Shortly after our oldest daughter turned 13, I came across Melanie Young's article about bar chanon celebrations for their sons. It was something I knew we should also do for our daughters, so I hunted for such a thing. I came across a couple of references to blessing teas, but nothing that really explained what the families did during the tea. Armed with very little, I set out to plan this milestone for our daughter.
Planning the Party
We set the date in June, several months after her 13th birthday. We don't want this event to be tied to the birth date in case we feel the need to hold off for one of other girls. I then planned out the event. Before we told our daughter what we were planning, I asked her to make a list of the women she looked up to. Many were from history, but it was a good list and I wanted to incorporate it into her party somehow. As I made my list of invitations, I realized that several of the women whom I would want to share with our daughter would be unable to attend. Also, I wanted it to be more than a tea party that she could look back on fondly. To deal with all of these concerns, I chose to create a scrapbook for her. When I sent out the invitations, I asked ladies to mail their notes so I could place them in the book before the party (I left blank space for the stragglers). In the meantime, I compiled quotes from my daughter's list of historical women and scriptures that would be significant. These would be scattered throughout the book. With the elements in motion, we told our kids a little about what we were doing one night at dinner. We asked them to not ask questions because we wanted it to be something special for them as they reach that age.
This was not an elaborate party in any way. The tables were decorated with candles, flowers, and stones. I was careful to choose light finger foods that required no utensils and lemonade and iced tea were available to drink. Each place had a plate, napkin and cup. Tied to the cups were tags that said "we are so blessed" and a small goody box containing a Hershey kiss was in each cup. After the ladies arrived, I explained the purpose of the party and each one shared scripture and words of wisdom with us. Our daughter received three gifts at the blessing tea. One gift was her scrapbook so she could go back to that moment and those words whenever she needed encouragement. The second gift was the book Before You Meet Prince Charming by Sarah Malley. This book is an excellent tool to guide girls in preparing their hearts and minds for the life God has before them (whether that includes Prince Charming or not). The third gift was a Bright Lights kit to encourage our oldest daughter in her leadership of girls younger than herself.
After the Party
Our daughter seemed to enjoy her party, but was unusually quiet afterwards. Later that evening, she asked if she could give two of the three flower arrangements to her younger sisters. She has spent a considerable amount of time looking at her album and is still receiving some notes and letters in the mail to include in the book. We are looking forward to doing our next blessing tea in three years or so with our middle daughter.