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  • What comes to mind when you think of tea parties? Little girls in puffy pink dresses sitting in their backyards drinking tea with their make-believe friends, that one scene from The Great Gatsby, and those scenes from Alice in Wonderland with so much gaiety – of course, without the dancing and bouncing teapots.
  • Throwing a tea party is much like throwing like any other party. It requires precision and planning. This article will guide you through the steps in which you can throw a successful tea party.


A tea party is a tradition that has been popularized by the British. In the 19th Century the British working class would only have two meals; one in the morning and another in the evening. During the evening, they would drink tea – which was known as high tea because it was drunk at a high table – with a heavy portion of bread. This evolved into tea parties when the Duchess of Bedford would invite her friends over for a cup of tea and a walk in the garden. This tradition was picked up by other royalties and was then tweaked from garden walks to having tea in elegant rooms, making it more intimate – and adding fine china when setting the table to make it more elegant.

These days, tea parties are not only popular in the United Kingdom but also in other parts of the world. Most of the traditions and etiquettes change according to the region and local customs.

In the United States of America, 23% of people drink tea every day, 39% drink tea in the afternoon, 40% drink tea to relax, and 54% make and drink their tea at home as opposed to 71% of people who buy their tea from cafés. According to research, most people drink tea now in the United States than they did 30 years ago. Wholesale tea sales have increased from 1.84 billion to 12.67 billion in the last 30 years.

Total wholesale tea sales in the United States from 1990 to 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)* Source: www.teausa.com

Total wholesale tea sales in the United States from 1990 to 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)

Now that you know the origin of tea parties, you may be wondering when is the right time or occasion to have one. Tea parties can be had to celebrate bridal showers, baby showers, birthdays, intimate get-togethers, and special events such as mother’s day. In short, any gathering that involves food and drink can be swapped and replaced with a tea party or high tea.


How to Throw a Tea Party

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How do you plan a tea party? Just like any other party, throwing a tea party requires extensive planning before the event if you want your event to be successful. Below are a few tips for throwing the perfect tea party and a few pointers you should consider when planning your tea party:


The first thing you are going to have to consider when planning a tea party event is the budget. Having a budget will inform you of important decisions about the tea party such as how many people you should invite, how much food you should buy, and where you should have the tea party; basically, everything you need for a tea party.


After you have set a budget for your party, the next thing you should come up with is a guest list. Every formal tea party needs a proper guest list that you should keep track of in terms of who has RSVP’d and who hasn’t. This gives you a clear number of how many people you will be hosting.


Once you have made a list, it is time to send the invitations to your intended guests. Your invitation should state when the tea party will be (date), what time it will start, and where it will be (venue). You can have your tea party at home in your own backyard, 

You may also want to include a dress code on the invitation card accompanied by a theme so that your intended guests prepare accordingly to attend your tea time party.


It is traditional for a tea party to have a theme. A theme for a tea party sets the mood for the party and is essential to having an elegant tea party. Your theme correlates with the reason behind why you are having a tea party in the first place. For example, if the main reason you are having the tea party is for engagement then the theme could be pink and white to represent delicacy and purity. Other popular themes for high tea include vintage, strawberry tea party, cream tea party, Paris, London, Alice in Wonderland, Downton Abbey, and Potluck tea party – just to mention a few.

It is important to have a theme for a proper tea party because it serves as a guide on what your guests should expect in relation to activities at the party – and also if they are required to bring anything with them when coming to your tea party.


When it comes to table setting and decoration, for an authentic tea party experience, bring out your finest China tea sets to set up your tea party. You can either choose to serve tea at a high table – for high tea – or on palette chairs, or on the grass for a garden tea party. Where you set and serve tea will also depend on the people that you have invited over to your party. For example, if you have invited a lot of people who are older, then a high table would make more sense because it is comfortable and will not take a toll on their joints having to sit down too low.

You may want to hire professional decorators to handle the decoration for your high tea party. But if you cannot afford to pay for professionals, here are a few tips to pull off an elegant decoration: first, you are going to need a simple centerpiece – it could be a flower or a crystal chandelier hanging low. It has to be something big and noticeable, yet simple. And then around the table, arrange your teacups and saucers side by side along with your assorted food.


Speaking of food, you are going to need to arrange food and drinks for your guests. Traditionally, you are supposed to serve tea with bread – however, you can choose to also serve it with sandwiches, macaroons, scones, muffins, sandwiches, cakes, and cookies depending on the theme. You should also have a variety of tea at your tea party so that your guests can choose what kind they want. Some of the most popular tea include Earl Grey, Lipton, and Twinings. Aside from a variety of brands, you should also have a variety of tea flavors for your guests to choose from such as; green tea, jasmine tea, lavender tea, black tea, and spiced tea. And lastly, you are going to want to have both sugar and honey, and also milk and cream to accommodate all of your guest’s needs.


How do you host an afternoon or evening tea party? Well, like any other event, as the host, you have to be on time, friendly, and ready to chat and charm your guests. Below are some tips for setting up and hosting the perfect tea party:


The first thing you should do before your guests arrive is to make sure that your table is set and your food laid out before your guests arrive. This way, you will have time for your guests when they arrive and not be an absent host. You will be able to converse with them and engage in the general merriment of the event.


Being a good host means paying attention to what your guests need and attending to it. This means answering any questions they may have and catering to their dietary needs and restrictions. If you are inviting people who are vegan free, then you should include vegan free food and drinks on your menu for the tea party. Taking into consideration these factors will make you a good host.



For a neat adult tea party idea, consider including alcohol on your menu for drinks along with the tea. You can serve mimosas if you are planning a tea party for ladies and other alcohols that go well with tea such as coffee or chocolate-flavored tequila, for the men.


It may also be a good idea to hire some form of entertainment for your tea party especially if you have an event that is hosting a women’s tea party. Depending on the theme of the party, the entertainment can range from magicians, musicians, and actors.

Related Article:  How to throw a cheap birthday party for adults


  • What is the proper attire for a tea party?

The proper attire to wear to a tea party is highly dependent on the theme of the tea party. For example, if the theme is Alice in Wonderland, then you would be expected to dress up as characters from the books and movies. However, if the high tea party has no specific theme, then you should dress according to the weather – warmer clothes in the winter and breezy clothes in the summer. The rule is to keep your attire decent and elegant – smart casual would be a very good estimate of what to wear.

  • What activities do you do at a tea party?

There are many activities that you can do at a tea party event such as tea trivia – where you ask your guest’s general knowledge of some of the most famous tea party events in history. You can also play ‘guess the recipe’ where the guest has to guess the ingredients used for a baked good on your menu. Check out this article for a full list of activities you can do at a tea party.


In conclusion, to have a tea party, you need to plan ahead of time and let your guests know in advance what time they will be required to attend your tea party. You need to budget for your party, set themes for your party, send out invitations, and when the day comes play host to your guests and serve them with the best teas and bites this world has to offer.

Make sure you accommodate all of your guests’ dietary needs and restrictions.





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