Last fall, I naively pitched the idea of having a ladies tea at our church to benefit LWML missions grants. And then somehow I was in charge of it! (Doesn't it always happen that way?) So, I found myself a committee of 6 women who agreed to help me organize and pull off a ladies tea.
The catch -- we didn't want to plan the ladies tea that you probably picture when I say "ladies tea". We wanted something that could be a mother-daughter, grandmother-mother-daughter, friends tea. With an interesting speaker. And a little bit of fancy.
Our committee first met in November to choose a theme and get started on planning. We each took responsibility for one aspect of the event. Our jobs were:
* food & hostesses
* entertainment & program
* advertising & photo booth
* facilities (tables and chairs, manpower to help transform the church into the tea area)
* tickets & name tags
We met approximately once a month to check in on progress, get feedback and make decisions.
We decided to call the tea, "You, Me, the LORD and Tea".
One of our first decisions was to make the children's tickets free and plan an activity for the kids. We wanted to encourage families from our church and school to attend.
We had a little discussion about how large the tea might be. It had been a few years since there was a tea at our church, so it was really a guess how people would respond. Our monthly LWML meetings usually have 20 women, and at one point someone actually said, "If our members come and bring a friend or relative, we'll have 40." We decided to plan for 12 tables and approximately 100 women.
One cool thing that happened right away was we found out a family from our school had banquet type supplies in storage, so we were able to get the tables, white tablecloths and chairs as a donation. Awesome!
We decided since we would have 12 tables that we would find 12 hostesses and have each hostess decorate their table to correspond with a month of the year. Hostesses were not asked to provide food, but were responsible for table settings and decor. In return, they received their ticket to the tea for free.
Our food and hostesses woman made a small food committee to make finger sandwiches, scones and fruit salad, and our LWML was asked to donate boxes of individual tea bags. We prepared the hot water in the church kitchen and then had our servers replace the water at the tables when needed.
Our servers? Fancy, dressed up husbands and sons! They all wore white dress shirts and tan pants. (This was actually one of the things people commented on the most following the event.)
We advertised the event at both the church and school and tickets sold quickly. After capping the ticket sales at 100, we actually ended up selling, I think, 106 tickets. I think we probably could have filled another table to two if we had not limited the seating.
We had an AWESOME decorations person. I have a super talented friend who has done event planning before who took over for our first, very lame decorations person (me!). She came up with amazing decoration ideas that were inexpensive. There were a couple of decoration "work parties" to get things made, but that was actually pretty fun!
We set up a photo area so that we could take pictures of ladies in attendance. We decided that those would be mailed or emailed, whatever the photo subject wanted. And then, the idea grew and we had someone make photobox type props. (We weren't sure how some of the more seasoned ladies would feel about the photo props but they seemed to have fun with it!)
|Photo booth backdrop|
We were able to line up a great speaker, a Deaconess in training that I met and got to know at a women's retreat last fall. But we thought we needed an alternate plan for our young lady tea attendees. We recruited 2 of the cool, gifted-with-young-kids men from church to run the craft activity. We planned for a craft, and then thought whatever the girls made could be modeled in a short fashion show. I was looking for a hat or pin or basket or something that could be modeled. And I didn't want glue to be involved. And it needed to work for girls as young as 3. And for a ratio of 2 adults to approximately 20 kids.
Thank goodness for Pinterest!
|Craft room ready for hat making|
And I found: this. It worked perfectly and I actually had a lot of the fun crafty stuff already in my kids art tubs. So, during the speaker, the kids went and made funky hats, and then they modeled them at the end to the Mandisa song, "Good Morning"
The event went like this...
Friday afternoon, our committee and a few helpers arrived and worked on decorations. Then we, along with recruited "muscle", stage the sanctuary for the ladies tea. That was a hard 5 or so hours of work that thankfully was shared by about 15 people.
Tables and chairs arrived. Decor was being put up. Hostesses showed up when they could to set up their tables.
|The Tea Table (glass bowl for donations went on top)|
In addition to the tables, we had a central table with additional tea bags (each table had a bowl with a variety of tea bags), sugar, and a donation box for missions. We also had a large check in table with programs (with the schedule, some facts about tea I found online, and information about LWML and our speaker) and name tags. From there, we encouraged people to head to the photo area.
|Check in table|
We had about 30 minutes of fellowship time before tea was served. Ladies also looked around at the different themed tables, and had their picture taken at the photo booth. We had tea and snacks, then heard our speaker while the kids did their crafts.
One of the highlights of the event for everyone was the fashion show. The kids were so cute and most really got into being fancy and showing off the hats they made.
Overall it was a really fun event. Our committee members received a lot of feedback. Many said we should have charged more money, while some said we charged too much. Most ladies commented that they would have liked more fellowship time. And all agreed that the decorations were very beautiful.
And now, some more pictures!!!
|More tea-ing ladies with one of the gentleman servers|
|Our craft helpers ended up in hats too!|
And, some fun photo booth pictures!
|Our craft guys (Eric is on the left) and Little Man|
|Me, my mom and Big Girl|