After begging for an American Girl doll the past three years, my daughter’s greatest desire was granted her last birthday with the gift of a green-eyed, curly blonde haired mini-me. She promptly named her doll “Maddie” and they’ve been inseparable ever since. The gratification of at last owning an American Girl doll all of her own could only be topped by celebrating her birthday this year with a themed American Girl tea party extravaganza. She wanted all her friends to come over and play dolls with her, while enjoying a delightful (and very grown up) tea. So here’s my great big American Girl Tea Party Birthday post, complete with free printable invitations, menus, name tags and all the food and craft ideas you could hope for!
At the age of nine, my daughter is already an accomplished party planner. She knows exactly what she wants and works carefully with (or is it through) me to achieve her vision. This tea party was a tulle laden, treat explosion that included 11 giggling girls and their dolls – complete with all the necessary accoutrement for an afternoon of fun. Who knew dolls had so many accessories? The weather cooperated and allowed the girls to enjoy a run-til-you-can’t-breathe, throw those elbows around, rowdy soccer game after they’d delicately sipped their drinks and daintily noshed on their goodies.
We began with a star-studded all American invitation. I used a combination of two free fonts – Jenna Sue (for the name) and AG Inner Star – to create the American Girl effect on the invites, menu and name tags I used for the party. The exact color for the font is RGB 209, 1, 90. Thank you to Pinafores and Pinwheels for the png I used as the base of my invitation! Click over to her site for the blank invite to make your own!
Then, we started planning the perfect menu. My sweet girl went to a birthday party at the American Girl Bistro last year and desperately wanted the same food. Thankfully, someone was nice enough to post a photo online of the menu at the “official” bistro, and I copied the menu selections and used the base from the invitation onto my own design. Feel free to print out some of these menus for your own party! Print American Girl Party Menu, Nametags, Gift Bag Tags
Double bonus, the menu items were all fairly simple to recreate. Except the ice cream flowerpot. That was a monster. I’ll get to that more later. In keeping with the theme, I put together little gift bags for the girls out of plain red bags, star stickers and a tag that I made to match our red/pink star theme. Each girl received a little bracelet with a charm and some stickers. Print American Girl Party Bag Tags
Next up was the food. Kaya’s Fresh Fruit Kabobs, with watermelon stars on top.
Caroline’s Petite Fruit Muffins on our menu were just banana bites made in a mini-muffin pan. Banana is a fruit…right? Totally counts. Especially since I had no idea what they were “supposed” to be at the American Girl Bistro and there was no description on the menu I was working from.
Then came the sandwiches. The options were essentially ham, turkey and cucumber. Each with their own special American Girl twist.
The ham sandwiches were made on pretzel buns with a honey mustard. I used mayo with just a tiny bit of honey mustard mixed in.
The turkey sandwiches were cut into star shapes with a cookie cutter.
Cucumber sandwiches with cream cheese on a mini bagel finished out our sandwich selection.
With lunch, the girls had a selection of treats available, with tea and apple cider to drink.
I made the stars using parchment paper layered over a printout of stars. Melted up some candy melts in a ziplock bag, snipped the corner and then traced the stars. Once they hardened, they topped off the cupcakes. I also used the same technique for the main cake we had at the family party.
The girls also had Julie’s Groovy Jell-o Smiles to enjoy. These were absolutely the hit of the party.
You make them by halving oranges, hollowing out the middles and then pouring liquid Jell-o into the little orange cups. Like so.
Once the Jell-o sets, take a sharp knife and slice the oranges into thirds/quarters depending on the size of your oranges. They turn out into delightful little smile wedges that the girls went nuts over. Be careful not to poke a hole in the bottom of the orange half (like the middle bottom one in the above pic) the Jell-o oozed out of that one a bit before it set up.
And, because clearly there isn’t enough sugar on the table already, I made up a batch of Oreo truffles dipped in pink candy melts and topped off the tray of goodies with some chocolate dipped fruits and adorable star cookies that I found at Trader Joe’s.
After tea, the girls tackled our craft. Everyone was able to make a tutu for their doll out of tulle and a hairband. No sewing. Super easy. My living room was a mess of laughter, flying tulle, dolls buried under heaps of brightly colored fabric, everyone scrambling to get the colors they wanted. The scene was full of concentration, creativity and crazy.
I’ve posted a separate blog with instructions for the skirts on Dissonant Symphony. Here’s a sneak peek of the final product.
After the girls ran off copious amounts of the sugar by playing soccer, it was time to return inside for the big dessert. Molly’s Victory Garden Ice Cream Flowerpot. I found some cheap-ish plastic flowerpots from Amazon and set about recreating the pièce de résistance of the party. They turned out great, but were a bit of work. I’ll be posting a step-by-step blog within the week to help you along. The great thing about this dessert is they can be made gluten-free/dairy free pretty easily depending on the products you use to put them together. I used Sara Lee pound cake, ice cream and Oreos for the majority of the potted treats. For some of the food allergies, mommas brought me gluten-free sandwich cookies and dairy free ice cream to substitute when I put them together.
We had a big family party after the crazy tea afternoon. I know, I’m insane. It’s just the way big families are. When my siblings, parents and grandmother are over, it’s 20 people. So a friends party on top of that becomes a little hard to manage. Asking my childless siblings to sit through a kids party seems like simultaneously robbing the kids of the party they want AND boring the living daylights out of the adults. The past couple years I’ve just tacked on a family dinner after the friends party. That way, parents can come back for their kids and (if they want) have dinner all together before they head home. I make a big batch of spaghetti, a taco bar or a few lasagnas and call it good. All that to say, here’s the cake from the family party. I made it from my WASC Cake Recipe, Crusting Buttercream and did all the lettering/stars by tracing them in candy melts. I printed out “American Girl” using the same font from the invitations, then just traced over it on wax paper.
Leave a comment if you have any questions about our American Girl Tea Party. Hope these ideas help you with your own! It was a blast!