Tips for Hosting a Tea Party

Hosting a tea party is a great way to entertain guests of all ages. It's fun to step back to a more refined time, taking tea and delicate refreshments while enjoying good company. There are plenty of occasions where a tea party would be suitable, including birthdays, Mother's Day, bridal showers or just for fun. Here are some ideas for making your tea party one your guests will truly remember.

Invitations
Written invitations are a lovely formality that is often forgone these days in favor of e-mail invitations. For a tea party, take the extra time to create some lovely hand-written invitations. Your guests will feel truly special when an invitation written on fancy stationary arrives in their mailbox.

The Tea Table
A properly set tea table is will delight your guests and make them feel special. Bring out your best china and linens for your tea party. A floral centerpiece is a nice touch, just make sure it isn't too tall, or your guests won't be able to see each other across the table. Alternatively, you can place a small vase of flowers at each place setting.

The Menu
Traditional afternoon tea features a selection of delicate tea sandwiches and savories, followed by scones and sweets. Try looking online for tea party recipes, or check out your local bookstore or library for tea-time cookbooks for inspiration in planning your menu. Don't forget to include traditional English clotted cream and marmalade for your scones.

The Tea
Offer your guests a choice of teas, including one or two black teas, such as Darjeeling and Earl Grey, as well as one or two herbal varieties, for those who prefer to avoid caffeine. Don't forget the necessary accompaniments for tea: lemon slices, milk and sugar. Sugar cubes in a dainty sugar bowl are a particularly nice touch.

Lastly, be sure to prepare everything for your tea party well ahead of time. Once your guests arrive, you can relax and enjoy their company instead of rushing around to finish things.

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Try these ideas or use them as inspiration to create tea party favors that are elegant, kid-friendly and affordable.

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