Hosting the Perfect Tea Party

by Karen

Tea parties are a wonderful way to celebrate a social occasion without the pressure of a big to do. A brief tutorial is all you need to impress your guests at your next get together. An important question that will decide the rest of your planning and the first one you should ask yourself is: Will you throw a formal or informal tea party? Once you decide, read on for some helpful hints. 


For a formal tea, elegant and beautiful stationary and invitations are a must. For an informal event, a quick call to the guests is sufficient. Don’t worry, the informal tea can still be an event of fun and socializing.


A courteous host will inform guests of the recommended attire. For example, if you plan a formal Victorian tea, guests should dress in their best Victorian dresses. It doesn't matter the theme but letting the guests know in advance will allow them to choose their wardrobe accordingly.

Setting up the table

The mood for a formal tea is set by the invitations and attire, but how the guests view your table is just as important. Knowing where to place the accouterments is vital. On a white table cloth laden table, place two long trays; one for tea and one for coffee or hot chocolate. Though you are having a tea party, not everybody drinks tea; have another hot beverage for those guests. Set tea cups and saucers to the left of the tea pot. Be sure to have boiling hot water in the tea pot and very hot coffee in a carafe. Include on the table, sugar, sugar substitute, and cream.


Tea parties offer light refreshments for food. These are usually small sandwiches and cookies. Dainty sandwiches cut into shapes or made on smaller slices of bread are ideal. Have cookies that are soft and not crumbly. Other light appetizers or finger foods are fine type of party, as well.

Teas to serve

There are many kinds of teas from all over the world. Deciding what kind of tea to serve can seem daunting. It doesn't have to be. For an informal party having a few varieties of tea in individual tea bags on the table is a great idea and lets your guests make their own. For a more formal approach, see the next section about infused tea.

Infused Tea

Infused tea is all about the taste. Fill your favorite tea kettle with hot, nearly boiling water. Drop tea leaves, a couple at a time, until the surface of the water is covered. Cover the pot and allow to steep according to the suggested times on the leaves' packaging. An infused tea may be too strong for some, but having a second teapot of boiling water will allow your guests to adjust the taste to their likeness. With this drop method, there is no need to pre-warm the teapot. Once the tea is to your liking, serve it to your guests.


Be sure to have a small vase on the tea table with an enchanting bouquet of flowers. The scent adds to the atmosphere and can be a conversation piece if needed.

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