A DIY High Tea To Celebrate My Mother-in-law’s Birthday
We had a DIY High Tea last weekend to celebrate my mother-in-law’s birthday. The event was such a success I thought I’d share it here. I have included instructions on creating your own DIY High Tea because this themed party was easy to put together ourselves.
A Special Birthday Celebration
My mother-in-law’s birthday was approaching when my sister-in-law and I planned this event. It wasn’t a milestone birthday, however it was an important one. This could be the last birthday we spend with her because she is in the final stages of lung cancer.
As a family we know the importance of creating memories. No event has passed without us celebrating together in some way. Our parents-in-law haven’t been in great health for a few years and, although they still live independently in their own home, we have noticed that they have slowed down considerably. We are blessed to still have them both at age 86 and nearly 90.
Hatching the perfect plan
Michelle and I decided to make this birthday a very special celebration for our mother-in-law. It would be a surprise party as we knew Gwen would love it. The theme was a garden party high tea. A few years ago we had gone to a revolving restaurant at the top of a Surfers Paradise building for high tea. Unfortunately there are no high teas available due to Covid restrictions so we decided that a DIY high tea would be easy to put together.
The original plan was for a garden party under a white gazebo. Unfortunately torrential rain forced our party indoors but it looked just as beautiful. My husband and I were to pick up my parents-in-law for a surprise location. We were to follow my husband’s brother in our car, but first we needed to go to his house.
A lovely surprise for our guest of honour
We made sure Gwen walked in first to the beautifully decorated room. The look on her face was priceless. Everyone was in tears, overcome with emotion. We managed to pull off the biggest surprise birthday for the most special lady.
Here’s how to have your own DIY High Tea:
A DIY High Tea is a great theme for a special occasion. For a birthday, hens’ night, fundraiser, girls’ night out, Mother’s Day, baby shower or family celebration. Everything you need to decorate it is easy to obtain from second hand shops and discount stores, which makes it budget friendly.
Choose complementary colours. Pink, mint and white are lovely colours that are very feminine.
As well as being a high tea, we made it a garden party – as if you are having tea with the Queen! We bought sun hats for everyone and we all wore floral or linen.
Most of the decorations came from KMart and discount stores. We looked for colour co-ordinated decorations, with a floral theme to suit the garden party aspect of the theme. All the flowers were dried or silk flowers. My lace tablecloth was draped over pink disposable tablecloths.
Tea pots and crockery
It was nice to use our own crystal glasses and china that we had in our china cabinets. I have a dinner set that originally belonged to my English great-grandmother – it is over 100 years old. My sister-in-law scoured second-hand shops for teapots, milk jugs and cups. It was a very eclectic collection which looked awesome and suited the feminine aesthetic well.
This is the focal point of a High Tea. Everything is bite sized – cakes, sandwiches, savouries and scones with jam and cream. We bought most of the petite cakes from a French Patisserie, and supplemented that with supplies from the local supermarket. If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, local supermarkets usually have a great selection of bite sized cakes and frozen savouries. Pretty floral serving platters and tiered cake stands display the petite cakes beautifully.
Pots of tea, coffee and juice on the tables. Pink champagne in an ice bucket.
A sound track of music from the 40s 50s and 60s suited the occasion. My mother-in-law really enjoyed hearing the music she listened to in her youth.
My mother-in-law loves bingo so that is what we played! We all put $10 into the kitty and played two games with various amounts to win. It made it more exciting. The winner on the day was my mother-in-law which thrilled her no end!
A Successful DIY High Tea
The day was a great success. It was very easy to plan, and was probably one of the easiest themed parties to source everything we needed. I’d highly recommend giving someone special a DIY High Tea. Even the men in the family enjoyed it.
My sister-in-law Michelle had the initial idea, and together we expanded on it. She missed her calling as she is so good at party planning, down to the fine details.
Michelle Henry, execution of the high tea plan, preparing most of the food and styling the room
Aaron Tawadros, photography
The Henry family, enthusiastically taking part in a surprise party for a very special person. Everyone was involved in some way, from setting up the room to helping set out the food.
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