When Chennai’s posh Annam Cafe hosted socialite Sunita Choraria’s Mad Hatter-themed tea party in July last year, the result was a glittering event that merited coverage in Vogue and many page 3 listings in local newspapers.
I know, when did Mad Hatter become so popular in India? Well, when it was discovered that this peculiar Lewis Carroll character lets your creative side go as crazy as you want.
And why should we need a day to hold a tea party Mad Hatter style? Because his creator left us a message – ‘In this style 10/6’ – these are the words written on his top hat in the book’s original illustration.
If you still need a reason, here’s one: October 6 this year is Friday night. You’re going to be drinking anyway; why not do it fantasy style?
1. You’ll Need Hats!
Back story first – Carroll never calls him the ‘Mad Hatter’ in the book. The character is simply referred to as Hatter, the madness part of it left to the reader’s imagination.
The first obvious step to organising such a tea party would be to get the right hat.
While the markets of the world are full of quirky hats, remember you don’t want a velvet top hat on a muggy Bombay evening.
Get a hat that goes with the weather, and make sure everyone invited also knows that the ‘mad’ part is flexible enough to allow all kinds of headgear. Nehru caps and designer tiaras included!
2. The Setting
In literary as well popular interpretations, a tea party is usually held in a garden. But not all of us are lucky enough to have woodlands for backyard.
Instead, you could take a large bedsheet and set up a marquee or tepee-like tent in your living room and do it up as a colourful canopy.
Arrange a long table with the most Victorian-looking chairs you can find and you can get started.
3. The Details Yo
Of course you’ll need a cat! What is a mad tea party without the Cheshire Cat?
The devil lies in detail. Arranging fairy lights, dainty cutlery and daintier cupcakes would be easy, but a tiny expenditure on some basic props will make all the difference.
4. Start the Party
The best thing about a mad hatter tea party is that chances of you disturbing the neighbours are fairly low compared to, say, a cocktail party.
The most you can do to intoxicate your guests is add a few drops of whiskey to your tea or keep the smokes going, both of which are safe bets.
What’s more, you don’t need pounding music either. How about some good old White Rabbit by Jefferson Airplane?
5. Go Ask Alice
If you’re going chasing rabbits, more madness will only make it more interesting.
Themed parties are not everyone’s cup of tea. To get your less sporty friends into the mood, set up a Facebook page in advance inviting ideas from the guests.
Maybe they could suggest some games? Maybe there are ladies out there who’ve been itching to dress as the Red Queen all their lives?
Curate the final ideas that are posted here and in this style, 10/6 would be just as mad as you make it.
Image Credit: Nikhil Mudaliar