I had been wanting to have a tea party with friends for quite some time. When all of the Diamond Jubilee and Titanic celebrations were taking place this year, I kept thinking of hosting an England-themed party. So, I determined to host my own birthday party!
Birthdays have always been a big deal to me. I wish I could think of something grand to do for every one of my dear one's and friend's birthdays all the time, but the truth is I can't. So if you've ever felt slighted by me on your birthday, please don't take it personally. Know that I probably thought very much about it but didn't have time to implement what I thought about! I do have limits.
I do, however, do my best to make birthdays special for my husband and children. We have had so many fun themed-birthday parties over the years. The memories of them fill me with joy and make me smile! I'm pretty sure they made my loved ones smile too.
So, I was determined to create something fun that would help me not to pout over the fact that my husband was missing my birthday this year (and spending it in Hawaii). I may not have entirely escaped the pouting, but this did accomplish my purpose of bringing joy and something to anticipate! It was great fun to plan. I wanted to give all my friends the gift of delectable food and a sweet ambience with laughter and fellowship. I did end up taking a few friends' offers to bring food because I started to realize that things were a little hectic without Warrior. It WAS a busy week, and a crazy one for me. But so worth putting this party together!
My party had a mixed theme of British royalty and Jane Austen. There are so many lovely ideas out there for Jane Austen-themed parties. To begin with, I made these invitations, combining my themes by giving the Jane Austen silhouette a crown!
I spent a fair amount of time considering how to decorate. I was really pleased with the final results.
The Jane Austen banner tutorial came from here. I half-envisioned it being a backdrop for friends to take fun photos. I had a bench with some lovely props to go with it. But I neglected to tell people early on. Conversations were so lively among the ladies that I didn't want to break them up. So by the time I thought to mention photos it was getting dark and I didn't think flash photography would be so nice. Oh well! It was a nice idea.
I created a welcoming spot on the front porch as guests arrived.
The table is always my favorite part to dress-up for tea time. I borrowed my Country Girl's crown from one of her past birthdays and set it around a vase of roses which my children had picked from our garden for my birthday. After all, one cannot have an England theme party without roses, in my opinion!
Each guest had a place card with the title of "Lady" in keeping with a Royal theme. I also used these little Jane Austen mini-books to decorate the table.
And then, there's the food! Some of my treats included finger sandwiches (which friends helped with), blueberry cream scones, lavender tea cookies, fresh raspberries, a tossed green salad, a wonderful chicken curry salad brought by a friend, and chocolate-dipped strawberries.
The teas? Well, since this was a Royal Party, none other than my English-themed Harney and Sons teas, of course. The Royal Wedding Tea, which I mentioned here, and the Chocolate and Roses Tea were perfect for the occasion. I also served a raspberry-infused Coconut-Lime Juice.
My little crowning glory was this Strawberry-Rhubarb Trifle. Oh, almost anything strawberry-rhubarb is my favorite!
One of my sweet friends gifted me by starting a round of blessings on my behalf. How dear and encouraging it was to be uplifted by their dear words--even more so when it was a particularly difficult week!
And they insisted I get a candle for the trifle so all could sing "Happy Birthday."
We rounded out our evening with a couple of party games in keeping with our theme. One was a Royal Family quiz. Yes, I even had a guest who remembered Queen Elizabeth II's coronation day when she was a little girl. I thought that was very sweet. She won the Royal Family quiz, by the way. We also played a little Jane Austen quiz. I read quotes from her books and all had to guess which book the quote came from.
It was a late night full of laughter, fun, beauty, fellowship with people I love, food and drink, and even a few tears. I couldn't have asked for more blessings! Even if part of my heart was in Hawaii with my Beloved.