On Sunday I had the opportunity to attend an Army Tea that was being put on for the Army spouses whose husbands are going through Armor or Infantry training here at Fort Benning.
The “Tea” was described to me as being the most formal of Army daytime events. They are a bit more rare these days, but the invite was more of an educational opportunity for us newbie military wives.
We were guests taking in all the traditions and experiences for future reference when we may be the ones hosting these types of events.
Dressed in my Sunday best and armed with my army wife entourage, we were ready to experience what tea time had to offer.
The exciting part of the tea, was that it was being held inside The Riverside, which is the Post General’s home [also know as the most important guy on the Military Post].
We were really nervous upon arriving, and didn’t quit know what to expect. We lined up outside the General’s house waiting to go through the traditional receiving line, to meet all the hostesses and the General’s Wife.
When we first walked in we were told to find our nametag and to place it on the right side of our chest.
It was mentioned that this is the proper placement, so that when you reach to shake someone’s hand your eyes are instantly met with the person’s nametag. Good tip, I have always put it on the left over my heart instead.
After we received our nametag and went through the receiving line we then stood in another line to be poured a drink.
The drink options were tea, coffee or punch— and the various drink stations were spread around the room in different locations. The idea is to get you to mingle as you are picking your drink.
There is a protocol to the pouring of the drinks too. Since coffee is the most popular choice of drink, the most honored guest who is pouring will be the one to serve the coffee. Then next ranked is the tea, then the punch.
The person pouring the tea/coffee always sits. And at this event the coffee & tea were set at opposite ends of this large table.
Formal Teas are a time-honored military tradition. The basic format has remained the same over the years, but some things have changed.
One of the biggest changes is that women no longer wear hats and gloves, but the dress code remain a “dressy” occasion. The tea is a more formal event than a unit coffee which is held in the evening on a regular basis to get together and socialize.
After we were poured a drink, we mingled and talked to other military wives.
I was personally taking in the history and ambiance of The Riverside building which was was built in 1909.
There was so much character to this old plantation home [hard to capture on camera], but I appreciated the opportunity to be a part of it.
There were a few announcements, welcoming us Military Spouses to the event and an explanation of the tea. Then they opened up the food table for snacking and continued to encourage us to mingle.
I was thoroughly impressed with my first Army Tea experience and now know more about the traditions behind it.
As I mentioned before, the Tea is actually less common than an Army Coffee event [which I have not really experienced yet], and the fact that we were the guests was even more rare. Typically we will be the ones hosting the event, not the ones being hosted.
I’m just really glad that I was able to experience it and share it with you!
For you military wives, have you experienced a Tea or Coffee? For non-military, have you attended a fancy tea party before?