Here’s the complete guide to throwing your perfect tea party.
How to make it easy? Two words: Plan and organize!
Six weeks before:
- Create theme. (What)
- Set date & place. (When & where.)
- Make guest list. Names or at least the number of people. (Who.)
- Book caterer, if needed.
Five weeks before:
- Buy invitations if mailing. Note the dress code for your guests.
- Send out
Four weeks before:
- Create Menu: who will prepare what? Self? Caterer? Friends? Buy?
- Finalize menu with caterer, if using one
Three weeks before:
- check your pantry
- make grocery shopping list
- Buy staples as needed: tea, sugar, sugar cubes, flour, lemon curd, strawberry preserves, etc.
Two weeks before:
- Clean hardware and linens. Polish silver.
- teapots- one for 2-3 people
- cups & saucers
forks, knives, spoons
linens: tablecloths, napkins
- 3 tiered servers
- other serving dishes for jam, relish, etc.
- serving utensils including tongs
- drip plates
- other seasonal decorations for the tablescape
- candles, candlesticks
- tea warmers
- tea kettle(s)
- Buy or borrow any missing hardware items
- Bake ahead/make ahead any items that can be stored/refrigerated/frozen: cake, buttermints, scones, bread, etc.
- Pack items if hosting tea at another location. Include knives, cutting board, cake decorating tools, hot pads, spatulas, extra tea pots for brewing (will need if serving a large crowd)
One week to a few days before:
- Buy flowers, ferns
- Buy produce – fresh fruits and veggies, fresh herbs, milk, devonshire cream
Two days before:
- Confirm with attendees. Invite one or a few guests to have the honor of pouring. This is an endorsement of their social graces and your trust in them with your teapots!
- Iron/steam linens.
One day before:
- Day of baking/making. Make ahead anything that you can now. Sandwiches can be made the night before. Put a damp paper towel over them to prevent drying out and place in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap.
- Set the table
- Arrange flowers
- pick fresh herbs and edible flowers from the garden
- Make any last minute items that could not be made or assembled ahead of time.
- Plate and refrigerate three tiered servers
- Brew tea and keep in carafes/thermoses if serving a large crowd
- Don’t forget the music!
- Set food out
- Guests arrive
- Brew tea if small crowd
- Keep food stocked