Planning a Garden Party

To my dismay there is not much info about planning a garden party.  Almost every year, I coordinate a garden party at my church and it has grown.  Our largest event had about 90 women.    The very first garden party I threw had only 20.  When you have 20 women the event is easy to do.  When you have 90 women that is quite another story.  Many of the tips will be great for planning a event in general.

How much food?   What kind?

Garden parties are often confused with tea parties where it all about finger foods.  Garden parties are actually heartier not hearty.  It can include a multi-course meal plan.  I have done that before.  However, most ventures are easier as buffet.  If you plan on having salad for 90, plan to purchase about 12 to 14 pounds.  Twelve pounds will do but 14 pounds will allow you to breath easily.  Now granted various salads have more or less weight.  A potato salad is heavier because of the potatoes.  We ordered the Red White and Blue potato salad from Von’s Supermarket deli counter.  Unfortunately, though I preordered a week prior but they did not have the amount requested on hand.  The deli counter server knocked a $1.00 per pound off the price as make good.  Thus, I turned around and purchased a bag of red potatoes, a container of blue cheese and sour cream to stretch the salad.  It is always nice to have gourmet food but it can get pricey.   With a limited budget one may want to consider the large containers of potato salad as back up.  Other items on our menu included edamame salad from Ralph’s supermarket, Cuban potato balls ( order 150 to 200) and empanadas (order 150 to 200) from Porto’s Bakery.  Extremely cost efficient things to make are finger/tea sandwiches such as cucumber, watercress, egg, and curry chicken.  For the curry chicken salad for cost efficiency canned chicken is acceptable; however, grabbing a rotisserie chicken is even better.   For dessert, I picked out teacakes from Martino’s in Burbank.   The teacake is a signature item.  I have been serving that for years but this year the desserts which made a splash with the bite sized gourmet desserts from Porto’s.  Porto’s has multiple locations in the LA area.    We also had a tropical fruit tray.

It is important to note, a garden party is not a tea party.  We use tea sets because it makes everything look so elegant but it is not mandatory.   If you do opt for tea then have a variety of tea options from herbal to Earl Grey.  I like using sugar cubes.  They are classic and not messy.


When you have a garden party around holiday time such as Easter or Mother’s day you are likely to find sales.  A must for a garden is plenty of fresh flowers on your tables and all around.

It is a party so have games. Have a sense of humor.  We had a male server as a butler with top hat and sandals.

We also had a 40’s had fashion show and a jazz band.    I hope these tips help you.  (See Photo Galley from Garden Party) – Crystal A. Johnson, MCCN Editor

France: Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day from the MCCN!

Bastille Day is the French national holiday celebrated every year on July 14th. When in France, you may call the holiday La Fête Nationale (National Celebration), or Le Quatorze Juillet (the fourteenth of July).

The holiday memorializes the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, a festive commemoration held on the first anniversary of the July 14th, 1789 storming of the Bastille fortress-prison.

The storming of the Bastille was an episode in French history where protesters demonstrated against the tyrannical royal authority and raided the Bastille for arms and ammunition. To the citizens, the prison was the ultimate symbol of royal oppression and autocracy. Prisoners included   people jailed on flimsy, arbitrary royal indictments and political prisoners imprisoned for publishing material found offensive to the royal court.

Serving as the flashpoint for the French Revolution, the storming of the Bastille gave way to the abolishment of feudalism and the proclamation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

Festivities include a national parade, picnic, ball and garden party, all attended by President of the Republic.

Celebrate France’s steps towards democracy with these recipes for Bastille Day.

Check out Wikipedia for more Bastille Day history.

Happy Bastille Day from the MCCN!

Tea /Garden Party Menu

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I love tea parties.  I throw a garden party every year.  Thus, MCCN is excited about the exposure that Alice in Wonderland is giving to the age old tradition.  Garden parties are great for the spring and often in the winter people hold annual Holiday tea parties.  Enjoy trying out these menus suggestions.  I will note among one of my favorite things on my menu for tea parties is teacakes.  Martinos Bakery in  Burbank, CA is famous for their teacakes.

The traditional menu for a full afternoon tea usually consists of:

•a cup of soup •piece of quiche

•side salad

•tea sandwiches (Cucumber, Watercress, curry chicken)

 •scones •sweets/bite-size desserts

It is your choice to deviate from the traditional menu. Consider the season, available produce, time of day of your event, how much work you want to do, your guests needs, etc., and customize the above menu accordingly. What tea do you plan to serve?

Tea pairs with and compliments food similar to wine. The following teas are the best choices for an afternoon tea event:





 5.Lapsang Souchong



Visit the Tea Party Girl Website for exact pairing of tea with food:

MCCN enjoying a spot of tea with guest