Let’s be honest: Half the reason for setting up an elaborate, traditional tea party is for the pretty decorations. A beautiful setup, whether it be color coordinated and matching or eclectic and quirky, sets the mood for everything that will happen over the course of the party. Decide on a theme, whether it be a color scheme, a book, or an upcoming holiday, and craft an inviting table for your guests to sit around.
A traditional tea party centerpiece includes a three-tiered cake stand, which holds the three courses of finger foods that highlight the party. If you feel like getting a little more experimental with your table setting, check out our post on tea party centerpiece ideas!
2. The Tea Ware
A big part of your decoration will be the tea ware itself. You will need a reasonably sized teapot, enough teacups for everyone, and serving ware for any creamers and sweeteners you choose to provide.
If you have a matching tea set, a traditional tea party is definitely a good excuse to pull it out and show it off. If not, mismatching cups bring fun and color to your table. If you’re really low on teacups, most thrift stores sell them for around $1 a piece. Don’t have room to store all your cups after the party? Give them out as gorgeous and practical favors to your guests!
3. The Snacks
A traditional tea party features three courses of food. This is one of those traditions that can definitely stay in my opinion. Who am I to turn down three courses of delicious snacks?
The first course consists of small savory bites. A common example is the tea sandwich -- small enough to be eaten in a few bites, but big enough to be satiating. If you’re layering your courses on a three-tiered cake stand, these will go on the bottom tier. Check out our recipes for fruity tea sandwiches if you need some inspiration.
Next come the scones. At a traditional tea party, scones are served with jam and clotted cream. However, there are plenty of ways for you to get creative with your scone recipe. Be sure to take into consideration any dietary restrictions your guests have when creating your menu. If you need a scone recipe free of common allergens, try these gluten- and dairy-free scones.
You’ll top off your cake stand (and your tea party) with sweets. These are usually small, fruity pastries. They are also usually my favorite course at a tea party. There are so many directions you can go with sweets. If you’re not sure where to start, why not try these crunchy cocoa cookies or some tea party cupcakes?
4.The Right Tea
The whole point of a tea party is to get together and enjoy tea. Pick your favorite teas to pour and share with your friends.
If you’d like to diversify the flavors at your table, try switching out teas for each course of food. You’ll want something with a strong, bold flavor for your first course. Maybe try our Heritage Blend black tea for a combination of traditional flavors and a subtly sweet maple flavor.
A spicy tea could perfectly complement your scones course. Consider our Stargazer Chai for a maté blend that stands out from typical tea party fare.
And finally, what goes better with desserts than a dessert tea? If you’re serving up chocolatey treats, or even fresh and fruity pastries, our Chocolate Hazelnut herbal tea will make a great companion to your final course.
5.The Right People
The best people to invite to a tea party are people who love tea just as much as you do! Tea parties can also be a great environment in which to introduce friends to tea. The excitement of the afternoon could spark a lifelong love of tea in them, as well.
Don’t have enough people to fill your table, but still want to partake in the ceremony of a traditional tea party? Check out our post on tea party ideas for two.
Use your traditional tea party as an excuse to get to know people better. I have gotten to know some of my best friends over pots of tea and hours of good conversation. The act of sitting down for tea has an almost magical power to bring people together.
Are you ready to start planning your traditional tea party yet? We have plenty more tips and recipes to get you going. Once your menu and decorations are plotted out, start sending invites and enjoy your party!