Recently I decided to host a tea party in my home as a fund-raiser for an organization that is dear to my heart. The Syracuse Symphony's demise meant that our SSA (the volunteer organization that supported the symphony) would need to reinvent itself. Over the course of the last year, we've changed our name and our bylaws, and our mission. But there had been no major fund-raising activities other than two luncheons for our members.
So as a beginning, I thought a more personal and intimate group setting would work to launch our new mission. Hence, a Valentine's tea party.
It also helped that I've discovered the joys of drinking tea! Until just a couple of years ago, I scorned any kind of tea, including iced tea. Now I drink a variety of types of tea, all the time. Imagine!
I was able to find in my possessions enough vintage teapots and teacup sets, silver and silverplate, luncheon dishes and silverware, and linens, to accommodate about 15 guests. I invited 22 ladies who are personal friends of mine, however in the end only 12 were able to attend. Several who did not attend were gracious and sent donations anyway.
I designed the invitations myself, printed them out and mailed them about 3 weeks ahead of time.
My house is small, and frankly, I can't imagine what I was thinking when I anticipated 22 people in these tiny rooms! I created seating for 15, and it was tight. But everything looked so cozy, filled with antiques and soft colors and fabrics, fresh flowers and glinting silver!
I worked for a week polishing silver, but your mileage may vary! If you own silver or silverplate, no doubt you keep it shined much more frequently than I do!
The menu was an eclectic mix of French dainties like gougeres (cheese puffs), madeleines (shell-shaped sponge cakes), store-bought dainty cookies, and English favorites like scones with Devon cream and strawberry jam. Of course there were several kinds of tea, including Vanilla Chai, Irish Breakfast, and Green Tea. And there were sugar cubes, honey, and cream.
Savories included crab rangoons, chicken and ginger salad on puff pastry, and crostini with ham and mustard.
Valentines cookies (peanut butter cookies with Dove chocolate hearts) and chocolate candies also appeared.
Although there were few leftovers, I gave them away to my "helpers" in thanks. I did not want to be tempted to devour them myself!
Guests received their donation receipts in thank-you notes within a few days. The fund-raiser was very successful and netted over $250 for the Association's mission of supporting music education in Central New York. Future fundraising activities include a champagne party, a taco party, and another tea party. Members of the Association are motivated!
I am posting some recipes in a separate blog entry. I am also posting some photos taken at the tea party!