Tea Parties - Etiquette and Tradition

Tea parties are a popular way to entertain friends and acquaintances in a stylish, relaxed setting. What happens during a tea party is limited only by the imagination!

Tea parties are especially popular in England, and are often used for entertaining business clients. Tea parties are also used as a format for a bridal or baby shower, retirement party, birthday celebration or as a gathering between friends.

Tea parties are usually held during the mid to late afternoon, and are intended as a light meal between lunch and dinner.

Tea parties revolve around the serving of a pot of tea and some light snacks such as bite-sized sandwiches, scones, biscuits and sweets.

Hosting a tea party

When preparing tea parties, dates are usually set and invitations sent. The type of tea and tea accessories are selected. Usually a type of black tea is chosen, as they are known to reinvigorate a person after a long day.

Tea accessories such as the tea cups and the teapot are chosen to match the décor of the room and the atmosphere of the tea party. Quality accessories are often used, such as porcelain tea sets. Tea parties between close friends may involve tea sets decorated in whimsical fashion, while more formal tea parties may involve tea sets decorated in subtle, reserved fashion.

The food is prepared before the guests arrive. The room is prepared, with the table especially prepared for the occasion. The table used for tea parties are usually decorated with flowers such as roses being the centerpiece.

Tea party accessories

Tea parties involve an array of accessories. Aside from the teacups, saucers for the cups and the teapot, there is also a sugar bowl, milk jug, extra water and lemon slices.

The extra water is to allow a drinker to dilute the tea to their taste. Some people also prefer to compliment their tea with lemon.

Tea pouring at tea parties

The tea pouring at tea parties is usually done by associates of the host, or the host themselves. Whoever shall pour at tea parties are asked beforehand to "do the honors". Whoever is chosen for the tea pouring serves all who are present.

Food at tea parties

A variety of food can be served at tea parties.

For sandwiches, some examples include cucumber and chicken salad.

Biscuits may served at tea parties, as well as scones, lemon tarts, and cookies. A cake is sometimes offered as well.

Some tea parties may feature fruit, such as grapes, cherries and strawberries. If strawberries are featured, chocolate for dipping is a good idea as well.