Tea parties are the perfect way to have fun while eating a little and playing games. One way to have a tea party that both sexes and all ages can attend is to have an anything-goes Mad Hatter Tea Party. This kind of tea party is so eccentric that if anything goes wrong, it will not matter as long as you have fun. This idea also makes for a wonderful bridal or baby shower.
Cut out tea pot- or cup-shaped invitations. They do not have to be perfect. Word your invitations in a silly rhyme, like the Walrus and the Carpenter would. Ask your guests not to be "late for a very important date." You can ask guests to wear their craziest, "maddest" hat--the wilder, the better. Make a few to have on hand for extras.
Place your guests at one long table that has been covered with a colourful tablecloth or two. Do not worry about it being too tidy or coordinated. Be sure to have more place settings than guests. Use mismatched plates and tea cups from sets you have borrowed from several people or have picked up at a yard sale or flea market. Do not use matching sets; be sure to mix them all up, placing small piles of extra cups on the table. Use mismatched chairs of different heights, and set out a variety of candle holders and candelabras of differing styles.
Food can be small tea sandwiches cut in the shape of butterflies. You can also serve marinated mushrooms, mock turtle soup and leg of lamb. Serve beverages including iced and hot tea from a variety of pitchers and teapots, placing "Drink me" tags on some of them. Bake cupcakes with "Eat Me" on them. Of course, a multi-tiered, lopsided brightly iced cake is the perfect finishing touch.
Decorate the room or outdoors area with signs pointing in different directions that say "This Way," "Up," "That Way," "Down" and so on. You may wish to have some clocks stopped at different times. Drape coloured paper lanterns over the table and party area. Put a stuffed mouse in one of the teapots as the Dormouse.
Every half hour, shout "Clean cup. Everyone move down." All guests have to move down and take a clean cup from the pile and place their dirty cup in another pile. A Mad Hat Parade with a prize for the winner can be fun. Guests can wear their own hats, or you can make decorated hats and top hats as a party activity. Sponsor a relay race by placing a bucket of tea in one place and an empty bucket a distance away. After being divided into two groups, each group must fill the empty bucket with a cup of tea they carry from the full bucket. Have a White Rabbit-inspired sack race. A teaspoon relay race, with each contestant carrying a small object in a teaspoon, would be fun as well.