The Complete Guide to Throwing The Perfect Tea Party


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.
  • Address
  • Send out

Four weeks before:

  • Create Menu: who will prepare what?  Self? Caterer? Friends? Buy?
    • savories
    • scones
    • sweets
    • condiments
    • teas
  • 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
    • strainers
    • cups & saucers
    • plates
    • forks, knives, spoons 
    • linens:  tablecloths, napkins 
    • 3 tiered servers
    • platters
    • trays 
    • other serving dishes for jam, relish, etc.
    • serving utensils including tongs
    • drip plates
    • other seasonal decorations for the tablescape 
    • candles, candlesticks
    • tea warmers
    • vases
    • pitchers
    • glasses
    • 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:

  • Dust
  • 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
  • Decorations
  • pick fresh herbs and edible flowers from the garden

Day of:

  • 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
  • Dress
  • Don’t forget the music!
  • Set food out 
  • Guests arrive
  • Brew tea if small crowd
  • Keep food stocked
  • Enjoy!



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