It's not often a child's outing is described as "elegant," but when the Garden City Hotel sponsors its first family tea party on Saturday, Sept. 17, that adjective may be bandied about.
The Alice in Wonderland "Unbirthday" Tea Party is the first in a series of tea parties the hotel plans to offer; in October, it's a Halloween "Witches' Brew Tea"; December brings a "Nutcracker Suite" theme.
Some kids opt for a birthday tea party. "When I was a kid -- I grew up in a family of three girls -- we would have tea parties on a little porcelain tea set and my mom would put little Fig Newtons on the plate," says Kim Tsolis of South Huntington. So it was a no-brainer for her to host a tea for her daughter Ava's 5th birthday party at the Main Street Nursery in Huntington.
Here's a collection of venues that offer teas for the tots:
Alice in Wonderland "Unbirthday" Tea Party
Lewis Carroll classic. "Drink me" and "Eat me" delights include tea sandwiches in the shapes of playing card symbols and raspberry iced tea. "There'll be mismatched tea pots and cups and saucers, just like in the movie," says Bill Zambrotto, director of food and beverage for the hotel.
Princess Tea Party
COST $18 per person/$30 for two
YOUR CUP OF TEA See a 30-minute dance performance by Cinderella, Snow White and the Little Mermaid, then take your own pictures with the princesses. Drinks are served in plastic tea cups.
English Tea Party
New Hyde Park Rd., Garden City, 516-328-2253; thecupcakecornergc.com
COST $29.95 per adult, one child under 10 is free, $12.95 for additional children, reservations required. The Cupcake Corner Too also has monthly themed tea parties for $35 per child; the next one is noon to 1:30 p.m. tomorrow for children 2 to 5 with a theme of Dora and Diego.
YOUR CUP OF TEA Every Tuesday, food served on tiers includes egg or chicken salad finger sandwiches; for children, cheese or cucumber sandwiches are cut into flowers and butterflies. Scones with Devon cream are offered for dessert; children can choose chocolate scones. Grown-ups get Harney & Sons tea or Lavazza coffee; children choose decaf tea, lemonade or juice. Everyone is served an individual teapot, and children also make a craft. If the weather is nice, outside seating is available in the English garden. Cupcake Corner Too also offers tea birthday parties on request.
Birthday Tea Party
COST $25 per child, with a 10-child minimum
YOUR CUP OF TEA The nursery's conservatory is filled with child-sized or regular furniture covered by vintage linens and china. Choose from two themes: dress in vintage aprons, gloves, and bonnets or fairy wings and halos. If the weather is good, guests visit "fairyland" to sprinkle fairy dust and feed the nursery's miniature horses. If the weather is inclement, children play old-fashioned parlor games. Finger sandwiches and cupcakes accompany pink lemonade in colorful tea cups.
Royal Princess Tea Party
COST $675 for 12 children ages 3 to 7
YOUR CUP OF TEA Party includes a costumed and comical Mr. Manners and Cinderella. Mr. Manners also has a French poodle puppet named Fifi. Guests eat crustless sandwiches, fruits and cheese. "It's a very formal affair with linen, porcelain tea cups, bronze candelabras and flowers galore," co-owner Eliza Valdes says.
Pixie Pal Parties
COST $250 for eight children; $20 each additional child
YOUR CUP OF TEA Pixie Pal has two 90-minute options: American Girl Tea Party and The Secret Fairy Tea Party. For the former, bring an American Girl or favorite doll. For the latter, kids make wings, wands and fairy crowns. "I've done Fancy Nancy and Pinkalicious tea parties," says Pam Varacek, Pixie Pal owner.
LilChefs.com Special Events
WHERE AND WHEN Upon request; some public events for holidays, At your home or at Parent Resource Center, 232 Main St., Port Washington; or at Center for Science Teaching and Learning, 1 Tanglewood Rd., Rockville Centre, 516-338-0552; lilchefs.com
COST Starts at $600 for up to 20 children
YOUR CUP OF TEA LilChefs offers Teddy Bear Tea Party, Royal Tea Party, Fancy Nancy Tea Party and American Girl Tea Party. Parties are 21/2 hours and include options such as jumbo strawberries carved into roses and finger sandwiches. Kids have an etiquette lesson and use china tea cups, three-tier servers and tongs with sugar cubes. They dress in hats, boas, pearls, tiaras, pocketbooks and gloves. Boy guests don sashes, tuxedo vests and fedora hats, says Paula Gottlieb Herman, owner.
Totally Fabulous Tea Parties
WHERE AND WHEN Upon request at your home, 631-896-9242; totallyfabulousteaparties.com
COST $325 for 10 children; $20 for each additional child; plus 18 percent gratuity
YOUR CUP OF TEA Themes include American Girl Tea Party, Rock Star Diva Tea Party and more. Every party includes a craft. Guests can decorate a tea cup, a microphone, headbands, whatever the child likes, says owner Gwen Busterna. Totally Fabulous provides the tea sets, limbo pole, parachute and other party games. Family provides the food and beverages, whether it's pizza or tea sandwiches.