Food or Decorations?

I just watched a TV show called Party Girl which aired on the Discovery Home Channel. In this episode, the show hostess, Cathy Riva, planned a Mad Hatter’s Tea for Tracy Stern. Tracy Stern, as some of you may know, owns a tea business and has written a tea party book. Apparently Tracy is so busy with her tea business that she can’t find time to plan and host her own tea.

For the Mad Hatter’s Tea, Cathy painted her own teapots at a ceramics store. She created tie belts as favors for the guests. She and Tracy decorated store-bought cupcakes. The Mad Hatter’s Tea was held in a private room in a restaurant so Cathy had only the table to decorate; she used wheat grass and roses. Guests were presented with Mad Hatter dress up accessories. All nice details for sure.

As I watched, I kept thinking about the food. Tracy got in a couple plugs for the tea that she sells but only cupcakes had been mentioned throughout most of the show. Finally as the guests sat down, we were told that they wouldn’t be serving traditional tea food instead the restaurant served sushi. The camera panned so quickly that I am not even certain what the second dish was, some kind of meat skewer, I believe.

This looked like a fun party but it made me wonder whether food takes a backseat to decorations in other people’s parties. I started to question whether I’m out of step with other party givers because my focus is on the food, after the guests, of course.

I think that most of us consider giving a party a personal experience and rarely hold them in restaurants. And there is only so much decorating that we can do in our homes. I mean, your husband’s ratty old tv chair is still going to be in the room and you really can’t afford to paint according to the holiday of the month.

On the other hand, the first question anyone asks when you mention you’ve been to a party is “What did you have to eat?” I don’t believe I’ve ever been asked “What flowers were on the table?”

So, what do you consider to be the primary feature of a party, a tea party or any other kind? Let’s make it a given that the guests come first but then what? Do the decorations make the party, does the food, what about music or party favors? When you tell your friend that you went to a great party, what makes it great?