Ladies Valentine's Tea 2016

This last weekend I hosted one of my favorite little gatherings of all year, an annual Ladies Valentine's Tea.  It is a fun excuse to have a completely girly party to celebrate this lovely time of year with girlfriends.

The party is on a Saturday morning so I serve a brunch themed menu.  After years of hosting this gathering, I have settled on a few recipes that I love.  This year I added in chocolate dipped strawberries.

Doughnut holes and fruit kebabs are also always so easy and pretty to serve.

This year's decorations were one of the simplest I have done, but perhaps my favorite.  I picked up a few party decorations for around $20 (mostly from TJ-Maxx) to give the tea a completely new look.  I was really happy with how it all came out.

I used white dishes and paper goods to make each setting more festive.  My collection of Anthropologie mugs also added a little extra color to the table.  These hanging paper party decor came in a pack and I hung it exactly as it was pictured on the packaging!  Why take the extra effort when the work is already done for you!?

The flowers were supplied by my mom.  She was so sweet to splurge on the "trendy" flowers she knows I love from the flower market. 

It really is amazing how lovely just a few jars of flowers can be!

Another favorite element was this XOXO balloon banner I found at Target for $5!  I was surprised and quite pleased at how big the banner ended up being.  Such a statement piece on the cheap! 

To continue with the menu, I made this favorite oatmeal bake recipe (which can be made gluten free with GF oats).

Yogurt parfaits are also always a hit.  I made them a little smaller in these cute dessert bowls.  I find that more of the food gets eaten when everyone can get a little bite of everything.

I picked up a box of strawberry velvet cupcakes to make.  They were unimpressive (meaning nothing special) but still looked cute!  Brent and my nephews are happy to indulge in the leftovers though!

A new recipe to the party were these ham and cheese rolls that I will be sharing the recipe soon.  Sooo good!

Before the party I had an itch to move the house around again.  After the holidays, the house started feeling stark and very neutral.  I think with the coming of spring, I was craving more color again.  So I moved the book shelf back to it's original spot which also ended up opening up the dining area quite a bit. 

I also put together a few new gallery walls which I will share in more detail sometime soon.  Can you spy our baby in this one?!  My nephews are really excited about the baby.  The oldest hollers at me that he found more pictures of the baby.  It's the cutest. 

For drinks, I served cranberry and orange juice mixed with club soda and some fruit infused water.

In our living room I set up tables for our craft.  We had a nice little fire going along with a few more decorations.

We made painted mason jars (for holding flowers, pens, etc).  There are a million tutorials online, but I'll be sharing how we ended up making them...again in another blog post soon (I have my work cut out for me!).

Now it wouldn't be a tea without tea, so in the kitchen I also had tea set up along with coffee in the Keurig.

This was the first time that we really used our dining room in our new downstairs set up.  I was pleasantly surprised how cozy and comfortable it felt.  It helps when there is good company and plenty of warm sunlight coming in!  But it was really enjoyable to sit and soak in our new dining space.  Thank goodness - because I don't think Brent wants me switching the rooms again any time soon!

After we ate, we got crafting!

Here are a few of the finished jars.  So springy!

All around, it was a lovely party.  The morning went by fast and I was more exhausted than years past (thanks pregnancy!).  But I am grateful for the community, yummy food, and excuse to be creative.

As I thought about it more, I realized that not only is the actual party enjoyable, but I really love the process of preparing.  Curating my decorations, setting the table, and planning the menu are all creative aspects that keep me throwing these parties.  I admit it can be exhausting at times but having a place to gather friends in a pretty setting always outweighs the work for me. 

Happy Valentine's Day! xoxo

See previous Valentine's Tea Parties here.