Monday, January 12, 2009

5th Annual Valentine's Day Ladies Tea

I am currently planning a Valentine's Day Tea Party. This will be the 5th year for me hosting this event. The guests are my friends and family, some coming from 50 miles away, some from my neighborhood. The first couple of Valentine's Day teas were simply love themed events. That was easy enough! Then I started to run dry on unique ideas. I mean, it was all too easy to get really sappy and fru-fru, but that isn't my comfort zone. I wanted my lady guests to enjoy the sweetness of the holiday, but I wanted a little zing, too. So for the third year, I started developing secondary themes. That third tea party was celebrated with German flair.  And last year's party was a Royal Renaissance.

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about this year's theme, and I was at a loss as usual for ideas. I appealed for help from my friends at a forum I occasionally post to, and I wasn't disappointed. It was suggested to emphasize flowers - crystallizing them for dessert embellishments, floating them in drinks, and decorations in general. And voila! The Valentine's Day Tea Party with a floral flourish was born!

Last year I started sending the invitations out using evite. That worked out so well last year, that I decided to use it again this year. It has some good theme templates, but also allows you to customize the design to your liking.

But before I sent the evite invitation, I decided to do a poll of my guests to try to find the date that would be best for everyone. I am pretty sure that evite has a feature that allows you to poll your guests, but I didn't explore that this time. I sent an email with the subject line "Anyone out there that would..." and the email opened up to this image:

Well, I got responses, and it really muddied the waters. I ended up having to draw a little chart to sort out the information of who would be available when. Armed with statistics, I chose my date and went on to the evite invitation.

I used that same teacup image from the date poll email, and chose coordinating colors, and began to compose the wording for the invitation. Originally, I was going to try to do a play on words with flower names, eg: tulips = two lips, dandelion = dandy lion, etc, but that was impossible. I mean, my botanical knowledge is pretty limited, and the creative juices just wouldn't kick into overdrive to accomplish that feat. But, I managed to round up a herd of meaningful cliches from a website containing earth-oriented expressions (Google is my best friend!). As soon as I spied the phrase "common garden variety" I knew I what I could do. 

"Roses are red, violets are blue. It's tea party time, and I hope to see you! Friends are flowers in the garden of life, and to honor this, you are cordially invited to attend the 5th Annual Valentine's Day Ladies' Tea, celebrated this year with a floral flourish. The word through the grapevine is that Sunday, February 8th, would be the most convenient for the most guests. A garden is a friend you can visit anytime, but we'll begin our merriment at 1:30 PM. This is not your common, garden variety party, as we'll have a lot of ground to cover. Come prepared to cultivate the garden within as we celebrate the season of love with games and food, and maybe even learn a few facts along the way. Don't let the grass grow under your feet, RSVP by January 24th, 2009."

Evite lets you customize the reply area (Yes, No, Undecided), too. So, I named the reply area "Being led down the garden path" edited YES to read as "Dig it!" NO to be "Busy as a Bee" and UNDECIDED "On the Fence". Little details like this thrill me.  

Another fun thing about evite is that I can check to see which guests have viewed the invitation and for all of the guests to see who is coming. So while I continue on with my party planning, I can keep a browser open to evite and refresh to my heart's desire. I am one of those people who becomes obsessed with re-reading what I've written on a regular basis. Weird, I know.

More to come, as the party planning progresses...

No comments: