How to Plan an Afternoon Tea Party

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Whenever you hear “tea party,” you probably picture an elegant gathering with charming little sandwiches and cookies. The tea scene in Alice in Wonderland was very alluring, and all of us had fantasies of hosting our own tea parties with delectable cakes and baked goods.

A tea party does not necessarily have to be an over-the-top or fancy event. It can be a quaint gathering with biteable snacks and a simple teapot brimming with delicious hot tea. An afternoon spent with friends and a refreshing, soothing cup of tea with a natural black tea cosy is an afternoon well spent.

Tea parties can be held for many various occasions. It can be a cozy birthday celebration or a lovely bridal shower. This article will address the steps and tips regarding hosting tea parties in the afternoon.

Tea Essentials

As you are throwing a tea party, it is necessary to brew the best teas. For the perfect brew, use a tea timer and a clean pot. Brewing with loose tea leaves can be a bit messy, but it has more prominent flavors and is more fragrant.

If you want to have a minimal mess, opt for tea bags with different flavors. Opt for charming crockeries like floral teapots with which you fill your brewed concoction. 

Alternatively, you can place the tea bags beside a teapot filled with hot water. This way, the guests can have various tea options to choose from and can make their own tea. It can make the evening a fun, interactive activity.

You can use a tiered cake stand as the centerpiece with which you also serve delicious cookies and muffins. Take out your best crockery collection from the cupboard and adorn the table with them. Do not forget to place clean and folded napkins. To add a delightful twist to your tea party, check out these ice cream cart rentals that can offer a delightful array of ice cream flavors to accompany the warm beverages. Your guests will be thrilled to have a sweet and cooling option, making your tea party a truly unique and enjoyable experience.

To set the ambiance and make it more inviting, you can use lace or crochet doilies. You can also place name cards to make it more special. Make handwritten name cards and flaunt your calligraphy skills, or simply print them out in a tasteful cursive font.

You can opt for the chinaware available in thrift shops or flea markets. They have a vintage look and establish a sophisticated ambiance. Do not fret over the mismatched patterns; they will work in your favor in making the spread look more trendy.

You will need a teapot, teacups, basic cutlery, cake knives, and a sugar bowl. You can opt for sugar cubes instead of the regular table sugar for a more classic look. Do not forget a decanter for the milk. Ensure that you have teaspoons as they will be the most used silverware. 

The teapot and other dishwares can be made of classic ceramic with floral patterns. For a more exotic appeal, opt for teapots and cups made with clay. Studies show that tea brewed and served in clay pots tastes better.

Create the Ambiance

Clear a table and cover it with a tablecloth. Decide on the pattern or design of the placemats. You can either opt for ones that are plaid patterns or polka-dotted. You can also go for the simple floral patterns for the cottage-core look.

There are many types of good-quality fabrics available at affordable prices. Such fabrics can be used as table runners or placemats. You can hang string lights to brighten up the room. To enhance the ambiance, hang string bunting.

You can also place flowers around the chairs or on the table to add more aesthetics. If you are ambitious, you can put sugar cookies with your guests’ names on their assigned seats or plates.

You can also simply put them on a tray where the guests can take the one with their initials on it. Alternatively, you can pop them in small boxes or paper bags which your guests can take home or munch on them like entrées.

Appetizer Tea

If it is warm weather, make a pitcher of refreshing iced tea. You can also add sparkling water mixed with fruit juices or fruit pulp to make appetizing fizzy drinks.

As an appetizer tea or a beginner tea to stimulate your senses, opt for the classic English Breakfast, Earl Grey, peppermint, fruit-infused, and chamomile tea. Ensure that you have honey, sugar, milk, and lemon wedges on the table. 

You can also serve other sugar substitutes like stevia, xylitol, jaggery, and monk fruit sweeteners. Have soy or almond milk on hand as vegan substitutes for regular milk. Make sure the creamer and the milk are served in decanters.

If you are serving sugar cubes, it is better to have a pair of beautiful silver tongs to serve them easily. Ensure that there are designated spoons for each sweetening option. You also need to make sure that your guests have a spoon with their teacups and saucers.

The last thing you need is your guests fumbling over spoons and making a huge, clumpy mess in the sugar bowl.

Tea Snacks

There is a wide range of tea snack options. The majority of the classic tea snacks are usually finger foods. Tea snacks can be sweet or savory. The classic tea snacks that are a bit more filling are mini sandwiches. The sandwiches can be simple egg salad and cucumber sandwiches or tuna sandwiches. 

If you want to serve your guests foods that are a bit more luxurious, you can opt for salmon and avocado sandwiches or Japanese chicken katsu sandwiches.

The sandwiches do not necessarily have to be always savory. You can take a twist on these sandwiches by serving Japanese-style fruit sandwiches. Simple french toast sandwiched with Nutella and bananas is another unique dessert option. 

Cookies are ideal for tea snacks. For milk tea or any general tea like English breakfast, shortbread cookies are the ideal complimentary snacks. Shortbread cookies can be sweet, semi-sweet, or salty. Depending on your preferences, you can serve any cookies you like.

Macarons are delectable snacks that are also very pretty to look at. You can also serve simple sugar cookies. Apart from cookies, you can also serve scones and muffins.


Whether you are hosting a charming birthday party, a bridal shower, or simply an intimate reunion, afternoon tea parties are ideal. Tea parties are a great way to spend time with your loved ones while enjoying the warmth of a good cup of tea.

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