How to host a simple tea party

September 15, 2022

Written By

Tabitha Dumas

Tea parties can be intimidating, especially if you don’t already own several tea cups plus pretty linens and fancy plates and whatever else you picture for a proper tea party. But they’re so sweet and relaxing and your guests will truly appreciate the time to slow down and savor the moment. The way to host a simple tea party means remembering…the effort is worth it and

the key word is SIMPLE.

A simple tea party is perfect for

  • an impromptu tea time with a friend or neighbor
  • a few family members for Mother’s Day
  • a small birthday celebration
  • book club
  • little girls to learn etiquette

For a special occasion like Mother’s Day, you can put in extra time and effort by coming up with a theme, setting an impressive table and coordinating your dishes and napkins, etc. but the idea is to be able to host on a whim. The smallest effort will go a long way, partly because tea time has become a lost art. Your guests will be thrilled no matter what you do. And it’s OK to ask them to bring their own tea cup or to grab some cupcakes on their way over. Keep the focus on slowing down and enjoying one another’s company. 

Key components:

  • tea cups and saucers (or pretty mugs)
  • tea (a few types of tea bags to choose from is fine)
  • hot water
  • sugar, honey and/or milk
  • cookies, scones or cupcakes
  • a few serving dishes or tiered stand
  • a tray
  • spoons (one per person or one dry for the sugar and wet for stirring)
  • plates (plain white, pretty china or paper)

Things to keep on hand for a simple tea party, even at the last minute.

A few types of tea bags.

The most traditional/popular are English Breakfast, Early Gray and an herbal chamomile.

You can buy boxes and places a few options in a pretty basket or tin for guests to choose from.

Allow your guests to choose their tea or make a pot to share.

A package of cookies, pirouettes or individually-wrapped donuts or pastries.

I keep a box of macarons in the freezer, they thaw out in about half an hour and are very impressive. Anything pretty and/or dunkable is fun.

A small bowl or trinket dish to place used tea bags on.

This keeps the table dry and tablecloth clean.

Pretty paper plates and napkins.

Check stores like Tuesday Morning, Marshall’s and Party City for affordable options.

Tab’s Tip: Consider storing the above items in a picnic basket or pretty box so it’s easy to grab. 

Some of my favorite things to serve when I host a simple tea party:

The key here is foods that DO NOT require a fork.

  • chicken salad and crackers
  • grapes pre-cut into small clusters
  • strawberries (chocolate-dipped is a special treat)
  • macarons
  • mixed nuts
  • simple pbj or cucumber sandwiches cut small

Extra touches can include a candle (just place it away from where people will be reaching for food or a spoon), fresh flowers, flavored honey or pre-dipped honey spoons, a table cloth and seasonal decor. Just grab what’s already sitting around!

“Low tea” can be in a living room or anywhere you have a couple of chairs and a side table or coffee table.

“High tea” would be at your dining table.

Keep everything on the table or set aside the tray with the condiments and tea bags.

It’s fun to place a bistro table in the garden or in front of the fire place for extra ambiance. You can even do the tea party picnic style.

If you need to host a tea party for a crowd or for a fundraiser, I’ve already written about hosting a potluck tea party here.

More reading…

This is the perfect time to remind you about living a tea lifestyle here which includes a coffee/tea station here.

Let me know in the comments what questions you have.

If you want ME to bring the tea party to YOU, visit my Tea To You option here. Or use the tips in the post to take a simple tea party to someone else.

Cheers to bringing back tea time!

How to host a simple tea party by Tabitha Dumas empowering women


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