Planning an outdoor tea party? Two words – Mother. Nature.

Spring is right around the corner and with it comes a bustling tea party season in full bloom! There are so many exciting occasions and milestones to celebrate this time of year and an outdoor tea party can be the perfect theme for your special event.  

Here’s the thing. I love the “idea” of an outdoor tea party as much as the next gal. Fresh air, a perfect sunny day, gorgeous garden views, the chance to wear my huge tea party hat…you get my drift.

Now for the rub. You cannot control Mother Nature. So, my first question when a customer calls about hosting an outdoor tea party is this – what’s your Plan B if Goddess Earth decides she isn’t in the mood to cooperate that day?!!

I’ve been hired for my fair share of outdoor tea parties and some of them have been fantastic. Like, truly spectacular with the perfect temperature, ideal natural light for photos, incredible ambiance, etc.

And then there have been a few that haven’t gone as well because of the elements. Sigh.

Let me paint a few scenarios for you based on my personal experience:

  • Wasps (nasty yellow jackets) swarming the food so badly on the buffet table that I had to stand there and swat them away with a tea towel during the entire party. Does that sound appetizing for your guests as they reach for another dainty finger sandwich? Gross.
  • Torrential rain absolutely soaking the tea tables while the teacups and saucers literally jumped up and down. After the guests came out from hiding under the only covered area in the yard, do you think they were excited about sitting down at a sloppy wet table while it continued to drizzle for the next two hours? Damp & Dismal.
  • Wind gusts causing loose asphalt from the roof to blow massive bits of tar all over the tea tables. Would you like some gravel with your scones? A spot of poison in your cup? Toxic.
  • Scorching heat causing elderly guests to feel faint after sitting in the direct sun for hours. Oh…and the desserts melting while the sandwiches dried out. Enough said.

Would a tent have helped with the direct sun sitch? Yes. But it wouldn’t solve the wasp issue and with torrential rains and winds, the tent itself could become a death trap.

The bottom line is this. Putting on any type of successful event takes a lot of planning, time, effort and money…and the last thing I ever want are disappointed customers because things happen outside of their control. 

Therefore, my answer to any outdoor tea party inquiry is this – we hope for a gorgeous Spring/Summer/Fall day, but we plan for the worst. 

This usually involves making a decision early on in the planning process about where the party will take place if it looks like the weather is not going to cooperate. If things aren’t looking good a few days before the event, we put Plan B into action and take the party indoors or to the alternate venue.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I really do enjoy a lovely outdoor tea party but would definitely consider myself to be a “fair weather” guest…and I’m guessing most of your family and friends would too!   

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