The Ashland Beacon
Kindergarten teacher Michelle Rosario has dreamed for years of opening up a tea room, “where little girls come to be ladies and ladies come to be little girls.” She began thinking about the idea when she was living across the bridge in Huntington, West Virginia.
She even went so far as to get a Huntington business license, although she did not really want to open the business there. At the time, her family had to live within the city limits due a requirement in her husband’s contract as a Huntington police officer.
Three years ago, that restriction was lifted and the family moved to Ashland. After school each day, she would drive around and look at buildings and rooms that were available to rent downtown.
Then, her idea had to be put on hold temporarily when she became pregnant with her third child. When she had him after Christmas in 2017, she started working on making her tea party room a reality.
Rosario has been collecting tea pots and cups for years while playing around with her idea. Family members and coworkers have also contributed to her collection. Once she found the location that she wanted on 15th Street in downtown Ashland, she began scouting for antique furniture through Facebook and other consignment stores. She admits to having developed somewhat of an addiction to estate sales.
She had a very specific idea of the way she wanted her party room to look. She says that it was loosely based on a restaurant that used to be open in Lexington called Shakespeare and Company. When the items in that restaurant came up for auction, she hurried down there. She said that she knew that she would not be able to form any kind of budget because she was not going to leave there without getting exactly what she wanted. The way that particular auction worked was the highest bidder got to pick how many they wanted of any particular item. She made sure she was the highest bidder on the antique chairs that she wanted and then took all of them.
Rosario worked all summer getting her venue set up and was able to have an open house on First Friday in August. The party packages include a full-sized Grand Tea for up to 30 guests or a smaller Mini Tea with a minimum of five people and a maximum of 20. She has seating at the tables for 24 with another small seating area to the side for a few extra guests.
There is a dress up area for everyone to play around in and each little girl will receive a small makeup kit that they can take home. For adult parties, the guest of honor will receive a jar of eye cream from the skin care line that Rosario sells on the side.
Tutus and Tea is open by reservation only. Party hours can vary but each party is an hour and a half in length with all of the set up and clean-up being done by Rosario herself. She provides everything except the cake.
Weekday party hours are available from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday party hours begin at 10:00 a.m. and go until 7:00 p.m. The room can be reserved for late parties on Saturday nights beginning at 8:00 p.m. and those hours can be extended longer than the hour and a half at an additional cost.
The venue will also be offering “Pay at the Door” events that anyone can attend without a reservation up to the capacity of the room. Those events will be $20 plus taxes and fees and will include all of the experiences of a normal party. For more information on renting the tea room, go to tutusandtea.weebly.com and follow them on Facebook at Tutus and Tea Party Venue.