Throwing a tea party – American Girl style

February 4, 2009

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My daughter recently turned eight, the minimum age recommended for American Girl dolls. It’s amazing, really, since before this age, my daughter wouldn’t give these dolls the time of day, and since these dolls are about $90 a pop, I wasn’t about to push it.  Just as she approached her birthday, however, her interest increased exponentially with every over-sized catalog that appeared with alarming regularity in our mailbox.   Somehow she ended up with three new dolls between Christmas and her birthday, much to her delight, and I’ll be totally honest, mine as well.  Helping her brush and curl her dolls’ hair and changing those dolls into adorable tiny outfits are more than a little nostalgic and speaks to the eight year old doll lover in me.

So when it came to making a decision about how to celebrate her birthday, we initially thought to bring a couple of her friends with us into the New York City American Girl Place and have lunch and perhaps take in one of the shows they have there.  After it proved too difficult for my daughter to narrow it down to just two friends, I decided to bring the American Girl Café to our house.

The English certainly have elevated this afternoon ritual to a fine art, and I have been refining my teas parties over the course of the past decade, first for bridal showers, then baby showers, and now, little girl tea parties.  I found the menu for afternoon tea at the American Girl Café on their website, and followed it fairly closely.  This is what we decided on for the menu, with only minor changes:


Warm Welcome

Cinnamon Buns

 Savory Treats

Kristen’s Wild Blueberry-Lemon Scones
served with fruit preserves and Devonshire cream

Banana Macadamian Nut Muffins

Irish Soda Bread

Kit’s Garden-Party Sandwiches
 with vegetable cream cheese and cucumber

Kaya’s Egg-Salad Tea Sandwiches

Felicity’s Patriotic Roasted Turkey Sandwiches
with cranberry mayonnaise


Sweet Surprises

Birthday Cupcake

Addy’s Linzer “Love” Cookie

Molly’s Victory-Garden Chocolate Ice Cream Flowerpot


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The table settings with menu.  The pink lemonade was from a mix, as I often find refrigerated pink lemonade is somewhat orangey.


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Every seat had a place setting for a doll, complete with a mini menu.


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These sticky cinnamon buns were a huge hit with the girls.  This is one thing on the menu you do not want to skip.


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Blueberry lemon scones – delicious plain, but heavenly with a dot of clotted cream.  If you cannot find it or want to save $7.50, just serve with butter.


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Banana macadamian nut mini muffins – moist and delicious!   The Irish Soda bread is lighter than my usual recipe and perfect with a little butter and a cup of tea.


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 These three kinds of tea sandwiches are pretty basic.  I used Pepperidge Farm thin slice bread, both white and wheat. 

  • Kit’s Garden-Party Sandwiches with vegetable cream cheese and cucumber:  I used Philadelphia Brand vegetable cream cheese, seedless cucumber thinly sliced on a mandolin, and a grape tomato on top. 

  • Kaya’s Egg-Salad Tea Sandwiches:  I make my egg salad with curry powder and dry mustard.  I also put alfalfa sprouts on top the egg salad for added freshness.

  • Felicity’s Patriotic Roasted Turkey Sandwiches with cranberry mayonnaise:  I boiled 1/2 C. of frozen whole cranberries in 1/2 C. of water and 4 Tbs. of sugar until the cranberries cracked and thickened.  After chopping, I threw these into a cup of mayonnaise and served with smoked turkey breast.  I cut small butterflies from cheddar cheese and placed these on top of each turkey sandwich.  Another variation would be to cut out stars and use flag toothpicks to skewer them together.


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 Iced sugar cookies in heart and star shapes.  One activity during the party was cookie decorating with plain sugar cookies and a variety of colored royal icing in small ziplock baggies with an end snipped off and various sprinkles.  Just be prepared to be sweeping up sprinkles for the next week.


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 Basic vanilla cupcakes with buttercream icing.


