Entertainment Food for Thought

How to Host the Perfect Tea Party for friends or family

perfect tea party planning

Retro is en vogue and we all like to spend more time with our friends. Throwing a tea party is a fun way to host a party or any get-together. Tea parties are not common these days, so it’s fun to do something a little different with fun food, drink, and friends. But what do you do? Hosting the perfect tea party may take a little preparation, but the fun to be had is worth it.

Choose a Theme for your perfect tea party

Your first step is to pick a theme. This can as casual or fancy as you like. Try a pajama party for a casual and comfortable event full of warm mugs, popcorn, and fun movies. Alice in Wonderland is a popular and fun theme. Dress up or invite people to wear their craziest hat a la The Mad Hatter. Or you can throw it back to antiquity and host a formal High Tea. Fancy dress, hat, gloves, and China or silver teaware required.

Overall, the ideal perfect tea party is up to you! Get as creative as you want. Take the event you’re planning into mind. If it’s just a get together of old friends maybe something more casual is called for. Is it someone’s birthday? Maybe something more fun and creative.

Send Your Invites to your tea party

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Invites are an important part of your perfect tea party

Your next step to the perfect tea party is setting the date and time. Once this is set your invitations should go out.  Again, these can go along with your theme. Something as simple as an email or text message confirming the date, time and theme can be more than adequate for casual affairs. If you are mailing out formal invitations (which can be fun!) be sure you allow enough time for not only the invite to be received but also for the person to prepare. Two to three weeks out should suffice in most places.

A fun or frilly paper invite is super fun to receive int he mail, even if it’s more of a hassle to prepare.  The preparation that goes into it shows thoughtfulness and kind consideration for the person invited. For fancier teas, it can also indicate the true level of dedication required of the event. Plus, who doesn’t like a pretty invite to remind them of the event hanging on their fridge?

Set Your Menu for your perfect tea party

Traditionally even a small tea would be accompanied by at least cookies, small tea cakes, or small sandwiches. Luckily we don’t live in an era of rigid social standards when it comes to dining. It is, however, a good idea to keep snacks on hand. Try to keep with your theme.

A casual movie night tea can be paired with popcorn and maybe some chocolate. A more traditional tea often serves scones or tea cakes with clotted cream and jam, tea sandwiches, and a selection of petit fours and cookies or other desserts. The general idea is that it’s all finger foods; good for the individual.

You want to make sure you’re prepared ahead of time and know what you’re going to serve. Obviously, the more ornate, the longer the prep. If you are preparing fresh foods, finish those within a couple of hours of serving, to keep them at their freshest. If preparing foods at the last minute, be sure to leave yourself enough time to at least freshen up before people arrive.

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You can serve whatever food you like at your perfect tea party

Gather Supplies for your perfect tea party

This includes your teas, serving ware, teaware, anything for activities or discussion during the party, and your outfit.

  • Teas: It’s good to have at least two teas on hand to serve. One black or green caffeinated tea, and at least one herbal or decaffeinated. It’s also a show of a good host to know a little about each tea to make recommendations to each person’s taste.
  • Serving Ware: Tiered plates are popular for serving little cookies or cakes, or even tea sandwiches. Basically anything you need to serve what you are serving to your guests. Ensure you have enough napkins and serving utensils ready to go.
  • Teaware: Do you have a kettle? Stovetop or electric work fine. Will you be able to heat up enough water to serve everyone at once, or will you have to heat up multiple batches? These are the things to consider besides the teacups and saucers or mugs. If it’s loose leaf tea, do you have infusers for everyone? Or are you just preparing entire pots of each flavor? Have a couple of sweeteners available to people as well as teaspoons for each cup. Having milk (or a dairy-free alternative) is also a good idea.
  • Accessories: if you’re playing games just be sure you have everything you need beforehand. Having a picnic? Make sure you have enough blankets. Book club? Bring your book and any notes.
  • Outfit: A good host almost always wears an apron for any event that is more than casual. It’s an indicator of who the host is. Aside from that, dress to your theme. Just be sure you have it ready in time for the perfect tea party and get ready in plenty of time.

Prep and Setup for your perfect tea party

choosing your perfect tea party theme

Allow enough time to setup for your tea party

Start your prep a couple of days before. For smaller, more casual events, just making sure you have everything is enough. For more ornate parties you may have to start cooking or setting up the table where the snacks will be displayed. Get your final count of how many people are attending, then prep for one or two more. In our digital age, things change fast. Someone might be able to attend last minute or someone may have something come up that interferes with their plans to attend. It’s best to be prepared.

The day of, give yourself enough time to set up your teaware, serving ware,  and get yourself ready. Leave final touches until after you’ve gotten dressed. 10 minutes before, put the kettle on. That way you’ll have hot water ready to go for your first arrivals.


It’s time for your perfect tea party. While the host is often expected to do just that, casual affairs can have everyone serving themselves at leisure. More formal operations indicate that the host should pour and serve, though small snacks can be taken by guests as they wish. Maybe you just have a free for all at an Alice in Wonderland themed table? Guests should never be expected to help clean up, but if they offer it’s practically impolite to turn them down at the end of the event.

However you decide to host your perfect tea party, just make sure to enjoy yourself and have fun. Don’t forget to snap a couple of photos as well. When you share them you may inspire others!

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About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!