So, yesterday we talked about the prep for the tea. One very long, hard day's work. But it doesn't end there. We have a little more prep to do before the lovely celebration that is the tea. Here is part 2!
The tea started at 2 so we had to be at the college by 11. My SUV, with back row seats folded down flat, was packed completely full of flowery dresses, my awesome new shoes, baked and prepped cracker spoons, my tea service, and all of our table decorations. Luckily, my brother stopped in at the farm house just as we were finishing loading so an extra pair of hands helped make the loading of all the cracker spoons go a little faster - thanks Johnny!
We got to the campus and set to work with the rest of the crew laying out all the food onto the trays for the servers. This also included adding flowers to the trays to make them a little more fancy.
As the servers arrived at 1:30, we ladies transitioned out to our tables to finish all the set up and welcome our guests.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been lucky enough to host a table every year we've done the tea. Mom and I share hosting duties and the table is a mix of friends and family. The centerpieces/table decorations are always - for both of us I think - the most stressful part. However, they were not this year. I knew exactly what I wanted to do and after talking it over with mom, she agreed. Our table was an explosion of bright colors and beautiful gerbera daisies - one of my absolute favorite flowers.
I had purchased some bright orange containers to hold the daisies. However, I was taking a turn through Michael's and these tea cup style flower pots - which I'd had my eye on for a while - were marked down so I added them and love them as the holder for our flowers. Overall - my favorite design of any year thus far.
One of the pleasures of the tea is just seeing all of the beautiful table designs - the one above is always one of my favorites, by our formal regional trustee chair, Becky. Another wonderful part of the day is visiting with friends. Since I live away from town, this is often one of the few times a year I see many of these folks so it's always a great time to catch up. I was doing a bit too much visiting though and didn't take many pictures of folks as I have in the past.
Our server this year was a high school friend of mine - Tony. He did a fantastic job in his first year serving. Other servers are community leaders and college staff - such as Jeff who is shown above. All at our table enjoyed all of the tasty treats. Our table this year was mom, Aunt Idris, Katie (Idris's granddaughter/my cousin), Amy and her mom Catherine (friends from church), and friends Susan and Roxy. I didn't grab a photo of everyone, however one of my favorite photographers, Josh Smith, from the local newspaper photographed the event for the online photo gallery at the paper. You can see his online album from the event here. Our table is pictures 13 and 14 - but photo 12 is my favorite overall of the tea!
After the food was served, we had a student speaker who did a truly wonderful job talking about the opportunity that scholarship dollars provided to her. She tied in how we were seated around the Fountain of Opportunity (which is centered in the large open area where the tables were on the first floor of the building - and is show below).
I will digress for a second here to say that the building (Johnson Hall) holds a special place in my heart as I was the facilities director for the campus during the majority of the construction of that facility. I literally know that building from the bones out. The job was one of the most anxiety ridden I can ever imagine, but also an amazing experience for a then 30 year old to be able to have. The experience I got on that project from both a career and life perspective were incredible.
The fountain in the main atrium area is particularly special because it was designed by our Facilities Manager who I count as not just a colleague but a dear friend as well - manage the construction of a building with someone and you learn a lot about them. The bricks on the fountain are engraved with names of employees who donated to the capital campaign to support the entire building project, although that doesn't come across clearly in this photo. Thanks for allowing me to digress...back to the tea...
After the wonderful student speaker, it was time for the entertainment. My friend Diana (who directs the Foundation for the campus, and therefore is ultimately in charge of the tea) had what I imagine was the great pleasure of introducing her daughter Annalisa, and Annalisa's colleague Melissa. Annalisa played the viola da gama and Melissa sang for us. Annalisa is an incredibly accomplished musician who currently teaches at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.
It was a beautiful day and all the hard work was worth the enjoyment of the event.