A whimsical affair

Ending the summer with a fairy-themed tea party

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Brinda Ambal

Senior Trisha Manna examines a flower while at a fairy-themed tea party that her friends decided to throw. Manna picked out the music they played for their party. “My favorite thing was the feeling of being there,” Manna said. “It kind of felt like it was a world away because we had school the next day [and] we were escaping from that.”

Fairies, princesses and tea parties: a childhood dream come to life. Seniors Marissa Liu, Trisha Manna, Brinda Ambal, Maura Collins and Tiffany Ung ended their summer with a fairy-themed tea party. The group, who has been friends since eighth grade, incorporated this theme into everything from the food they ate to the outfits they wore.

Senior Tiffany Ung sits around a miniature picnic table while eating her meal. The group decided to have their tea party outside due to concerns about COVID-19. “I’m always happy to hang out with friends. It’s funny because in a way it took a pandemic for us to start hanging out with each other more outside of school, which is just kind of ridiculous,” Ung said. “My favorite part of it was that we were dressed up differently than we normally would be and it was nice to sort of go to a little bit of, not an extreme, but just [to] go a little extra [in our planning].” (Brinda Ambal)

These friends first began the process of planning their tea party after Manna found a post on Pinterest. The post featured a fairy tea party design and sparked the group’s inspiration for a tea party of their own. The group created a document with everyone’s ideas for the tea party and how they would accomplish each task.

“I expected [the tea party] to be a little bit more haphazard than it was. It ended up turning out much more fun and whimsical than I thought it would,” Collins said. “I definitely expected it to be kind of a mess.”

Part of the planning process was deciding on the type of food that each one of them would bring. These snacks included tea, frog-shaped bread and cucumber bites.

“I like that we spent time together preparing everything, and [that the preparation] let us use that time together [to] think of what it should look like and what we were eating,” Manna said. “Every part of the process [was] linked together.”

The tea party took place in Collins’ backyard, though the group plans on changing the location for future parties depending on the weather and aesthetic that they hope to achieve. The warm weather at the end of the summer prompted them to focus on the flowers blooming as inspiration for how they dressed. The group maintained a monochromatic color scheme based on the colors outside with everyone choosing a specific color to focus their outfit on.

“I would say you definitely do not have to go out of your way to find new things for [a tea party], just make do with what you have on hand,” Collins said. “It’s supposed to be fun and the biggest part [of what] makes it fun is that you’re spending time with your friends. [I think it’s important to] keep in mind that friendship, not exactly aesthetic, is what it’s all about.”

The set up for the tea party included a miniature table, where the group placed their food, and blankets which were spread out on the ground. Senior Maura Collins was in charge of bringing cucumber bites to the tea party. “[I brought] the vegetables because I was like ‘we need actual food,’” Collins said. “You know, this is supposed to be a meal. So if you are only eating carbs, you’re going to absolutely die after this.”
(Brinda Ambal)

Despite being friends for years, the tea party and its preparation process offered them a chance to form new memories. The friends plan on continuing to have tea parties in the future.

“[The tea party] reminded me that this is why I love my friends,” Collins said. “People have so many interesting hobbies and talents outside of school, and I think when you’re at school all the time you forget what exists about people outside of [the school] environment.”

Forming a new tradition was not the only thing that the tea party offered the group. Since the tea party occurred the day before the school year began, the group saw it as a distraction from the start of school and the upcoming college decision process. Ung felt that the theme of the party set the tone for her senior year.

“For myself, I wanted the fairy theme because I was hoping it would sort of ride with the vibe of senior year,” Ung said. “I don’t want it to be [full of] senioritis and being miserable.”

Senior Marissa Liu embraces the fairy tea party theme by wearing a mushroom-inspired hat. Liu created the hat using materials she found around her house. “Use the resources you have [when preparing for themed events],” Liu said. “You don’t really have to go out and buy a lot of things, you can just try and put [an outfit] together [from what you already have].” (Brinda Ambal)

Though the friends have had picnics in the past, this was the first time they had decided to add a theme to their picnics. While the group has not made any definite plans for future tea parties, they hope to have another one in the spring.

“I think that’s just important because it’s something we all wanted to do, and it’s not something [we would normally do],” Manna said. “Usually, we would just go out and eat somewhere, but this is more involved. It’s more hands-on and I think it’s nice to be able to spend time with your friends.”

The tea parties offer the group a chance to connect before going their separate ways when college starts next fall. With everyone going to different colleges, the time they have left to continue growing their friendship remains limited.

 “We started talking about things that we didn’t normally talk about; we got to deeper subjects [and talked about] more personal things. [Being able to do that is] invaluable [and] you might take it for granted,” Ung said. “Once the pandemic started, I started really appreciating [my friends] more and getting to know them on a deeper level because that made me feel better about myself. When you feel closer to a person through the connections [that you make with them], [that makes you feel like] you have a place in this world.”