Easter Brunch Tea Party

To borrow from Sara Lee, nobody doesn’t like Easter. At Christmas there are a million and one obligations to fulfill and Thanksgiving requires a million and one foods to prepare. But Easter is calmer, gentle and serene, full of grace.

Easter is the perfect time to hold a Brunch Tea Party. On the Saturday morning before Easter, after Easter Dawn church services or in place of Easter dinner are all good times to schedule this tea party.

Send written invitations if you like; there are lovely Easter styles from which to choose. But be open to issuing last-minute invitations. You might decide to invite someone from a church service you’ve attended, your kids might bring friends home from college or you might have seen your neighbor for the first time all winter. How nice to be able to say “Come for brunch!”

Nothing will set the mood for a joyous Easter Tea more than fresh or potted flowers. Lilies and hyacinth with their beautiful fragrance, tulips in vibrant colors and sweet daffodils should welcome your guests. The rest of the decorating depends on your mood this year. Whimsical, folk art, retro or a natural garden theme might feel just right.

Colored eggs are a pretty decoration for your table. If you have children, they’ll be happy to help. Martha Stewart has beautiful ideas for the crafty. Her lace-dyed eggs are gorgeous and relatively easy. Place the decorated eggs on the table in egg cups to show them off. Or use a cake stand, covering the top with artificial grass or dyed green coconut in which to nestle the eggs. Or use an Easter tree and hang the eggs with colorful ribbon.

This tea is just right for using your prettiest dishes in a mix and match fashion. On the buffet table, stack your plates in flowery patterns with your Spring pastel solids and line up your teacups and saucers. This is decorative in itself.

It is considered very special to be asked to pour the tea; ask one of your guests to do the honors. On the other hand, if this keeps her from eating with her family, you might want to pour yourself. Carrying a plate of food and a teacup and saucer could be more than some of your guests want to tackle. Bring the tea to these guests after they are seated. Remember, the tablecloth you save will be your own.

Since your guests will fill their plates at the buffet table (or sideboard or kitchen table or kitchen island) and bring them to your dining table to eat, place cards won’t work well. If your Easter Tea extends for a couple hours, you might even have double seatings. Be sure to lay a fresh place setting and freshen the spot as soon as the first guests leave the dining area.

Good music adds to the mood of any tea party. Vivaldi, Stravinsky or Ravel might please your guests’ ears. Or not. I realize everyone doesn’t love classical music. Play what you enjoy, anything but vocal music. Having Josh Groban, as great as you might think he is, warbling in the background will impede conversation among your guests and leave them with congested heads.

I don’t think favors are necessary at this Easter Brunch Tea Party but you could keep a basket filled with foil-wrapped chocolate bunnies or eggs on a table beside your front door. As you say goodbye to your guests, give each one a little treat to eat later.

The food I’ve chosen for this tea party can be prepared in advance and baked at the last minute. The menu allows the hostess to attend her Easter church services and return home to simply put on her apron and set the food on the table. Come back tomorrow for the menu. Recipes for the dishes will follow.