Tea Party Finances

I had an email yesterday asking how much it costs to host an afternoon tea party. My first thought was “How much do you want to spend?” That isn’t the smarty pants answer it might seem. Finances are a concern for all of us and no one wants to overextend by throwing a tea party and then having to eat Spam for the rest of the month. The best way to keep out of trouble is to sit down and plan out a budget.

Consider the following categories and write down every expense you might have:

Invitations: cards, envelopes, postage, special pens, follow-up phone calls

Food: keep in mind the dishes you’d like to serve and set a food budget based on them, list everything you’ll need to buy from the grocery store or market

Tea: tea, sugars, lemon, milk

Décor: flowers, candles, tablecloths, napkins, place cards, fabric

Dishes and special cook/bakeware: anything you’ll need to purchase specifically for this party

Cleaning: all the extra cleaning supplies you might buy or the cost of cleaning help

Other expenses: table or chair rental fees, a fee for the neighbor teen asked to be a server, gift bags

Keep in mind that while the list looks long, most hostesses will have zeros in some of those categories. Add about 10% to the total for items that may have been under budgeted. There is the budget for a tea party. Always keeping it in mind will help prevent over spending.

Lowering the cost:

Invitations: Call your friends instead of sending invitations. You’ll get an immediate head count and can easily invite others if original guests can’t make it.

Food: See my post on a Budget Tea Party for ideas. Host a Dessert Tea or Brunch Tea to cut back on food expenses. Invite fewer guests; instead of a blow-out tea for 24, invite 6 close friends.

Décor and Dishes: Borrow, mix and match, use what you have.

Cleaning: I’d like to say don’t bother cleaning but you know you’re going to have to clean. It is the sad fact of tea party hosting. :)

Other expenses: don’t rent, borrow, offer to baby sit for your neighbor if she’ll help serve for your party, simply don’t give gift bags or favors.

My final budgeting tip is to host the tea party with a friend or two. Not only is the budget split among the hostesses but so is the work. And it is lots more fun!