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Molly’s Victory-Garden Chocolate Ice Cream Flowerpot – This is a modification from the version served at the American Girl cafe.  I took the idea from the Pioneer Woman Cooks blog, substituting ice cream from chocolate mousse and a real flower instead of artificial.  One word of caution – do not place ice cream straight into the clay pot as it is not meant for food service.  I found small aluminum muffin tins that fit the pot like a glove.  This is a great make ahead part of the tea, and you simply take out the ice cream tins just before serving and place flower in the straw.  Let ice cream thaw a bit, otherwise you will have impenetrable ice cream and ground oreo dirt everywhere.

So now you too can throw an American Girl tea party that even the adults will love.    Be sure to have a pot of real tea on hand.


38 Responses to “Throwing a tea party – American Girl style”

  1. jennywenny Says:

    Oh my goodness that looks adorable and scrummy! What lucky little girls. I hope they apreciate all your hard work!

  2. Pam Says:

    That is so cute, Madison is about to turn 6 and LOVES american girl dolls. We ( or do I mean she ) has 6.

  3. ella Says:

    I kept saying “ohhhhh!” and “ahhh!” as I scrolled through each photo. Excellent job.

  4. aberweger Says:

    hey! I really love ur blog! I’m new at WordPress (was a Blogspot-blogger before) and actually I don’t really know how that I can add links to other blogs (like a Blogroll) to my page. (On the sidebar – Widgets)…. May you help me?! would be so great!

    greetings & have a great day!


  5. Pat Says:

    Beautiful! I am planning an American Girl dinner for my daughters 9th B-Day-I will use some of your special touches!

  6. megan Says:

    I love the little menus you printed for the doll. Thats what I call paying attention to details!!! Everything looks just beautiful and I definitly got some great ideas. I love the cheese butterfly on the sandwich and the straw for the flower was sooo smart! Now I want to have a tea party. 🙂

  7. Mrs Ergül Says:

    Wow! What a thoughtful mummy! It is a very successful tea party! I love all your dinnerware too!

  8. Elizabeth Says:

    What a fun looking party! I bet your daughter and her friends LOVED it!

  9. Mrs Ergül Says:

    Hi there! I wanna try the scone recipe you have here but when I clicked on the link, it leads me to the recipe for the cinnamon roll. I can’t wait to give these scones a try!

  10. You are clearly The Best Mom. Ever.

    I have been trying to resist the AMGD borg, but it may well be futile.

    Keep up the great work!

  11. Liz Says:

    I wish you had this website back when my daughter was first collecting her American Girl Samantha doll & items!

  12. Queen Lizann Says:

    What a beautiful, informational blog you have. We are always searching for creative tea party ideas we can use as inspiration for our line of products. My two partners and I have a online retail store called The Queen’s Treasures,
    Like you, we have daughters who love American Girl Dolls and Tea Parties. Since it can get expensive we have created a line of tea party items as well as clothes, accessories and furniture to be used with American Girl Dolls. We have tried very hard to design and manufacture a selection of well-made affordable items. Maybe you and your blog followers would find something that you like and that would save you money.
    I am one of your new blog fans and will be sharing it with my partners

  13. justine Says:

    What a great idea! I might steal it and have a scaled down version with the girls I babysit : )

  14. Linnea Says:

    I love this! All of it!
    Such wonderful ideas. I will be bookmarking for future reference, as well as following your blog now. 🙂

  15. Cynthia Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful ideas and adaptations of the ever-popular, but too-pricey, AG tea party! I am planning my daughter’s 8th birthday, and this is exactly what she wants. I just need to find some (inexpensive)doll-sized teacups, which the guests may take home as their party favors.

    • Michelle Says:

      Don’t know if it is too late, but if you have an Ikea nearby they sell them very inexpensively. I think it is $10 for a set of 4 cups, saucers and a little drinking glass. Plates are in a separate package for $10 for 8

    • Laurie Says:

      Do you have Dollar General Stores near your home? I am in the process of planning a large scale tea party for my skating team as a fundraiser and was looking online for 150 doll sized tea sets. DG in SW PA just got a porcelain set of 6 in for Christmas, and they are really cute. Try there.

