Ah tea parties, the very height in elegant
social gatherings. Make yours the most sophisticated affair with our tips for
planning the perfect tea party.
Choose a theme
So you want to throw a perfectly refined tea
party? Or maybe something a bit off the wall? First you need to pick a theme: a
unifying theme will give you something to hang all the elements of your party
on, and bring it all together to make a great experience for your guests. Go
vintage for a classic tea party, or rustic for something inspired by home
country cooking. Or go mad with an
Alice in Wonderland or even a circus theme. Not
everything needs to be true to the theme, but it will give you some ideas for
food, decorations and colours.
Go flea market shopping
Whatever your theme, you’ll need pretty decent complement of beautiful cups, saucers, plates,
even teeny tiny spoons. Unless you
lucky enough to have a set of fine china at home already, the second-hand
markets are your friends. Make a few trips and pick up an eclectic selection of
beautiful crockery and cutlery on the cheap.
Tiered Cake Stand
When you’re out shopping, don’t
forget the tiered cake stand! After all the trouble you
’re going to go to baking and making, it would be a shame not to
display it properly. Lots of us have these in the back of a cupboard somewhere
just waiting to be dusted off, but in case you
’re not that lucky, make sure you keep an eye out when you’re out shopping. Flowery ones are generally
Send Personal Invitations
Yes you could make a Facebook event and invite
your 1200 contacts that way, or send a plain plain email to your select few.
But better yet, why not design and print your own invitations? Depending on the
’re looking for, you
could get something printed up on the cheap in a print shop (many have in-shop
graphic designers that can help out too), or try something yourself. Break out
the coloured card, markers and pritt stick and remember why you used to like
doing this stuff when you were a kid.
Keep everything personalised at the party too
with some homemade, personalised decorations. Better yet, EDIBLE homemade,
personalised decorations. Try out these coconut/cinnamon place-name cookies
At the centre of any tea party is, well, the
tea. Bear in mind that not everyone likes black tea with milk and sugar: make
sure you have a few good options, including green teas, herbal infusions and
fruit blends. Go for loose leaf versions and you
’ll get amazing scents as well as flavours. Either brew them in big
pots for sharing, or give everyone small personal filters for their own use,
with the added advantage of using them for multiple flushes by just adding more
water without worrying about where to put the teabags.
Bring iced tea to the next level
For an alternative tea party, try an
iced tea party! Ideal for summer afternoons or picnics, and you can mix up your
iced teas with homemade lemonades. For a twist that your guests won
’t forget, try making some fancy ice-cubes – buy shaped trays, or
freeze tiny sprigs of fresh herbs, or a twist of lemon peel into them.
’ll need a good supply
of glass jugs or jars, as well as fruit slices. And don
’t forget the fresh mint leaves)
The little extras
It’s having the little extras ready and to hand that will add the real
class to your event: a decent supply of napkins; dishes or bowls for teabags
and filters; sugar bowls for white sugar, brown sugar and sweetener; milk in a
delicate jug; wee slices of lemon on a little plate. Oh and don
’t forget, small spoons for each bowl.
Now you have the tea sorted, time to
think about your food. Whether you
going for classic scones and petit fours or sandwiches and snacks, think small.
To create a perfect tasteful tea party, the last thing you want is for your
guests to be dripping food over their clothes: make sure all your food is in
bite-sized chunks, or at least easy to eat. As well as sweet foods, have a few
plates of nuts and berries available.
Whatever your personal feelings about
scones, you simply cannot leave them out of your tea party menu. Try to think
outside the box a little with your scones: think spices, think chopped fruit,
think a selection of jams and preserves. Or try these
supremely rocky rock cakes for something with a bit
Trial run your macarons
If you want to really show off to your
guests, make some macarons, the perfect colourful bite-sized sweet treat.
Macarons are difficult sure, but not impossible, so give them a few trial runs.
Check out these tips and tricks for making
The point of having cake trays is so that your
guests can take their nibbles as and when they feel like it, and you don
’t have to worry about serving up the right
portions. Take this to a new level by having a range of serve-yourself options,
like this cupcake shrub!
Boozy tea party
Swap the tea for booze for a different kind of
tea party: after all cocktails are just like iced tea for grownups. Perfect for
an alternative hen idea.