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So you want to host your own tea party?

So you want to host your own tea party but don’t know how? Trust me, its really very easy! All you need to do is follow a few simple tips and you can create an afternoon tea/high tea that is worthy of the Ritz (but for a quarter of the price).

Firstly, Decorations!

Decide where you’re going to hold your tea party, if its a nice day and held during the summer season you might want to consider holding it outside in the beautiful sunshine, maybe under a gazebo or just inside at your dining table will work just as well – in fact 99% of our tea’s we have held have been held at the dining room table and they’ve been amazing. Wherever you decide to hold it, table decoration is key.

– Lay out a nice table cloth, I like to use a soft pink table cloth and then lay a lace table cloth over the top.

– Pick some mats that will highlight your table cloth, whether they are the same colour or contrasting, whatever you do from the table cloth upwards should all tie in together.

– We gave every guest a tea plate (For their sandwiches and cakes), a cup & saucer (for their tea), a knife (primarily for their scones, and spreading the clotted cream & jam), a cake fork (for their cakes, obviously!) and a napkin, which was also in a chintzy pattern which matches the table mats somewhat.

– On the table we had our cupcake stand, the sandwich stand, a selection of teas, sugar pots, milk in jugs, a plate for the scones, mini pots of jam and some clotted cream in tiny pots. As a little extra we scattered a little confetti over the table.

Next, the food!

Lets face it, the food is the main reason for the afternoon tea, and while the pretty looking table certainly helps, the food is the place where you can really shine.

The sandwiches should be small, dainty and not overfilled. They should be small enough to eat in 2-3 bites. What you fill them with is totally up to you, but try and cater for everyones tastes.

Here are a few suggestions:
– Cream Cheese & Cucumber
– Salmon
– Egg Mayonaise (with or without cress)
– Chicken Salad
– Ham (with or without Mustard)
– Tuna

One suggestion I do have for the sandwiches is make sure you don’t have too many fillings if you have just a small group. A big group would be fine for all six fillings, but with a smaller group maybe just pick 4 out of those six.

The scones were an idea I came up with to incorporate a West Country tea with an Afternoon Tea (I am half a West Country girl afterall), and of course we had to serve them with a selection of jams and clotted cream, just to get that real Cream Tea vibe.

Now, to Dessert!

Mmmm, my favourite part!

For dessert, as tempting as it may be, don’t go overboard with the options. A couple of different selections of cakes or cupcakes will do, along with one larger cake if that works for your group. Also, don’t forget to provide alternatives for anyone with allergies or intolerances.

The look of your cupcakes and the way you display them will really add to the look of the table. There are so many different types of cupcakes that you really can pick a few flavours which you know will go down well.

The Tea!

The tea we offered was a selection, and my best advice is to buy the Twinnings selection box. If you buy the boxes of tea individually the cost can really soar, but Twinnings do a selection box of 5 different teas (Assam, Lady Grey, Earl Grey, Ceylon and English Breakfast) and you get 5 of each, and that is more than enough for a small tea party, and gives everyone a varied choice. Also I put little jugs of milk and little sugar pots on the table too, and don’t forget to provide somewhere for the used tea bags too!

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