Tea parties are a graceful way to celebrate a birthday party and can be an elegant choice for someone who is celebrating her 80th birthday. Planning a tea party involves many factors including the food and beverages that are served. To make sure the guest of honour has the best birthday celebration, focus on the details of the event.
Tea sandwiches are simple and economical to serve at an afternoon tea. Cut triangles of various kinds of bread without the crust and toast the triangles on a baking tray. Spread margarine or butter to the very edge of each triangle once the toast has cooled to keep the bread from becoming soggy. Add meats such as thinly sliced roast beef and chicken along with mayonnaise or horseradish for tasty open-faced sandwiches. Add a colourful splash with olives, herbs, tomato slices and other toppings.
Scones--especially raisin scones with clotted cream--are an authentic treat for a birthday tea party, as are cookies and small cakes. Serve a selection of savoury and sweet items for the traditional English Tea.
The birthday cake can be served along with the other sweets, but for an 80th birthday celebration, something elaborate is in order. A professional baker can create a cake that resembles an English garden or a garden cottage to keep with the party theme.
The tea is the most important ingredient of a birthday tea party celebration. Prepare a selection of teas, including a decaffeinated version, and make sure that you brew with tealeaves and not tea bags for a traditional proper pot of tea. Always use ceramic teapots and never metal for a better tasting pot of tea.
Keep boiling water nearby to dilute tea when needed, and keep hot water on hand for additional tea during the course of the afternoon.
A tea serving set that is a family keepsake can be used for the birthday celebration. If the item is delicate, use it for the guest of honour and those who are sitting at his table. A tea set that was given to the guest of honour for her wedding or handed down from a parent would be a nice touch on an 80th birthday celebration.
A proper tea party birthday celebration should include plenty of fresh flowers adorning the tables. Having the party outside in a garden setting is a lovely choice, but make sure that there is plenty of shade for sensitive guests. Umbrellas over the tables will protect the guests as well as the food.
The tablecloths and napkins should coordinate with the china and tea service on the table. A patterned set of china should use a solid coloured napkin and tablecloth in a coordinating colour. Plain china can use either plain or patterned linens. The guest of honor's favourite colour is an appropriate choice. You could also incorporate the pattern and colour of the family tea set in the decor as well to make it special for the birthday guest.
Rose centrepieces are a classic look for a traditional tea party and your guest of honour should have an elaborate centrepiece at her table to differentiate it from the rest. Plan to give the centrepieces away to guests during the course of the tea.
An 80th birthday is a milestone and can be commemorated with photographs of the guest of honour at various times in his life. Wedding photos and even childhood photos blown up and placed around the head table are a good way to display accomplishments and special moments in a long life.
The tea and food should be served on carts so that guests can help themselves to the food and beverages. Have additional beverages for guests who do not wish to drink tea. A separate cart for gifts and cards should be available as well. Plan the number of tables that you will need to accommodate all the guests to the birthday celebration. Small tables with three or four guests each are a good arrangement for an afternoon tea 80th birthday party.