Summer Tea Time At Cotillion

One of my favorite parts of Cotillion is getting to watch the students experience something new for the first time. Aside from my daughter, none of the other students enrolled in Junior Cotillion had ever participated in an afternoon tea. While our tea time was a bit later than traditional tea (class begins at 4:15pm), they were all too thrilled to get to try it!

Their sweet, puckered faces told me that, while they didn’t love the taste of hot tea without additions, they were willing to step outside of their comfort zone and try something new – a trait that will take them far in life.

By far, their favorite version was the hot peach tea with both honey and a spash of milk added.

My own daughter is participating this summer, so I know too well how, even with correct teachings, kids can be when at home. Put them in a different atmosphere, though, and they really grow and mature. Each student placed their napkin on their lap, and they all did their very best to not splash or clink the glass when stirring. Mouths were closed when the delicious scones and tea sandwiches (avocado ranch and strawberry cream cheese) were devoured.

Give them an opportunity to meet your expectations, and I promise they will.

A few questions were brought up during tea, and I enjoyed getting the opportunity to teach on more than what was on our class agenda. One of the questions I felt worthy of sharing with everyone, as there is a common misconception on high tea.

Isn’t high tea very fancy? This was the simple question that spurred great conversation, and I’m happy to share my answer with everyone today!

No, high tea actually refers to the high-back chairs around a dining table. Commoners often ate “high tea” on Sundays after work was completed. It is more like our supper today. It was also referred to as a “meat and potatoes tea.”

A low tea is what most Americans think of as traditional tea. It refers to the low tables one might find in a person’s home, such as a coffee table.

Teas were meant to be an informal way of entertaining. While teas may be “formal” in today’s viewpoint, you would never wear a formal gown to one. The term “tea length” originates due to the time of day. Since it’s mid-afternoon, the length isn’t full length, but it would still be considered “nice,” which isn’t a synonym for “formal,” at least in the etiquette world.

Other common terms are afternoon tea or cream tea. An afternoon tea would usually offer both sweet and savory options, and a cream tea may have only scones with clotted cream to serve with the tea.

The students learned so much while trying something new, and I truly think I enjoy as much as they do each time. The next time you’re thinking of having friends over, consider a tea!

Bonus info: When drinking tea, the pinky never goes up!

Upcoming Gilmore Girls Garden Tea

On June 3rd this year I’ll have the opportunity to combine two of my all-time favorite things – Gilmore Girls and tea!! This tea will be more interactive and will target a different demographic than most of my other teas.

When I first started Etiquette By Emily, I wanted to bring opportunites to our small town that we wouldn’t otherwise have. In addition to cotillion, teas were another activity we lacked in this area. When I had EBE’s first tea, I only had about a dozen people come. Many later messaged me and said they just had no idea what to expect, such as if there would be food, if men were allowed, etc.

At your standard tea, there is food (and plenty of it), tea with stir ins, relaxed conversatioon, usually some music, etc. Most afternoon teas include three types of food: finger sandwiches, scones and bite-size desserts. While you should never overload your plate, you’re welcome to refill it as often as you’d like.

Teas are meant to be a way of relaxing and socializing with friends and acquaintances.

In today’s fast-paced world, we rarely get together without having a goal for that time spent together, whether it’s to raise money or volunteer. Clearly, those are both wonderful and needed traits. However, I strongly believe that humans are social creatures who need that social interaction. We learn empathy and respect by being around others. We improve our communication skills, and we fill a vital need.

Teas allow for the time together for no other reason than simply being together. Thankfully, I’ve had many successful teas since my inagural tea.

Now, for the Gilmore Girls part. Gilmore Girls is truly one of my favorite shows. I could probably quote most it, and I love every character – even Taylor Doose. I think each of the Gilmore girls (Emily, Lorelai and Rory) have a uniquely special bond with each other, and I loved seeing how each relationship developed. Each one truly loved the other, though it was shown in very different ways.

When I noticed that June 3rd was on a weekend, I couldn’t think of a better date to have this tea! June 3rd, for those of you who don’t know, is the date that Lorelai and Luke (another primary character) were to be married. When she began planning their wedding, everything fell into place for that date except for Luke.

This tea will be inspired strongly by the Gilmore Girls series, including the food and decor, which will lean towards coffee (their drink of preference). There will a nod to each character throughout the afternoon. I truly hope you’ll consider joining us on Sunday, June 3rd for a special treat at The Oaks Bed and Breakfast at 2pm. There will be plenty of prizes along the way, too!

Also, just to whet your whistle, check out this precious Luke’s mug I found! I just love it!

