Add a little zing to your next backyard affair.

Do you recall this scene from the childhood classic, alice in wonderland? Mad hatter: would you like a little more tea? Alice: Well, I haven’t had any yet, so I can’t very well take more. March Hare: Ah, you mean you can’t very well take less. Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing…

The idea of a socially elite tea party is not the image conjured up by the Mad Hatter’s story. But, is there an idea or two from that wild tale that you might adapt and add to the “fun” of more conventional tea parties? Why not spice up the high tea experience with a little bit of playful “gobbledygook,” as the Hatter might say?

Let’s first imagine a dazzling alfresco affair, reminiscent of the Victorian era. In your mind’s eye, picture the starched white linens, sterling silver tea service and the fine china. See the finely appointed tables, resplendent with an array of Hawai’i’s garden blossoms and finger-sandwiches on a tiered platter or two. So far, so good-the image is gently reminiscent of an earlier time.

Where does our Hatter imagery come in? How might you combine elegance with fun for an experience not soon forgotten?

How about including the keiki but adding settings on the lawn nearby the adult tables? This way, the children have a tea party of their own; they have fun and they learn a bit about the world of adult manners without the added pressure of sitting with the grown ups.

Dress your table in vibrant colors; create centerpieces that are hat-inspired and mix and match your tea-pots, teacups, plates and chairs. Place a few couches on your lawn to encourage guests to linger. In this scene, the more colors you add and the more variety you dare to use, the better.

When it comes to the teas you serve, you could choose to infuse some of them with a few select droplets of liqueurs to give that little extra boost of “madness” to the party. Vary the choices of teas, pastries, petit-fours and crumpets.

Don’t forget your camera!

FIND BREWS AND BITES FOR YOUR NEXT TEA PARTY AT:

EDIBLES
Cupcake & Things at 693-9932 or www.cupcakeandthingshawaii.com
Cake Works at 946-4333 or www.cakeworkshi.com
Let Them Eat Cupcakes at 531-2253 or www.cupcakes808.com

DRINKABLES
Neiman Marcus’ Epicure department at 948-7534
Lupicia (Ala Moana Center) at 941-5500
Teavana (Ala Moana Center) at 374-6583

Event designer Steven Boyle’s high-end design concepts have captured the imagination of his clients worldwide. His award-winning style has been recognized by multi-national organizations, hotels and destination management companies. For more information, visit www.stevenboyledesign.com.