On a warm summer day, there are few things more enjoyable than getting together with friends, sharing stories and laughter. A tea party is the perfect backdrop for this kind of occasion, relaxing and enjoying a soothing beverage with your friends as a warm breeze surrounds you. If you have never hosted a tea party before, you may be wondering where to begin, and which essential items you need.
I think it’s easiest to start by discussing some of the items typically used at a British tea party. You’ll want to begin with a nice place setting and tablecloth. Depending on the types of finger foods you decide on, a tablecloth will allow for easy cleanup, and protects your table from any potential stains. Of course, this is completely optional, but it adds to the aesthetic.
Next, you’ll want to prepare a snack or even a light meal of some sort. Tradition would have you offer scones or biscuits to your guests, but these days, anything goes. The type of tea you serve may dictate the flavor of your snacks, though a mild black tea is the perfect accompaniment to almost any food. If it’s lunchtime, finger sandwiches would be a welcome choice. With it being summertime, fresh fruit jam and biscuits would be lovely, and if you’re ambitious, try making the jam on your own. Go on, have some fun and be adventurous! And if the jam-making fails, a quick trip to the store should remedy that.
Delving into pastries a bit more, why not try cookies, shortbread (try my super easy shortbread recipe here), croissants, or even mini cakes? If you want to be a little naughty, chocolate croissants are irresistible to nearly everyone. You might be shaking your head as you read this, wanting to stick strictly to the tea and maybe a light pastry. But you have to live a little. You deserve it.
Be sure you have tableware, including plenty of napkins, plates, and silverware (typically just spoons and forks, but this depends on the snacks you’ll be serving) as well, and it’s always best to have a little more than you think you might need.
Given that this is a tea party, the most essential item to include will, of course, be the tea itself. Black tea may be the obvious choice, though for summertime, green and white teas are just as lovely and mild, lending themselves to a more peaceful frame of mind for your afternoon. As well, you will need something to serve your tea in, and teacups for your guests to drink from. For a nice summer tea party with friends, you want the absolute best tea set on display for your guests. Do be sure to stop by my Etsy shop and browse through my selection of teacups and tea sets. There you’ll find unique, vintage items that are sure to be conversation pieces all on their own.
Once you have everything you need, you’re sure to have a successful tea party. I hope it’s filled with fun and laughter for you and your friends.
For more inspiration, check out Heston Blumenthal’s Mad Hatter’s Tea.