Tea Party Etiquette for Guests Before the Party

Tip #1 RSVP is Still Important
The first thing in tea party etiquette you should practice is once you receive your invitation is look at your calendar. You need to RSVP as soon as possible. The host has much planning to do. Take the invitation as a huge honor. Most teas are small and intimate, so you were specially thought of to attend this event. Nevertheless, no matter how big the tea party, it is still a huge honor to receive an invite.

Tip #2 Let the Hostess Know She's Appreciated
Once you have RSVP'ed there is something to decide. Not all invites do this, but I believe it is etiquette for the guest to bring a hostess gift. This can be a small trinket of appreciation. It could be a bottle of sparkling cider or wine. Please only do this if you know their preference or belief in drinking alcohol.

The hostess gift can also be flowers, a tea cup, or even stationary. It does not have to be expensive. It is just a way to show the hostess your appreciation for the invite and also for the tea.

Tip #3 Know the Dress Code
How you dress is mostly up to the hostess and the time of the tea. If the tea is in the morning or afternoon, you can wear lighter colored clothes and you can ever wear slacks. (Please, no jeans!) If the tea is at six o'clock or later, it is considered a High Tea. You wear darker colors and clothing that is more elegant. However, it truly does come down to what the hostess has in mind.

When you call the hostess to RSVP, ask her if she has a preferred dress code. It could be that the hostess has a theme for the tea and wants the guests to dress a certain way. Some hostesses want you to wear a hat, some want you to wear your Sunday best, and some want you to dress a part from a book. But before you ask your hostess, make sure you read your invitation carefully, the instructions could be on your invitation.

Tip #4 Be On Time
I can never stress this enough. You want to be sure that you are on time for the tea. So, don't wait until the last minute to figure out what you are wearing to the tea. Also, please do not wait until you are on your way to the tea party to pick up the hostess gift. Even if it is live flowers, get them the night before and put them in the refrigerator, or if the tea is later in the afternoon or evening, go out and get the flowers then. Just not on your way in.

The hostess has put a lot of thought, time and effort into this special even, so you need to reciprocate with good etiquette.

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