We all know the importance of celebrating our accomplishments. It allows us time to let the moment actually sink in before moving onto the next project, and time to reflect and rejoice. A theme party is a unique and rewarding way to celebrate an accomplishment, and an adult Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is the perfect choice!

Putting this celebration from the heart together is simple with my easy six-element approach to party planning:

Element #1 - Theme, Mood & Color: Creating the Backdrop for the Party
A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party theme is all about using zany and mismatched items to create a mood of fun and whimsy. Bright, bold colors, such as sunshine yellow, tangerine orange, purple, lime green and sky blue, are the order of the day, with a unifying black and white checkerboard pattern to tie your color scheme and create a festive backdrop for your celebration.

Element #2 - Invitations: Using Vellum to Embellish a Store Bought Invite
Add vellum to a store-bought invite for a fun and creative invitation. Find a teacup invitation that you like and buy either plain or designed vellum from an office supply store. Choose whichever looks best with your invitation, one that’s not too busy or overpowering.

Create a rhyme, poem, or sentiment using words or phrases from Alice in Wonderland. Print it on the vellum, cut to size, and attach to the teacup invite using a hole-punch and a color-coordinating ribbon.

Element #3 - Decor & Ambiance: Creating an Indoor Garden
Transform your party room into an indoor garden starting from the ground up. Start with the grass. Astroturf® is a good option and there are many styles to choose from starting as low as 45 cents a square foot. You can also rent it from a party rental company or buy it from a carpet supplier or local home improvement store.

Next, create a garden backdrop by using a “scene setter.” You can buy a variety of cost effective scene setters online or at brick and mortar party supply stores. Each typically covers 20 feet of wall space. My favorite comes in two 4-foot rolls, giving you both a garden scene and daytime sky. Manufacturers recommend using tacky putty to adhere scene setters to your walls; however, if it isn’t sticking or you’re not comfortable putting putty directly on your walls, here's a tip: use blue painters tape every 6 inches or so on the wall, and then put the tacky putty or other double-sided adhesive on top of that.

To enhance the garden feeling, consider crafting large crepe paper flowers that are easy and inexpensive to make. Mix them with artificial flowers and put them in a planter box filled with Styrofoam®. Cover the Styrofoam with moss and you’ve created a colorful and unique indoor flower bed.

Finally, it’s time to dress your Tea Party table in fun and whimsy. You’ll need a tablecloth, mismatched tea cups and saucers, zany plates and napkins, and of course a few added surprises, such as a Mad Hatter nut cracker, a ceramic White Rabbit, or a teeny teacup set. Enjoy finding clever and unique Alice in Wonderland inspired items that could easily sit on your tea table.

Element #4 - Food & Beverage: Tempest in a Teapot
Because I believe it creates merrymaking right off the bat, I am a huge fan of serving a signature beverage at every occasion. Be it alcoholic or non, I prefer one suited to my theme and served in a unique vessel. To add a madcap element of fun to this celebration, serve your signature beverage in teapots and mismatched tea cups.

Tie your teapots into your Mad Hatter’s theme by customizing them to match your décor. With a zany napkin as my inspiration, I decorated three teapots to match using puff paints and glitter glue. Simply follow the patterns on your inspiration piece, or add a few easy swirls, polka dots, and fancy “s” shapes in bright colors to create wacky serving pieces for your tea table.

Once the pots are dry, fill them with your own special “Tempest in a Teapot” concoction. Mine is available at www.YouCanPlanAParty.com/Recipes.

Element #5 - Activities: Playing For Prizes
My favorite initial party activity is one I call “Bring from Home.” It involves asking your guests to wear something special as their ticket into the party; in this case hats, of course. Be sure to include this request in your invitation. This activity is a great conversation starter and quickly gets everyone into the spirit of the theme. You can bump up the fun by making your Mad Hatter celebration a costume party, the more zany and mismatched the better.

This second activity is inspired by a scene from Alice in Wonderland: Whenever someone toasts the guest of honor or congratulates him or her on their accomplishment, everyone drinks, then someone shouts, “Clean-cup, clean-cup. I need a clean-cup. Move on!” Watching everyone pick up and move one seat to the right is hilarious fun!

Lastly, invite your guests to entertain you. Encourage them to tell a joke, sing a song, or act out a skit from Alice in Wonderland. Have a few skits on hand like The Jabberwocky, Alice and the Caterpillar, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee, maybe even the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Be ready with plenty of prizes wrapped in theme-related paper bags or boxes to reward them for their efforts. But here’s the best part of this activity; when your guests are done performing, instead of handing them a prize, hand them a note card with a riddle on it that tells them where their prize is located. For instance, “Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the _________.” Once they’ve found the right clock in the house, they’ll either find their prize, or a note telling them where their real prize is hidden.

Element #6 - Special Touches: A Memento of the Night
Give your guests a small token that will remind them of the fun they had at your Mad Hatter’s Tea Party whenever they look at it. My choice is a mini teacup and saucer. Put some candy in the cup, preferably the guest of honor’s favorite, and wrap it in Cellophane® with some colorful crinkle grass at the bottom of the bag. Tie with a few zany ribbons to match everything else you’ve used throughout the party, and you’ve created a lovely favor. Another tip: Decrease the chance of breakage by using double stick adhesive on the bottom of the cup. Add a thank you card that reads, “You’re just my cup of tea. Thanks for coming to my party.”

When throwing this or any party for someone with the intention of celebrating an accomplishment, please consider a special gift for the guest of honor. This can be as simple as a toast, as thoughtful as a store-bought gift, or as elaborate as a performance presentation. Whatever you choose is not nearly as important as the time carved out at the party for acknowledgement. Without fail, this is one of the best ways to create an experience that will be remembered for a lifetime.

Life was meant to be celebrated! So when it comes to planning parties, use my easy six-element approach to make it simple to bring people together. Enjoy the memories!

Author's Bio: 

Shelby Phillips is known as the “Queen of Connection” because this Party Design expert, author and TV host brings people together with parties. Teaching her easy six-element approach to party planning has helped thousands of people take the confusion out of gathering, giving them more time to play and make memories they'll cherish for a lifetime. Shelby provides a how-to video show called “Shelby's Secrets to a Great Party!” on YouCanPlanAParty.com and her “Enlightened Party Planner” book series is available at Amazon and LuLu. See how Shelby can enrich your life today by connecting to http://www.YouCanPlanAParty.com.