go crazy and indulge my obsessive party planning gene.

Knowing it was going to be a Bridal Shower - and wanting to incorporate the Alice In Wonderland theme - I decided an "Around The Clock" shower would be perfect. I set out to find an invitation that captured the vision I had in my head for the party. I was looking to find "Mad" but classy, fun but sophisticated, with bright colors and patterns. I wanted the invitation to clearly imply "Tea Party" but also to incorporate paper lanterns, pocket watches, flowers and big Derby style hats. And of course somewhere in there had to be a bride...or bridal components. Not quite sure why I thought an invitation like this existed, because now looking back, I can see the idea is a little wacky and unique. But I was sure I could find something that would work.

To my dismay, after weeks of searching the internet and every paper store in a 20 mile radius, I did not find ONE that fit the bill. Everything was either too Disney and little girlish, or just plain tea party...not enough whimsy. I was discouraged and disappointed to say the least and started to think about buying 3 different invitations and "scraping" them all together to get the one I was looking for. Before I took that plunge however, I remembered my rock star talented girlfriend Suzanne and decided to ask her another favor! I told her all the things I had floating around my head and forwarded the wording I had come up with....and she said she'd see what she could do.

Here is her creation!

Are you joking?! It was over the moon perfect. I was beside myself with glee when she emailed me the pdf. It's a little hard to see on here - but it says "Don't Be Late! Join us for a Very Important Date! Katherine has found her King of Hearts and it's time to Celebrate. Mad Hatter's Tea Party & Around the Clock Bridal Shower. Be sure and wear your "Maddest" hat! Suzanne put a diamond ring on the Mad Hatter's left hand that I embellished with a mini rhinestone. And she made the card in his hat say "Save the Date 7/17"...that's Kath and Paul's wedding date! Once again, Suzanne hit it out of the park and I couldn't have been happier (or more thankful!)

Suzanne also made this little insert card so people knew what time they had been assigned to gift. She made separate cards for all 24 hours of the day!

With the invitations so fabulously taken care of, I began obsessing on every other detail. I watched Alice and Wonderland over and over with girls for inspiration. The Very Merry Unbirthday tune would play in my dreams and I couldn't get "We're Painting the Roses Red" out of my head! With my mom and sister in law helping me brainstorm, we came up with what I think was one of my best parties yet. Definitely gave Megan's Carnival Golden Birthday a run for it's money!

We had pink flamingos, mushrooms, gorgeous whimsical teapot and teacup centerpieces, "Painting the Roses Red" topiary place card holders, bright vibrant tablecloths, multi colored linen napkins, garden flower napkin rings, red hearts, playing cards, mismatched china, "Drink Me" tags on all the teacups, alternating black and white chairs, huge tulle butterflies, and globe paper lanterns hanging from all the trees and umbrellas. My mom collects teapots - so we put one on each table and filled it with white wine (which we called "Mad Tea") It was a gorgeous, sunny Saturday and when everything was set - the backyard was truly a sight to see. So happy and pretty! I was very pleased to see my vision come together and actually look like the party that had been dancing around my head for the past 11 months.

My mom and I made all the food - which was a serious undertaking. But we like doing that kind of stuff and of course, got a little carried away in that department too! We had 4 different kinds of tea sandwiches in the shapes of spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds. Orange Cranberry Scones, Chocolate Croissants, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, 2 different kinds of quiche, mini Roasted Tomato Tarts, Chicken Salad Creme Puffs, Chocolate Covered Strawberries, Cherry Cheese Tarts and more. I was especially proud of my Wedding Cake and Diamond Ring Butter Cookies. I loved the huge grass table runner my mom found for the buffet table!

I could go on and on about this party, but it's presently 2:21am and Munchie wakes around I must be getting to bed. There are just two more things I wanted to share. One - it was so FUN to see everyone's hats! Some girls really got into it and wore the most beautful hats! My sister in law Adrie however, stole the cake. She looked like a girly Mad Hatter wrapped in pink. You'll just have to see the pics to understand!

Second - in the final week of party planning I got really sad. For the first time since she passed, I desperately missed GG. She was always the first to come to my aid when I hit the home stretch before a party. She would come over during the days and help me with the little mundane things like tying bows or folding napkins, she would play and read with the kids while I sewed, or she'd just sit at the house during nap time so I could get out and run errands without kids in tow. I found myself wanting to share with her all the fun things I was making and doing and I could hear her in my head saying "Erin! Now really, is that necessary?!" as she rolled her eyes and tisk'd her tongue. Especially when it came time to bake and prep the food I missed her. She was always an extra pair of able hands and never complained about getting assigned the boring jobs like peeling carrots or cutting 10 loaves of bread into diamonds, spades and clubs! Bittersweet for sure to see all her teacups gracing the tables at the party without her there to sip from them. I know she was looking forward to all of Katherine's wedding festivities.

I embeded the slide show of all the pics at the very bottom of the blog. So scroll down and push play. I did this so all the images could be extra big. The slide show is of party details first and then people second! The last few pics are of my gift to Kate. I had 11PM. So I gave her Popcorn Bowls, her sheets, and Slumdog Millionaire. Newlyweds should probably hope to be in bed at 11PM doing something other than watching movies...but I saved the more racy gifts for later that night at the Bachelorette festivities. Didn't want to embarass her too bad at the Tea Party! Hope you enjoy.

Mad Hatter Tea Party


Aubs said...

So so so FUN!!! I so know who i am going to hit up the next time i am throwing a party....your gift of creativity is AMAZING!! Everything was gorgeous! I'm so happy for you that everything came together so well and i hope you were able to enjoy yourself a little too!! Have you recovered yet??!!

Avery's Mom said...

OH MY GOODNESS, ERIN!!! The party pictures are AMAZING!!! I had to look through them twice because I was stunned by all of the gorgeous colors the first time, and didn't want to miss all of the details.
What a gorgeous backyard . . . I'm jealous!
EAT YOUR HEAT OUT, MARTHA! There's a new "attention to detail/party queen" in town! :o)

LauraC said...

WOW OH WOW! You never cease to amaze me! You are truly talented with this!

Anonymous said...

Hi Erin ~ well this settles it ! I am going to win the HUGE lottery and then fly you to Dallas for a month to plan Alex's 5th and Josh's 3rd combined cowboy birthday party next year ! Everything was PERFECT ! Betsy

Joanna said...

That was sweet what you said about GG. It added a nice touch to the entry. I can picture all of her little teacups lined up on the table. It must have been beautiful.

Totally Desperate Mom said...

wow. i hope you didn't see the post about my kid's third bday party with the darth vadar plates, princess plates, cars plates and backyardagains balloon...
i am so not a party planner crafty kinda gal. i am so missing that gene. but my birthday is in february if you want to have a party for me.

Bert Bell said...

What a truly wonderful labor of love for your sister. Looked like quite a lovely party & one your Sis will always remember. You have a God given talent for decorating and party themes....ever thought of doing it for a living?

Heather :: AFD Jewelry :: said...

Oh my gosh, Erin - you always blow me away! I just spent way too long checking out all of the pictures, and everything was gorgeous! I am stealing all of your ideas!!!!

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