When you think of tea parties, the image that conjures up in everyone’s minds is the high class British society (specifically the Royal family), lavishing in afternoon high tea parties in a quaint and quiet garden, dressed in their best Sunday clothes and seated in gilded armchairs, eating scones and sandwiches and of course drinking tea. All formal looking but totally elegant and chic and anyone can have a relaxing time that is spent with friends and family. If you fancy this kind of spending quality time with friends, then here are ways of hosting a splendid afternoon tea party.
Drinking tea and having tea parties has always been part of a British tradition, and it’s no lie that the Brits are fond of this (although not done in a regular basis, of course). However, an afternoon tea party is suitable for many celebrations. If you like to host a party that isn’t really involved as a dinner party, a tea party is perfect for a small, get-together. It’s an ideal party for a bridal or baby shower, a retirement party, a birthday celebration, or time to catch up with good friends.
As the custom has evolved, tea time is usually scheduled from mid to late afternoon. It’s an in-between meal snack that is a lot more elegant than a bag of chips and junk foods. And tea parties are not extremely fussy at all, although the meal often includes savory, bite-size sandwiches, scones or biscuits, and sweets, along with a good pot of tea. Both men and women enjoy afternoon tea in England (or anywhere outside England too), and nowadays, it’s often used as a function for entertaining business clients.
When throwing your very own tea party, your guest list can include dozens of people or only one good friend with whom you’d like to share an intimate conversation. Some tea parties can be a very formal affair as you’ll find at some highly elegant hotels, or it can be as casual as a pot of tea and some cookies.
If you’re a novice in hosting tea parties, here is the starter pack to make your tea parties delightful and enjoyable.
If you own a tiered cake stand (either a single, two-tiered, three-tiered cake stand), dust it off and use it as the centerpiece of your table. Otherwise, use your best crockery and make it a little more special with lace doilies, folded napkins and name place signs. If you want to feel the spirit of a traditional and essential type of tea party, then you visit charity shops or vintage stores. They are a good source for reasonable floral Chinaware and don’t think much if the patterns are mismatched. Don’t forget your teapot, teacups, cutlery and cake slices for serving the food.
Extend your table (or set up additional tables) and throw on a table cloth; however if you don’t have one, for some reason, there are fabric or textile shops that sell cheap spotted, floral and striped material by the meter. You can also string up some bunting, paper, flowers, strings etc., depending on your theme and taste.
While you’re at it; decorating the venue, you could make some place-name cookies and ice them with your guests’ names. Pop them in paper bags so your guests have a little present to take away– or just put them as an entrée. You can make coconut & cinnamon place-name cookies, sugar place-name cookies, peanut butter place-name cookies, or in gingersnap place-name cookies.
Make sure the sugar and milk is set on the table ready to pour your guests a cuppa as they settle down. Provide a variety of tea: Earl Grey, peppermint, chamomile, fruit, herbal, Darjeeling Black tea, mint, lavender, and English Breakfast. Iced tea makes for a more refreshing drink in warmer weather; you could serve up a sloe gin royale or orange juice-based mimosa.
A standard afternoon tea composes a layer of sandwiches, a layer of cakes and a layer of scones or teacakes. However, you could also throw in pastries or biscuits. Don’t wear yourself out by taking on too many ambitious bites, but if you feel like it’s a challenge make sure you get your timings right.
Sandwiches require minimal effort, but do get ahead by preparing your fillings in advance and assembling just before proceedings begin to avoid the dreaded soggy sarnie.
Selection of summer sandwiches:
Scones are great when eaten on the day and don’t take long to whip up but if you want to get ahead, freeze a batch and defrost them in a low oven. Serve warm with lashings of jam– decant a pot of homemade preserve into a pretty bowl. The scones you could make are the following:
1. For your invitations, print it out on your home computer using pretty floral stationary or parchment paper. Decorate with it with fake pearls, lace or rhinestones. Invite guests to come in their fancy dress or their best Sunday dress. You can even tuck a tea bag in the envelope as a special surprise.
2. It may seem that the older adults may more inclined to a chill tea party, but actually tea parties are for all ages! Having a tea party is great for a children’s birthday, or just a simple get together with your friends. A tea party in anyone’s honor is a great way to show them how special they are to you.
3. Don’t worry about not having a matching tea set. It is unique to mix and match pieces of china and glassware. You can even invite your guests to bring their favorite tea cup to the party (this can save you time washing these chinaware later).
4. If you don’t have your own food stand, you can create your own. All you need to do is to simply place a large dinner plate on your table to act as your base. Place a wine glass or any chic looking glass in the middle followed by a salad plate. Decorate with fresh flowers or lace, then add your favorite confections.
5. To make your tea party more memorable, decorate your table with memories. You may place an old scarf or a piece of lace purchased at a fabric store. Arrange bouquets of flowers in small vases, canning jars or wine glasses down the center of the table. Place pictures of you and your friends/family between the flowers. Also add beautiful beads, clothes, etc. to embellish your table. Your friends and family will have fun talking about the memories that come to mind as you and your friends and family enjoy the cute centerpiece.
6. Serve an assortment of foods, both savory and sweet. If you don’t have a lot of time to prepare, buy store bought items and decorate them. Make food beautiful by decorating it with edible flowers and fresh herbs.
7. Offer your guests a wide assortment of hot and cold teas. For something a bit different, provide a garnish plate to add unique and new flavor to your drink. Arrange lemon, orange and lime slices in a beautiful design. Also include fresh raspberries, strawberries and slices of cool cucumbers. Fresh herbs add fragrance and a refreshing taste. Make sure to include fresh lavender, basil and sprigs of mint.
8. For the ice tea drinkers, spoil them with some fancy ice cubes! Use a standard ice cube tray, and add an edible flower, lemon zest or some fresh herbs. Fill it with water and freeze. Serve cubes in a bowl with ice tongs.
We hope you enjoyed browsing through our tea party menu examples. Don’t forget to purchase the designs and use them for your own tea party!