How to Organise a Summer Afternoon Tea Party

Here at GAIN, we’re on a mission to raise awareness of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), CIDP and the associated inflammatory neuropathies. But we need your help. We can’t do it on our own – we need our members, followers and volunteers to help spread the word.

One of the ways you can do that is by hosting an afternoon tea party this summer. What better way to bring people together than with a traditional cup of tea and slice of homemade cake? The long range weather forecast from the Met Office suggests that the summer is set to be fine and warm – ideal conditions for a tea party in your garden or local park. So now we’ve booked the weather for you, let’s set about organising the main event.

Who should you invite?

Invite your neighbours, family, friends, work colleagues, parents from your kids’ school. Invite whoever you like and why not suggest they bring someone else along with them?

Remember we want to use the tea party to raise awareness of GBS so spread the net far and wide, issue an “open garden” invitation and encourage as many people to come along as you feel comfortable coping with.

What sort of food should you serve?

If your guests are anything like me, they will just be pleased they are not making the food themselves. However, it’s a good idea to find out in advance if any of your guests have food allergies that need to be catered for, or if there any vegetarians or vegans coming. As they are attending a summer afternoon tea party, they will probably expect some traditional tea party fare, such as:

Drinks – tea and coffee obviously; if it’s hot you may want to offer cold drinks and water too. Decaffeinated options may be a good idea too, such as fruit teas and green tea. It may be worth having soya and almond milk as alternatives to cow’s milk to put in the tea and coffee.

Finger sandwiches – cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off are the tea party staple, but you may want to offer other options such as ham, cheese or jam. It’s really up to you and your personal taste (and those of your guests of course).

Scones – plain or fruit, serve your scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam. Take part in our poll and let us know whether you put the jam or cream on first. For something different, you could offer your guests savoury scones too.

Cakes – with so many different types and flavours to choose from, your options are almost limitless. Whether you opt for Victoria sponge, coffee and walnut cake, red velvet or carrot cake, fruit or vanilla cupcakes, chocolate or blueberry muffins, choose a balanced mix that will suit most palettes and everyone will be happy.

Other suggestions – if this doesn’t sound like enough variety already, you could also provide all sorts of different options, including: sausage rolls, vol au vents, quiches, vegetable crudites, dips, crisps, biscuits and cookies.

If you have the time and are able to bake the cakes and scones yourself, that will really add to the occasion and will certainly be appreciated by your guests. But don’t worry if you can’t. People will still enjoy the chance to relax and socialise with you.

We will be bringing you some recipe ideas to help with your tea party preparations over the next few weeks so watch this space.

How can you use a tea party to raise awareness and money for GAIN?

If you do decide to go ahead and organise an afternoon tea party this summer (and we hope you do!), then get in touch with us and we’ll provide you with some GAIN information to help you spread the word (along with the jam). As well as general information about GBS and CIPD, we have posters, cookie cutters and cake toppers you can use.

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