The annual CUPPA for CANSA campaign makes me very excited – it is the perfect reason (or excuse) to get your girls together & have tea while you’re doing something for a truly worthy cause.
You don’t have to be grown-up or fancy or the most experience hostess out there. The important bit is to just do it! Case in point: for my last two CUPPA’S, I also invited my two dear nieces (now 8 & 14) over & they loved it. When we relocated recently, they decided to host their own CUPPA. And all I can say is WOW! Apart from the fact that it taught them to organise an event, they also learnt to do something for others. They did it all: the decorations, invited the guests, made a little speech & collected a good amount of money for CANSA. All with the greatest of style & enthusiasm! I’m so proud. They are awesome!
Before they hosted their CUPPA, I got a few phone calls for advice.
So, I have decided to share my TOP 10 TIPS FOR HOSTING A CUPPA. Here they are:
1.Choose a theme. This works like a bomb. Our first cuppa was themed Hats & Heels, the next: Pretty in Pink & last year it was Black & White With A Pop Of Colour. A themed event creates a back-drop for fantastic pictures, & it steers the décor & treats in a specific direction. I’m super excited about my Vintage theme of this year (for my CUPPA taking place on 10 October).
2. Invite basics.
- Treat it like a professional event. Even if you only have six friends over. Compile a list with names, contact numbers, email addresses. This is also very helpful to keep for next year’s Cuppa.
- Send out a ‘save the date’ message about four or six weeks before.
- Follow with an ‘official invite’ with all the details, directions etc. Do this about two weeks before. I usually use an existing picture to make a simple invite. Check out Pinterest or the web for inspiration but always remember to credit the source. I usually customise my invite with the aBeautifulMess App.
- Send a confirmation message reminding everyone of the place, time & special notes (like: “remember your donation for CANSA” & “wear a hat if you like”) the day before.
3.Think more than just tea. There are ways of adding to your beverage table without splashing out on soft drinks.
- Water is a non-negotiable. I realised this again two weekends ago when I attended a half day function (8am to 2pm). The venue did not make provision for water jugs on the tables or on the coffee table. I was so annoyed. And so T.H.I.R.S.T.Y. Jugs with water, mint, berries, apple slices & ice will always be a hit.
- Make your own punch or iced tea by using cooled rooibos or herbal tea, add some clear juice, possibly some honey & lots of ice. And voila!
- Have coffees (or homemade cuppachino’s) for those who do not like tea.
- And how about a glass of bubbly…?
4.Donating with discretion. I tend to be very sensitive about the fact that people need to bring a donation (even though it is for a fantastic cause), so I like to keep the donations anonymous. Budgets are a reality. My advice is that the “entry fee” to your CUPPA should be a cash note or notes, but make it clear that it can be as little as R10 & that the donation will be completely anonymous & also made in private. To this end, I always have a sealed box at the event for ladies to slip their money notes in. Guests can also donate online.
5.Be sensible about catering.
- Staple CUPPA Catering items. You can really get far with things like sweeties or marshmallows in jars, popcorn & cupcakes. Display these beautifully & you are almost there. Don’t over cater. It is more about thought than the amount of food.
- Enquiring about special diets is always a good idea. It is not possible to cater to each & every special need. But making sure that you have some ‘clean eating’ items like jugs of water with ice, fresh seasonal fruits, veggie snacks & at least one plate of some non-wheat snacks (like cold meat, cheese, biltong, nuts) is always a good call.
6.Asking for help is a-okay. Your aunty might be the very best brownie baker in town, so ask her if she’s willing to sponsor a batch (instead of making a cash donation). Or approach a local bakery or home industry store – they might just be interested in donating some treats.
7.Communicate specific #hashtags for your event with your guests. This way everyone can join in, share & follow the fun. The standard #hashtags & Twitter handles will be:
8.Goody packs are always a hit, but… Most of us (well, me at least) have way to many ‘things’ lying around, so make sure that a give-away or goodie pack is not a ‘junk only’ item. Once again: maybe you have a fancy unopened bottle of perfume. Or your friend might own a boutique or salon & would be keen to donate a voucher for a lucky draw. Tip: think about how you would feel if you got a bag of way-too-chewy toffees & expired product samples versus a really nice premium pampering gift… This is totally optional, but can really add to the occasion. My rule: less gifts / lucky draws, but make it something special.
9.Follow-ups are important. Make sure that you send a thank you note or text to every attendee afterwards. And, most importantly, make sure that you transfer the donation to Cansa after the event & forward the proof of payment to the girls. You don’t want anyone suspecting you of using the money for Botox instead! (haha)
10.A personal touch. This is totally optional, but can add a special touch. Some ideas: do you have a friend with a personal Cancer related story that she would like to share at the event? Or maybe someone can play the piano in the background?
Where these tips helpful & inspiring? Let me know which tip you like best. I’d love to know! There is also still time (until the end of October) to host your own CUPPA, so why don’t you give it a go?
Lots of love