Take some inspiration from vintage china tea services and host a summery, flower-filled tea party. They’re perfect for celebrating a birthday or a bridal or baby shower (or, perhaps, the impending arrival of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s baby).
You can pull together a high tea that looks high-end with items you probably already have lying around, like hand-me-down china and tableware. If not, you can also find what you’ll need at your local thrift store — the vintage pieces are often the prettiest and the least expensive. They look whimsical when arranged together, so there's no need to worry about finding a matching set. Just look for teacups, saucers, teapots, and trays with a similar color scheme.
Use these colors — often pastels — to help you plan the rest of the party. For example, if the teacups you’ve found are painted with yellow roses, let your floral arrangements echo their look: tuck a few yellow roses or other flowers into extra teacups or teapots; eggcups also make good makeshift bud vases. Flowers that are light but full, like roses, peonies, and gardenias, look especially nice arranged this way.
For a personalized touch, pick up used silverware and serving utensils at the thrift store and, after a good wash, dip their handles in a complementary color of craft paint; try to avoid areas that will touch food.
Finally, bake or buy a selection of sweet teatime treats, like scones, fruit tarts, meringues, or French macarons. Arrange them on a tiered tray for a classic teatime look. If you don’t have a tiered tray, stack two small cake stands or make a tray out of pieces that you have: use a teacup or a stout bud vase to create a base for the tray, and use craft glue to affix it to the bottom of a plate; repeat for another tier and make sure to let the glue dry completely before using.
Click through for more tea party inspiration — then start boiling water for tea!