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March 28th, 2016
Posted By: Emily Vallely

Last year I had the pleasure of meeting Darwin Grey who is a Long Beach local and vintage enthusiast. He invited me to one of his tea parties (which I had heard amazing things about) and I completely fell in love with his home and his style. His tea parties are legendary and elegant and it is a treat to be able to attend them. Luckily, he is extending his tea party services to not only his friends, but he is starting a tea catering service called Society Tea Co. If you live in the Southern California area please consider hiring Darwin to cater and decorate for your upcoming party (he can accommodate to any diet including vegan/vegetarian)! If you don’t live in the area, take some of his incredible advice from our interview to throw your own party!

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What is your favorite era of home decor?

I find myself greatly inspired by the decor of several periods, the Victorian, Edwardian, and the Art Deco age of the 1920s and 30s. The majority of my home is furnished with inspiration pulled from the Victorian era. Ultimately I’m a collector and enjoy tastefully piecing things from those eras together.

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Who is your biggest fashion inspiration?

My largest fashion inspiration has to be Oscar Wilde, his motivation for the aesthetic movement has me completely enamored. In my wardrobe you will find lots of silk and velvet pieces.

What tea is your favorite?

I understand this may sound incredibly traditional but Earl Grey is my favorite, I find it endlessly soothing.

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When and why did you start throwing tea parties?

I began throwing tea parties during my high school years to express a love of creativity and a passion for entertaining friends. From there they have only grown. I love gathering celebrated individuals together and creating an environment for inspired conversation.

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What is the most important aspect of entertaining?

The most important aspect of entertaining is to be a gracious host. Almost as important is creating the experience. This involves the lighting, appropriate music, drinks served from the proper glasses,etc. Ultimately attending to every detail to transcend your guests into the environment that you are creating.

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What piece of advice would you offer someone throwing a party?

I would suggest that the key is good planning. I give myself at least one month to plan a party so no detail is overlooked. In addition, understanding the individual needs of your guests, such as dietary restrictions. I believe a theme is always fun to inspire your guests. I would also suggest purchasing an etiquette book. Emily Post has fantastic advice on how to become an unforgettable host.

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What is the best party theme you’ve had so far?

Goodness, that is a tough question. Each one has a special place in my heart. I must say though in regards to ambience, a party I am very proud of is a Leo soiree I hosted last August. I decorated the interior of my home with vines and exotic flowers. I played noises of the jungle in the background, amidst vintage recordings of Glenn Miller and his Orchestra. A theme that has become a staple to my hosting is a Gatsby soiree in June. I feel it is the best way to welcome the summer season.

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Darwin Grey
Darwin Grey is the owner of Society Tea Co. Schedule your own tea party by emailing him: teaatdarwins@gmail.com
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