Afternoon tea is no longer just for little girls and their dolls. Adults can enjoy a tea party if it has the right food, drink, and decoration to go with it, and there’s no better time than now to host your own! Use this guide to plan, prep, and serve your guests at a fabulous adult tea party.
Send out your invitations early so your guests have plenty of time to plan around your tea. Tidy vintage printable invites may be your style, or try a DIY that’s a bit more casual. This invitation starts simply but is made more elegant with a paper doily. If you’d rather purchase invitations, you can find customizable downloads online on sites such as Etsy. Be sure to specify on your invitation what your guests should wear. Teas typically require a little dressing up, but you can make yours as classy or casual as you choose.
Planning and Preparing the Menu
Every great tea party comes with two things: tea and dainty foods! You can make your party as extravagant or as simple as you like. In the tea department, provide your guests with options in both teas and tea condiments such as honey, milk, sliced lemon, and sugar. You may want to make both hot and iced teas available, depending on the season and time of day. Using bagged teas will allow guests to select what they like but a common pot of tea is also acceptable, as well as being more traditional. Foods should be relatively small and simple for a true tea party. Tea sandwiches, scones, bite-size desserts, fruit, cheeses, and simple appetizer-type foods make great choices. Chocolate dipped cookies or fruits are nice complements to tea as well, and you can find some ideas and recipes for more tea party foods here. Check out these great tea sandwich recipes to get started. Whatever you choose, make it pretty!
Choose a color scheme and see what fun tea accessories you can find to go along with it. The odd teacup can be hung with a few others from a tree (if your party takes place outdoors) or in windows as a decoration. Place a candle inside a teacup to cast a friendly glow on the table or fill one with flowers. Flowers are a favorite for tea party décor whether fresh or artificial and can be used in many ways. Paper doilies can be wrapped around mason jars or vases filled with flowers or used to make a tea party banner. A simple tablecloth can be paired with a fancy runner. Use a framed chalkboard to write a special message to welcome your guests. The Chickabug Blog and Pretty My Party have some great ideas.
The Table Settings and Buffet
A teapot of some kind will be needed for providing guests with hot water for their bagged teas, or to serve tea in general. If you choose to serve in the traditional way, cream and sugar dishes may also be needed. You may want to borrow or buy extras if you will have several guests at multiple tables. You don’t necessarily need a matching tea set to make things look fabulous. Old tea cups and saucers can be found at thrift stores for a steal! Just go with shapes, colors, and patterns that complement one another. Silverware can be dressed up in cloth or paper doilies, and cloth napkins may add a touch of sophistication. For a buffet table filled with your teas and foods, add dimensions. Shoe boxes or books stacked beneath a table cloth can add layers on which to set plates of food, or you may use a tiered service tray or two. Small tongs and spoons should be available for guests to use to take the items they like.
Make sure everything is set out before your guests arrive for tea. Once the party begins, make sure they remain comfortable and the tea keeps flowing! Traditionally, the hostess (or host!) is the designated “pourer,” but you may want to specify this to your guests before they dig in on their own. You may choose to play a game or keep things simple with good conversation and catching up with friends. Either way, congratulate yourself on hosting a great tea party when all is said and done!
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added four kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
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