Every little girl grew up loving Alice in Wonderland. Surprise the bride-to-be, then, and throw her a bridal shower tea party with a fun and festive Mad Hatter theme! Plan party decor elements that are a spin-off from the classic Alice story, but are actually your guest favors as well. Present them with a generous dose of whimsy, accompanied by warm and wacky messages. You’re sure to have everyone chuckling their way through the celebration!
Something Fashionable to Wear at the Party
What would this theme be without hats? Welcome guests with a fun display of hats for everyone to wear at the party—and maybe even take home as cool and fashionable keepsakes.
Hats are a definite must for this theme, of course! Set the zany mood of the party with a welcome display of hats in different styles, colors, and patterns right at the entrance. Each guest gets to grab one, along with scarves and shawls that you may have handy—and you have a roomful of ladies decked out in Mad Hatter style!
What a great opportunity for a fun photo session. So, be sure to have cameras on hand, too. Guests can take turns posing and snapping one another’s pictures. Then, you can use these photos to create a memorable scrapbook for the bride—with an on-line version to be sent to each guest!
We suggest vintage-inspired hats for adding a nostalgic tone to the party theme. When shopping for these hats, you may want to try thrift stores or online auction sites like eBay.com for a good bargain especially if you plan to buy several.
Party Favors that are Interactive and Fun
Every “wonderland” should have its enchanted tree. Ours is laden with colorful wrapped cookies for a fun and interactive favor presentation. Mix and max colors in pink and aqua for a colorful look.
For bridal shower favors, bake up a batch of cookies and decorate them with icing designs of tea cups, gold pocket watches with the words “I’m late!”, or the wide grin of the Cheshire Cat! You could also personalize each cookie with a humorous phrase, using letters that are written backwards or upside down. Then, bundle these goodies up in fabric packaging of colorful organza, like the pink and aqua wraps we used here. Or you may also wrap the cookies in clear cellophane and tie them with a pretty gingham ribbon!
For a fun and interactive favor presentation, we suggest an enchanting favor tree in true Wonderland style. Place little “Eat Me” signs all over the tree for a fun twist. Or add a crazy signage that says “Go Kooky For Cookies!” This way, guests get to choose their own yummy treats and enjoy them at the party, or take them home as a sweet memento.
Instead of baking cookies from scratch, purchase ready-made or plain cookies, then have a blast decorating them to suit the theme. When searching for decorating supplies, visit your local baker’s supply or craft store for cookie icing, sprinkles, sanding sugar, and non-pareils. (For some helpful websites and recipe ideas, please refer to our “Suggested Sites to Explore” section at the end of this article.)
Cute and Funny Favors That Will Make Guests Smile
This is a tea party after all—and a “mad” one at that! So, bring out (and borrow) every tea cup and mug you can find, in whatever shape, color, or pattern. Add even a few vintage tea cups you may find at flea markets or antique shops. Then, mix and match these on the party tables, embellished with flowers and butterflies, to create a fantasy setting come to life!
Amidst all these, have whimsical party favors awaiting each guest. A flower pot of roses inside a mug, for instance, with a favor tag that says “You’ve been mugged!” Or colorful wraps of candy popped into tea cups. If you plan to give some of the cups and mugs themselves as favors, paint on fun designs like a smiley face or attach a witty note like “So glad you could join us for tea - From the Mad Hatter and me!” Hint: Try messages that play on words by using riddles, palindromes, or famous quotes from Alice in Wonderland.
When shopping for teacups, look for unique patterns and colors rendered in styles like pretty Victorian florals, vintage chintz, blue-and-white Chinese or Delft patterns, and even modern geometric designs.
Downloadable Templates of Mad Hatter Themed Favor Tags:
Use the favor tags to express a special message when presenting your favors. They can also be used as whimsical place cards for your guest’s place settings. Feel free to print on colored card stock to make your presentation colorful to the last detail!
Other Fun Favor Ideas:
- Tea treats - Give party guests personal teapots and sachets of tea—a wonderful idea for a wintertime bridal shower. As an added treat, you can tuck in a small packet of butter cookies. Then, personalize the whole package with a favor tag that says “Have a blissful tea!”
- Scented sachets – Prepare petite sachets of a lovely scented potpourri. Try those infused with a hint of lavender, vanilla, or rosemary. Present these in dainty purse-shaped bags and place one at each guest’s place setting. For a warm finishing touch, add a favor tag that says “A fragrance as sweet as our friendship.”
- Keepsakes – Special gift items to remember you by are always treasured. Give the bridal shower ladies a carved gold picture frame each, with a personal message or a sentimental photo inside. An artful option would be to obtain postcards printed with a vintage illustration or a scene from the Alice in Wonderland book. Then transform these into charming personalized messages using the postcards as your artwork inserted into the picture frames.
- Chocolates and candies - For fun edible favors, why not order customized M&Ms® with the Alice in Wonderland characters’ images or names printed on them (visit My M&Ms® online). Or pop a handful of multi-colored jelly beans into a porcelain keepsake box as a fairytale-style favor. For the ultimate “sugar-high,” you may also want to create a custom candy mix consisting of your favorite childhood treats like gummy bears, gumballs, caramel chews, chocolate mints, and marshmallows. To present these goodies, simply place them in a colorful heart shaped box tied with a raffia ribbon.
- DIY decorated mugs – Buy some plain glazed mugs at a craft store, along with different colors of paint in little squeeze bottles. Then, at the party, have everyone decorate their own mugs and swap them as one-of-a-kind gifts to remember this day by. Hint: Be sure to use non-toxic and waterbased paints, just in case your guests will actually use the mugs later for drinking! You may also find porcelain and ceramic markers that are simpler to use than paintbrushes. See below for more information on paints.
- Cupcakes - Bake (or buy) plain butter or chocolate cupcakes, then decorate each one with whimsical designs, icing letters, or sugar flowers. Set several on a colorful platter as a tempting edible centerpiece, with individual cupcakes atop each guest’s place setting. That way, they get to “have their (cup)cake, and take it home, too!”
Suggested Sites to Explore
- - Layer Cake Shop - offers a variety of baker’s supplies
- - Vanilla Cupcake Recipe - from the website of WomansDay.com
- - Making Candles & Potpourri: Illuminate and Infuse Your Home - a book written by Catherine Bardey available at Amazon.com
- - Pebeo Porcelaine 150 - a description on using waterbased paints by Pebeo from the site of DickBlick.com