  16. […] in throwing your own American Girl themed tea party? Check out this great […]

  17. Christine Says:

    I was planning just this kind of party for my daughter! Thanks for all the ideas, you’ve made my job easier.

  18. laura stein Says:

    Absolutely beautiful work. I have been planning a small but special “American Girl” themed party for my daughter who will be seven this November. It’s amazing… your pictures actually are what I envisioned for my daughter’s party… with the same colors in mind. You gave me some great ideas. Could you please tell me how you made the menus. They are adorable and perfect. Thanks a bunch!

  19. Michelle Says:

    so cute! gave me some good ideas!

  20. Cindy Says:

    Can you tell me where you found the muffin tins to fit in the terra cotta pots? I want to do those for my daughter’s b-day, but I can’t find anything even close that fits. Thanks!

  21. Christina Says:

    What did your invitations look like? what did they say?

  22. Jen Says:

    Hi, Love this idea- you do wonderful work! You mentioned that one of the activities was decorating a cookie (at the party). I wonder if you would share some of the other activities you did as well?

  23. Excellent article. Its vital to find quality party favors.

  24. Monika Says:

    what a great idea, everything looks so beautiful and tasty

  25. Rainy Daisy Says:

    This is just so darling! Felicity was new when I first became the magic age. My little girl heart would have just died with happiness at the sight of this.

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but can’t you bake the cakes right into the terra cotta pots? (I’m looking at Cindy’s comment)


  26. Feather Boas Says:

    Wow – the first thing I thought of when i saw this was my wife, she LOVES Tea, Tea Parties, Tea Cups and pretty much everything fancy and tea related. I’ll be sending her a link to your blog – i know she’ll love it.
    thanks for sharing

  27. AmericanGirlLover Says:

    I am turning 13 and would not give dolls a chance till
    I saw American Girl Dolls

  28. Mrs. Soup Says:

    Love everything!
    If I may ask..where did you get the mini tea sets shown in the photos? I was hoping you knew where I could find one that includes more than 2 or 4 cups/saucers? Or did you have many sets?
    Thanks again!

  29. vandehi Says:

    I was so pleased to see this blog. It was a party with simplicity in mind. It made planning a tea party a fun experience for my Granddaughter and myself. When she saw the beautiful photo’s displayed she was able to actually see the way this party would all come together. She and one other friend have
    American dream dolls, however she decided not to make it about the American Dream dolls so as not to exclude any of her friends. I was proud of her decision. Instead, we went thrift shopping and for less than 15 dollars found beads, hats and wraps and boas for dress up. Thank you again for sharing. What would we do without the internet?

  30. Marlisa Says:

    I can’t wait to try this for my daughter’s 8th birthday. What a beautiful job? How did you make the menu’s for both girls and dolls? Thank You!

  31. Renee Says:

    I really liked your creativity in putting this tea party together.

  32. Frances Says:

    This is adorable…Thanks for sharing great idea for my niece on her 8th birthday party

  33. Beautiful! This is perfect for my daughters upcoming 9th birthday! So stealing your idea. Thank you for sharing.

  34. Collierville, TN Says:

    Thanks so much for these wonderful ideas, I always search the net for ideas to help me put together my daughter’s bdays. Your pics are amazing, I LOVE the mini menu’s and the Victory Garden ice-cream. For others planning too, I found cute invites on ebay that mention “inner star” and I worded mine brunch! I found paper stars in the back to school section (like for a bulletin board) and I’m spray painting them red, orange and pink and hanging with pink ribbon from the chandelier! Thanks again – your ideas helped me plan the perfect party!

  35. Samuelle Says:

    I am going to throw a tea party for Girl Scout’s fundraising. My mom and I got a lot of ideas from you! Thank you 🙂 I’m going to blog about my tea party, I hope you could visit my page.

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