As fabulous as they look, tea parties don’t need to cost a lot – just grab a few basics, pray for a sunny day and read our top tips to serve something pretty and delicious.
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Stack Them High
Cakes and pastries always look good on an elevated serving platter. Make your own by gluing china plates in between candlesticks, or pick up a classic white or vintage silver cupcake tower or cake plate.
Lenox French Perle White Cake Plate, $68.79. Available at The Bay
Stir it Up
Sugar cubes might be traditional, but these scrummy sticks would look great on a tea party table.
TWG Tea Sugar Sticks, $6. Available at urbantea.com
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Full tea sets can be expensive so hit up your granny’s cupboards, yard sales or thrift stores to find a bargain. Don’t worry about chipped teapots or cups, put some flowers in them and they’ll be great decorations.Sugar cubes might be traditional, but these scrummy sticks would look great on a tea party table.
Alice in Wonderland Teapot, US $36. Available at stashtea.com
Nothing melts in our mouths like a fresh, crumbly strawberry shortcake. This sugary tea might not pack much bite, but it’s certainly fewer calories.
Davids Tea Strawberry Shortcake, $7 per 50g bag. Available at Davids Tea
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Wrap it Up
Get creative with your cupcake wrapper, choosing a style to suit your décor or just something that catches your eye. Chapters Indigo stocks kits with toppers like flags, kittens and princesses.
Pretty Cupcake Kit, $24.95. Available at Chapters-Indigo
Make tea into a decoration with these pods of dried flowers that magically bloom into prettiness. Exotic blends include Juliet’s Kiss, Butterfly Floret and Fairy Lily.
Primula Tea 12 Flowering Teas with 5-Cup Glass Teapot, $37, Bed Bath and Beyond
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Happy Ever After
Get creative with centre pieces. Nothing has to match, but it should look fresh and pretty. Put freshly picked flowers into serving ware, or order something custom like these unique vintage book centre pieces.
Vintage Book Table Numbers, $16, Available from loveandfound.etsy.com
If you’re hosting outdoors, tie some bunting in between trees or around the table for a flash of colour. You can even get bunting for cupcakes.
Custom Printable Mini Cupcake Buntin, US $10, Available at Etsy shop ewehooo, 9ft Bunting, US $32, Available from Etsy shop vintagegreenlimited
Tea Party Cocktails
Mix iced tea with alcohol (G and Tea anyone?) and ice, then let guests help themselves from a glass dispenser.
Decorator’s Drink Dispenser, $107 Available from Pottery Barn
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Everyone loves having a favour to take home. Write guests’ names on a cute place card holder, or on a cupcake flag to stick into a cupcake’s icing for a cute and tasty treat.
Teapot Place Card Holders, US $18.00 per set of 6. Available at beaucoup.com
- Send an invitation through the post to set the mood for your tea party. To get creative, print out tiny invitations and attach them to tea bags, or press some flowers from your garden and stick them on some nice card. Let guests know if there is a theme or dress code.
- There are no rules with decorations. Be as inventive as you like, use random objects as centrepieces and fill chipped or broken tea sets with flowers. They’ll smell great and look fab too.
- Serve a mixture of sweet and savoury. Finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off are great, and if you’re hosting outside, don’t serve anything that will wilt in the heat
- Leave a stack of plates by the food, with forks and spoons. If you’re serving scones with cream and jam, have butter knives, too.
- Don’t serve more than three teas or it will get confusing. Milk, cream, thin slices of lemon, brown and white sugar cubes are all great additions.
- It’s fine to eat with your fingers, although if something’s particularly sticky and messy, a fork or spoon will help
- Tea party treats may be small, but don’t stuff them in your mouth all at once! Take small bites so you can talk between them
- Don’t pile your plate high! You’ll look less like a piggy if you skip the food mountain and go back to the table a few times
- Try and introduce yourself to people you don’t know – although a good host will help you with this as well
- Take the hostess a small gift. Since it’s a tea party a nice tea, pretty tea cup or something for the table, like a scented candle, are great ideas.
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