how to host a traditional tea party
From scrumptious finger sandwiches to fabulous floral centerpieces, a tea party is a great way to gather the gang for some chai and conversation. Here are five tips for hosting a beautifully casual tea party.
Mix and match
This is the perfect excuse to break out all that fine china collecting dust in your hutch. Just be sure you break up the formality with plenty of casual servingware to create a charmingly eclectic table. The key is to make sure all the pieces fall within a loose complementary color scheme, so your guests know it was a conscious decision and not a last minute fix-it.
Say it with flowers
No matter if you’re hosting indoors or out, fresh-cut flowers add an organic charm to any tea party. For maximum visual impact pick complementary colors, and add contrast in other ways—pair frilly china with modern tropical arrangements, or pair a grouping of low-slung teacups with a single towering flower.
Décor meets Darjeeling
Feel free to steep your party decorations in tea themes. Wrap your napkins with a teabag string, or hang teabag-shaped signs from the back of each chair as place cards.
Do your best, resource the rest
Classic tea party foods such as cucumber finger sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream and mini fruit tarts are truly an art form. So don’t be afraid to order some ahead of time from your favorite restaurant or bakery.
Skip the same old teabags and head to your local specialty shop for some fine loose-leaf teas. Or buy a blooming or flowering tea, which is a dried tea plant that unfurls into a stunning flower when steeped in hot water—just be sure you use a glass teapot or you’ll miss the show.