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Tea Party Recap

THANK YOU to everyone who attended yesterday’s tea! We had an absolute blast. Tea time is so important, not because I love tea (in truth, I’m more of a coffee girl), but socializing IS important. We’re all too happy to watch other people live their lives (hello, Kardashians) without getting out and living our own.

We glorify being too busy, which is, in short, very sad. Why do we want a “me” world? As an aside, if you haven’t read this blog from my friend, Kayla Price-Mitchell, I encourage you to check it out! I believe we’re meant to be around others and not live completely solo lives. This is why etiquette is so vital. It’s not just about being comfortable and knowing which fork to use. It’s about making others feel comfortable. It’s a more selfless way of living.

Tea time, though no longer common, was how women of upper class socialized with each other regularly in the 1800s through the mid 1950s. We’re all too happy to get together for a good cause, but it is completely okay (and even good) to get together for no other reason than to be around each other.

In a relaxed setting, we are free to be open with ideas, share our concerns with each other, laugh and grow in friendship. It’s a wonderful thing. If you missed out on Sunday’s tea, I plan to have two more before the end of the year! This is my side job, so it is hard to do a tea correctly without going in the hole financially. However, my goal is to bring etiquette back in style. I can’t do that if there aren’t ample opportunities for unique events, such as teas.

Here are a few of the pictures from the tea party! Enjoy!

Lenox Autum china makes the perfect place settings.
Up close with each simple place setting.
An English bone china makes for a beautiful table.
                        It’s tea time!

 

A Proper Afternoon Tea

I’m SO excited to have another afternoon tea at The Oaks Bed & Breakfast here in Sulphur Springs, Texas. If you’re not familiar with this part of Texas, we’re about 80 minutes northeast of Dallas. There aren’t many tea rooms in this part of the world, and those that exist often are more restaurant style than true tea style.

We’re all too happy to get together for a civic clubs or to raise money for a good cause. So, in an effort to bring back socializing for the sake of being with others, I’m promoting the afternoon tea.

This particular one will be on Sunday, June 25th from 3-5pm.

Here are a few things to know about afternoon tea:

  • Afternoon teas are informal affairs (meaning you would never wear a tuxedo or evening gown to one). However, there are more formal debutante teas.
  • At a tea, most people will generally start with the savory items and work their way to the sweeter ones. There is no rule for this, though, for informal afternoon teas, and you may mix and match as you please.
  • Tea should be an experience. The tea should be poured in front of the recipient so they can have the full experience of the steam and aroma from the tea.
  • A “high tea” is actually our evening meal. It refers to the high-back chairs. The place setting matches that of a formal dinner, though only the items for a tea are used.
  • A “low tea” is a social gathering in a person’s living room or sitting area, referring to the low coffee tables.

Here is another great guide for teas!

It’s Tea Time!

It’s Tea Time!

I’m so excited to offer a summer garden tea on Sunday, June 25th from 3-5 in the afternoon at The Oaks Bed & Breakfast. Due to the generosity of The Oaks, (side note: if you haven’t seen this absolutely gorgeous B&B, this is the perfect chance!) tickets are only $20!! This truly helps everyone who would like to attend to be able to do so. ALSO! I will be giving away a pair of tickets! 🙂 The winner will be announced on Friday, June 23rd. All you need to do it like and share the facebook posts OR comment on THIS post. Do BOTH for additional entries. You can share the facebook post daily for additional entries, as well.

This is also the PERFECT time for me to tell you about my first adult tea set.

The first real tea set I received was passed down to me from my Grandma and Grandpa Wilder.


(Shown in picture are my parents with my aunt, uncle and church friend at my last tea with my heirloom tea set)

Like most good tales, the story behind my Granny and Big Daddy Wilder is almost as real as they are. For many, many years I have loved New Orleans, which is where they lived. The food, the traditions – everything there is so unique to the area that it makes you fall in love with it all while making you feel home sick for a place you never lived. This tea set was a gift from Big Daddy to Granny Wilder before they were married for St. Valentine’s Day. Now that’s a good man. 🙂

One of the stories I heard about Big Daddy was that once a man was making a pass at Granny Wilder (she was very beautiful) while she was riding a street car. The next part of the story varied from Big Daddy telling him off to the man coming up missing with the Mississippi River nearby. Half of the appeal for me as a kid was not knowing where the truth ended and the tale began. And I think about this particular story every time I use these beautiful dishes.

Have kids who want to play tea? Check out these cute tea sets here!

Want one for yourself? I’m in love with this one!