Throwing a tea party is one of the loveliest things you can do, it’s fun and light-hearted, it makes people happy, it’s feminine and oh so ladylike, and it’s quite simple. There are many opinions on what give a tea party its je ne said quoi.. Is it the tea itself, the flowers, the teacups all matching, a doily overload? Here are some thoughts on tea parties to help inspire your next sunday afternoon. Thank you to A Gentle Guide via Autostraddle for some tea-inspiration.
The Tea Ware
It’s a common misconception that when serving tea, your teacups need to match the saucers, and the teapot to the milk and sugar jars. If you have a tea set, by all means bring it out, but if you are without the delights of coordinated teacups, don’t fret. Mis-matched teacups, sitting on chipped saucers, with tiny glasses for milk, and sugar cubes in serving bowls offers a mad-matter aesthetic that we imagine a tea party should posses. There is one rule when it comes to tea, it is best served in bone china, yes, the expensive kind. But the kind that is available from thrift shops, garage sales and flea markets. Tiny spoons, forks and butter knives are also invited to the party, you can tie them all together with ribbon and place them on a neatly folded napkin for each guest.
A tea party isn’t complete without scones, freshly made with whipped cream and jam. My favourite is my nan’s lemonade scone recipe. The conserves; strawberry, marmalade, fig, rhubarb… a variety of jams can be presented in tiny matching – or unlatching bowls.
A tea party is a special occasion, so it’s important to set the mood. Think about where you’d like to have your party: will you be indoors or outdoors? Will you keep the room dim with some gentle fairy lights and candles or will you relish in the glorious summer sun? Do you want to put a pretty lacy table cloth on your table or will you spread out a fuzzy blanket on the lawn? “Flowers are important to tea parties / life,” says Rachel, and you know she’s right. You should probably buy some flowers, like Mrs. Dalloway. (via Autostraddle)
You’re going to want to offer a wide variety of tea. This is the part where you can really follow your heart. Loose tea or tea bags, flavored or plain, black or green or white or anything else, expensive or cheap… you cannot go wrong because serving tea at a tea party is what you do. It can be fun to ask your guests to each bring their favorite tea so that everyone definitely has one tea they love and also so you can all try new things. For example did you know there is such a thing as Almond Cookie tea? It tastes like a marzipan cookie and is a gift from the goddess, just FYI. And now you know about it!
If possible, it’s really nice to have a few tea pots available at your tea party, so you can brew a few different kinds of teas and then everyone can pour their beverage from the teapot right into their tea cups, with no hassle of tea bags or spilling loose tea or any of that. But if you don’t have a tea pot that’s okay, don’t worry! It’s also really nice to offer sugar, milk, lemon… anything people can and often do add to their tea. We really love the idea of sugar cubes and a little milk jug and a pretty tray covered in thin lemon slices, that sounds really beautiful and special to us. (via Autostraddle)
Finger sandwiches are key. You can cut the crusts off or use cookie molds to make cute shapes, or you can literally just put some cucumbers and margarine on some bread and call it a day. As long as you’re eating a sandwich type thing with your fingers, you’re golden. Tiny delicious snacks that you can pop in your mouth in one bite are also highly recommended – they can be savory or sweet. Cookies, biscuits, petit fours, tiny cupcakes, and cheese plates can be excellent options. You could also bake a cake! Maybe an ombre cake. I’ve been dying to make a pink ombre cake. If you’re really fancy you can get a tiered cake plate and display your treats in a way that is very pleasing to the eye, but I’ve noticed that when you offer people delicious things they often don’t care how those delicious things are presented, only that they eventually can put those delicious things in their mouths. So. It’s also a good idea to offer your guests some water; you can make it fancy by putting orange or lemon slices or mint leaves in a jug of water. (via Autostraddle)