Celebrate In Style With A Vintage Tea Party

Published: 15th March 2012
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Let's be honest, most people need only the slenderest of excuses to throw a party. Landing a job, being promoted, moving into a new home or redecorating an old one, are all reason enough to gather friends and family together for a knees up. There are, however, major milestones in life, such as engagements, weddings, christenings and key birthdays, which warrant a special celebration. For many of these milestone events, there is an expected style of party: a cocktail party for an engagement, a wedding breakfast following the marriage ceremony and a black tie dinner with dancing for an 18th or 21st birthday party. Essentially these are all parties organised for adults, at which children, if present, are expected to behave and be entertained as miniature adults.

But these days, many people prefer a more relaxed style of entertaining, which is congenial for both adults and children. There are many ways to loosen the formality of, for example, a traditional wedding reception to make it more family friendly, but what's the best approach if you're organising a truly multi-generational event? The answer is that you need to choose a style of party which is flexible enough to appeal equally to all your guests, from the very youngest to the great-grandparents. A vintage tea party fits the bill perfectly because it's formal yet fun. The element of nostalgia will delight the older generation and the menu can be organised so that it appeals to every age group. Most importantly of all, nobody is expected to sit still in the same place for hours on end. So what types of event can you celebrate with a vintage party theme? Here are some ideas for events which celebrate and welcome the youngest members of the family.

A Christening Tea
The important thing to remember with a christening party is that, however much time and effort you put into organising a stylish event, the baby who's being christened will, rightly, be the centre of attention. An air of formality and understated elegance is therefore the order of the day. Vintage china, dainty sandwiches and pastries will wow the adults, while children can enjoy the same eats served on something rather more robust. Tradition dictates a Christening cake, but the current vogue is for cup cakes arrangements, which are equally eye-catching and easy to serve. However, an old fashioned, white-iced christening cake, perhaps even a re-iced tier saved from the parents' wedding, will appeal to traditionalists, who may think cup cakes a step too far. Whatever your choice of cake, it should be accompanied by a toast. Champagne, or a champagne-based cocktail in china tea cups, is perfect for the toast. To add extra sparkle to the occasion, why not serve champagne throughout the celebration as an alternative to tea.

A First Birthday Party
A first birthday party is as much about the parents, their family and friends as it is about the child. It's important to keep numbers low and hold the party at home, so that the baby feels secure and is in its familiar environment. Aim to provide an elegant vintage-themed tea to entertain the adults and, if you are inviting other babies, liaise with their mothers about their feeding. It's best to time the party for after the baby's afternoon nap, so he or she will be lively and not overly tired, and to keep the duration of the party short. Better an enjoyable hour together than two hours during which everyone starts to get fractious towards the end.

Vintage themed parties are fashionable, fun to organise and suited to a wide variety of different events. In future articles we'll be looking at organising vintage style weddings, baby showers and vintage tea parties for community events.

Viv Eden is employed by afternoon tea party organisers Vintage English, who turn Christenings into special occasions with its vintage china hire and Christening party catering services.

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