How to Host a Tea Party (on a Budget)

how to host a tea party

Light tea cakes, sweet treats, steaming tea in paper thin china cups, and of course, flowers. Lots of flowers. Tea parties celebrate all the loveliness of spring and femininity and make a fabulous theme for a wedding shower, baby shower, or birthday party. Or learn how to host a tea party as an excuse to wear that vintage hat your grandma gave you.

The Rules of Hosting a Tea Party

Party Fun
Ask your friends to wear a vintage hat to the tea party or make a tea length dresses-only rule. Set your party outside in your garden inside using umbrellas to decorate for a special “April Shower” theme. It’s your party. Be fun and creative.

Dishes
To throw a tea party you need tea cups, but don’t fear. Tea cups can be found in charming mismatched bunches at your local thrift store. You can find whole sets at Estate sales, garage sales, and on Craigslist. Just keep your eye open. Or, if you don’t want to spend any money, ask guests to bring their own tea cup to share. Whether mug, or fancy china, it will give people a reason to actually use great aunt Sally’s gaudy china.

Don’t worry about matching. An eclectic blend of old and new tea cups and china will give your party a country cottage feel. If you don’t have enough china, round it out with plain white, round dishes. Mix and match plain white with china, in your serving dishes and the dishes and cups you give to your guest.

Decorating

You can decorate your tea party very simply with flowers. May is peak peony season. Place fully opened peonies in small tea cups or plain white mugs and set them around the table for easy and beautiful decorations.

Tea parties have an inherently vintage feel, so play that up by going to your local thrift store and finding some vintage fabric (look at sheets and pillow cases too) and use them as table cloths.

Topiaries are so easy to make and add height and drama to your tea table. Make a ribbon topiary like the one pictured above on the ParTea Planner’s blog. Using a wooden dowel, a foam ball, floral foam, ceramic pot, lots of ribbon that you’ve cut into 4.5″ lengths and some push pins. Cut the floral foam to fit inside the pot. Secure the wooden dowel to the ceramic pot using floral foam. Make the ribbon into loops and secure to the foam ball using the pins. Place the foam ball on the other end of the dowel and voila! Get creative; use silk flowers, and tulle to cover the base. Paint your wooden dowel and ceramic pots, for added color.

If you have a fabulous umbrella or a white lacey parasol, hang it upside down over your table for a lovely focal point. Tie ribbon to the parasol and let it hang down as lovely streamers.

Food

Of course, any tea party needs some food. Keep it simple. A fruit salad, a quiche, and some scones with clotted cream should be plenty. If you think your tea party needs more than just tea, consider Lavender punch, or mimosas.

Clotted cream is delicious and easy to make. Ask your local specialty grocery store if they carry it, if they don’t here is a recipe derived from the Joy of Cooking.

Clotted Cream
Begin by taking unpasteurized cream and letting it stand for about 12 hours (during the winter months) or 6 hours (during the warm summer months). Then to sterilize the cream; place the cream over very low heat (do not boil) until rings form on the surface of the cream. Store in a cold place for at least 12 hours and then skim the thick clotted cream from the surface of the cream. You now have homemade Clotted Cream.

Here are some fabulous tea party recipes: