Suzy's top ten tips for a Blooming Great Tea Party

by Suzy Pelta Official Blooming Great Tea Party blogger Suzy Pelta, official Blooming Great Tea Party blogger

Now that my tea party planning is well underway, I thought I would share with you my top 10 tips for making the perfect Blooming Great Tea Party:

1. Find the right venue and time for you and your guests Think about the kind of party you want to host. How many guests are you looking to invite? Is your house big enough to accommodate everyone, or would you like to use a friends' house or local hall? What time works for your guests? If, like me, your guests are mainly mums whose children are at school, it may be an idea to have your party in the morning. If you want a traditional tea, then only the afternoon will do!

2. Set up your guest list and invite your guests Decide who you want to invite and then choose your way to invite them. I used Facebook events, but you could equally email, text or even tell your friends directly about the party. Make sure you keep a list of those who have said yes so that you know how many to cater for.

3. Fundraising Target Set a realistic fundraising target. If, for example, you are asking people to donate £5 to come to your tea party and you are expecting 15 people, then £75 is a good target to set. It is far better to smash your target than to give yourself a ridiculously high one!

4. Ask for help Use the skills of your friends, neighbours and local businesses. Do you have friends who are great bakers? Ask them to donate some cakes for your tea party. Do you know someone is a crafter? Ask them to make decorations for your party. You could even ask local businesses to donate prizes for a raffle (if you are having one).

5. Be organised Write a 'To Do' list for your tea party and, where possible, delegate. Where it's not possible, make sure you allow yourself enough time to get everything done.

6. Carefully pick your recipes Decide which cakes, cookies, muffins etc you want to bake for the party and make sure they are all recipes that you feel confident and happy with. Your tea party isn't necessarily about showing how skilled you are at baking, so don't worry if you prefer to keep things a little simpler. A good classic Victoria sponge, some yummy chocolate chip cookies and, of course, my Lemon Custard Cream Cake are all really easy to make and taste delicious.

7. Be creative Think of other ways within your party to fundraise. You could have a raffle or some fun money-making games, such as a 'lucky dip' or 'guess the sweeties in the jar'. You could make your party a pamper party with a local beautician offering express manicures or shoulder massages. You could have an auction. The trick is to be creative!

8. Allow plenty of time to set up Give yourself plenty of time to get organised for the party and, once again, make sure you ask for help. My party is in the morning, so I will do as much setting up as I can the night before.

9. Enjoy the party Be the hostess with the most-est! Encourage your guests to donate as much as they can, make sure everyone is eating lots of cake and take pictures to remember the day.

10. Bank the money! It's important that you send in the money you raise as soon as you can. If you bank £500 before 31 July you will be entered into a prize draw for the chance to win £100 of John Lewis vouchers.