— Romance and Ribbons

How To Have a Regency Tea Party Picnic

It’s finally starting to feel like Spring! And for me, spring means picnics! I’ve been daydreaming about this Regency tea party picnic all winter, and I am so excited to finally put it together and share it with you.

Picnicking became popular during the turn of the century, and picnics are a staple activity in any Austen girl’s life. The most famous picnic takes place in Emma, when Emma and company take a trip to Box Hill. Picnics in Jane’s day were a lavish affair, one that was not easy to plan. A lot of care was taken to arrange the perfect picnic (and they also had a lot of help. Normally many servants were taken to set up and clean up the picnic). The group had planned for a beautiful and fun day at Box Hill; however, as is the norm with Jane’s brillant plot twists, the picnic turns into the setting for the fallout between Emma and Mr. Knightley after she insults Ms. Bates.

The Box Hlll picnic from the BBC’s 2009 “Emma.”

There are so many ways to incorporate Jane Austen and the Regency period in a picnic to make you feel as if you’ve stepped inside one of her books. You can incorporate Jane in decor, food, activities and even your wardrobe. Most of the work in planning a picnic is collecting and putting together all the things you need, but I have included a few DIYs, too. The asterisks indicate a DIY project that you can find at the end of the post. Happy spring and happy picnicking!

The Particulars:

Supplies: These are picnic staples with a feminine, Regency twist.

1.  Dishware: plates, napkins, cutlery, cups

It is a little too much to bring your best china out on you picnic (remember, you don’t have the help to clean up afer you!). A great alternative is disposable plastic dishware and plastic silverware; they look great and make you feel very fancy. The best part is the easy clean up. Cute party napkins add a dainty and period touch to your picnic; pick napkins with floral and pastel designs.

2. Tea Service: Tea pot, tea cups and saucers, teaspoons, sweetener, milk

What tea party is complete without tea! This is a good place to go all out! Break out those cute tea cups and saucers that you’ve been collecting and pick your favorite teapot. This will completely make your picnic experience; there is nothing like pouring tea and sipping from your cup (with your pinkie up), while surrounded by nature. You’ll feel just like Emma! Remember to also pack your favorite tea-time additions: honey, sugar, lemon or milk.

3. Picnic baskets, blanket, outdoor pillows

I love picnic baskets! Wicker baskets give you the most authentic experience, but at this time of year, there are a ton of beautiful Easter baskets wherever you go. Take advantage of that and find a pretty white or pastel colored one to hold your tea supplies. For a romantic touch, I added baby’s breath to my picnic basket; the little flowers are so dainty and pretty. They instantly added a feminine touch. Any type of picnic blanket would work, but I had an old pastel pink comforter around the house, and it was perfect. The softness of the blanket keeps you extra comfortable.

4. Accessories: lace gloves, bonnet, three-strand bandeau, 1-minute ribbon hairband*

Ah, my favorite part! Of course to complete your experience, you need to look the part. If you’ve been following my column, you’re ready to go. A full regency gown is a little impractical to wear to the park, but you can start with your favorite feminine (yet modern) outfit. Pastel colors, lace, summer dresses are all great options for your picnic. Add white lace gloves, a bonnet, and a headband (like the three-strand bandeau or scroll down for a really quick way to turn any piece of ribbon into a hairband) to complete your look.


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