So, to remind everyone, this Mad Tea Party is being hosted by our dear Mad Hatter. It is from his quirky, but endearing, perspective that we take our lead in decorating the party space. You likely have chosen several of your favorite watercolors to highlight in the color scheme and perhaps, a whitewashed or creamy white as a neutral color. You should also choose a metal tone to stick to more or less (Miss Party Smarty prefers the warm feeling of antique gold and bronze, but the luster of antique silver could also be be beautiful). This is a grown up version of a Mad Tea Party so overall decor is toned down vintage-whimsical, not cartoonish or childish.
Re-imagine the entrance area where guests will arrive. How can it be transformed to some degree? Put your mind to creating an entrance that takes your guest ‘down the rabbit hole’ or ‘through the looking-glass’. Here are a few fun ideas, (keep the overall effect low-key festive. You’re going for ‘classy ambience to set the stage’, rather than ‘entrance to a kid’s Wonderland theme park’). Set up a bubble or fog machine behind a bush to have bubbles or fog subtly appearing from nowhere. Put pink flamingoes (look at party stores) along the entrance walkway, add white lights to nearby bushes if an evening affair.
Ideas to decorate the area around your front door area: make an “Alice” themed wreath on a grapevine wreath base; set a cement garden rabbit or other whimsical garden statue nearby; set a large potted English ivy topiary; paint weathered boards with directional signs that say, “this way”, “that way”, “the other way” attach to a nearby tree or to garden stakes. This last idea, Miss Party Smarty would probably only use if you could make very authentic-looking signs, otherwise, stay away from cartoonish-style decor.
Decorate your foyer table with a MYO Framed and Colorized Classic Storybook Illustration chosen from one of the many beautiful illustrations by John Tenniel in the Alice in Wonderland books. You might also do a themed ‘Teetering Teacups’ Centerpiece to set on this table using teacups or other decorative objects and add fresh flowers to the centerpiece or another appropriate vase. See ‘Teetering Teacups’ Centerpiece, Part 1; ‘Teetering Teacups’ Centerpiece, Part 2; or ‘Teetering Teacups’ Centerpiece, Part 3 for lots of ideas of what to use to build one and from there you will be directed to a tutorial to show you how to build one.
For other general party space decor, much of what you do depends on your location. Ideally, the party would be held outside as in the story, specifically under a large tree, but let’s not go, well, MAD with every last detail! Holding the party outside in a garden, on a terrace or deck close to the house to aid food service would be perfect. If you are holding this party at your own home, use a dresser, wood side table, wood buffet or other home furniture you might have and put it to work for any number of food service purposes. If the party is held away from your home, scope out the rental space so you know what furniture-quality tables you would be allowed to use and if you may move them if needed.
Speaking of a rental space, for this particular theme, if you are not holding this party at your home, Miss Party Smarty suggests you choose a facility to complement the theme. Research historic homes that are available for rental in your area, many include use of their gardens and may have folding tables and chairs for use. If you find you have several choices, does one of them have an outdoor area to place the tea party table for Plan A, but also an indoor room large enough to hold your tea party table for Plan B, in case of rain? Is one of them Victorian in style or feel like you could imagine the Mad Hatter living there? Remember you are planning this party as if he is the host.
Continue on to “Mad Tea Party”, Part 3B.